Friday, July 30, 2010

A Manly Steak Salad

We don't do salad very often in our house. I'm not sure why, but it just doesn't make it on the menu. I don't like to eat the same thing every day and most packages of greens are more servings than two people need in a week. But it's summer and it's hot - and light meals are the way to go.

I like salads full of stuff. I'm not a fan of salads that are just lettuce and dressing (like Caesar). I usually order the salads full of beans, avocado, corn, etc.  So when I set out to make a steak salad at home I pulled out a few ingredients from the refrigerator.

For the cold ingredients: Olivia's Organics spinach.  Next up, carrots and English cucumber. The rest of the ingredients (steak, onions, mushroom, and asparagus) went on the grill. For dinner we had, what I'll call a "manly steak salad". For lunch the next day we had the same base salad with grilled chicken on top. It was fantastic both ways.

Mix the salad base early in the week and you can top it with different proteins each day - steak, chicken, chickpeas, tuna (if you like that sort of thing), or even some grilled tofu. You can change the taste with different dressings also. It's easy to tweak the mix and enjoy a different salad every day!

Manly Steak Salad
Serves 2

2 cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped
2 carrots, cut into coins or sticks
1/2 of an English cucumber, cut into one-inch sticks
1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced into rings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
8-10 spears asparagus, trimmed
1 portabello mushroom caps, lightly brushed with olive oil
Sirloin Steak, approximately 1 lb.

Wrap onion slices, olive oil, and water in a foil packet and seal tightly

Heat the grill to medium-high heat, grease the grill to prevent sticking
Sprinkle both sides of the steak with a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
When the grill is hot, add the steak and onions directly over heat
For a 2 inch thick steak, cook for 8 minutes per side for a medium steak
When you flip the steak, flip the onions and move off of the direct heat and
add the mushrooms and asparagus to the grill (flip after 4 minutes)
Remove veggies and steak from the grill and set aside
Do NOT slice the steak yet (it needs to rest)

While the steak is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of the salad
Place 1 cup of spinach on two serving plates
Split the carrots and cucumber sticks evenly between the two plates

Combine 2 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar in a small container with a lid
Shake vigorously to combine

After steak has rested for about 10 minutes (so the juices don't run out), slice and place on top of the salad
Top with sliced portabello, asparagus, and onions
Dress salad to your liking and add freshly ground pepper

Serve with a big fork and knife and enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Topping (for the next day)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, excess fat trimmed off
Old Bay seasoning

Rub a generous amount of Old Bay seasoning on both sides of the chicken
Heat grill to medium heat and grease the grill to prevent sticking
When grill is hot, add chicken and cook until done
The time varies depending on the thickness of the chicken and heat of the grill. It could be anywhere from 10-15 minutes
Let the chicken cool before slicing into bite sized pieces
Add to the salad base and dress the salad before eating

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time:15-20 minutes
Cutting board, knife, plates, tongs, grill, dressing container, foil, serving dishes and utensils

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Family Tradition: Tomatoes in the Garden

Growing up, every summer meant strawberries and tomatoes growing in the backyard. I was never a big fan of tomatoes - something about the texture just didn't appeal to me - so I never really considered trying to grown them on my own. Fast forward to last year when I started buying green zebra tomatoes from Atlas Farms. They still have some gooey seeds to scoop out, but the rest of the tomato is firm and tangy. I missed the window to plant strawberries this year, but decided to plant two green zebra tomato plants and herbs to go with them.

I previously posted about my garden when it was just starting out. Here is an update on my gardening progress. I'm happy to report that we've been eating basil in almost every meal for the last month. The lime basil plants are doing great - there are leaves to harvest every day or two. My chives didn't like the rainy weather and I'm down to just two little shoots.

Genovese Basil (with the tag) and Lime Basil

The biggest success (I think) is the progress of my tomato plants. It started with just one tomato.  Now I've got six good looking tomatoes and a bunch of little babies budding. Here's a look into the garden.  I can't wait for them to be ripe and ready to eat! 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Night Snack Dinner: I Love Cheese

When the hubby is home alone, he often dines on his signature "Snack Dinner".  While he's away this weekend on a baseball road trip, I decided to make my own version of a snack dinner to enjoy lounging on the couch in front of the TV. 

We were supposed to head to the Vermont Cheesemaker's Festival today, but the hubby told me the wrong dates for his trip. Just because that meant no cheese-fest, didn't mean no cheese!  I was happy that our tickets went to good use - after sending out a few tweets someone looking for tickets found me. It wasn't just anyone.  It was Dancing Cow Farmstead Cheese.  They offered to send me a wheel of Bourree cheese as thanks for sending them our tickets.  When I thought about a wheel of cheese, I was picturing a circle of brie cheese sized wheel.  Not quite:

I will be enjoying this cheese for a while.  It is a Bourree cheese, and according to their website, "Bourree is washed rind cheese with an earthy aroma, supple paste and a rich, creamy texture that melts into a beautiful smoky, meaty, lingering finish. Bourree is made from raw cow's milk, uncooled, from only a single milking."

For my snack dinner, I paired it with a crusty baguette, a few slices of monterey jack (cheese fest, after all), sliced bosc pear, cherries, carrots, cucumber, and a homemade yogurt dip.  I poured a glass of YB Wines Rose (my recent purchase from The Urban Grape).  This is a neat wine - organic, packed in a tetra pack. It's not too sweet and not too dry. Easy drinking for a warm summer night and matched well with the simple flavors of my snack dinner.

Next year we'll head to Vermont for the festival.  For now, I'll keep cutting off wedges of cheese and thinking our trip next July.  Anyone want to come over for a snack?

Homemade Yogurt Dip
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon greek seasoning blend
1 teaspoon chopped flat leaf parsley
Juice from a small wedge of lemon

Mix and enjoy!


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