Thai-Style Steak Salad

July 2, 2012

At least once a week we opt for a dinner salad.  Tired from a long day of work or summertime adventures as it may be, dinner can be on the table in minutes with just a bit of forethought.  Our secret… grill enough meat on the weekend to have hearty leftovers.  Perhaps it is a breast of chicken spared from our ravenous tots or a generous morsel of salmon craftily hidden from my husband’s lunch, or as the case was last weekend, a nice piece of hanger steak.  Steak salad takes on endless incarnations, but this is one of our favorites from Sunset magazine years ago.

Thai-Style Steak Salad bursts with flavor from a mixture of fresh herbs, crunchy vegetables, salty peanuts, and a tangy dressing.  Using leftover grilled meat makes it a cinch to pull together, but you could certainly grill up a steak for the occasion.  The dressing is super light and oil free helping this dinner balance out the indulgences of the weekend.  The chili garlic sauce is spicy so adjust the amount to your own taste.

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Spring may not be the typical season for stews, but they are comforting and sometimes we need a little comfort even when the sun is shining and the nights are warm. On one such pleasant evening, my family gathered around our garden table to enjoy this stew.  The recipe comes from 660 Curries, by Raghavan Iyer, that a friend generously gave to me as a thank you gift. Choosing from over 600 curries is a bit of a challenge.  This one stood out because it is composed of ingredients I generally have in stock (and perhaps you do too): potatoes, apples, carrots.  I also happened to have a leftover grilled pork tenderloin on hand, but the recipe below calls for uncooked pork.  Either works well.

Since it was a glorious spring evening,  I served Indian Pork, Potato, and Apple Stew with a shredded cabbage and carrot slaw to lighten the meal.  It also paired beautifully with a jar of Curried Cauliflower Pickles (which I need to make a double batch of next season, because one pint is NOT enough for our dinner table).  The stew was a tasty blend of rich flavors mingling with the sweet apple and heat from the spices.  This is quite a tasty stew for any season.

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Day by day, our children are taking over our lives with a force that eclipses their small stature.  First was the living room, invading the space with a pulsing tide of toys and other detritus.  Slowly their influence oozed into our music, favoring 90’s grunge rock for no explicable reason.  The most recent conquest was the meal plan.  Though they are both enthusiastic eaters of most dishes I serve, they now each direct the selection of one dinner a week.  What seemed benign at first quickly spiraled into many successive nights of pesto pasta, hamburgers, and spaghetti and meatballs.  My kids, who would eat anything, had a very short list of items they would actually request.  Luckily with some gentle encouragement, they happily incorporated some new meal variations that keep them (and their parents) satisfied.

Baked Chicken Flautas are crispy, crunchy flour tortillas wrapped around a moist, mildly spiced bean and chicken filling.  They hit on all of my children’s favorite notes: finger foods, beans, cheese.  They are tasty enough to appeal to the adult set as well.  Whip up some Chipotle Salsa for a dip to make these flutes really sing.  Feel free to change the filling around.  Not a fan of beans?  Leave them out and increase the chicken.  What to make them vegetarian?  Omit the chicken and add crumbled tofu or corn to the mix.  Really, anything you would throw in a taco can be rolled up in these tortillas and baked.  We ate these for dinner, but they would be great as a party appetizer as well!  So, how about you?  What are the family pleasing meals that grace your table?

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I would love to say that each jar of jam I make is a smashing success.  It would be great if each jar was filled with mouth watering combinations of fruits that strained our self-control through the winter.  In fact many of the jams filling our pantry do exactly that.  The Three Berry Jam of last July is long gone.  Each weekend we dole out the last drops of the Mixed Berry Syrup over yet another batch of Buttermilk Pancakes.  There is only one last jar of Strawberry Rhubarb to get us through until truly sweet strawberries start cropping up at the Farmers’ Market.  Yes, these are fantastic jams that I cannot wait to make again.  The same cannot be said for the poor Drunken Fig Jam I made (too much of) last summer.  They cannot all be winners.

Perhaps it is the brandy- I am not a big fan, or the need for a bit more acidity, whatever the reason, the fig jam did not fly off the shelves.  It got to the point when I began to consider the unthinkable- tossing the jam in favor of freeing up the precious real estate, when I discovered a recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook and adapted this recipe.

Drunken Pork Chops with Fig and Onion Marmalade is perhaps the perfect application of this drunken jam.  Pork pairs so beautifully with sweetness and fig is no exception.  For this dish, the pork chops sear off first, then nestle down into a saucy bed of well caramelized onions bathed in rosemary-infused brandied fig jam.  The dish simmers slowly as the pork cooks through and the flavors meld.  In the end, the pork is incredibly tender and awash in a deliciously sweet and savory sauce.  No ample stash of drunken fig jam in the pantry?  Just add some apricot or plum jam and a splash of brandy.

How do you cook with jam?  Feel free to link to your recipe below.

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Perhaps it is an unlikely combination, but bacon, Brussels sprouts, and blue cheese were actually meant to be together… on a pizza.  Believe me.  I am completely hooked on this pizza.  Inspired by a plate of fantastic wood-fired oven roasted Brussels sprouts from Jackson’s along side a tasty pizza with onions and sausage.  I couldn’t help thinking how delicious the sprouts would be on top of the pizza.  And while we were at it, why not throw in some bacon and blue cheese.  Oh, and it worked.  We love this recipe so much, we made it three weeks in a row!

Bacon, Brussels Sprouts and Blue Cheese Pizza is built on a base of Our Favorite Pizza Dough, though I subbed in 2 cups of whole wheat flour for 2 cups of all-purpose flour.  This makes for a nice hearty texture to the dough.  Next is a liberal brush of roasted garlic sauce.  Caramelized Brussels sprouts, slivers of bacon, chunks of blue cheese, and thinly sliced onion complete the toppings.  This combination is great for dinner, but I would also love to serve it as an appetizer.

This post was shared on Yeastspotting.

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