MY CULINARY DIARY
Monday, June 26, 2012
I just love Summer and all the ripe fruit and vegetables that are available. I also love the fact that we can eat lighter meals and feel satisfied doing so. Tonight’s dinner was in fact one of those wonderful salads using fresh produce and tomatoes from our garden. I decided to make a Steak Salad. I really wanted to make a Mongolian Lamb Salad but did not want to have to purchase a whole lamb leg as steak cuts were not available. Thus, I used Beef Filet instead and these turned out to be very, very good.
I used two Beef Filets which were just right for two people (we actually had some leftover for lunch the next day). To marinate them I used a Balsamic Vinaigrette which was made with:
Salt & Pepper
I placed the Steaks in a shallow glass dish and poked a few holes in them to allow the marinade to penetrate into the steak and then I poured the Marinade over the steak. If you do this, be sure to turn the meat over a few times to get it thoroughly coated with the Marinade. It is also a good idea to turn it over again halfway through the marinade time.
For the Salad I used:
Baby Artisan Lettuce
Red & Orange Carrots & Yellow Bell Pepper
Pickling Cucumbers (Persian, Japanese or English are also good)
Fresh Home Grown Tomatoes
Golden Beets, par-boiled (save the cooking liquid for Vegetable Soup or poaching liquid)
Instead of making one large salad from which everyone would be served, I decided to make the salads on individual plates. This is one way to get the person who does not take much salad on their plate to eat a little more than they normally would.
Any color Beets can be used, but I prefer the Golden to the Red or Purple. I think they have a milder flavor than the darker ones which taste more earthy. They are also prettier and don’t leave as much color behind them. To prepare the Beets, cut off the roots and leaves and scrub them really well to get off all the dirt that they tend to gather. Next put them in a pot and cover them with cold water and add a tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil and then shut off the heat. Let them sit in the pot until they cool down. Remove and peel. The peel will just slide off with the slightest help. The cooking liquid can be used for Vegetable Soup, as poaching liquid for fish or chicken or as a tint for hard-cooked eggs. The Eggs end up looking like Chinese Tea Eggs which are traditional at the Chinese New Year in late January or early February. (This depends on the Chinese Calendar)
The first thing that went on the plates was the Baby Lettuce which served as the base for the salad.
Next came the Red & Orange Carrots. First I peeled the Carrots, then rinsed and dried them and julienned them with a julienne peeler. I could have done this in the Food Processor with the 3 x 3 julienne blade, but I like the texture and taste of the julienne peeled carrots better, plus they look more attractive.
Next came the Yellow Bell Pepper which was cored, seeded and julienned. The pieces went around the outer edges of the plate to frame the salad.
The Cucumbers were peeled, halved, seeded and then thinly sliced.
The Cucumbers went on top of the Carrots along with the sliced Tomatoes.
Next the Beets were sliced and placed on the plate.
The next thing to do was to grill the steak. My stovetop grill had been heating up, so I placed the steaks on the grill and seared both top and bottoms. After turning them over the first time, the remaining marinade was poured on top. After searing them, I removed them from the pan and sliced them against the grain into pieces about 3/8” thick. I then returned the slices to the pan and seared them very quickly on each side so that even though they were done on the outside they still retained a little rareness on the inside.
The sliced and seared steak was placed on top of the plated salad and served with a Balsamic Mayonnaise. Balsamic Vinaigrette is also a good dressing for this salad. Along with Home-Fried Potatoes and the Bread I made yesterday, this was a very good and tasty summer meal that left us feeling satisfied without being stuffed.
Roast Turkey slices or grilled Shrimp can be substituted for the Steak slices. Or just use your imagination and see what you can come up with!