Category: Salad

Chimichurri and a Charred Broccoli Salad

This is unbelievably easy. I’ve always wanted to make chimichurri. I don’t eat it that often, but I love it every time I do, and I’ve heard it’s easy. It is easy. It is delicious. It’s hard not to always have some on hand.

Charred broccoli is ridiculously good too. I added more red pepper flakes to the dressing because you know that’s how I do, but you could back off. The original recipe had arugula, but I didn’t want to buy an entire container just for a cup of arugula. Bulk mixed greens were a fine substitute. For some reason, the vegetable peeler was making gigantic pieces of cheese. I think I’d shred it next time for better distribution. I’ll take cheese with every bite, thankyouverymuch.

The steak method is pretty much the go-to. It yields such a juicy steak. I live and die by my thermometer now. Consistent results every time. I ended up with a smaller steak just because a) New Seasons ran out and b) I really don’t need to eat more than a half pound of steak in a sitting, do I? If you put it in front of me, you know I’ll eat it. It meant that the meat to chimichurri recipe was a little off, but that’s ok. You’ll want to eat this stuff by the spoonful.

Inspiration: The Splendid Table

Ingredients

  • 1lb flank steak
  • 1lb broccoli florets, cut into even pieces
  • 1 cup mixed greens
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of pecorino romano cheese, peeled with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 1/2 cups parsley
  • 3/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Season both sides of the steak with salt. Set aside until needed, allowing it to come up to room temperature.

Heat a 12″ skillet on high heat. Add the broccoli florets and cook them, stirring occasionally, until they start to char on all sides. This will take 8-10 minutes. Toss the broccoli in a large bowl with the mixed greens, olive oil, 2 teaspoons of honey, lemon juice, and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the pecorino romano cheese, and cover the bowl. Set aside until ready.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the parsley, cilantro, shallot, vinegar, garlic, remaining teaspoon of honey, remaining teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Process until the mixture is finely chopped and incorporated. Keep the processor on as you drizzle in the vegetable oil until the mixture is well blended. Transfer the chimichurri to a bowl.

Heat the remaining two tablespoons of vegetable oil in the skillet until nearly smoking. Pat the steak dry with paper towels. Season both sides with pepper. Add the steak to the hot skillet and turn the heat down to medium-high. Brown the first side, it will take 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Flip the steak and brown that side. Continue to flip cook and flip the steak in this manner until the internal temperature of the steak is 120 degrees.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board, spread 1/3 cup of the chimichurri on top, cover with aluminum foil, and let the steak rest for about 10 minutes. Thinly slice the steak against the grain before serving with the broccoli salad and the remaining chimichurri.

Shrimp Cobb Salad

Look at how pretty this salad is. I’m patting myself on the back here. Cobb salads are great for when you want vegetables but want more than some whisps of lettuce. Some notable Cobbs [aka, the ones I order most often] — the brisket Cobb at Podnah’s Pit or the giant Cobb from Tilt that weighs what feels like 10lbs. Ahhh, now I wish I didn’t go to Tilt’s website to get that link. I want that burger on the homepage.

I’m not normally a corn person. I’ll eat it, but not go out of my way for it. Recipes, however, are a different story. I’m one of those follow the rules people. I can’t help it. As usual, my avocado wasn’t that ripe. Edible, but not my favorite. Next time I’d just buy guacamole, but that doesn’t photograph nearly as well. That green chunky stuff you see is a deliciously simple cilantro-lime vinaigrette. Finally using an entire bunch of cilantro in one sitting was quite the experience. That never happens. The salad was just as awesome as you would expect a giant Cobb to be. Roasted shrimp is such a change from the norm. After taking the time to put it together, Andrew and I just attacked the platter with a fork. It’s a lot of salad for two people, but we pretty much conquered it.

Shrimp Cobb2

Inspiration: Damn Delicious

Ingredients

  • 1lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning [I might have used the carne asada seasoning blend because that’s what I had on hand]
  • 4 slices of bacon, diced
  • 2 large hardboiled eggs, diced
  • 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup cilantro, mostly leaves instead of stems
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment or tin foil. In a bowl toss the shrimp with two tablespoons of olive oil and the Creole seasoning. Spread the shrimp out on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 4-5 minutes. The shrimp should be pink and cooked through.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, garlic, apple cider vinegar and remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Pulse together until relatively smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large skillet, cook the chopped bacon on medium high heat. Stir often until the bacon pieces are crispy. Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Assemble the salad on a large plate or platter. Start with the base of romaine lettuce. In rows, line the shrimp, bacon, eggs, avocado, corn, and blue cheese crumbles. Spread the cilantro-lime dressing over the top.

Chicken Fajita Salad

I picked up the weirdest, most inedible avocado for this recipe. It should be no surprise that finding a ripe avocado on demand is damn near impossible around here. Your best bet is to plan ahead, since they’re usually rock hard, and age them on your counter. If you happen to find one that isn’t rock hard, odds are that it has dents from every person who came before you to squeeze it in hopes that it was the one avocado in the pile that wasn’t hard as a rock. Don’t be lured into a false sense of security. If it feels ripe, it’s not. It’s an unripe avocado bruised to high hell. Poor thing.

I thought I found something between rock and mush. It actually gave a little to the touch. I could still deal with a mostly unripe one. Desperate times call for desperate measures. When I got home and tried to cut it open, the two halves wouldn’t come apart. At all. I felt like I was hacking into a mango. After working it for a few minutes—twisting and pulling, pulling and twisting—the pit finally split in half letting me not only a half of an avocado in each hand but the pit too. As if I weren’t already thoroughly freaked out, the texture of the avocado flesh felt like plastic. It felt like a Barbie with avocado green flesh. Bizarre. A fork’s tines would barely puncture it without some serious effort. I was thoroughly creeped out. I should have just bought the guacamole that New Seasons makes. I should have known better [fyi, that wasn’t New Seasons that sold me the weird avocado, I’m pretty sure they’re better than that].

At least this salad was good without it.

Chicken Fajita Salad

Inspiration: Buzzfeed Tasty

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes [or two if you’re me]
  • 1 head of romaine, chopped
  • 1 avocado, optional for serving

Preparation

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the chicken, red and yellow peppers, onion, salt, cumin, and garlic powder. Stir well to coat in oil and mix in all the spices. Cook, stirring often, for about 7-10 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked through, the peppers and onions will be soft. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl or a mason jar with a lid, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lime juice, sugar, and chile flakes. Whisk together if in a bowl or seal the lid on the jar and shake. Add the romaine to your serving plate or bowl before topping with the fajita mixture. Drizzle with dressing and top with avocado if you actually live in a world with good avocados.

You can mix it all together in a bowl first and serve from there, but I find that all the heavy stuff just goes to the bottom, and if you aren’t eating it in one sitting, the lettuce will inevitably get soggy. The method above avoids all that.

 

Chorizo Stuffed Sweet Peppers

[PSA – apparently the photos in the blog have been acting up. If you notice anything funky going on in your browser, please let me know. Thanks!]

It’s seems to be a common theme when my schedule gets insane a little bit busy, all I really want to do is cook [or leave the country, but that’s a little less practical]. It’s my happy place. It’s gotten to the point that all of the random bits of food in the house are gone. Every last egg, frozen vegetable, steel cut oat, lentil, and frozen shrimp are gone. We’re back to the status quo of condiments, more condiments, a few other condiments, and jasmine rice. When I’m not sitting at the office, I feel like I’m reading recipes. I read some of my cookbooks for fun the other day [Ad Hoc at Home and The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook] partially for inspiration and partially because food. I was debating snacks this weekend and I stood there [there being the bathroom doorway?] searching the pages of bookmarks I have saved for a good 30 minutes. Thirty minutes! I could have walked to the store and back by then, but no, I had too look at them all. ALL OF THEM.

We probably could use another Costco run, but that usually results in buying way more than I intend to [kinda like Target…]. This recipe was completely inspired by the random Costco purchase coupled with that ridiculous jalapeño popper we ate in Idaho Falls on the road trip. To recap, we ate at Republic American Grill & Tapas Bar and had the best jalapeño popper of my life. It was a deep fried jalapeño stuffed with chorizo and laying on a bed of cherry cream cheese. Think about that. It was incredible, and I usually don’t like deep fried much of anything.

I’m sure you know those sweet mini multi-colored peppers. I picked up a bag of them at Costco and stuffed them full of my weakness chicken chorizo from New Seasons and cream cheese. Under the broiler they went and while I could have eaten them straight from the pan, I took the time to put arugula on a plate, top it with some of the peppers, and then drizzle some Italian dressing on it. Greenery is good for you, and I happen to love arugula a lot. Spicy and herbal greens hold up well to the sweet, spicy, and creamy combination these little peppers became. I didn’t bother with the cherries assuming that the sweetness of the peppers would compensate. It seemed to do the trick. All I was missing was the batter and deep fry, which I didn’t miss. Fried foods are not high on my list of things I seek out. I won’t turn them down, but I don’t go out of my way.

Chorizo Stuffed Sweet Peppers

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of sweet mini peppers
  • 1lb bulk chorizo
  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 5oz arugula
  • Italian or a simple lemon and olive oil dressing

Preparation

Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Brown the chorizo, breaking it down into small pieces. While the chorizo browns, slice each of the peppers in half, cleaning out any seeds and membrane. Drain the chorizo of any fat and allow it to cool slightly in a bowl. Scoop the cream cheese into the bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork or your hands. Using the same fork or your hands, stuff each of the peppers with the chorizo mixture.

Turn the broiler on high place the peppers on a cookie sheet. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the peppers start to show signs of being under the heat. I should have left them under a little longer but I was so excited to eat them.

Toss the arugula with the dressing or just drizzle it on the plated greens. Top with a few of the mini peppers. Good luck with that peppers to greens ratio. It’s a tough balance.

Kale, White Bean, and Bacon Salad

There has been a period of time this summer where I would put a [rinsed and drained] can of white beans over greens of any kind and call it a salad day. The combination is refreshing, filling and easy all at the same time. Bonus points for being good for you. Of course the results of these endeavors generally end up not too photogenic [read: ugly] or we end up eating it all before I can take a photo. This was the one exception. Just in time for the rain to move back in.

Kale and I are friends. I enjoy that hearty green flavor that it carries, trendiness be damned. Massaging it in dressing or roasting it can generally make it more palatable for those who don’t share my fondness for green flavors. Substituting something else for the kale wouldn’t be the end of the world. I’ve had something similar with arugula and spinach without any real issue. Go lighter on the dressing if you do. In this case, the dressing is a simple one made of mostly staples that even my kitchen has [except for lemon zest, which I unceremoniously leave out 9/10 times]. Dijon mustard [and mustard in general] will always make me happy. I’m getting the hang of making dressings in a mason jar. The key is to actually get the seal on well enough so when you start shaking it, you don’t end up wearing it. That’s happened. At least twice.

Kale White Bean Salad

The table in the photo is of the new patio table! We haven’t spent nearly the amount of time I expected to out there this summer since the weather has been so unbearably hot and most of my time has been spent studying for CPA exams. When we had been getting out there, we managed to conjure up every nearby flying bug [flies, bees, and mosquitos] to join our party despite the use of mosquito repellant coils and candles. They’ve ran us off a couple of times because it’s just too much. Here’s to hoping the newfound cooler weather and rain runs them off so there can be a few more meals out there among the dying boxwoods and ferns. Seriously, the heat was too much. I’m ready for the partly cloudy, on-and-of rain we’ve been having.

Inspiration: White on Rice Couple

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of flat leaf kale, ribs removed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 4 slices of thick cut bacon, double if you can’t get thick, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 15oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Preparation

In a jar, add the olive oil and the rest of the ingredients through the parsley. Add the lid and shake to mix together. Set aside. Alternatively you could whisk the ingredients in a bowl.

Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Add the bacon pieces. Cook until crispy. Remove them to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Reduce the heat to medium on the pan and add the garlic for approximately 30 seconds, stirring often so it doesn’t burn and it gets coated in bacon grease. Add the kale to the pan, stirring occasionally until it starts to wilt. Add the beans and the Worcestershire sauce until the beans are warm.

Add the kale and beans to a large bowl. Add the bacon and dressing. Toss to combine and incorporate the dressing.

Serve warm [but it’s equally good cold].