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So, we had eaten the remainder of the leftover take-out and yesterday I needed to get my cook on: I wanted to make something salad-y but still hearty, and I was eating alone.
Ah, the often derided solo eating experience. Here's the thing with eating alone: it always irks me when people say 'I would never bother going to any trouble just to cook for myself'. Who better to go to the trouble for? I actually make a point of going to a ton of trouble to cook for myself - I know that's due in large part to the fact that I love cooking, and not everyone does, but it's also because I think it's lame to settle for a bowl of cereal or some crappy KD (unless you've got a hankering for just that, in which case, no judgment) just because you happen to be flying solo. Step up, loners! Let's make ourselves something nice, yeah? Let's not succumb to the outdated and closed-minded view that eating HAS to be a social occasion - and man, it's so great when it is - but instead, let's admit that there's also something very private and wonderful about sitting alone with something you've taken good care to make for yourself. No chatting, no passing of salt, no distractions. Just you and your nourishment.
So, after that brief rant, we arrive at the recipe. I bought a perfect little striploin today. Because some days, my body is like 'Feed me red meat' - and I happily oblige. Oh - and another added benefit of cooking for one is you can splurge a bit on the ingredients...the steak I bought, which was a perfect serving for one, was a whopping $4. Actually, now that I think about it, that had to be wrong. Oh well.
|Wood on wood: the weird thing about a butcher block|
counter is you never want to chop on it. So, I guess it's all
just aesthetics. Right?
Striploin steak, enough for one
1 small zucchini, cut into chunks
Some thinly sliced red onion (to take some of the bite out of raw red onion, I usually soak it, after slicing, in a small bowl with cold water - I have no idea the science behind it but the onion mellows out and becomes way less harsh)
A handful of halved cherry tomatoes
Parmesan shavings, as much as you want (the easiest way to achieve 'shaved' parmesan is with a vegetable peeler)
Green leaf lettuce
1 tsp of butter, for frying
1 tsp of neutral oil, for frying
For the dressing:
Juice of half a lemon - it'll be about 1 tbsp worth
1/2 teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary (you can also use thyme, or oregano, or any strong, woodsy type herb)
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of dijon mustard, the smooth kind
A splash of white balsamic vinegar (I added this after I tasted the dressing and was like 'whoa, easy rosemary', and the whole thing needed a bit of a pick-up - worked like a charm)
Salt and pepper, to taste
To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a small jar and give it a good shake. Taste, and fix it up/readjust to your taste.
|Who needs company with this hot salad joining you?|
Crank your heat up to high, and add your butter and oil to a sturdy pan (ideally cast iron, but any good solid pan will do). Once your pan is nice and hot, place the steak in the pan, salt and pepper side down. Salt and pepper the other side now, and then don't touch it. Let it sear on one side for about 3-4 minutes, and then flip it over, and let it go for another 2 minutes, for rare to medium rare, longer if you like it cooked more thoroughly. Once it's had its time, take it out of the pan and let it sit and rest for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, once you've flipped your steak that one time, you'll want to throw in your chunked up zucchini, and let it brown up a bit while the steak does its second 2-minute or so side - the zucchini will hang out a bit longer than the steak, for a total of about 5 minutes. Which is great, because the steak needs to rest while the zucchini finishes up. Once your steak is rested, slice it very thinly, against the grain. Place the sliced steak on the lettuce, along with your halved cherry tomatoes, the zucchini, the red onion you have diligently soaked in cold water, and the delightful parmesan shavings.
The whole thing will take you about 15 minutes of active cooking. You show me someone who doesn't have 15 minutes to cook themselves something nice, and I'll show you a liar.
Last step: pour the dressing over the salad, toss it up a wee bit, and eat. Alone and happy.