Dinner Menu: Beef & Pepper Subs with Walnut Pear Salad

DSC_4000 (Copy)

Photo by JeffreyW

Lots going on. I picked up a new client last week, but still need to wrap things up this week with one of my other clients in order to make room for the new client. I’m putting together a trip to Los Angeles and Nebraska, plus I’ve got three personal projects I’m working on, which are at least two, too many.  What I’m trying to say is, it’s busy around here, just the way I like it, which is why I looked for something simple for tonight’s dinner menu. I especially wanted to find something with pears, because right now they are abundant at the store and I wanted to take advantage.

So that’s my Monday…any suggestions for Friday’s Recipe Exchange??

Tonight’s menu is pretty simple, for those lazy nights when you don’t want to cook an elaborate meal.  I usually let everyone assemble their own sandwich at the counter – less cleanup. I didn’t put chips on the menu, but they would probably show up last minute at my house anyway. The walnut pear salad is a nice treat this time of year, when you can usually find fresh pears at a good price. Pears and bleu cheese are a winning combo, and spinach seems to be on sale everywhere this week. If you can find it, drinking chocolate is like hot cocoa on steroids. We have a local coffee roaster who also makes drinking chocolate. It’s as if someone melted a chocolate bar in your cup and added some cream. A little goes a very long way.

On the board tonight:

  1. Beef & Pepper Subs
  2. Walnut Pear Salad
  3. Hot cocoa, marshmallows and graham crackers

Beef & Pepper Subs

  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb sirloin or flank steak, thinly sliced*
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 large crusty Italian sub rolls, sliced
  • 8 oz Provolone or American cheese, sliced

skillet

Heat oil in skillet, add meat, garlic, onions & peppers. Allow to cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add immediately to rolls. Top with cheese. If desired you can also then pop under the broiler to melt the cheese (keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn)

* it’s easiest to do if it’s slightly frozen when you slice it

Walnut Pear Salad

  • 3 pears, thinly sliced
  • Bibb lettuces & spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp walnut oil (opt)
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey (more if needed)
  • 2 oz crumbled blue cheese

large platter and saucepan

Arrange lettuce leaves on platter, add pear slices. Combine walnuts, oil(s), vinegar & honey in saucepan, mix well, and heat until honey is melted. Taste and add more honey or vinegar as needed. Pour over pears. Crumble cheese over salad.

Shopping List:

  • Hot cocoa
  • Marshmallows
  • Graham crackers
  • 1 lb sirloin or flank steak
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4 large crusty Italian sub rolls, sliced
  • 8 oz Provolone or American cheese, sliced
  • Bibb lettuces & spinach leaves
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 oz walnut oil (opt)
  • 4 oz honey
  • 2 oz crumbled blue cheese

Also: crushed garlic, salt & pepper, vinegar

Originally posted January 2011

=========================================

Advertisements

Friday Recipe Exchange: Raiding the Garden

DSC_6445 [1600x1200]

JeffreyW raids his garden and comes up with a beautiful dinner

Back from my trip to Nebraska, where unlike Colorado, gardens are full of veggies to harvest. We had lots of fresh corn, peppers, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes with each meal. So I thought tonight we should raid the garden for recipes. If you don’t have a garden or it’s late to produce (I’m looking at you backyard garden), don’t forget your local farmer’s market or farm stand. I really like going to local farm stands, the prices are often more reasonable than a farmer’s market. Two of my local stands have Facebook pages where they list what’s fresh this week and even have coupon specials.

The lovely photo above from JeffreyW is what inspired the theme tonight. Here’s his simple solution for taking advantage of his prolific patio pots: Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes on Pasta (recipe here)

One of my favorite recipes during the summer is Grilled Sweet Peppers and Potatoes (click here).

And finally something a bit different and fun to do with all that zucchini and summer squash: Squash Confetti (recipe here).

And just a reminder, full menus are available on Mondays and this week the menu is all garden fresh (menu is here).

Well I’m off to the evening Art Walk, where my friends will be drumming and where the streets will be filled with local artists’ creations. Tomorrow is the RiverWalk – vendors, musicians, farmer’s market and lots of kids events along the St. Vrain river. What are your plans for the weekend? Planning anything fun on the grill? How is your garden coming along? Hit the comments and don’t forget to share some favorite garden recipes.

On to tonight’s featured recipes, Green Beans w/ Yellow Pepper Butter,  Spinach-Raspberry Salad and Spicy Fruit Kabobs:

Green Beans w/ Yellow Pepper Butter

Last time I was at the farm stand, they had four different kinds of green beans and I used a mixture of all of them in this recipe.

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ yellow sweet pepper, seeded & shredded
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 oz chopped cashews
  • 16 oz fresh green beans, trimmed & cut
  • ½ yellow pepper, seeded, cut into thin strips
  • salt & pepper to taste

saucepan, steamer

Melt butter in saucepan, add shredded pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice & cashews, stir for 1 minute, remove & set aside. Add steamer to saucepan, add beans & just enough water to reach bottom of the steamer. Steam beans for 5 minutes, add strips of pepper and cook until beans are tender-crisp, additional 5-7 minutes. Remove steamer and drain water from saucepan. Add all ingredients into saucepan and heat 1 minute, tossing to coat with butter mixture. Serve immediately.

Spinach-Raspberry Salad

The easiest way to wash fresh from the garden spinach (and leaf lettuce) is to fill a sink with water and soak the spinach (swish it a couple of times). Pull it out and place it in a strainer, drain the sink and repeat. With the two soaks, all the dirt should sink to the bottom. Run through a salad spinner and you should have dirt free spinach.

  • 8 oz fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ pint fresh raspberries
  • 4 oz chopped pecans
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 2 oz mild bleu cheese, crumbled

Serving bowl

Wash and thoroughly dry spinach & raspberries, add to serving bowl with pecans, toss with dressing and add crumbled bleu cheese.

Spicy Fruit Kabobs

You can substitute or add any fresh fruit you’d like in this recipe. 

  • 1 cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded
  • 2 pears, cored
  • 2 apples, cored
  • 2 bananas, peeled & quartered
  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water
  • ½ cup warmed honey
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
  • 1 to 2 tsp chili paste

13×9 glass baking dish, blender

Cut fruit into large chunks, alternate fruit on skewers, ending with banana chunks to hold fruit in place. Place in baking dish. Blend together honey, water, lime, jalapeno & chili paste until smooth. Pour over fruit. Let set during dinner (approximately 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over low coals 5-7 minutes, basting with marinade. Serve immediately.

See you next week.

============================================

Stir-Fry Vegetables in a Bread Bowl

My favorite way to have vegetables is to quickly stir-fry them, so they are still crisp. A restaurant I used to go to a lot, served them in a beautiful woven lattice bread bowl and it was the perfect lunch. These veggies can be served over rice, rice noodles or as a side with stir-fried meat, poultry or tofu.

If you’re feeling creative I found a recipe for a lattice bread basket here.

Stir-Fry Vegetables

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup water or broth (vegetable or chicken)

    4184051013_7f0a4e29be

    Photo by ddpiesslice.blogspot.com

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 6-8 mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground ginger or 2 tsp fresh minced
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz broccoli crowns
  • 8 oz sliced carrots, or baby carrots
  • 8 oz snow peas
  • 6 oz can sliced water chestnuts or bamboo shoots, drained
  • salt & pepper to taste

wok or deep skillet

Mix cornstarch, soy, water, lemon and honey together. Set aside. Heat wok, add oil add all the remaining ingredients. Stir-fry quickly, about 2 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp. Add sauce, bring to boil for 1 minute or more until thickened. Let simmer 2 minutes.

Ginger Glazed Carrots

Originally posted December 2009.

I thought I’d post a few vegetable recipes this week.  I often prefer my vegetables raw or lightly stir-fried, so I don’t do many fancy veggie recipes.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a bunch of those recipes in my arsenal! I use them a lot when having friends or family over for dinner.  We’ll start with this one:

Ginger Glazed Carrots

  • 1 lb baby carrots, washed
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp to 1 tbsp butter
  • salt as desired

saucepan and steamer basket

Place steamer in saucepan, add enough water to come to the bottom of the steamer.  Add carrots, bring to a boil and steam until tender (about 5 minutes).  Remove carrots and steamer, drain water from the saucepan, add carrots and remaining ingredients to saucepan and stir on low heat until carrots are coated with honey and butter.  Serve immediately.

Beer to the Chief

Ever since President Obama revealed he took “home” brewed beer on the campaign trail with him, people have been clamoring for the recipes. The White House released them today. According the the WH, they believe this is the first time alcohol has ever been brewed on the premises:

As far as we know the White House Honey Brown Ale is the first alcohol brewed or distilled on the White House grounds. George Washington brewed beer and distilled whiskey at Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson made wine but there’s no evidence that any beer has been brewed in the White House. (Although we do know there was some drinking during prohibition…)

For all the recipes and the whole story click here.

 

Whole Wheat Bread

It snowed again today.  No one was happy about it.  I needed something warm and comforting and bread seemed like the perfect way to cozy up the house.

At altitude, bread is always tricky.  I have a few alterations, but no guarantees they will work every time.  One thing I usually do is a quick-rise.  I turn the kneaded bread out into a prepared pan.  In this case my big cast iron skillet.

I cover it with a damp towel and wax paper and let it double.  I don’t punch it down and do second rise.  This creates a loaf that is denser and a bit yeastier – less complex in flavors than a double-rise loaf, but eliminates the risk of the dough rising too much, and then falling and creating a brick instead of a loaf of bread. Then I brush the loaf with cold water, place a tray of ice cubes in a shallow baking pan on the bottom rack and bake as usual.  At the 20 minute mark I do an egg wash and let bake until it reaches 200 degrees F in the center (thanks JeffreyW for that tidbit).

This gives it a nice crisp, chewy crust.  Some butter and honey and you’re all set to go.  What’s this?  I went to the cupboard and the honey pot was empty.  Oh bother.

Mmm… sticky chicken

I did something similar not too long ago.  The wings were cooked in a crockpot that time but that was overkill so I roasted these in a similar marinade in my trusty toaster oven.   I finished the thighs I used this time on the stove top in a non stick pan after separating the fat from the marinade and cooking juices. These spent some time in the pan over medium low heat but they never got to the sticky as glue stage.  I decided I wanted sauce more than a crusted glaze so I added some stock with a bit more soy and oyster sauces along with more grated ginger root and minced garlic.  Yummy stuff.  Made fried rice to accompany the chicken.