Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Southwest Flank Steak Salad

More of a concept than a recipe, this salad was grreat! ;o)

romaine lettuce
black beans
corn kernals
sauted peppers and onions
flank steak
creamy cilantro-lime dressing

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

I'm sure everyone has already tried some form of copycat Cafe Rio Dressing, I had actually tried one version before, but with fresh tomatillos, and thought it was blah.  I think the tomatillos gave it a murky, dirty kind of taste and texture, and maybe I just did something wrong, but when I came across this version, from a site who had similar experiences as mine, I was excited to give it a try again.  Our Best Bites uses green salsa rather than fresh tomatillos, and this version of the dressing was perfect.  

Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing
Recipe by Ourbestbites.com

1 pack (1oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (regular or buttermilk, and ignore directions on the packet)
1C mayo
1/2 C milk (or buttermilk depending on which packet you buy)
1 lime
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 C green salsa*
hot sauce

 Place milk, mayo, and ranch mix in a blender.   Juice the lime in there too, you should get about 2T juice.  Toss in the garlic, cilantro and green salsa.  Blend 'er up.  Sample it and add hot sauce to taste.  Make it several hours ahead of time to allow it to thicken.

*A note about green salsa:
There are several brands of green salsa available in most supermarkets and they have various degrees of heat.  One of the most commonly seen brands is Hernandez.  Hernandez brand is a lot spicier than any of the others I've tried.  Even their medium green salsa is way too spicy for my liking.  I like to buy La Costena because their  medium is actually really mild.  That way I get all of the flavor of the tomatillos but I control the level of heat with the hot sauce.  If you're not used to buying green salsa, make sure to sample it first before you put it in the dressing so you know what you're getting into!

Flank Steak Marinade

I'd never made a flank steak before, but have always wanted to because, done right, they are such a tasty cut of beef.  This marinade was outstanding.  We used this for for fajitas and also a fabulous southwest salad with cliantro-lime dressing- oh, it was so good.

Marinade for Flank Steak 

Recipezaar Recipe #42316

5 min | 5 min prep

  1. Mix oil, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, mustard,lemon juice and parsley together in a large zip lock bag.
  2. Marinade beef over night.

How to Make Flank Steak

I followed Pioneer Woman's tutorial on how to properly cook a flank steak.  Here are her directions and here are her photo by photo instructions.

* I found that cooking it for 5-7 minutes on each side left mine a little to red in the center for our tastes, so I just sliced the steak accordingly anyway and then put the slices back on the pan for a few seconds.  Worked like a charm and didn't dry out the meat.  Just don't leave them on for very long at all, if you do it that way.

Remove flank steak from package and give it a quick rinse. Coat both sides of the meat with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 3 to 6 hours.
Remove the steak from the marinade and place on a plate while you heat up the grill pan. Make sure to turn on your overhead exhaust fan as the cooking process can be quite smoky.
When the pan is extremely hot, place the steak on a slight angle as this makes for more appealing grill marks. Cook without touching for about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Rotate the meat about 45 degrees, keeping it on the same side, and cook for another 1 ½ minutes.
Now flip it to the other side. Cook using the same method on the other side, cooking for 1 1/2 minutes, then rotating it and finishing the cooking process. I cook the flank streak to medium rare, which usually takes about 5 to 7 minutes total cooking time. Remove the meat to a cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
When you’re ready, thinly slice the meat against the grain. That means find the directional striations/lines in the meat grain and slice perpendicular to it.
Controversial Optional Sauce: Before grilling the flank steak, strain the marinade into a small saucepan. Discard what stays in the sieve. Add ½ cup of water to the marinade. Boil the marinade while heating the grill for the meat AND add an additional 10 minutes. The point of boiling, obviously, is to take away any risk of bacteria from the marinade. Also, by boiling for ten to fifteen minutes, the sauce will reduce and slightly thicken. Then just spoon a little into a dish and use it as a dipping sauce for the meat.

Hoisin Honey Ribs

I've had this recipe bookmarked for ages and finally got around to making it.  MMmmm.  These ribs were really good and totally moist and tender and flavorful and yummy.
Hoisin and Honey Ribsfrom Smitten Kitchen
3 1/2 pounds pork of spareribs, halved crosswise, preferably by a butcher, and cut into individual ribs OR boneless pork ribs (which is what I used.)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
In a kettle of boiling salted water simmer the ribs, covered, for 30 minutes and drain them well. (Watch closely, mine boiled over BIG time!)
In a large bowl whisk together the honey, the soy sauce, the garlic paste, the hoisin sauce, the mustard, the vinegar, and black pepper to taste, add the ribs, and toss the mixture well, coating the ribs thoroughly. Let the ribs marinate, chilled, for at least 1 hour or overnight. (I marinated mine overnight and the marinade seeped into every pore of the ribs – yum!)
Remove the ribs from the marinade, arrange them in one layer on the oiled rack of a foil-lined broiler pan, and broil them under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat, basting them with the marinade, for 3 minutes. Turn the ribs with tongs and broil them, basting them with the marinade, for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until they are browned well and glazed. Discard the marinade.

Raisin Nut Bran Cereal Muffins

My mom used to make these when we were kids and they were always a hit wit us, smothered in butter of course.  I searched out the recipe and made them for the first time myself, just as yummy for breakfast or snack as I had remembered.

Raisin Nut Bran Muffins


2 cups Raisin Nut Bran Cereal
1 cup milk
3 Tbs vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 400.  Line muffin pan with paper baking cups.  Mix cereal and milk in large bowl.  Let stand until cereal is softened, about 5 minutes.  Beat in oil and egg.  Mix in remaining ingredients just until moistened.  Divided batter between cups and bake about 18-23 muffins or until toothpick comes out clean.