July 9, 2008
Posted by: B
Here is a classic salad that is made extremely often in our household. It’s adapted from a recipe featured on Everyday Italian. I’ve simplified her version of the recipe with less herbs and a more classic dressing. I just love the simplicity of this salad – the steak is perfectly grilled to a medium rare (thanks to E’s amazing talent on the grill), the penne is left al dente, and lastly the fresh arugula just barely wilts in the hot pasta (with a little help from the additional pasta water saved). This salad can be served warm or cold. In fact, it only gets better left in the fridge all night, after the dressing has melted into the penne some more. And it packs well for a great lunch. More importantly, it’s perfect for those hot summer nights, when you want something light but you still need a bite to your food. This is no fussy delicate salad, au contrare- instead, you’ll find that it’s as filling as it is healthful.
Steak Salad w/ Arugula
1lb steak (preferably with no bones – flank steak or a boneless sirloin is best)
1 box of penne pasta (I use whole wheat or smart pasta if you prefer the taste of white pasta)
1 bunch of fresh arugula
2 cloves of garlic minced
herbs de provence
1 ladle full of reserved pasta water
Preheat the grill. Season steak with the minced garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs de provence. Be sure to pat this seasoning into the steak, as the garlic will fall off otherwise. Cook steak to med-rare (or as you prefer). Allow steak to rest at least 5 minutes.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Season boiling water w/ a salt, and a little bit of olive oil. Cook penne to al dente.
Tear arugula leaves from stems. Rinse, and tear leaves to bite size. (generally tearing one leaf in half) Put arugula into a large bowl.
Drain pasta, but do not rinse. Pour the hot pasta directly over your arugula, letting the arugula wilt slightly.
Slice the steak into thin, diagonal pieces. If you are like me, who has failed to grasp how to slice meat on a diagonal, you let E do it.
Throw the steak into the pasta bowl.
For the dressing: Combine two parts olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar. Add a spoonful of dijon mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk thoroughly, until the dressing takes on a thick consistency.
Add dressing to the salad with one ladle of pasta water and toss well.
This showcases E’s amazing grilling & knife skills:
Finally, here is a good picture of how you want the dressing to emulisify:
June 22, 2008
Posted by: B
As I mentioned before, I’m fairly health-conscious in my cooking and used to shop at speciality stores such as Wegmans or Whole Foods quite often. Unfortunately, budget restraints and my conscious efforts to reduce our grocery bill have left me shopping at our local big chain supermarket. But as the economy suffers and food prices are steadily rising, I find myself in good company. Nowadays, less and less people can pay for the gourmet products, and also find themselves turning to their local supermarkets for answers. In the past few months, I’ve found that many big supermarket chains (once known for their supersize bags of Lays Potato Chips) are also now stocking their shelves with whole wheat pastry flour or increasing their line of organic products. Thus, it was no huge surprise to me when I was able to find Bulgar wheat in the international section of our local Foodtown. The amazing thing about bulgar wheat is that it has nearly twice the nutritional value of brown rice! When I heard of this amazing grain, I couldn’t wait to try it! Traditionally, bulgar wheat is of Middle Eastern origins, and served with lemon, tomatoes, mint, and parsley. Here is my own spin on the traditional Tabbouleh Salad.
1 cup bulgar wheat
1 1/2 cups boiling water
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup of olive oil
handful of cilantro (finely chopped -> can substitute w/ parsley)
1/2 cup of halved grapes
handful of toasted walnuts
3oz of feta cheese (crumbled)
handful of craisins
1 whole english cucumber (chopped)
1 cup of cooked chicken (cubed)
1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes (any small tomato will do)
handful of mint (finely chopped)
In a medium bowl, combine the bulgar wheat with a pinch of salt, and the boiling water. Cover with saran wrap, and let stand for 30 minutes. If desired, can substitute boiling water with boiling chicken stock (I may do this for more flavor next time).
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper. Add cilantro, grapes, walnuts, feta cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, mint, chicken, and crasins. Stir in the bulgar wheat. Can serve immediately or after refrigeration.
Here’s a picture of my Tabbouleh Salad. I think this would be a delicious lunch!