Main Dishes

Grilled Steak and Peach Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

I am not a huge fan of having a salad as an entrée. Maybe it’s because salads get a bad rap as diet food. Maybe it’s because it’s ingrained in my brain that dinner should be a hot meal. Or maybe it’s because munching on all that lettuce makes me feel a bit like a rabbit.

But sometimes between the pasta dishes and batches of peanut butter apple bars you just need a fresh break. All the recent baking and experimenting in the kitchen left me craving a salad. Of all things. Unbelievable.

This grilled steak and peach salad did not disappoint. Peach season is ending, but there’s still time to take advantage of this sweet fleshy fruit before it’s gone from grocery stores until next summer. Peaches are delicious, but grilled peaches are like a whole new species. The outer flesh caramelizes and develops a light smoky taste while the inner peach juices form a syrupy concentrate. For those of you who have not grilled peaches before, I apologize for sharing this secret at the end of peach season.

Between the succulent grilled peaches, the tender steak and the creamy mild dressing this salad made me forget all about my salad doubts. And I didn’t even think about rabbits once.

Grilled Steak and Peach Salad with Easy Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the steak
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound sirloin tips
for the dressing
  • ½ pound cambozola cheese crumbles, or another mild blue cheese of your choosing
  • ⅓ cup light sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon pesto
for the salad
  • 2 peaches, halved and pitted
  • 4 cups mixed romaine, raddicchio and butter lettuce, or the greens of your choosing
  • 1½ cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced
Directions
  1. Place the steak in a shallow dish. Whisk together the first 9 ingredients in a small bowl then pour over the steak. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least three hours. Remove the marinated steak from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and let it get hot. Place the steak tips on the grill pan, being sure not to crowd the pan, and let them cook 5-6 minutes per side for medium depending on the thickness of the tips. Remove to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into thin slices.
  3. While the steaks are cooking make the dressing. Put half the blue cheese into a small mixing bowl with the sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, chives and pesto. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  4. While the steak is resting, finish the salad. Brush the cut side of the peaches with extra-virgin olive oil then place them cut side down over a grill pan on medium-high heat. Grill the peaches for 3 minutes then flip and grill the other side for one minute. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Once peaches are cool enough to touch, slice into wedges.
  5. Toss the greens, grape tomato halves and red onion slices in a large bowl. Divide onto the four plates then top with the sliced steak, peach wedges, dressing and the remaining blue cheese crumbles.

Recipe adapted from September 2013 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Sun-dried Tomato & Kalamata Olive Lemon Pasta

I find it amazing how much our taste in food adapts and evolves as we age. Do you know children often need to be introduced to a food 15-20 times before deciding whether they like or dislike it? I must have never given many of the ingredients in this dish a proper chance because if I told my 10-year-old self that I would be happily chowing down a bowl of pasta with mushrooms, garlic, lemon and… olives? Gasp! Unthinkable!

For my whole childhood and early young adulthood, I was an olive hater. It was more than simple dislike of olives; when others ate them I would scrunch my face up and say, “Ew, gross, you like olives??” Clearly I was particularly mature for my age.

But this pasta here, this is miracle pasta. Whether you snarf down olives by the jar or their briny smell makes you run away, you must try this pasta dish. The savory mushrooms and pasta are perfectly balanced by the saltiness of the olives and Parmesan. The lemon and parsley provide a fresh finish and help keep the dish light. This recipe is easily adaptable as you can adjust it to your own preferences. A few more mushrooms, a little less garlic, it’s up to you. If you’re feeling super adventurous you could even load up on the olives.

Since I’m still warming up to olives and don’t want a whole jar of them sitting in our fridge I usually get what I need from the salad bar at my grocery store. Sometimes if you put them in the little dressing container they won’t even charge you! Now hurry up and get cooking!

Sun-dried Tomato & Kalamata Olive Lemon Pasta
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces thick spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives, pits removed & chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ⅓ cup fresh grated parmesan, plus more for serving
  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
Directions
  1. Cook the spaghetti al dente. When draining the cooked pasta, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and mushrooms, stirring occasionally.
  3. After 5 minutes, or once the mushrooms look almost browned, add the olives, lemon juice and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked spaghetti, lemon zest and parsley to the skillet. Toss together in the skillet then add ⅓ cup of the reserved water. Add more reserved water if there is not enough sauce to coat the spaghetti.
  5. After pasta is tossed, top with the parmesan.
  6. To serve top with more parmesan if desired.
Notes
I use dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes when I make this recipe. If you use oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes instead you may want to reduce the amount of oil in the second step of the recipe.

Recipe adapted from September 2013 issue of Women’s Health.