Over here at Sassy Radish kitchen we’re in packing mode, finishing food we have and making do with what the pantry offers. Save the occasion dash for an herb or vegetable, cooking
here for the next few weeks has to be about not wasting (and thus inventiveness for me) and less about flipping through the latest issue of Gourmet looking for my next fix has come to a screeching halt.
You see, here at SR I have big news! SR kitchen is about to get bigger. As in square footage. I’m trading my cozy (read: tiny) walk-up kitchen for a spacious, open, with a huge island and shelving (see the pictures) one. To tell you I’m excited, would be a huge understatement. I am counting down the days! Oh and did I mention that it comes with a dishwasher? Every time I say the word dishwasher an angel gets his wings. Or at least it feels like it. Say it with me – deeeeshwaaaasher. Doesn’t it just sound so musical and lovely?
As excited as I am about this new kitchen, I will miss my 40 square foot kitchen I made a pretty good use of over the last 12 months. I didn’t expect to move out so soon, but an irresistible opportunity presented itself. And now I get to be closer to friends, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, Baked Bakery, the Clover Club and other delicacies that will challenge my waistline. While I’ll miss my cozy little kitchen, I’m ready and excited for a more spacious one.
Since moving requires packing and perishables do not good packing goods make, I’ve initiated an operation that I’d like to call ECIMK (Eat Crap In My Kitchen). The operation was fully commenced when my friend Marc came over for dinner a few weeks ago. You know you’ve got a good friend on your hands when you write “I have a lot wine and we need to make a dent in the supply.” And your friend dutifully obliges with an “I’m there!” response. And not only does your friend arrive hungry, but also helps you through three (3!!) bottles of wine in one night. Between the two of you. How lucky can a girl get?
One of my not-to-be-packed items was this lovely skirt steak, chilling in the freezer waiting for the opportune moment to make its statement. Now, this is probably the part where I should tell you that happen to really love a skirt steak, so much so that I’d rather have that for dinner than a filet mignon. I’m an odd girl, I know, but that’s just how things are around here.
I also come with some odd cravings and on any given day there are a few meals I can always happily consume. A Thai beef salad probably sits at the top of that list. Hearty enough for a dinner dish, it’s the perfect antidote to a sticky muggy day because you get the cold, refreshing crunch of lettuce, the bite of the spicy/sweet chili lime dressing, and the nice heft of beef. Filling, yet not heavy, refreshing, yet you won’t go hungry in an hour. I think it’s the epitome of a perfect meal.
As you can tell from pictures, I like my meat on the pink side. By all means, please cook it longer because everyone’s preferences vary quite a bit. Not only is this a favorite, but also happens to be super easy to make. The whole thing comes together in under 20 minutes. Including all the prep work. You can even make this on a weeknight when you have little time to cook. And it makes room in your soon-to-be-emptied freezer too. How about you? When you’ve had to move in the past, what were some of your more creative uses of food so it didn’t go to waste?
Thai Beef Salad
adapted from the New York Times
8 ounces skirt or flank steak, leftover or raw
6 cups torn salad greens (mixed is nice) but I prefer romaine lettuce for the added crunch
1 cup torn fresh herb leaves (mint, cilantro, Thai basil or a combination)
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 medium cucumber, peeled if skin is tough, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and diced
1 small fresh hot red chili, like Thai, or to taste, minced
1 ripe mango, cubed
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla, available at Asian markets) or soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1. If you are starting with raw meat, start a gas or charcoal grill or heat a broiler; rack should be about 4 inches from heat source. Grill or broil beef until medium rare, turning once or twice, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness; set it aside to cool. I actually grilled my steak on a cast iron grill pan, which I’ve fallen in love with and sing its praises on a near-daily basis.
2. Toss greens with herbs, onion and cucumber. In a bowl, combine all remaining ingredients with 1 tablespoon water; dressing will be thin. Use half of this mixture to toss with greens. Remove greens to a platter.
3. Slice beef thinly, reserving its juice; combine juice with remaining dressing. Lay slices of beef over salad, drizzle remaining dressing over all, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings (not true, Marc and I ate this between the two of us and there were no leftovers)