Grilled Steak with Celery & Anchovy Salad

As much as I love to take my time and explore all my cookbooks and go down a Pinterest-hole to find new recipes, sometimes the inspiration is right in front of me, in the form of my favorite magazine, Sunset.

A seemingly questionable recipe, this one from the April issue (ripped from the headlines!) for Grilled Steaks with Celery and Anchovy Salad struck my fancy, mostly for the sheer audacity of using an entire can of anchovies.

Anchovies are one of the best secret ingredients you can use in a lot of dishes. They are intense, salty, full of umami flavor, but yet more often than not blend into the background of a dish, and you can’t tell what that flavor is, you just know it’s delicious.

I think most people look at anchovies and think they’re gross, and quite honestly, if you eat a canned anchovy, yeah, they’re a little much to taste. But if you have a fresh anchovy, that’s a whole different story. If you’ve never had fresh anchovies, I suggest you try them. They’re delicious and incredibly tasty.

More often than not a recipe asks for just a few of these magical little fish, but as I said, this recipe called for an entire can!  Plus it involves steak, and I always love a good steak.

Another good thing about this recipe is that the dressing doubles as a marinade, making prep super simple.

So first comes the marinade.  First the anchovies.

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Delicious, nutritious anchovies

In a blender, or small food processor, combine them with garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, red chili flakes, olive oil, and salt.

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Zesty!

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Flavor bomb.

Whirl all that together until it’s a nice, smooth dressing/marinade.

Then take a rib-eye steak (the recipe calls for four, but I can’t eat all four!  I mean, I could, but…) and cover it with some of the marinade. Let it sit while you do some other things.

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While that’s marinating, you can get the salad ready. I’m not a huge fan of celery, personally. I mean, sure, with peanut butter, well, anything’s good with peanut butter. But it generally plays a supporting role in a dish, instead of being front and center (though lord help you if you try to serve me cooked celery in something other than Thanksgiving stuffing. BLECH!).  This salad is all celery, all the time, so I was skeptical.

Slice the celery at an angle so you get nice, hearty pieces.

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You’re going to want to wash and tear some parsley leaves as well. You also need to toast some almonds in a pan.

Now, cooking this is fairly simple. The recipe calls for a grill, which I don’t have (thanks, apartment living/Obama), so I just used the broiler. Broil the steak for about 5 minutes on each side. While that’s broiling you can act quickly and combine the celery, parsley, and almonds, and toss them with some more of the flavorful anchovy dressing.

When the steak is done, let it cool for a few minutes (key to a juicy steak!), and spread a little more of the dressing on top. It will absorb into the meat making it even tastier.  Put it on a plate and serve it with the celery and parsley salad.

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Now, let me tell you something.  I’ve made a lot of steaks in my day, and I’ve tried a lot of different sauces and marinades to go with them. So imagine my surprise when this one suddenly shoots to the top of my favorites list after the first bite. On the steak the dressing is flavorful and enhances the flavor of the beef, while adding a ton of complexity to it. But on the salad, it’s cool and refreshing, and not overpowering by any means. And that celery? What an unexpectedly great complement to the meat. The crunch added some much needed texture to the overall dish, and it was bright and flavorful.

So for all you anchovy doubters out there, my boyfriend is one of them too and he devoured his steak and said it’s the “best thing you’ve ever made*,” and was very surprised when I told him there were anchovies in it, because he couldn’t taste them.  So give it a try, and embrace the taste!

* he says that a lot.

Recipe can be found here.

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Beet around the Bush

On a normal shopping trip I have a list of things to get, a carefully planned out menu for the week that I’ve spent time figuring out.  However sometimes you’re walking through the market and something looks so good you have to get it.  The other day I happened upon these delicious looking beets at Whole Foods, and I couldn’t resist.

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Beets are super tasty and delicious, and also turn your hands red enough that your significant other, if not aware that you’re playing with beets, will freak out and think you hurt yourself.  And then, after you laugh, you’ll freak out because the red will not wash off your hands easily.

Anyway, the point is, I found some beets and needed to do something with them. Naturally the first person I turn to when it comes to ideas is my beloved Ina Garten. She knows EVERYTHING. Thankfully I got some really good beets so I was already in great shape.

She has a recipe for Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad that is so easy and delicious and satisfying and amazing and…well, you get the idea.

First you wash and cut off the beet tops, but save the greens! You can saute them up just like kale and they’re delicious.  After they’re clean you wrap each one in foil and bake them for an hour.

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While they’re roasting you make the super simple dressing of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

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When the beets are done, they get peeled, and sliced, and look oh so pretty.

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Toss them with some of the dressing so they absorb the flavors.  When you’re ready to serve, toss some salad greens (Ina, we’re on a first name basis, uses arugula, but I used regular mixed greens), with the dressing, and top with the beets, some goat cheese, and some marcona almonds.

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It’s impossible to resist.  I made enough for four and the two of us devoured the entire salad. It’s easy enough to make for yourself, or impressive enough to serve guests!

Check out the recipe here: Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad

Butternut Squash & Kale Tacos

The taco.

Is there anything more delicious and exciting than a taco?  It can be simple, it can be complex, it can be crunch, it can be soft, it can be sweet, it can be savory, it can be anything you want it to be.  I love making tacos because you can make them different every time if you want.

Back in my childhood taco night was a family favorite. It was a purely American-style taco: crunchy taco shells, ground beef with that packaged taco seasoning, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and onions.  And I loved every single one I ate.  I haven’t made those kind in a while, but I still love them.

These days though we all try to be a little more health-conscious and sustainable and grass-fed, and all that.  So while browsing recipes for tacos I figured why not combine a few of my favorite healthy ingredients into one, and put it in a tortilla?  Everything’s better in a tortilla.

Enter kale and butternut squash. Delicious and nutritious by themselves, and a real healthy combo when put together.  I know I’m not the first person to invent the kale and butternut squash taco, but I decided to wing it and see what I could do.

First I cooked up some onions and garlic in a pan, then added cubed butternut squash.  And I didn’t even cheat and buy it pre-cut!

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Let that cook for 10 minutes or until the squash is soft.  Then add some chili for spice. Not too much though, you don’t want to burn your mouth off.

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Then add a bunch of chopped kale and cook until it’s wilted.

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Salt and pepper that up, and your filling’s done!  Easy enough right?

Now for some sauce.  A good taco generally has a nice crema on it, but I actually like using greek yogurt to make a sauce because it’s thicker, and adds a nice tartness to it. The sauce is good enough to be used as a condiment for any sort of dish, if you ask me, though I’m biased.

Combine some plain greek yogurt with lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and…Tapatio! Or Cholula.  Or any other hot sauce you think is good.  I like the two of those because they’re smoky and rich in flavor.

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Stir, stir, stir, and you have a delicious condiment:

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So now, put some of that sauce on a warm tortilla and top with the filling.

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Sprinkle a little chopped cilantro and raw onion, for added flavor and texture.

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Then when you’re done taking a picture so you can impress all your friends, make two more to join that taco on the plate, because you’re going to want them.

INGREDIENTS:

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 cups butternut squash, cut in small cubes
1 bunch kale, chopped
chili powder
1 cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon cumin
1.5 teaspoons Tapatio or other hot sauce
Corn tortillas
chopped onion and cilantro, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a large pan.

2. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute more.

3. Add in butternut squash, and cook for 8-10 minutes, until soft.

4. Salt and pepper to taste, and add 1 teaspoon chili powder.

5. Add chopped kale to pan, and stir together.  Cook a few minutes until kale is wilted.

6. To make the sauce, combine the greek yogurt, cumin, Tapatio, and some salt & pepper.  Stir to combine.

7. Assemble! On a tortilla put some of the sauce, and the filling. Top with onion and cilantro.

Lettuce Free Quickie

 

 

Okay, it’s Friday, so I’ll make this quick.  We all have things to do, weekends to plan, and happy hours to attend.

I talked about a delicious Greek salad a few days ago, and, you know, as much as I enjoy vegetables, I think my problem with salad is what’s generally the main part of it: the lettuce.  Nothing against lettuce, it’s filling, and a blank canvas for whatever your heart desires t combine it with, but…it’s also kinda the most boring part of a salad.  To me, anyway.

So sometimes you need to make a salad without lettuce, something that can be satisfying and crunchy on its own. This recipe comes from Bon Appetit, and was meant to be served with a succulent pan fried pork cutlet, but I made it on its own, and it was amazing.

All it takes is a fennel bulb, complete with fronds, some asparagus, parsley, a lemon, olive oil, and some salt and pepper.

Thinly slice the fennel, shave the asparagus, which is not as easy as it sounds, I’ll admit, and toss with parsley leaves, fennel fronds, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and you have a bright, tart salad that is fantastic on its own, or as a companion to a rich piece of meat.

It’s different, and exciting, and shaving the asparagus gives it a texture you’re not used to from it, and it’s beautiful.

The recipe can be found here!

 

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Beans & Kale & Shrooms & Wine. Repeat: WINE.

The week of healthy eating continues!

Today we’re tackling a super healthy, yet very flavorful, side dish. As I’ve mentioned before, I happen to love kale. It’s so good for you, so green, and is delicious raw or cooked. I also happen to love mushrooms, which are also very good for you and full of healthy vitamins.

It turns out finding a recipe combining these two vegetables is easy, because, I mean, come on, they’re a perfect match! I came across the perfect side dish by Giada, which is healthy, and good amount of flavor. Great for a weeknight or entertaining guests.  Or entertaining guests on a weeknight.

It begins, as most tasty things do, with sauteeing some onions.

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Add in chopped green beans and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes.

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Oh, and a little white wine.  Did I mention there’s wine? There’s wine.

After the wine cooks out a little bit, we add in some kale, red chili flakes, and some parmesan.

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And,

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Ta dah! A delicious, healthy side dish, and a great way to get your greens. You could serve it with a nice steak or chicken, or you could even have it with some quinoa I suppose to make it a main dish. However you serve it, enjoy it, and know that you’re doing your body some good!

Oh, also, you’ll have a good amount of wine leftover. Enjoy that too!

Recipe can be found here.