Summer Salad Series: Steak Salad with Corn Salsa


I'm serious. It's a blazing 72 degrees in Bellingham. I always joke that when the sun is out in The Ham, it's like you just handed everyone a $100 bill. People are so stinking happy.

Yancey is home recovering from knee surgery, and we're happy, too. The surgery went without a hitch, it was overdue, and he's mending nicely. And we've had the strangest couple days--just hanging out, doing puzzles (him, not me--I have ZERO attention span for puzzles), lolling about with the kids, family dropping by to bring food or say hello. I can't resist philosophizing here--it's too bad it takes a surgery for an unplanned weekend! We're pretty good about saying "NO!" to things, but still. I resolve to do LESS in the future. It's pretty great. Yancey's sister Kelly is here today kicking #%$ on the puzzle. Look at this sweet photo.


The biggest news around here might be that Wyatt is now riding around the neighborhood on his bike. Alone. And the shoes I just bought him are a size SIX. Get out. He is suddenly giant, witty, independent, and more engaging than ever. He took his bike out this morning and went garage saleing with his allowance. He bought a puzzle and a foot massager. He would grimace at me calling him cute, but God. He's cute. And mine. That is what's so crazy. He came from me.

I suppose I should get around to the food here. This site was down for a week (please say you noticed!) because of some technical glitches, and I'm all chatty now that it's up again. Sometimes I think, "Maybe In Praise of Leftovers has run its course." Then things happen to change my mind. Like it disappearing and me missing it. Or Jenny and Dusty bringing me cocoa nib shortbread from The Breadfarm and writing me a card about how much iPol has meant to them. Or Janie sending me an email and saying it's made her gluten intolerance so much more bearable. Or Emily saying, "Where did it go? It's a community service!" Ah. Happy to oblige.

Okay. Really getting around to the food now. Our new thing around here is salad bar. I cook, chop, and whisk some things, set them in the middle of the table, and wash a lot of dishes at the end. If you're into One Pot Meals, this probably isn't your thing. My Mom and I have always been into Thousand Pot Meals. Ask our husbands. 

There are going to be so many salads this summer that I can't see myself recording every single "recipe" or proportion. (Okay. I can see it. I just don't want to.) The great thing about salads is they're pretty hard to screw up. So I've decided to give myself a break and just post the ingredients, and by the end of the summer, you'll have lots of good ideas and you'll be proud of yourself for winging it.

For this salad, assemble something like this:

  1. Salsa of cooked corn kernels (fresh or frozen roasted corn from TJ's), tomatoes, cilantro, basil, salt, olive oil, and lime juice
  2. Avocado
  3. Pickled or fresh red onions
  4. Crumbled feta, cojita, or queso fresco cheese
  5. Roasted or fresh poblano chiles
  6. Greens (romaine, kale, beet greens, arugula, etc.)
  7. Thinly sliced grilled steak or chicken (or leave meat out alltogether)
  8. Dressing of lime juice, cumin, garlic, olive oil, and salt

Set everything out and let the fam or guests assemble their own. Mysteriously diappear when it's time to clean all the bowls. How I adore my home office.

Happy Summer, friends. I like being here with you.

Grilled Steak with Peppers and Chimichurri Sauce

juicy biteIt's been a Divide-and-Conquer Week. Me waiting at the door for Yancey to come home so I can leave for my meeting, both of us with various evening commitments, handing the kids off like batons. So we eschewed all chores yesterday and had a family day.

We went to Mercer Island Thrift Store, which is a secret I shouldn't be sharing. If you are a woman who wears shoe size 8, look no further for designer boots, cast off after one season by fashion-conscious soccer moms. Love that place. We found a great $5 bike for Loretta, went on a bike ride around Mercer Slough, stopped at Overlake Blueberry Farm, and saw a coyote meandering through the blueberry bushes. If I was a coyote, I'd be hanging out there, too.

grilled peppers

Halfway through the bike ride, our thoughts (okay--my thoughts) turned to dinner. It was agreed that we'd have grilled steak and corn, some green beans from the garden. Occasionally I buy a couple steaks from Bob's, and there is nothing easier or more delicious. I'm always hankering to spice things up, though, and often do it with a little sauce like this. I had some beautiful peppers that we grilled up, too--I'm not sure what kind they are--anybody know? They're fairly spicy, not as mild as ahaheims.

Spear a bite of steak with grilled pepper, drag it through vibrant green sauce, reminisce about the day. All of us in one place. Ah.

deliciously carniverous

Grilled Steak with Peppers and Chimichurri Sauce
Serves 4. Chimichurri is a classic Argentinean sauce to accompany grilled meats, and I've been seeing it everywhere these days. This version is based on what was in my fridge, but it often includes yellow onions, other herbs, and citrus juice instead of/in addition to vinegar. Usually there's crushed red peppers or fresh chile in it, too, but I've left that out here because things were spicy enough. Any leftover sauce is delicious drizzled on potatoes on burritos. If it thickens up in the fridge, just thin it with a bit of water.

2 1 lb. tri-tip steaks
coarse salt
fresh ground pepper
1 lb. fresh peppers (mild or spicy)

For sauce:
1 bunch washed and dried cilantro
1/2 bunch washed and dried Italian parsley
1 large garlic clove
big pinch of coarse salt
3 green onions, coarsely chopped
2 Tb. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt and pepper and let sit while you make the sauce.

To make sauce, pulse cilantro, parsley, garlic, green onions, and salt in a food processor until a paste forms. Add vinegar and olive oil and pulse until a sauce forms. Add more salt to taste if you want.

Heat grill to high. Brush peppers with olive oil, and grill until blackened all over, turning a few times, about 7 minutes. Put peppers in a paper bag, close the top, and let them steam for 10 minutes to loosen the peels. Peel, seed, and coarsely chop them. (I wear disposable plastic gloves for this task if I'm working with spicy peppers. Learned my lesson the hard way.)

Now grill your steak to your liking. When it's done, tent it with foil and let it rest for 7-10 minutes, then thinly slice it. Serve with grilled peppers and chimichurri sauce.