Greek Flank Steak Salad

mothers-day-steak-salad-greek_vothkm

What an awesome salad for a hot, summer’s day.  (To be honest, I forgot to take a picture of the one I made, so I stole this picture, which is very similar.)  I marinated the steak the night before, grilled it up, chilled it, and put the salad together right before dinner.  It was perfection.

marinade:

3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbs Greek seasoning
1 cup olive oil

flank steak (any size)

Mix the marinade together and place in zip lock bag with flank steak.  Refrigerate overnight.  Grill or broil the next day about 3 or 4 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the steak), keeping some pink in the middle.  Let meat rest about ten minutes and then thinly slice against the grain.  Refrigerate until ready to make salad.

For the salad, I added the following ingredients:

lettuce

sliced cucumber
thinly sliced red onion
chopped tomato
sliced red pepper
olives
feta cheese

I drizzled the Lighthouse Greek dressing I had on hand over the salad, but making a Greek dressing is super easy (lots of recipes online) and then topped with the chilled steak.  Delish!

Cassoulet

cassouletThis is an Americanized version of a French meat and bean dish.  It can be very casual and “peasanty,” or dressed up and fancy.  This version is not fancy.  It also hit the spot perfectly on a cold, January night.  Growing up, my mother used to make this particular recipe for us.

CASSOULET

2 cups cubed beef or pork
olive oil, 2 or 3 TBS
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup boiling water
1 herb bouquet (Bouquet Garni )
1 lb. baked beans in tomato sauce
1/2 pound sausage links or cakes, browned
1/2 cup chili sauce
3 TBS buttered bread crumbs

 

Season meat with salt and pepper.  Sauté in olive oil until browned on all sides.  Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is golden brown.  Add water and herb bouquet (I had to google what that was and then I simply added some of the general spices included in an herb bouquet); bring to boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Spray a casserole dish with Pam.  Layer half the beans on the bottom.  Remove meat from sauté pan with slotted spoon and layer on beans.  Add sausage.  Top with second half of beans.

To the onions in liquid, mix in chili sauce and pour over casserole.  Top with buttered  bread crumbs.  Bake for 45 minutes until bubbling and hot.

 

Gazpacho with Crab

crabgazpacho Why didn’t I think of this before!  Here are two of my favorite foods paired together.  Normally I make gazpacho as a side dish, but wanted to serve it as a main dish this week.  We are experiencing a heat wave in the Seattle area and using the oven or stove is unthinkable.  To solve my problem, I made this delicious cold soup and topped it with chunks of fresh crab meat (thank you, Costco!).

Gazpacho

1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 TBS chopped parsley or cilantro (depending on preference)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBS red wine vinegar
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 cups tomato or V8 juice (I use V8)

fresh crab meat, 1 to 2 cups

Chop ingredients as finely or as chunky as you prefer.  Combine all ingredients except crab and chill thoroughly (at least four hours).  Before serving, pile as much or as little crab as you prefer into the soup.  This soup is also lovely topped with homemade garlic croutons.

Sesame Shrimp Salad

sesameshrimpsaladThis was an easy salad which I pulled together quickly.  I’m only posting it so that I remember to  make it more often.  I happened to have a nice bottle of sesame ginger vinaigrette which I marinated the shrimp in, grilled them up and threw the salad together.

1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled

fresh baby spinach

shredded carrots

scallions, chopped

toasted sliced almonds (bake raw almonds at 350º for five to ten minutes, or until golden)

sesame dressing of your choice

1. Marinate shrimp in about a half cup of dressing for a half hour and grill until pink all the way through.  (I used my panini maker as a grill.  As both sides of the shrimp were being grilled at the same time, it only took about three minutes to cook the shrimp.)

2. Put together all salad ingredients and drizzle with more sesame vinaigrette.

Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Miso Dressing

shrimpsalad2

Tonight was a hot night in Seattle and this was the perfect chilled meal.  I made the dressing and cooked the shrimp in the morning when the house was still cool and placed both in the fridge.  At dinner time, I quickly put the salad together and was so excited to eat it that I forgot to sprinkle cilantro and peanuts over the top!  Even so, this was simply delicious.  I’ve never worked with miso before.  I’ve had miso soup plenty of times, but other than that, I’m not sure I’ve had it anything else until this evening.  The dressing is a sweet lime one.  It’s different from anything I’ve tasted before and at first, I wasn’t sure what I thought, but with each bite, I became a huge fan.  I am already looking forward to having this salad for lunch again tomorrow, but this time, I wont forget the cilantro and peanuts.

I found the recipe on this blog: A Pinch of Yum.  The only changes I made were to add carrots and substitute sugar for agave (didn’t have any) in the dressing and I actually halved the amount of sugar as well.

INGREDIENTS
For the salad:
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ pound raw shrimp, tails removed
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1½ cups sliced avocados (2 small), diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 or 2 carrots, shredded or matchstick
  • 4 cups chopped spinach or baby kale
  • fresh chopped cilantro for topping
  • peanuts for topping
For the dressing:
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh peeled ginger, grated
  • 3 tablespoons oil (I used Canola)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1½ tablespoons white miso
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shrimp; sprinkle with the chili powder and cayenne directly in the pan. Saute for a few minutes on each side until the shrimp are no longer clear and have a nice golden color on the outside.
  2. Chop the spinach or baby kale into small bite sized pieces.  Add avocado, cucumber, carrots and shrimp.
  3. Puree all the dressing ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust to your preferences. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately (or store the individual parts separately in the refrigerator until ready to serve). Top with fresh cilantro and peanuts for crunch.

Aunt Bethann’s Banana Pudding

bananapudding This recipe is something special.  I’m not going to claim that it will “change your life” like many other exuberant food bloggers do when touting a favorite recipe.  But I will say that I have no interest in banana pudding – or any pudding, for that matter – unless it is this recipe.  I brought it to a potluck once where the host and hostess actually fought over the last few spoonfuls left in the dish (which I was waiting to wash and take home with me).  I don’t know if it’s the bananas coated in lemon juice, or the sweetened condensed milk, or simply all the ingredients coming together in perfect harmony, but whatever the reason, it’s a delicious dessert.  I made this for our Easter dinner.

 

INGREDIENTS:
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
vanilla wafers

3 medium bananas, sliced

1 TBS lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:
1. In large mixing bowl, combine EAGLE BRAND® and water. Add pudding mix; beat until well blended. Chill 5 minutes.  Fold in whipped cream.

2. Combine sliced bananas and lemon juice in a separate bowl.

3. In a trifle dish or glass bowl, place a layer of vanilla wafers to cover bottom.  Scoop and spread 1/4 of pudding mixture over wafers.  Add a layer of bananas.  Add another 1/4 layer of pudding.  Add a layer of vanilla wafers.  Add another 1/4 layer of pudding.  Add a layer of bananas.  Top with last of pudding mixture.  (You can see from my picture that I like to add vanilla wafers up the side of the trifle dish as well.)

Chill thoroughly and store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

 

 

 

Greek Chicken Sauté

Greekchickensaute I apologize for the picture; it’s not pretty.  However, the meal was delicious.  This is the kind of meal I would happily eat every week.  It’s got all my favorite Greek flavors (lemon, garlic, Kalamata olives and feta) and it’s easy to prepare.  It’s a winner in my book (unfortunately, my children do not agree).  I stayed pretty true to the original recipe (here) with only some minor changes.

GREEK CHICKEN SAUTE´

ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs. pounds chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 30 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 2 or 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

preparation

Whisk 1/2 cup oil, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons oregano, and garlic in small bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside 3 tablespoons dressing for tomatoes.  Place chicken and remaining dressing in a zip lock bag.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours.

Toss olives, tomatoes, feta, remaining 2 teaspoons oregano, and reserved dressing in medium bowl. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.  Pour tomato mixture over chicken pieces and cover.  Heat for about five minutes or until hot and serve.

Angel Food Chocolate Chip Tunnel Cake

cake12 I’m not certain where my mother discovered the recipe for this particular cake.  I can say that this has been the birthday cake in our family ever since I can remember.  It was always requested.  I am now a grown woman in my forties – having tasted many, many cakes – and this is still my all-time favorite cake in the world.  It’s simply that good.  There is something about the light, airy angel cake and the fudgy center with a hint of almond and then the lighter chocolate whipped cream for frosting.  Perfection.  Putting this cake together takes a bit of effort.  It’s not hard, it just takes the effort.  I’ll walk you through it.

First, bake an angel food cake.  Place crusty side down on platter.cake01

About one inch down, carefully slice off the top of the cake.cake02

In the center, begin pulling out pieces of cake, making a trench about two inches down and two inches wide.  Save the pieces.cake03 (Sorry it is hard to see the trench.)

Melt marshmallows, water, salt and chocolate chips together.  Let cool about fifteen minutes.  Whip one cup of cream with almond extract and  fold in to chocolate mixture.

cake04

Spoon mixture into the trench, filling about halfway.

cake05

Lightly press torn pieces of cake back onto the chocolate mixture.cake06

Fill the rest of the trench with chocolate mixture.  There will be extra.cake07

Place top back on cake.  Place in fridge and chill.

cake08

For the frosting, whip one and a half cups cream with 1/2 cup NesQuick chocolate drink mix.cake09

cake10

cake11

Delicious.  This cake must be kept in the fridge.

cake12

ANGEL FOOD CHOCOLATE CHIP TUNNEL CAKE

1 bag marshmallows

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup water

6 oz (half bag) chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

1/4 tsp. almond extract

angel food cake, baked

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1/2 cup NesQuick chocolate drink mix

Cook marshmallows, salt and water in saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until melted.  Chill in refrigerator for about fifteen minutes and then fold in one cup whipped cream and almond extract.

Place cake on platter, crusty side down.  Slice top one inch of cake completely off and set aside.  Hollow out a trench inside of cake, about two inches wide and two inches deep (save cake pieces).  Spoon in chocolate mixture filling about half way.  Press cake pieces lightly on top and spoon more mixture evenly on top of that.  (There will be extra chocolate mixture.)  Replace top of cake and chill.

Whip rest of cream (one and a half cups) with chocolate drink mix and frost cake.  Keep in refrigerator.

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

potatosoupThis soup was awesome.  I don’t know if it was so delicious because it had been a very cold evening (which we’d been out in) or the fact that we were eating later than usual and we were all ravenous, but it really hit the spot.  It’s an easy, excellent potato soup for the slow cooker.  The leftovers were gobbled up the next day for lunch.  I will post the recipe (adapted from here) and then post my notes.

ingredients

5 large baking potatoes, peeled, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 onion, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced (or pressed)
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 cup cream or half-and-half
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
chopped fresh chives
sour cream
bacon, cooked & crumbled
extra cheese for sprinkling

directions

Combine first six ingredients in a large crockpot; cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours (potato should be tender).

Mash mixture until potatoes are coarsely chopped and soup is slightly thickened. Stir in cream and cheese.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with chives, sour cream, bacon and more cheese, if desired.

My notes: I used homemade chicken broth which was very flavorful and happened to be on the salty side, so I skipped adding salt to this soup altogether.  (Any time my family has picked over a rotisserie chicken, I make chicken broth from it; recipe here.)  If using commercial broth, adjust salt and pepper accordingly.

Stir-fried Sesame Asparagus

stirfryasparagus  This was an easy stir-fry asparagus which I served with an Asian marinated salmon and rice pilaf.  It was a great side dish.

ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed, cut on diagonal into 2-inch-long pieces
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds

preparation

Stir soy sauce and sugar in small bowl until sugar dissolves. Heat oil in heavy large skillet. Add garlic and stir 15 seconds. Add asparagus and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add soy mixture and toss until asparagus is coated, about 1 minute longer. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.