Cold Beef Salad

If you’ve read Salad Joy, you know I’m all about the Do-Ahead.  Every element of this Cold Beef Salad is a Do-Ahead.  Great with a cold Thai beer or Thai iced tea on a warm summer evening.

Cold Beef Salad is a perfect Do-Ahead

Cold Beef Salad is a perfect Do-Ahead

Cold Beef Salad
Serves Four

1 – 1 ½ lb. Prime Sirloin, very thinly sliced
1 Cup Soy Sauce
2 t. Sesame Oil
1 English Cucumber, peeled, cut in half and sliced with a vegetable peeler
2- 3 Carrots, peeled, and sliced a vegetable peeler
2 cup fresh Bean Sprouts
½ cup Pickled Ginger, sliced into thin strips
Butter Lettuce Leaves
Sesame Seeds
Sesame Seaweed Snacks

Vegetable Pickling Liquid/Dressing:
1 ½ T sugar
4 T Rice Wine Vinegar
¼ t Sesame Oil

Marinate the beef slices in the soy sauce in a re-sealable plastic bag for at least one hour or up to all day.

Peel the cucumber and carrots and, using a vegetable peeler, slice into long thin ribbons. 

Whisk the pickling ingredients in small bowl, transfer to a re-sealable plastic bag, add the cucumber and carrot ribbons and chill for about an hour. 

Salad Preparation:
Remove the sirloin strips from the marinade and dry thoroughly on paper towels.  Heat the one of the teaspoons of sesame oil in a large skillet and add half the strips in one layer.  Cook on high heat until you get a good caramelization on both sides, about a minute per side.  Repeat with the other teaspoon of oil and remaining beef strips.  Remove the strips and allow them to cool thoroughly.  When cool, slice each strip lengthwise into two or three thinner strips.

Place the bean sprouts in a large bowl and add the pickled vegetables and pickled ginger and toss.  Add the beef strips to the vegetables and toss again.

Place some butter lettuce leaves in large bowls and top with the beef and vegetable mixture.  Drizzle over with some of the reserved pickling liquid.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and top with thin slices of Sesame Seaweed Snacks. 

Cold Beef Salad is great with a cold Thai beer or Thai iced tea on a warm summer evening

Cook’s Notes:
or a heartier salad, add some cooked Pad Thai rice noodles.  Before adding them to the salad, toss with a little of the pickling liquid.

If you’d like to spice it, add one tablespoon of minced fresh Serrano pepper to the pickling liquid.

The sesame seaweed snacks are little mini pieces of nori, used to wrap sushi.  They add a distinctively Asian flavor – and are super healthy!

For added crunch top with ¼ cup chopped unsalted peanuts.


August 3 is National Watermelon Day!

Yes, there is indeed a National Watermelon Day -- and it's today, August 3!

To celebrate, here’s a melon salad perfect for the hot summer days.  Double it, pack the dressing separately and serve it at a picnic or at the beach in a large hollowed out watermelon half.  It’s also fun for a light brunch.  I serve it with my Smoked Salmon Blinis…and a Mimosa, of course!

Summer Melon Melange is perfect for hot summer days

Serves 4-6

4 Cups each, cut into small cubes:

4- 5 Tablespoons each, roughly chopped:
Fresh Mint
Fresh Basil
Fresh Celery Leaves

Cut the melons into bite-sized cubes, roughly chop the mint, basil and celery leaves and combine in a large bowl.

Ingredients for the Melon Melange dressing

1 T Agave Syrup
2 T Watermelon Juice (from the cubed pieces)
2 t. Celery Bitters
2 T Lime Olive Oil
1 T Fresh Lime Juice

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and toss into melon mixture.

I like to top my Summer Melon Melange with crispy pancetta.  If you omit the pancetta, be sure to serve it with plenty of my favorite finishing salt, Maldon.  Serve room temperature or chilled.

Crispy pancetta is a perfect topping for the Melon Melange salad

Cook’s Notes: Bitters are a liquid concentrated extraction of plants, herbs or seeds traditionally used in cocktails.  Celery Bitters add a truly unique flavor here, particularly paired with the watermelon.  

I like the traditional cantaloupe and honeydew with the watermelon but there are many more exotic melons available now in most markets.  Or truly celebrate National Watermelon Day and use only watermelon.

What type of melons are your favorite? Let me know how you like this salad -- perfect for an August afternoon! 

The Marshall Water Fowl Sanctuary

Almost four years ago a pair of mallards arrived in our pool.  I named them George and Gracie. 

Handsome George

Handsome George

The first spring they were here, Gracie had nine chicks that she proudly showed off to us. 

Here's Gracie with her 9 chicks a few years ago

Here's Gracie with her 9 chicks a few years ago

Since then George and Gracie have kept coming back to our pool and yard, and now seem to be with us year-round. 

On Thanksgiving morning when John was outside on the patio, a coot or mud hen, literally dropped from the sky landing unceremoniously on our patio – almost on John!  I named him Cecil (as in Beanie and Cecil, for those of you who are old enough to remember the cartoon). 

Cecil the coot

Cecil the coot

Although coots are common, I find him extraordinary, particularly by the mere fact that he chooses to remain here instead of finding his cover or raft (large group). 

I did research on coots and found that they have been around a few hundred thousand years – and indeed, Cecil looks like his ancestors – dinosaurs.  His feet in particular. He doesn’t eat out of my hand yet, but if he continues to hang around here with George and Gracie, I’m sure he will soon!

George Gracie and Cecil

George Gracie and Cecil

Entertaining over the Holidays? Consider Breakfast!

On the spur of the moment we invited our very good friends Kevin and Candice over for Sunday morning breakfast. 

Kevin getting ready to dig into his breakfast burrito

Kevin getting ready to dig into his breakfast burrito

Since they are unable to join us here for Thanksgiving dinner, I wanted to make breakfast more special that just bacon and eggs.  So I created a Breakfast Burrito Bar. 

Pinto beans with ham from the freezer. Recipe in  Salad Joy

Pinto beans with ham from the freezer. Recipe in Salad Joy

Having everyone make their own burritos took a lot of pressure off having to assemble them all myself and the island looked so festive with all the “fixins” displayed. 

breakfast buffet 2.jpg

I could hear my mother saying, “You have so many nice things, dear, you should use them.”  I put everything including all the toppings in pretty bowls.  OK, I left the Sriracha in the bottle!

sricha in bottle.jpg

Inviting guests for breakfast or brunch is much more casual than dinner, and if you’re on a budget, it’s certainly less expensive.  It’s also a nice alternative when you want to entertain over the holidays. 

Next breakfast for guests I will definitely make Spinach Benedict from Salad Joy.