Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thai Steak Salad

Being married is great, for some reason food has been tasting better ever since the wedding.  That's not the only reason of course, but this is a food blog and I won't go off with some ode to marriage here.  Alex and I chose to get married out in the Rocky Mountains at the Estes Park YMCA.  People always asked me why this was where we chose, and I didn't really have a good answer for them.  The first question was always if I was from there- pfft I wish!  I have only been there once about ten years ago, and Alex had never even spent any time in Colorado before.  I just knew that this is where it was going to take place, and luckily Alex is a great guy and went along with me. I didn't get that feeling with any place in the midwest, so I apologize to the midwesterners who had to trek out to Colorado.  I hope that you had a great time- we enjoyed you and were glad to give you an excuse for a vacation!  I'll share some more wedding food related deets before I actually tackle the recipe.

Catering was one of the most stressful factors of getting married in a place where it isn't terribly practical to drive out there to do a tasting when you live 16 hours away.  Our cupcake lady disappeared off of the face of the planet a few days before the wedding.  Seriously, she wasn't picking up her phone and this was made worse by the fact that her website had vanished- I almost checked the obits.  I didn't know whether or not to be relieved that we hadn't paid her in full yet or in panic mode because we didn't send in the remaining balance by her due date and what if she was still alive and wouldn't make our cupcakes because of this??

Anyway, turns out that she was just flooded and her server was changing.  I'm glad to say that Costco cake, while quite tasty, was not served at our wedding.  Our cupcakes were pretty good, not as great as my chocolate banana muffins but some things cannot be helped.  The flavors were: Red velvet with chocolate ganache filling and cream cheese frosting, chocolate with raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream filling, and vanilla with blackberry cream cheese frosting.  I ate one of each for breakfast the next day.  I am very upset at myself for letting someone walk off with the leftover cupcakes that morning- in hindsight I would have snatched some just because I would have appreciated them more without overactive bride brain.

The overlooming stress factor was that we had zero choice in catering, the YMCA was strict in providing their own food.  It was pretty decent, but the prime roast was great.  If you attended the wedding and ate other stuff and thought that it was just so-so, it isn't my fault that you didn't have the roast!  

Oh and just to go on a bridezilla tangent since I was a pretty level-headed bride considering all of the stuff that I couldn't control, if you RSVP yes to a wedding please make sure that you can actually come.  I know that it isn't life-shattering if you bow out a week before the wedding, but a head count is usually required by vendors weeks before the wedding, and while they are more than accommodating if your guest #s go up, I'm sad to say that they will not let you lower your head count if people can't come anymore.  I'm mostly sad because of all of the delicious food that went unenjoyed.  Scolding over.

Anyway, for our honeymoon we camped in the Rocky Mountain National Park for three nights.  We had some meals that consisted of cold brats and hot dogs since the western states are all ablaze right now and there were 0 fires allowed with the penalty of ranger fury, and some pretty incredible meals that didn't stray far from our usual price points.  I never would have thought that family run Thai and Nepalese restaurants in a touristy town would be the culinary highlight of our trip.  On our return voyage we finally had a campfire at the Wind Cave National Park, but then a fire ban went into effect at midnight.  It is dry out there!

We came back a day early since the main road in the RMNP was under construction and made getting places a real pain in the butt.  In hindsight I wish that we had camped out for another night and just dealt with the construction, but we both enjoyed the mountains so much that there are plans in the next couple of years to return out there.  It felt weird driving home for the first time after being away for over a week in the wilderness.  I do love suburbia though, and I'm thrilled to have my phone charged consistently again.  When we went out to eat I would request a table with an outlet (one poor foreign exchange kid had no idea what I was talking about) and charge my phone for as long as possible.  It would then die within half an hour after leaving.  Even though it was very inconvenient, it was great to be unreachable.

Ok- onto the recipe!

This is the first meal that Alex and I made together when we got back.  It was amazing, mostly due to the marinated steak of course since I would be fooling myself if I said that I loved red cabbage.  But a forkful of cabbage with a bit of steak on it is an enjoyable way to get some shunned vegetables.  It gets thrown together quickly with two people working together (awww), but wouldn't take that long to prepare solo.  I love the marinade.  A few days later and I still salivate when I recollect how incredible it was.  It was sweet with a great kick added by the sriracha, if you don't like spicy food then I wouldn't recommend this, otherwise it is something great to try.

This is a recipe from the June edition of Cooking Light.

1.5 lb flank steak- trimmed of excessive fat and seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
1+ tsp sriracha sauce (depending on personal preferences)
1 red cabbage- thinly sliced
1 1/4 cup bean sprouts
3/4 cup julienned carrots
1/3 cup mint leaves
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup basil leaves

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Coat the pan with cooking spray and cook the steak ~6 minutes per side.
Remove the steak from the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes (this finishes the cooking process) and then slice diagonally into thin strips.
Combine the lime juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and sriracha.  Set aside 2 tbsp of this sauce and marinate the meat in it.
Combine the cabbage and the remaining fresh ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the additional sauce.  Add the steak and serve immediately.