Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Even Better than the Real Thing

Another vacation, another salad week. This one a little more indulgent (the vacation, and the salad). We spent a week in San Francisco with family, and it was like a 'Best Of' tour of the city. I lived there for a while once upon a time, and the city as a whole holds a special place in my heart. We shopped, went to wine country, had a fire on the beach, and we ate. And ate. And ate. I'm needing a cleanse week now more than ever. Unfortunately, as soon as we got back I worked for 2 days and then we celebrated DP's birthday. So now it's salad week, one week later.

This salad I actually made a couple of weeks before we went on vacation. I liked the idea of the lightly sauteed lettuce, and all the components of the BLT except not in a sandwich (I'm not a huge fan of sandwiches). I really like grilled lettuce, and I wondered if lettuce cooked in another manner would be as appealing. It was! This was great--the chicken crispy, the salad wilty and delicious, and the mayonnaise a nice, citrousy accompaniment. I'll definitely be making it in salad weeks to come, and I'll be sharing this weeks salads in later posts!

*Photo courtesy of DP

Deconstructed BLT
from Bon Appetit

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use canola oil mayo, you could certainly use low-fat for a lighter salad)
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp lemon zest
5 slices center cut bacon
4 large plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 5-ounce package mixed baby greens
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup panko

Mix first three ingredients in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, crumble and set aside. Add tomatoes and cumin to bacon fat, cook 2 minutes. Add greens, toss until just wilted, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with red wine vinegar, toss to blend, season with salt and pepper. Add bacon to greens.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place panko in shallow dish, sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper, press into panko to coat both sides. Place on jelly roll pan and cook in oven until meat thermometer reaches 165 F, around 35 minutes.

Divide greens evenly among 4 dishes. Top each with 1 chicken breast, and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise. I also had some extra roasted cherry tomatoes, so we threw those on top (roasted in 400 degree oven, tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for 20 minutes or until soft).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hot and Heavy

It has recently gotten hot and humid in Brooklyn. Summers in New York are generally miserable (for me), but the thick, super hot days usually don't roll around until at least the end of June. So far this year we have already hit 90, and most days have been in the mid 80s with the humidity hovering around (or over) 70%. All of this makes me lazy, and while at the very least I have to show up at work and school, a lot of cooking has been falling by the wayside. DP and I have been eating out a lot--which hasn't been good for our wallets or waistlines. I need to re-fill my coffers with light, easy recipes that aren't much work when it's too hot to move.

This salad fits the bill: it's a salad, nearly always light; it has some of my favorite ingredients (avocado, miso, and cilantro); and a final treat--steak. Oh, and it comes together in about 40 minutes. I made this a couple of weeks ago when the hot weather started, and it was great. Of course today, after a long, hot weekend of traipsing all over the city (damned if I'm going to let the heat spoil my fun!) and buying presents for a very special someone, we went right back to going out to dinner. Ah, well...

Photo courtesy of DP

Beef and Red Pepper Salad with White Miso Dressing
from Bon Appetit

3 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons white miso
2 Tablespoons chopped, peeled ginger
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 1 1/4 lb flank steak (pretty sure I used hanger steak, which was just fine)
1 5-ounce container mixed baby greens (or salad greens of your choice--especially local!)
2 cups thinly sliced cucumber (unpeeled if Japanese/English hothouse, peeled otherwise)
1 lg red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup thinly sliced red onions
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut up

For the dressing:
Place 3 tablespoons oil, rice vinegar, miso, ginger and garlic in blender or food processor, pulse/blend until smooth. Set aside 2 tablespoons for the beef, reserve the rest.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Salt and pepper steak, brush one side with reserved dressing, and place dressing side down into the skillet. Brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Brush steak with some of the remaining dressing toward the end of cooking. When done, transfer to a cutting board and let sit for 10 minutes. Brush with remaining dressing. Slice thinly.

Place all greens in a bowl, toss with reserved dressing.* Divide evenly among 4 plates, topping with beef and avocado.

*There is only 2 of us, so I always only dress half the greens--otherwise they get soggy.