Fresh Pear Cake with Vanilla Glaze

recipes with pears

My jaw dropped when I saw this cake.  I love pears, cake and thick glaze – especially when combined!  And this is an exceptionally moist cake thanks to the peeled and grated pear, as well as the canola oil (oil cakes tend to be very moist).


Recipe and Photo courtesy of Taste Of The South Magazine

Thai Beef Salad Recipe

Friends of mine at have been singing the praises of this flank steak salad recipe for quite some time.  Now that I’ve made it I’m definitely chiming right in with them: it’s delicious!  Thanks to a divine sauce that is, at once, both marinade and dressing – the salad has great flavor.  Although a light meal compared to steak and potatoes, add a roll with a great crust and a glass of good wine and you’ve got yourself a wonderful meal.  Easy too!

Ellie Krieger, a host on Food Network, developed this recipe which I’ve adapted a tad.  I like her use of thinly sliced shallots (not as strong as onions) as well as mixing basil and cilantro.  However, as I serve it throughout the summer, I’m going to add a few more ingredients such as thinly sliced cucumbers, matchstick carrot strips, mushrooms (I might saute those first to brown them a bit and bring out more of their flavorful) and even dried cherries.

Flank steak, once cooked, needs to be sliced thinly and across the grain, otherwise it will be very tough.  I explain and show how to do this in my Maple-Soy Marinade for Flank Steak.

You might like to check out Diva Entertains Beef Recipes.   And if you are planning a celebration – don’t forgot about the fabulous favors offered at Diva Entertains.  Her Plantable Favors, including personalized Herb Favors, are sure to be a hit!

Best Meatloaf Recipe (In My Humble Opinion)

As promised in my last post, here is my husband’s best meatloaf recipe!  We’ve tried many and always come back to this one.  Don’t be put off by the ingredient list, once you keep the spices on hand, if you don’t already have them in your pantry, it’s a rather easy meatloaf recipe.  A bit of chopping and mixing and that’s it!

We are partial to a plain ol’ ketchup glaze for our meatloaf.  If you prefer a different topping (mustard/ketchup mixture, etc.), go ahead and use it – I’m sure it will be great!

Turn to Diva Entertains for the most divine Chocolate Favors!

Grandma Joanie’s Flank Steak

Diva Entertains Flank SteakHistory:  Growing up this was my mother’s (Joan Ravin) flank steak recipe.  The one we loved and clamored for.  It was an exciting day in the Ravin household when we had it for dinner.  And then came the grandchildren (now ages 16 – 27).  The recipe soon became their all-time-favorite.  And was then known only as “Grandma Joanie’s Flank Steak”.

My mother always made it with pancake syrup which is still my preferred way of making it.  However, you can use pure maple syrup if you would prefer.  We like to cook ours rare to medium-rare.  But whatever level of doneness you like your steak, served with this marinade, it will be absolutely scrumptious.  Thanks mom!

Grandma Joanie’s Flank Steak

  • 3/4 cups pancake syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • dash of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. fresh, minced garlic
  • 2 lb. flank steak
  1. Mix all ingredients in a ziplock bag or large dish.  Add steak.  Marinate overnight.
  2. Heat grill.  Remove steak from marinade.  Discard marinade.  Grill to desired doneness.
  3. Slice thinly against the grain.  Serve and enjoy!

Spicy Beef with Peppers

Diva Entertains Spicy Beef with Peppers

This recipe is not only visually beautiful – it’s a snap to pull together.  And let’s not forget how it tastes – fabulous!

Another nice thing about this recipe is that you can easily change or add vegetables to the dish.  Vegetables to add or swap that work nicely here are:  green peppers, onions, snow pea pods, sugar snap peas, thinly sliced carrots, etc.

You can break this recipe into two major parts: 1) thinly slice the meat (see pic below) and toss it in a flavorful marinade.  2) Make a spicy sauce (Ketchup, hoison and chile garlic sauce).  Quickly cook the beef, then the vegetables and finally cook it all for a minute or two in the spicy sauce.

Diva Entertains Thin Sliced Beef

This recipe serves 2 generously although it is so delicious we often double the recipe so that we have leftovers!

Spicy Beef with Peppers (adapted from Gourmet Magazine, 2004)

Serve 2 generously

  • 1 (1/2 lb.) flank steak, well trimmed.
  • 2 tsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. finely grated garlic
  • 1 tsp. finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 5 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Chinese hoisin sauce
  • 2 to 3 tsp. chile garlic sauce
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 scallions, cut on the diagonal, into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces

  1. Cut steak with the grain into 1 1/2 to 2 inch wide strips.  Then cut each strip across the grain into 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices (the point is to slice them very thinly).  Put the slices into a medium bowl with the soy sauce, cornstarch, rice wine, garlic, ginger, salt, sugar and 1 tsp. of the oil.  Toss so that all pieces are coated with the marinade.
  2. Stir together the ketchup, hoisin and chili garlic sauce in a small bowl.
  3. Heat 2 tsp. oil in wok or skillet (swirl oil in pan) over medium-high heat until oil shimmers.   Add beef, spreading pieces in 1 layer on bottom and sides and quickly as possible.  Cook, undisturbed, letting beef begin to brown, 1- 2 minutes, then flip the meat pieces over and stir-fry until meat is just browned on sides but still pink in the center, about 1 minute.  Transfer meat and any juices to a plate.
  4. Pour remaining 2 tsp. oil down side of unwashed wok over high heat, and then swirl oil, titling work to coat sides.  Add bell pepper, scallions, and remaining ¼ tsp salt.  Stir-fry 30 seconds, then add reserved beef with any juices and ketchup mixture.  Stir-fry until combined well and sauce thickens slightly, about 30 seconds, then transfer to a platter.

Delicious Maple-Soy Marinade for Flank Steak

Diva Entertains Flank Steak

Flank Steak was meant for marinades.  A rather tough but incredibly flavorful meat – it benefits greatly from some time in a marinade.  I usually prepare my marinade the night before and let the steak soak it up overnight, however, it will still benefit if it only marinates for 20 minutes.  This recipe will follow the latter.

The secret to enjoying a great and tender piece of flank steak is to cut it thinly and cut against the grain.  Cutting the meat with the grain will result in a stringy, very tough piece of meat.  Also, flank steaks cooks in a matter of minutes so start off with about 4-5 minutes per side until you find the perfect timing/level of doneness for your taste. You can cook it on the grill or inside using your oven’s broiler.

This recipe has a little bit of everything: Asian flavors from the (reduced-sodium) soy sauce, sesame oil, and hot chili sauce and sweetness from pure maple syrup.

Steak Tacos Recipe – A Real Treat!

Diva Entertains Taco Plate

I came across this recipe several years ago and it has been a staple in our house ever since.  It’s easy to make and wonderful as left-overs.

Steak Tacos (adapted from Cook’s Country, June/July 2006)

  • 1 flank steak (about 1.5), sliced very thin*
  • 1.5 chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1.5 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 scallions, green and white parts cut into 1″ lengths
  • 1-2 jalapeno chiles, minced
  • 4 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1.5 T. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 12 taco shells**, hard or soft

Mix chile powder, cumin, coriander, salt, garlic, scallions and jalapenos in medium-sized bowl.  Add steak to mixture and toss well to coat the slices with the spice mixture.

Mix tomato sauce, water, brown sugar and lime juice in small bowl; set aside.

Heat 2 tsp. oil in large skillet over high heat until shimmering.  Add half of steak mixture and cook, turning once, until just browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to bowl.  Repeat with remaining oil and steak, transfer to bowl.

Off heat, add the tomato sauce mixture, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon.  Also add any juice that collected in the bowl with the cooked meat.  Cook until reduced by half, about 6 to 10 minutes over medium heat.  Return steak to skillet and cook until meat is glazed, about 2 minutes.  Divide among taco shells and serve.

*One of the secrets to having the meat turn out incredibly tender is to cut it very thin and then quickly cook it.  To prepare the flank steak, cut the steak with the grain into 2 inch wide sections.  Then take each section and cut very thinly across the grain.

Diva Entertains Thin Sliced Beef

**I stuffed my tacos with meat in the picture – wouldn’t get the full 12 out of the recipe as indicated.

Diva Entertains offers a large selection of Unique Baby Shower Favors most of which can be personalized and customized for your party!