Friday, August 5, 2011

Chipotle steak salad with homemade dressing

Happy Friday to you!  I hope you're doing well, swell even.  Rather than a list, I've got a question for you: have you heard of the the Pioneer Woman?  I kinda have a major girl crush on her.

Isn't she lovely?  She's kind of a big deal, too, and rightfully so.  I mean, the woman is the hip midwest theoretical love child of Oprah and Martha Stewart.  She does it all!  But, no offense to Ree, I've only got eyes for one thing: her cooking.

Ohhhhhh, her cooking!

You may remember the cinnamon roll craze of spring of 2011.  Dear Lord, those cinnamon rolls.  If I had to choose between my right hand and those cinnamon rolls, well, I can't say I'd be calling myself an ambidextrous individual anytime after that.  (Yes, the cinnamon rolls are that good.  Do yourself a favor -- and prove me right -- and make them immediately.)

Well, she's gone and done it again.  Disrupted the very foundation of my food likes and dislikes and sent me into a frenzy.  This time, it was a chipotle steak salad with homemade dressing.  There are a few things that should raise red flags in your mind: 

1. I am not crazy about salads.

2. I'm not wild about steaks.

3. I do not handle any sort of spicy heat well at all.

Three points, that's all I've got.  But the final one is rather substantial.  This girl can't even handle jalapeno flavored chips, let alone whole chipotle chiles.  I'm a real wimp, I tell you.  But my girl crush on Ree convinced me to throw caution to the wind and just do it.

Ask the grocery stock boy where to find chipotle peppers.  Buy said peppers.  Take a big swig of milk when you decide to boldly sample the adobo sauce.  Pat yourself on the back for trying.

Make your own dressing and marinade.  Grill those steaks.  Slice 'em.  Pick your jaw up off the floor when you, not your hunk of a fiance, can't stop yourself from nibbling on the steak.  "If you don't stop, there won't be any dinner!"  Oops.

Arrange the sweet baby spinach greens on a plate and make a pretty triangle of red onions, local (and therefore delicious) tomatoes, and that yummy steak (if there's any left, that is).

Okay, so maybe I've been too cruel.  Too quick to give the cold shoulder.  If all beef steaks could be this tender, this juicy, and this flavorful, well, maybe I'd change my tune.  The marinade gave the beef such flavor with only a tiny barely-there hint of heat.  Truth me told, I wanted just a little more heat.  I know! 

Thank goodness that Ree knew what I'd be thinking and instructed the dressing to be made.  More heat on the way, pal!

Ready, set, go!

Um, yes please and thank you.  Talk about a party of flavors.  I'll eat my words as long as they come with this dressing.  This salad was dynamite!  I won't pretend to have acquired a bullet-proof tongue because of this salad -- I was conservative with dressing atop my greens -- but Matt went all in and loved it.  Between chews, words like "Awesome, baby" and "Holy craffffp" were uttered.  Even something along the lines of, "Is there more of this [dressing]?  I'd put it on cardboard."  Yes, dear.  You go right ahead and do that. 

A dinner success, I'd say. 

Especially with this as the backdrop.  Did I mention that I love my view?  I savored it last night because this weekend I'm heading to DC with friends for a little weekend getaway.  I've been looking forward to this trip for over a month, and I am so so so excited!  Relaxing, dining, shopping, and (fingers crossed) Georgetown Cupcakes.  Can't wait to give you a full report.  Have a tremendous weekend :)

One Year Ago: Pork chop chicken (funny... I made this for dinner two days ago!)

Chipotle Steak Salad with Homemade Dressing
(adapted from The Pioneer Woman, in case you didn't catch that)

A few notes: If you'd like to dial down the kick of the dressing, cut back on the number of peppers you use and keep the mayonnaise proportion the same.

2 cups (about 30 ounces) mayonnaise
1 (10 ounce) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (reserve 2 Tablespoons sauce)
1 whole flank steak OR 4-6 very thin round bottom steaks (I used the latter)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon honey
Salad greens (spring mix is suggested, I used baby spinach)
2 homegrown tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 whole cucumber, sliced (skipped... we hate cucumbers!)
1/2 red onion, sliced

For the dressing, in a mini food processor or blender, combine mayonnaise with canned chipotles. Blend until totally combined. Transfer to a separate container and store in the fridge. (Keep any excess for up to two months if stored, sealed, in fridge.)

In a separate bowl, mix olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, oregano, honey, and reserved adobo sauce. Whisk to combine. (This can be made up to 1 day ahead.)  Pour marinade over steak(s), coating both sides. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least two hours.

Remove steak from fridge.  Grill over high heat, only about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side until rare/medium rare. Remove from heat and allow meat to rest a few minutes. Slice very thin shingles of meat on an extreme diagonal.

Mound salad greens on a each plate. "Decorate" with strips of steak, tomatoes, cucumbers (if you must... bleh!), and onions on top.  Drizzle the whole salad with chipotle dressing.

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