Artisanal preserves pack a punch in summertime grilling

Vista d'Oro Farms and Winery owner Lee Murphy shares all sorts of recipes featuring inventive spreads in new cookbook, The Preservatory

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      The Township of Langley may not be the first place that comes to mind for Vancouver foodies seeking a gastronomical day trip, but they may well want to head east. The area is home to Vista d’Oro Farms and Winery, a bucolic 10-acre farm where Lee Murphy makes dozens of varieites of exquisite preserves.

      Some examples of the creative jams include Murphy’s favourite, Plum, Vanilla, and Star Anise. She also makes Blood Orange With Coconut and Lillet; Persimmon With Cinnamon and Pecans; and Banana With Passion Fruit and Rum preserves.

      Then there’s Fig and Walnut Wine; Yellow Plum with Turmeric and Chili; Fig and Green Heirloom Tomato with Garam Masala. (As for the “wine” in the company name, Murphy makes walnut wine there, too.)

      Summertime means picnic season, and Thursday through Sunday, you can go to the FarmHouse Shop and pick up fare such ascheese and charcuterie plates with products from Farm House Natural Cheeses and Oyama Sausage along with baguettes and baked goods to enjoy on the property’s outdoor seating area.  

      The products can be found at retailers throughout B.C. and some parts of Canada and the United States. They’re even available at Harrods in London.

      While the spreads go beautifully with atop cheese on crispy crackers, there are tons of other uses for them too, as Murphy proves in her recently released cookbook.

      Aside from recipes for the preserves themselves, The Preservatory: Seasonally Inspired Recipes for Creating and Cooking With Artisanal Preserves features dishes such as Glazed Chicken Drumettes, Delicious Pork Tenderloin, Carrot Cake Waffles, Pan Seared Duck Breast, Glazed Almond and Polenta Cake, and more.

      Murphy’s go-to meal in the summer is Grilled Flank Steak Salad. She shares the recipe from her cookbook below. 


      Grilled Flank Steak Salad

      1 whole flank steak—about 2 lbs


      1/2 cup soy sauce

      1/2 cup preserves (suggestions below)

      1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

      2 Tbsp sesame oil

      1  tsp sambal oelek

      2  cloves garlic, minced  2 tsp grated fresh ginger

      1 bunch cilantro, stems only (reserve leaves for salad)

      Zest and juice of 2 limes


      2 bell peppers, quartered and seeded 2 sweet onions, cut into rounds

      4 cups mixed greens, such as spinach, baby kale and watercress

      1 cup chopped fresh fruit (see note) 2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil

      ¼ cup reserved marinade Salt to taste

      Reserved cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish

      1/2 cup chopped mint for garnish


      For the marinade, whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl. Reserve ¼ cup for the salad dressing and place the remaining marinade in a large ziplock bag. Place flank steak in the bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.

      When ready to prepare the meal, let the meat come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

      Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill peppers and onions; set aside. Grill flank steak to medium-rare, about 6 to 7 minutes per side. Let meat rest for about 15 minutes, then slice steak across the grain into thin slices.

      Toss salad greens and chopped fruit together, dress with olive oil and reserved marinade and season with salt to taste. Serve greens with grilled veggies and sliced flank steak layered over top. Garnish with cilantro and mint.

      Serve with Tomatillo and Chile; Chile Pepper; or Pineapple With Mint and Chile preserves.