Thursday, May 13, 2010

Asian Grilled Flank Steak Salad

This was sooooo good. There was a lot of prep work, but it was worth every minute. And once the chopping and marinading is done, it comes together very quickly. The flavor of the flank steak is amazing and combined with the dressing and salad, this was my favorite dinner of the month. At least so far.

I made a few changes... we left out the tomatoes, peanuts, and mint leaves and I added some additional vegetables. I loved the added red pepper and would highly recommend adding it to your salad. I didn't like the basil, and when I make it again, I'll leave it out. I felt like the cilantro added all the flavor I needed.

I knew the kids weren't going to love the dressing, so they ate salad with Ranch dressing, with the steak on the side. Since they ate almost everything at the table, I consider the meal a success and kid approved!

Serves 6-8
Recipe Source: A Bountiful Kitchen

For Marinade and Dressing:
1 flank steak, about 1.5 lbs.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. peeled, minced, fresh ginger
3 scallions, chopped (white parts only)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)

Reserve 1/2 of the marinade and add the following:
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. honey

For Salad:
1-2 oz. Asian noodles (I used about 1/4 of my package)
1 head Boston/Bibb Lettuce
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 cup sweet onion, thinly sliced (optional)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, or 2 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup mint leaves
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup basil, chopped
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts

1. Score the flank steaks on both sides, across the grain. It helps the meat absorb the marinade better. Place your meat in a large glass dish, or Ziploc bag.

2. Combine all the marinade ingredients and combine well, ensuring the sugar gets dissolved. Pour almost 1/2 of the marinade over the meat and marinate for 1-2 hours. (I let mine marinate for about 5 hours).

3. Add the honey and oil to the reserved 1/2 of your marinade and whisk together. Refrigerate until ready to use. This will be your salad dressing.

4. Prepare Asian noodles according to package directions. Some noodles only require soaking in cold water. I had to soak my noodles in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Once they had softened, I rinsed them in cold water and set them aside.

5. Combine all your salad ingredients in a large bowl, except for the Asian noodles, and peanuts. Lightly toss all together.

6. On a pre-heated BBQ, grill your flank steak, about 4-6 minutes per side, for medium rare. Flank steak is notoriously tough, so be sure to leave it a little pink. That will keep it more tender. Once it's reached your desired doneness, let it rest for at least 3 minutes before cutting into it. Once you're ready to slice it, slice it against the grain, or perpendicular to the grain. You'll find that if you cut it with the grain, it just shreds and is chewier. To slice easier and stay more tender, be sure to cut it perpendicular to the grain. For more flank steak tips, check this post out.

6. Presentation is up to you. I knew I would have salad left over, so I didn't want to add my dressing, noodles, or steak, for fear the salad would get soggy. Instead, we assembled our salads at the table. I had separate bowls for the dressing, salad, steak, and noodles.

Note: The flank steak only cooks for about 12-15 minutes, max. Because the cooking time is so quick, it also cools quickly. Therefore, you want to serve the salad immediately after your steak is ready.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Honey Lime Fruit Salad

Over a year ago, I stumbled across a honey lime fruit salad recipe and tried it for Dinner Group. It was really unique and I was curious to try it because it used salt in the dressing. I read through all the reviews and people mentioned they liked the salt, so I tried it. And hated it. I thought the dressing tasted great, and then the whole thing was ruined by the stupid salt. So, I decided I would try it again someday, without the salt. And then I forgot about it, until I saw this post on Mel's Kitchen Cafe, and I was reminded to try it again.

I'm so glad I gave it another chance. It's so good. The combination of the lime and honey is perfection. It smells amazing and adds a nice twist on traditional fruit salad. I made a couple of alterations. I hate canned fruit mixed with fresh fruit in a fruit salad. I realize that it's handy in a pinch, when you're short something, but I don't like to mix my fresh fruit with the acidic and mushy taste of canned fruit. Especially canned pineapple. So I subbed fresh pineapple for her canned stuff.

This is so easy and absolutely delicious. You can play with the amount of lime juice and honey, to get the ratio you like best. I like lots of lime, so I used 2 Tbsp. of lime juice and only 1 Tbsp. of honey. You can also play around with the fruit. Blueberries, bananas, starfruit, etc. would also be great fruit to try in here.

Serves 4-6

1/2 of a pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks (or sub 1 20 oz. can of canned pineapple, drained if you're desperate)
1 can mandarin oranges, drained well (or sub 1 fresh orange, halved, and chopped into large chunks)
2 kiwis, peeled, and cut into large chunks
1 cup grapes, halved
1 cup strawberries, quartered
zest from 1 lime
1-2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1-2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. poppy seeds (optional... but I love the look of the black flecks against the bright fruit)

1. Combine the fruit in a medium to large serving bowl. Toss lightly.

2. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, zest, honey, and poppy seeds. Whisk to combine.

3. Pour the dressing over the fruit and lightly stir to combine. Serve immediately. The strawberries will stain the other fruit and affect the appearance of the salad after awhile, so this salad is best served immediately, if only for aesthetic reasons.