Recipes by Carl Merten, Visalia Country Club  I  Photos by Taylor Johnson



et’s go ahead and say what we’re all thinking: Good riddance, 2020! And while we’re not out of the pandemic woods yet, the new year always brings with it a bit of hope — and this month, a lot of flavor. The Visalia Country Club’s Chef Karl gives us a taste of the club membership experience, sharing with us the flavors of his kitchen so that you can bring them to life in yours. An Asian marinated flank steak with braised vegetables, shitake mushrooms and jasmine rice (and don’t forget the jasmine rice pudding!) will not disappoint. Happy New Year!

Flank Steak Recipe / Marinade

Serves 4


  • 2 pounds flank steak (cut into four steaks) or London broil cut
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar or white wine
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (2 tablespoons vegetable oil if you don’t have sesame oil)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dry ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes to taste

You may add additional ingredients such as fish sauce and lime juice to give it a more distinct flavor.


  • Place marinade and steaks into a ziplock bag and allow the steaks to marinade at least one day or more in the refrigerator, for an intense Asian flavor.
  • Heat grill on high to preheat.
  • Brush grill clean, lightly oil the grill so steaks won’t stick. (I would start the steaks on high heat to get a good sear and marks initially, then move the steaks to a cooler side of grill to finish.)


  • Prepare a medium heat pan for the vegetables (I used baby bok choy and carrots, but any of your favorite vegetables will work fine).
  • Add a little oil, garlic and ginger, arrange vegetables in pan, allow to simmer, add 1/4 cup liquid (light chicken broth), simmer/steam until vegetables are tender; be careful not to let pan go dry or you may scorch vegetables.
  • In a separate pan, sauté shitake mushrooms with wine, sesame oil, garlic; season with salt and pepper.
  • Jasmine rice as per package recipe.
  • Assemble the plate with the rice on the bottom, flanked by the braised vegetables topped with the steak; I’ve sliced the steak for a more dramatic presentation.
  • Top with the sautéed shitake mushrooms and any remaining sauce from the mushrooms, and enjoy!

Jasmine Rice Pudding

Serves 6 (serving size: about 2/3 cup)


  • 3 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons chopped dried goji berries, dried or fresh berries
  • 6 tablespoons toasted almonds, unsalted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)


  • Bring milk, water, honey and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high.
  • Stir in rice and reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Cook, uncovered, stirring often, until rice is tender and mixture is thickened, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • Divide mixture evenly among six bowls; top each with 1 tablespoon goji or dried cranberries and 1 tablespoon pepitas or almonds.
  • Serve warm.