Lauren says one of the first meals she mastered was...

Lauren says one of the first meals she mastered was London Broil with Creamy Horseradish Sauce. (May, 2012) Credit: Recipes from The Hamptons by Ricky Lauren are used by permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

London Broil With Creamy Horseradish Sauce

One of the first meals that I mastered was London Broil with baked potatoes and simple steamed vegetables. I made it for Ralph and the children because it was an easy, quick meal to prepare. It was a dinner they often requested, and it became a basic meal that I could count on in my gradually growing repertoire. As my confidence grew, I started to prepare it for weekend guests.

For the London broil:

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup red wine

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 to 21/2 pounds flank steak or top round

For the creamy horseradish sauce:

1/4 cup prepared horseradish

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives

1. To make the marinade for the London broil: Mix all the ingredients except the meat in a small bowl. Place the meat in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but no more than 24 hours.

2. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before cooking. Preheat a grill to high, oil the grate and set it 5 to 6 inches above the coals. (Alternatively, preheat the broiler to high and set a rack 5 to 6 inches below the heat source.)

3. Remove the meat from the marinade (discard the marinade) and pat it dry with paper towels. Grill (or broil on a broiler pan) on each side for 6 minutes for rare or 7 to 9 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a carving board and let stand for 8 to 10 minutes. Slice the meat at a 45-degree angle across the grain and serve with the horseradish sauce.

4. To make the creamy horseradish sauce: Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve in a ramekin beside the meat. Makes 6 servings.

Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

This tart can be a light lunch or a delicious first course.

For the crust

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups (8 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and diced

2 to 3 tablespoons ice-cold water

For the filling

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated mozzarella

6 mixed-color heirloom tomatoes, washed and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

3 tablespoons chopped scallion greens

2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. To make the crust: Put the flours, salt, pepper, Parmesan and butter in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the motor running, drizzle in the water until the dough starts to stick together.

3. Press the dough into a 9- to 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes.

4. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Line with parchment paper and then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights, and return the pastry shell to the oven to bake until golden, 15 minutes longer. Let cool completely. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

5. To make the filling: Sprinkle one-third of the mozzarella over the bottom of the pastry shell. Arrange one-third of the tomato slices on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with one-third of the basil, oregano and scallion greens. Repeat this step two more times, then drizzle with the oil.

6. Bake until the mozzarella has melted, 15 to 20 minutes, and serve hot or at room temperature on fresh baby arugula with grape tomatoes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.