Thai one on

Despite yesterday’s bizarre mix of rain, sleet and in some nearby areas, snow, we are actually beginning to emerge from winter. I’m an eternal optimist, so I think my seasonal clock is about 3 weeks ahead of everyone else’s. Women everywhere (myself included. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t) are showing signs of fear for the upcoming season…the Season of The Suit. The bathing suit. And shorts. And all things that bare things. Oh, mercy, mercy me! It’s time to start putting aside the “winter dishes” and the hibernation foods (grrrr) and begin pondering lighter things. Ahhhhh. Lighter foods that hopefully translate to lighter bodies, right? Just don’t follow the salad with a sundae and accompany it with a Big Gulp and you should be on the right path. This is one of those great dinner salads. My kids have both proclaimed it a winner. I never could have guessed that this would be the meal they both raved about. But hey, you take those wins when you can and don’t question! Not for a bloomin’ second. For extra protein, I usually also serve this with a bowl of  in-the-pod edamame, which is another one of those foods that I could not have predicted my children enjoying. The in-the-podness also makes it more of a novelty and therefore more intriguing to smaller people. Honestly, sometimes my little one will not like a strawberry, but she’ll reach for something like Kafir or edamame. I am convinced that this is the universe’s way of keeping us on our toes and never letting us rest on our laurels. And, if you really want to give your kids a thorough experience and round out this somewhat tropical meal, serve ice-cold lychees and fresh pineapple for dessert. Lychees are, quite frankly, odd looking. Almost like opaque eyeballs sitting in a bowl of ice (bet you are running to get some after that description, eh?), but they are sublime in their flavor and quite pleasing as a finish to a meal. How’s that for review-er speak? I’m giggling as I write this.

Did I hear you say you want to go one step further with this meal? I think I did. Make some Thai Iced Tea to go with it. You can purchase the tea at asian food stores and it gets mixed with some condensed milk and a few other simple things. This drink is the most intensely colored orange anything that you have probably ever put to your lips (think atomic orange), but what a flavor. Earthy, slightly bitter the way black tea is bitter and also sweet from the condensed milk.  How do you say Bon Appetit in Thai?

Thai Beef Salad-from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman
Serves 4

8 oz. skirt or flank steak
6 cups mixed salad greens, torn into bite size pieces. Get creative here. No plain romaine, folks.
1 cups torn fresh mint, cilantro or Thai Basil OR a combo of all (I go for the combo. Best flavor by far)
1/4 cup chopped red onion (or less if you are on a date)
1 cucumber-peeled, seeded and chopped
1 small fresh hot red chile (like Thai) OR to taste OR not at all (your call)
juice of 2 limes
1 Tb. sesame oil
1 Tb. fish sauce or soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar

(*note, I also add mung bean sprouts and roasted, lightly salted peanuts to top everything off. Good addition of good textures)

Grill the steak either in a grill pan or on an actual grill. Whatever you have that’s convenient.  Let rest after grilling (The beef. Not you). Toss the lettuce with the herbs, onion and cucumber. Combine all the remaining ingredients with 1 Tb. water (the dressing will be thin) and toss half of this mixture with the greens. Remove the greens to a platter, reserving the remaining dressing. Thinly slice the beef, reserving its juices. Combine the juice with the remaining dressing. Lay the slices of beef over the salad greens (cukes, herbs etc.), drizzle the dressing over and then finish with the mung bean sprouts and the peanuts. I also sometimes will grate some carrot over the top for an extra blast of veggies and color.

รับประทานอาหารที่มีความสุข (apparently, that is Thai for “Happy Eating” as per Google Translation. Love it!)

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