January 16, 2013
Not a boring salad, but a fun, wholesome and delicious salad. We aren’t huge dinner salad people. Yes, we do have our bowl of greens with dinner every night, but we don’t often just eat only that. I have this recipe for a pine nut crusted goat cheese that was adapted from this cookbook I have from Wyoming. It’s a great cookbook, full of delicious, western-style foods. I’ve made this goat cheese recipe before. Perhaps you remember it? Perhaps you don’t. It was a long time ago =). I thought that this goat cheese would be great on a bed of greens, yet adapted slightly from my original recipe. So we went with it: tossing it with some marinated flank steak, cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and a delicious salad dressing to top it off.
Although I am no fan of diets…
I hate them.
You can eat healthy, and not have to diet.
Did I mention that I hate them?
Well I do. So, I’m going to pretend this is a healthy meal and not a “diet” meal.
I do however find it important to eat a balanced and nutritious “diet.” Ugh! I just can not escape that word can I? Well you get the point right? It’s very easy to make sure you get all of your essential vitamins, your proteins and your fiber…I’m sure I’m missing a ton more. I also find it important to eat fresh, local and all-natural whenever you can. I understand this to be hard, but when it comes to your fruits and veggies, you can’t go wrong with this idea…unless of course it’s the dead of winter in southern NJ and you really are just craving a big juicy tomato. Then you may have to rely on a different part of the country. This is understandable. Hey, don’t beat yourself up about it! Sometimes we just crave tomatoes.
Zach and I will never be the type of people that could completely give up the things that we love. Carbohydrates are one of those things. I understand people not wanting to eat anything with gluten, and I also understand that some people have an allergy to the stuff…SOME, but breads and pastas are just one of those things that you would need a 100,000 men army to pull me away from. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Everything is great in moderation. Right? At least that’s what we tell ourselves so that we will never have to give up breads and pastas. This recipe was very difficult to make gluten free. It was like taking a dagger to my poor little heart, but it was done and quite delicious I might add!
When we were in Austin, Zach and I stopped at a shop that infused their own olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Of course we had to stop, since olive oil and balsamic vinegar are in my list of top ten obsessions. Together, not separate. Have to save the other 9 spots for greater obsessions. Like cheese…The lady working that day, whipped up a “cocktail” for us with a mixture of their basil-infused olive oil and their peach-infused balsamic vinegar. Oh my, I think I had died and went to heaven. The combination didn’t make any sense, but worked so well! We were sold and bought a bottle of each. I truly think that in a former life I had a vineyard and olive trees. I swear. This can only begin to explain my obsession. We used this combination on our salad last night, so if you can find something similar to this, I would for sure try it. Whole foods has a variety of different balsamic(s) and olive oils. There’s a very good chance they have something similar. I’m sure any specialty kitchen store would have them too. If not, stick with some EVOO and a couple of drops of your traditional balsamic vinegar (aged 25 years at least of course…am I right, or am I right?).
* Please Note * There is also some inactive time in this recipe. You have to let the steak marinate. DUH! I’d say at least an hour for marinating. We marinated for for about 5 hours, but we tend to overdo things. This probably isn’t necessary. You be the judge =) Just make sure it’s at least an hour.
We decided to go with a nut brown ale for the pairing for this dish. Santa Fe Brewing has a great nut brown ale. What makes this such a great pairing is how well the beer goes with the addition of pine nuts to the dish. It adds a whole new element of flavor. Even though an ale, this brew is robust and nutty: the perfect pairing for this wholesome, hearty salad.
Don’t be annoyed with having to eat a salad. You can add some amazing flavors. Just remember to keep it local, fresh and delicious =)…when you can…
- 1 – 2 lb flank (or skirt) steak
- ½ cup olive oil + 2 tablespoons
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 6 cloves of garlic, skins removed
- salt and pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 lb goat cheese log, cold
- ½ cup pine nuts + extra
- ½ cup gluten free bread crumbs (store-bought or make your own)
- ¼ cup almond flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 6 ounces mixed greens
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2-4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and sliced
- ½ cup quinoa, cooked according to manufacturer’s instructions
- dressing of your choice (olive oil and balsamic)
- In a blender, combine ½ cup of olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, a dash of salt and pepper, turmeric, curry powder and onion powder. Pulse until smooth. In a large zip-loc bag, combine the marinade with the steak. Massage the steak, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Meanwhile, roll your goat cheese into ¾ in – 1 in balls and place on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. While the balls are chilling, combine ½ cup of pine nuts and the bread crumbs in a small food processor. Pulse until the mixture is very fine, but not pasty. Transfer to a plate and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the almond flour and a dash of salt and pepper. And in another bowl, add the beaten eggs.
- Remove the goat cheese from the refrigerator, and begin rolling the balls in the flour mixture, then the egg until completely submerged, and then the pine nut mixture. Pack the pine nut mixture until it is COMPLETELY coated. Transfer the ball back to the baking sheet. Repeat this step for the rest of the balls. Cover and refrigerate. Chill for at least an hour.
- Now back to the steak. Once the steak has been marinated for at least an hour, remove from refrigerator and transfer to a hot grill or grill pan set over medium heat. Cook for 4 minutes on each side for rare to medium-rare, or cook to your desired temperature (really just depends on the size of the steak). Remove from the grill and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and add the remaning 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once completely heated, begin frying up your goat cheese balls. They will brown in no time, so keep a close eye on them, constantly turning them until you get an even golden brown color. Will only take about 4-5 minutes total. Remove the balls from heat with a pair of tongs and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Prepare your salads. For one salad, grab about a cup of mixed greens and toss with the cherry tomatoes. Dress your salad to your liking and toss the greens and tomatoes in the dressing. On top, add the hard-boiled eggs, a tablespoon or two of pine nutes, quinoa, and the goat cheese balls. Slice the steak against the grain and lay 4-5 pieces on top.