Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flavor of the Week

I have a new favorite food! Next week I will probably have another new "favorite food" and likely another one soon after that. I just love to try new stuff! When I try something I like there is probably a pretty good chance I will eat it again very soon and I wouldn't be surprised if few days later (sometimes even the next day) I eat it a third time.

Some of the reasons that this is my new favorite food are:
1. It is healthy and pretty low in calories which means I can eat a LOT of it. (this always makes me happy).
2. It has bold spicy flavors.
3. It is really yummy! (the most important thing)

So this new obsession started about a week ago when I went to my favorite Thai Restaurant and ordered the Thai Beef Salad. One bite and I was in LOVE! (perhaps it was only lust, but regardless...) I asked the owner what was in the dressing and more importantly did it have much oil? She told me it had NO oil! OK, that just made it 10 times better!

Two days later I was craving Thai Beef salad again. I arranged my entire afternoon around picking up one on my way to work that night. But when I called the restaurant to place the order (perfectly timed to swing by on my way to work) they told me that there was an hour and 30 min wait for orders! WHAAAAT? You are kidding me? On a Thursday night? This did not make me happy! I tried again Fri night and was told that it would be 45 min. Still not fitting into my schedule.

It seems my favorite Thai Restaurant is suddenly lots of peoples favorite Thai restaurant. They have always been busy but never THIS busy! So, out of necessity and my cravings, I began a search for a recipe.

So the main elements of all the recipes was Lime juice, and spice. What I liked about this particular recipe was that you actually marinated the meat in some of the dressing. Many of the recipes didn't marinate the beef at all or had a different marinade for the beef. Does it taste like the restaurant? Well, not exactly and I am not quite sure what is different (I will have to eat it there again to figure it out) but it is still really good. One thing I do like better about making it at home is that (at the restaurant) it is made with just iceberg lettuce which is NOT my choice of lettuce. So making it at home give you the opportunity to use more flavorful (and more nutritious) greens.
If you have never had Thai food be warned, it is H-O-T! I used 2TBS of Sriracha (hot chili sauce) I have changed that in the recipe to 1TBS because my mouth and Lips were ON FIRE! Now, I am not a wimp when it comes to spicy stuff. I like things hotter than the average person so I would recommend judicious use of the Sriracha if you are not big on spice. (but you need some spice otherwise it will not be the same dish) You could also substitute chili paste or red pepper flakes if you can't locate Sriracha. This is great served with white rice (preferably the sticky kind like you get at Asian restaurants). The rice is also good for cooling down your mouth down!

Thai Beef Salad
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup choppedfresh cilantro
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
1 tablespoon Sriracha or chili paste
2 garlic cloves, minced

16 oz flank steak, trimmed

1 1/2 cups sliced red onions
4 plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
6 cups lettuce/greens
1 large cucumber peeled and cut into large chunks

Wisk together first 7 ingredients together to make dressing. Place steaks and 1/4 of dressing in a zipper type bag and let stand for 1 hr. Broil or grill steaks until med-rare. Let steaks rest for 5 mins and slice as thinly as possible. Arrange Greens, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes then top with beef slices. Pour remaining dressing over top. Toss before serving.
Serves 2 (with some left over steak unless you really pile it on)

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