Steak Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Months and month ago now, I went out to dinner with some former co-workers at a restaurant/slash bar here in CT (Eli’s on Whitney for those who are local/interested). One of my friends got a seriously amazing looking steak salad, which totally gave me entree envy. My dinner was good, but hers looked so delicious that I just could not get it out of my head. This salad was composed of greens, candied walnuts, craisins, gorgonzola cheese, Granny Smith apples, and was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, and she had it topped with a perfectly cooked steak. I still have yet to have this specific salad, but I knew then and there that I would be putting steak salad on my dinner planning menu in the near future. Now, I knew Ron would not be thrilled about the craisins or apples in the salad (he’s not generally a fan of fruit, and especially not a fruit+meat person), but I knew he’d love the idea of steak in any form, so when I saw this salad in Rachel Ray’s magazine I immediately put it on our menu. She uses spinach and watercress in her version of this salad, but I decided to go with a more general baby greens mix, and I also changed out the Petit Filets for a more budget-friendly cut of beef. This salad turned out so well, that we immediately put in on the menu for the following week, and now looking at the pictures I wish I had the ingredients to make it again tonight.

Steak Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Steak Salad with Bacon Bits and Blue Cheese
Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 slices bacon
2 lbs steak (Petit Filets are suggested, but use your favorite tender cut- I used sirloin tip steak and cut it very thinly against the grain)
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (you could use Sherry, champagne or red wine vinegar as well)
8 cups salad greens (I like using a mix that contains baby spinach)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup blue cheese crumbles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a grill, or heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil (for easy clean up), place bacon on sheet, and cook for 15-18 minutes. When cooked, remove to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of excess fat. Crumble when slightly cooled.

3. Season steak with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Cook on grill or skillet until cooked through to your liking. The timing will depend on the type of steak used, but for a petit filet, about 4-5 minutes per side will cook it to about medium-rare. Let rest for 5-10 minutes once cooked, and then slice against the grain very thinly.

4. In a small bowl, or salad dressing mixer (pretty sure that’s not the real name of that haha), whisk together the lemon juice, garlic clove, mustard and vinegar. Slowly stream and whisk in the olive oil if doing this in a bowl, otherwise just add the olive oil and shake to combine, or use the salad dressing plunger.

5. Place about 2 cups of greens on each plate, split sliced steak, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, and sliced red onion evenly among the plates, and top with dressing.

Source: EveryDay with Rachel Ray, May 2014

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Smashed Potatoes with Jalapenos

Hello friends! Long time no see! I’ve missed this space and really hope to get back to my regular posting soon!

I just had to tell you about this fabulously simple side dish which Ron told me was the best thing I’ve made recently (don’t worry- he did preface that comment with, “you make a lot of delicious things, but…)  When he says that, I know a recipe’s good. This comes from the most recent issue of Bon Appetit, and was in a recipe spread inspired by Austin, TX (where we just spent a long weekend visiting Ron’s brother and wife, coincidentally). This recipe is so simple (my favorite kind), and just required a few ingredients. I foresee this becoming a staple in our household!

Smashed potatoes with Jalapenos

Smashed Potatoes with Jalapenos

Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 lbs fingerlings or small potatoes

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

1 jalapeno, sliced thinly into rounds (seeds removed, if desired)

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (thinly packed), chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil (for easy cleanup). Toss potatoes with 1/4 cup of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 35 minutes, turning once. Potatoes should be done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.

2. Let potatoes cool slightly, and then gently flatten them so that they still hold together, but are slightly smashed. ( I used a fork to do this.)

3. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, and whole grain mustard. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, until emolsified. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the potatoes, jalapenos, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Source: Bon Appetit, July 2014

 

 

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Helllllloooooooo…..

What’s up guys? It’s been forever, I know. This holiday season was a crazy one! I believe I mentioned it, but my boyfriend and I moved over the holiday… so much hard work, packing, moving boxes and furniture, and then cleaning. I am so thankful all that is over! The last time I moved, it was out of my parent’s house and so this is the first real move I’ve ever done. I just can’t believe how much stuff one can accumulate in 6.5 years.  Anyway, that is over now so hopefully, fingers crossed, I can now commence regular blogging. I miss it so much!

I thought I’d come back with one of my favorite recipes to share. I first made this shrimp scampi years ago, and have made it probably a dozen or so times since, which is a lot for me since I am forever wanting to try new recipes, rather than repeat them. I have yet to try an Ina Garten recipe that I haven’t liked, and this is one of my favorites of hers. I really must try some more of her recipes- but first I need to locate my cookbooks!

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3/4 lb linguine

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for salting pasta water

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 lemon, zest grated

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons)

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta according to directions.

2. While pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-low to medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and saute about 1 minute. Add the shrimp, salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through.

3. Remove from the heat, and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the shrimp mixture. Toss to coat.

Source: barely adapted from Ina Garten via foodnetwork.com

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Chipotle-Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

My boyfriend and I have an annual Halloween tradition in which we eat lots of junk and watch horror movies all night on Halloween. It’s one of the days I allow myself to indulge (okay-one of many). This year we decided to watch Cabin in the Woods (my favorite movie from last year), The Ruins, and The Exorcist (because you need a great classic horror film in the mix!). Other movies that have made appearances in the past: Halloween (of course), Trick ‘R Treat and Hocus Pocus (maybe one of the greatest movies known to man!). Our menu always includes our favorite nachos along with some other goodies. This year we went with pizza, mozzarella sticks, and these fabulous bacon-wrapped potato bites. They were super tasty and very easy to make- the hardest part was assembling them- which really wasn’t hard at all, just took a little time, but they are definitely worth it!

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Chipotle-Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

Makes about 36 potato bites

Ingredients:

1 lb small red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 1/2 tsp salt, divided

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb thick-cut bacon, cut into thirds

1/2 cup sour cream

1-2 tsp adobo sauce (more if desired)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, and place a wire rack on top (this will help the bites cook evenly and the bacon crisp without the need to flip during cooking).

2. Place potatoes in a medium pot, cover with cold water, add 2 tsp salt and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, and once boiling cook for 3-4 minutes until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork, but not totally cooked- you don’t want them super soft or falling apart- they will finish cooking in the oven.

3. Meanwhile, as the potatoes are cooking, mix together the olive oil, remaining 1/2 tsp of salt, a pinch of pepper, and rosemary in a medium bowl. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and add them to the bowl and toss.

4. Wrap the bites in the bacon strips (cut into thirds), and secure with a toothpick. Place on rack on baking sheet. If you need to you can use 2 baking sheets, as you don’t want to crowd the bites. Cook for 30-40 minutes until bacon in cooked though and crispy.

5. While the bites are cooking, stir together the sour cream and adobo sauce, adding more or less to achieve your desired spice level. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can double the sauce if you’d like, but I found this to be more than enough.

6. Serve the bites with the dipping sauce!

Source: The Kitchn via Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

 

Pan-Roasted Swordfish Steaks with Mixed-Peppercorn Butter

Some of my favorite memories of my childhood took place on Cape Cod where my family and I vacationed for more than a decade of my life. We always rented a house, called “The Manor House” with my mom’s family- my grandparents, her brothers and their families, and of course my mom, dad and my brothers. The house we stayed on was located on a small bay- Lewis Bay- in West Yarmouth. We spent a week there every summer playing on the beach, digging for clams on what we dubbed “clam island”, catching sea squirts, going on whale watches, having an annual lobster night (my favorite!!!), going to our favorite pottery place (Scargo) and doing many, many other exciting things. In addition to our lobster night, one of the things I remember eating on Cape Cod was swordfish. I don’t remember having it many other times I my life other than on Cape Cod. When I saw that it was on sale at Whole Foods this weekend I just knew I had to buy some. I found a super simple recipe for it on Epicurious, and it turned out fantastic…. And it brought back those wonderful memories of Cape Cod. I should definitely cook swordfish more often!

Pan-Roasted Swordfish Steaks with Mixed-Peppercorn Butter

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature

2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp freshly ground mixed peppercorns, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest, packed

1 Tbsp olive oil

4 1-inch thick swordfish fillets (about 6-oz each)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a small bowl mix together the butter, parsley, garlic, 1/2 tsp ground peppercorns, and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

3. Place a large heavy (ovenproof) skillet over medium-high heat, and add oil. Season swordfish on both sides with salt, and ground mixed peppercorns. Place in skillet, and cook about 3 minutes, until browned. Flip over, and transfer to oven. Cook 10 minutes longer, or until cooked through.

4. Remove swordfish to a plate, and place skillet back over medium-high heat. Add butter mixture and cook until melted and bubbling, scraping up the fond (the brown bits) on the bottom of the pan. Pour over swordfish and serve.

Source: Epicurious.com

Rainbow Tomato Crostini

Hello friends! I’m sorry I’ve been a bit MIA lately! I had every intention of getting some posts up this weekend, including a Super Saturday post, but unfortunately I was infected with a terrible summer cold and was down for the count most of the weekend. I totally blame my boyfriend for getting me sick!!! I’m on the mend now, not 100% but waaaaaaay better than yesterday when it hurt to even get up off the couch. Hopefully this week I’ll be able to get back to posting more often. I have to finish sharing my recipes from vacation, and some things I’ve made since I’ve been back! Also- if you look on the right side of this page I decided to add a new feature- my weekly menu! If you need some inspiration, or if you are like me and just like to see what other people are eating, now you can! I’ll link to those recipes that are available online so you can check them out if you want! I’ll also include what I’m having for lunch as well, if you need some lunchbox inspiration.

So this was a super-simple appetizer that I made on vacation, inspired by the cover of the July/August issue of Martha Stewart Living. She calls for grilling the bread, which would be awesome, and also for a loaf of rustic ciabatta bread. Because I was on vacation, and was limited in what the local grocery store carried, I used smaller ciabatta breadsticks. They worked out wonderfully, but feel free to use what you have, whether it be the breadsticks, a loaf of ciabatta, or even baguette slices.

Rainbow Tomato Crostini

Rainbow Tomato Crostini

Ingredients:

3 ciabatta breadsticks, halved lengthwise (or a regular ciabatta loaf if you’d like)

1-2 cloves of garlic, cut in half

Multicolored tomatoes (I used 1 large red, 1 large yellow, and a medium-sized green), thinly sliced

Extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place breadstick halves on a baking sheet, and brush with olive oil. Bake about 5-10 minutes until lightly crispy.

2. When toasted, remove from oven, let cool slightly, and then rub with a garlic clove.

3. Layer on your tomatoes, arranging by color. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Carefully cut into smaller wedges, and serve.
Source: adapted from Martha Stewart Living, July/August 2013

Bean and Corn Salad

Hello all! I hope that everyone has been having a great long weekend! It was a fun one for me- especially since I went to a party on Saturday to celebrate my best friend’s 30th birthday!! It was so much fun just hanging out, eating yummy Mexican food (she had it catered by a local Mexican place), and even trying my hand at busting open a pinata! That’s something I don’t think I’ve ever done- even when I was a kid. It was totally disorienting, and I’m sure that I looked like a fool as I awkwardly stumbled around swinging a bat.

I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things, and I definitely need to get back to regular posting on the blog, and sharing yummy recipes with you! This bean and corn salad was something I threw together for one of our potluck nights on vacation. I had an idea in mind of what would be going in it, as I’ve had similar salads in the past. I debated whether or not to cook the corn, or leave it raw, and you can definitely do either. The salad is very versatile, so you can work with what you have! Don’t have scallions? Use red onion! Don’t have lime juice? Use lemon! Have red or green bell peppers you want to use up? Chop them up, and throw them in there! Want it spicier? Leave in the jalapeno seeds! Whatever floats your boat 🙂

 

Bean and Corn Salad

Ingredients:

3 fresh ears of corn, kernels removed

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, diced

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced

3 scallions, thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add oil. When hot, add corn kernels to skillet, and saute, stirring frequently, until cooked, and starting to char a bit- about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the rinsed and drained beans, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, and scallions. When cooled down, add corn. Mix in lime juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or let sit for a little while to let flavors meld together!

Source: Original Recipe