Seared Steak Lettuce Cups

Seared Steak Lettuce Cups

Altered from Bon Appétit, Oct. 2012

1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger

Kosher salt

8 oz. grass-fed flank steak

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

16 small crunchy inner leaves of butter lettuce, romaine, or endive

2 tablespoons chopped salted roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves (optional)

Asian sweet chili sauce (optional)


Peel roughly 2/3 of cucumber. Combine 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber, 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger in a medium bowl. Season to taste with kosher salt and set aside.

Heat a grill pan or a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet over high heat. Season an 8 ounces flank steak with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon chili powder. Grill steak, turning once, until charred on both sides, about 8 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Arrange 16 small crunchy inner leaves of butter lettuce, romaine, or endive on a large platter. Thinly slice steak against the grain, then cut slices crosswise into 1" pieces. Add steak to cucumber mixture and toss to mix. Season to taste with salt, more lime juice and honey or agave, if desired.

Divide steak salad among lettuce cups; garnish with 2 tablespoons chopped salted roasted peanuts and 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves. Drizzle with Asian sweet chili sauce.

Thai Chicken Salad with Glass Noodles

Thai Chicken Salad with Glass Noodles

For chicken and salad:

1 Tb fresh lime juice

1 Tb finely chopped garlic

2 tsp finely chopped ginger

½ tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 cucumber

1/3 to ½ pound carrots, depending on your taste

3.75 oz package of glass noodles (also called cellophane noodles or bean threads-- they should be made from starch)


For dressing:

2 ½ Tb fish sauce

2 Tb packed light brown sugar

1 ½ tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp. finely chopped ginger

1 shallot, minced

2 ½ Tb fresh lime juice

1/3 c roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped



Thai basil leaves, cilantro (or cilantro and mint for more of a Vietnamese take)


Stir together lime juice, garlic ginger, chilies, salt, and pepper, and marinade thighs in the solution in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Cut cucumber and carrots into matchsticks. Put chicken in foil pouch, closed and cook until tender and cooked through. Remove and let cool.

Sit a fine mesh colander in a mixing bowl larger than it. Add glass noodle bundles to colander. Boil a good amount of water and completely submerge noodle bundles, letting sit for 10-15 minutes. Remove colander from bowl and let drain and cool.

Coarsely shred chicken meat. Lay out glass noodles on plates, add cucumber, carrot, and chicken. Pour dressing over and top with Thai basil and cilantro.


Greek Salad on Grilled Pita

Greek Salad on Grilled Pita

You’ll need a mortar and pestle or a food processor for the hummus and a ridged iron skillet or grill for the pita.


For Hummus:

1 ½ Tb tahini

¼ c lemon juice (1 large lemon)

2 small garlic cloves, minced

2 Tb olive oil

½ - 1 tsp salt, depending on taste

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas/garbanzo beans

For Dressing:

4 Tb lemon juice (1 large lemon)

2 Tb Flat-leaf/Italian parsley, chopped

1 small garlic clove, minced and crushed with side of knife

1 ½ Tb olive oil

2 tsp red wine vinegar

¼ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

For Pita and Salad:

4 pita breads

1 head lettuce, coarsely chopped

½ c cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cucumber, peeled if desired, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced

½ c pitted Kalamata olives

1/3 c feta, crumbled (2 oz.)

Black pepper


Make Hummus:

Combine tahini and lemon juice in a food processor, and blend for 1 minute. Scrape mixture down the sides of the container, then add the garlic, olive oil, and salt. Process for 30 seconds. Reserve the juice from the garbanzo beans, and add to the processor. Puree for about a minute. Add garbanzo juice from can, about 1 Tb at a time until it reaches your preferred consistency.

Make Dressing:

Whisk all dressing ingredients together until emulsified.

Grill Pita and Make Salad:

Heat grill pan or grill over high heat until smoking and lightly brush with oil. Grill as many pitas as will fit on the ridges (1 if you have our pan) turning over once, until grill marks appear. Transfer to plates.

Toss lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, in a bowl with dressing to coat. Add feta and toss gently a couple times, so it doesn’t become milky goo.


Spread hummus on pitas, then top with salad. Grind black pepper on top and serve.

Cucumber and Wakame Salad

Cucumber and Wakame Salad

from Step-By-Step Japanese Cooking

Serves four. This recipe is a bit time consuming for a side salad, but it will leave you with extra dashi--a wonderful Japanese broth.

For dashi:

7 ½ c cold water

4 in piece kombu seaweed (edible kelp)

2 Tb dried bonito flakes


For salad:

1 cucumber

½ tsp salt

3 Tb rice vinegar

2 Tb dashi

2 Tb soy sauce

1 Tb sugar

¼ tsp salt

2 Tb mirin

1 Tb dried wakame seaweed

1 Tb ginger, chopped finely into needles


To make dashi: Put kombu and 1 Tb bonito flakes with the cold water in a large saucepan and heat just to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the stock is reduced by a third. Add the other tablespoon of bonito flakes and immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. The flakes to settle, then strain off through a cheesecloth-lined sieve.

To make the salad: Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds. Cut into paper-thin slices. Dissolve ½ tsp salt in ½ cup cold water, add the cucumber, and leave to soak for 20 minutes. Put the cucumber into cheesecloth to drain. Squeeze the cucumber gently to remove excess moisture. Combine the rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of dashi, soy sauce, sugar, salt and mirin in a small saucepan, and heat to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and chill. Trim the wakame seaweed and chop coarsely. Combine the wakame and cucumber in a bowl and spoon the chilled dressing over them. Toss gently. Arrange neat mounds of salad in individual bowls. Garnish with a little chopped ginger.

Banh Mi Sandwiches

Banh Mi Sandwiches
Altered from

Serves 3

For the slaw:

2 lemon cucumbers, cut into sticks

4 carrots, shredded
½ head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
¼ cup sugar or ½ cup honey
1 tsp salt

For the sriracha aioli:

¼ - 1/3 cup mayonnaise (depending on your affection for mayonnaise)

1 Tb sriracha

2 scallions, finely chopped

For the Vietnamese meatballs:

12 oz ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
6 garlic cloves, minced

2 scallions, finely chopped
1 Tb fish sauce
1 Tb sriracha
1 Tb sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
Sunflower or safflower oil

3 demi-baguettes or 1 baguette divided into thirds

Prepare the slaw: Place cucumbers in a bowl and add sprinkle with salt. After 5 minutes, squeeze water out of them. Add the vinegar, sugar and salt to a large bowl.  Stir to dissolve. Add the cucumbers, carrots, and napa cabbage and toss well. Let sit for at least an hour at room temperature, tossing it if you are around.  You can make this ahead and keep it in the refrigerator; it stays crispy for several hours.

Make the sriracha aioli: Stir mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, and 2 scallions in a small bowl. Taste. Add salt if needed, or more sriracha sauce.

Make the meatballs: Gently mix the rest of the ingredients (except for the oil and baguettes) in a bowl. Using wet hands, use a tablespoon to scoop up meat and form a 1 inch meatball. Heat sesame or canola oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan (they should not touch in the pan) and fry until golden brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Assemble sandwiches: Heat baguette(s), then slice open. Drop meatballs in, cover generously with slaw and drizzle with sriracha aioli to your liking.