Tag Archives: steak

Cobb Style Steak Salad

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I was hoping Mother Nature might take pity on us by wielding her mighty weather wand because October has arrived and with it, the promise of Fall.  All things apples and pumpkins, steaming bowls of comforting soup to stave off a late afternoon chill in the air.  New wooly socks and freshly knitted scarves in blended hues of purple and rust.  Leaves that change color seemingly overnight, then fall to the ground before one realizes it.  Standing on the porch in the evening to inhale the fresh air and scent of burning wood from a fireplace nearby.  Cuddling and snuggling…

Wait.  Not necessarily.

It’s a sweltering 94 degrees today, and for those who live inland in San Diego county, the temperatures are well past 100 degrees.  There’s a breeze wafting through our house, but it’s a warm one and so the fan cycling the air beneath my desk sends welcome relief.  As much as it is not all that unusual for our weather to be warm well into Fall, this is a bit much, and it’s had me thinking about the idea of looking forward to something often elusive — for me, at least — instead of embracing that which is today, and now.

The hubster and I often chide ourselves for being the weather nerds we are, but so be it.  And just to confirm it, I have a weather widget on all my devices tagged with my favorite cities — or cities where my favorite people live — and I frequently check to see how their weather differs from ours. Yes, really.

Guess what?  It seems to be pretty warm most everywhere today.  Allow me to illustrate:

Virginia (my sister lives there) is not quite as warm as it is here, but 75 degrees today is quite nice for October 2nd even if there are thunder storms.

Toronto (where I had the great pleasure of visiting recently) enjoyed a balmy 68 degrees today.

Western New York state (my childhood BFF lives there) had rain, but it was 66 degrees.  That’s warm by my standards and rain would be most welcomed.

San Francisco (teh ManBoy goes to school there) was most likely baking in the high 80s temps today and I heard from his roomie, so check.

Rota, Spain (my favorite childhood home) enjoyed 80 degree temps. Beach, anyone?

Even London, England (favorite vacation destination) managed 61 degrees today. Not enough for more than two light layers.  Maybe.

Fall?  What Fall?  Seriously?

I’ll blatantly ignore the calendar (and far more delicately with apologies, of course, the lovely New England folks nudging the rest of us along their pipe dream), to wallow instead in the moment of nowTodayLife where I live.   Life where fresh produce grows all year long and Farmers’ Markets don’t close for the season.  Really!  Life where the sun shines and shines.  I need to embrace the warm days and nights craved in June when the calendar said I should, instead of knowing they’d show up as they always do in September and October.  Brace myself for the piercing sunlight so normal here for this time of year. Welcome the nights of cool relief from the day’s heat. People who deal with excessive humidity just don’t understand the wonder of it.  It’s not the same as their summer.  Their heavy heat and humidity.  Not even close.

Relax and enjoy that life is good, I say. Regardless.

Perhaps we’ll have a salad for dinner since I can’t bear to think of turning on the oven for the Macaroni & Cheese I promised the hubster.    No, this recipe for Cobb Style Steak Salad will be something  that  the barbie can be fired up for if you’d like, or more easily, a panini pan used if one is handy. Either way, it’s all about enjoying the fresh flavors of a great dinner salad — warm weather or not.


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Steak and French Fries


I’ve had a little challenge going for myself since New Year’s Eve.  To be a tad more frugal during the month of January, I’m avoiding grocery stores and working through what we have in the fridge and the pantry.  To be fair, we all did just safely escape the most food-laden time of year, and I did have a house full of guests, so that means we were very well stocked and I so I have quite a bit of residue.

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Dry Rubbed Steak and Grilled Corn Salad a Perfect Combo

We see them all the time — those recipes on the back of boxes in our pantry, or the inside of a chocolate wrapper, or an herb package label.  Do you ever try them?  I do, but it depends on what they are.

Like the one on the back of the Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt box I noticed after my husband said he liked rubs on his grilled meat more than marinade.  It always surprises me when he takes the time to mention something like that because he’s pretty accommodating when it comes to eating whatever I feel like cooking, rarely asking for anything in particular.

We weren’t involved in any discussion about dinner plans, or watching a food related show — he just mentioned it while he was standing at the sink fiddling with his teabag before leaving for work one day.  Go figure.  Sure, I’d made and used rubs before, but thinking about it, knew I used marinades more frequently.

So how perfect was it that when I went to fill the salt dish that day, Bruce Aidell’s Secret Spice Rub,
(which clearly wasn’t secret if it was published on the back of the salt box), was staring right at me?  I’d say pretty perfect.  No leafing through cookbooks, no Googling rubs.  I was done and the hunkster would be happy.

By the time I was finished putting the rub together, it wasn’t Bruce’s any longer.  As usual, I didn’t have exactly all his ingredients, so made some changes.  Big surprise, right?  Life is never boring around here.

If you haven’t decided what’s on the menu for the Labor Day weekend, this is quick and easy.


Kelly’s Not So Secret Rub

1/3 c. kosher salt
2 T coarsely ground pepper
2 T brown sugar
3 T smoked paprika
2 T chili powder
1 T dried sage leaves
1 tsp. herbs de provence
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. fennel
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. dried tarragon
2 T dried minced garlic

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Store in a well-sealed jar or ziplock bag.


To use, sprinkle generously on both sides of beef and rub into meat.  Wrap meat well and place in the fridge for at least an hour.  The longer it sits, the more intense the flavor of the rub will be.


Grill depending on the cut of meat chosen, and thickness of that meat.  I used pieces of thin cut round steak labeled as for “carne asada,” which I hadn’t seen before.  And since the price was right, it ended up in my basket.  It was quick to grill, only about 4 minutes on each side, if that.


Serve with a nice crunchy Grilled Corn Salad like this one…

Chopped romaine
Sliced radishes
Chunks of fresh tomatoes
Sliced red onion
Two cobs of corn
Juice of 1 lime
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches salt


Rub the corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Grill just until kernels begin to brown and remove to cool.  When it’s cool enough to be handled, cut kernels from the cobs and set aside.

On a large platter, arrange the chopped romaine.  Add the chunks of tomato, cucumber, and red onions, then grilled corn.  Sprinkle over the radishes, some feta, and finish up with a bit of chopped cilantro.

For the dressing, squeeze the lime into a small jar and add 3 T of extra virgin olive oil.  Stir rapidly with a fork, add a couple pinches of salt, taste to correct flavor and pour over salad.

To serve, grill some sandwich rolls, place a large piece of steak over the entire roll, then pile on the salad.

Now, chew your way to happiness.



Notes: This is about as loosey goosey as I get with recipes.  I had the meat in the freezer and knew it would work just fine for the rub.  Just a hint of sweetness, the chili not overpowering, the taragon surprisingly pleasant since I’m not a fan.  Plus, the recipe makes a ton, so you can experiment with ribs, shrimp, or chicken.  It would be terrific on a slow grilled pork roast, too.

I didn’t set out to make sandwiches of this, but it just seemed right.  The crunchy cool flavors of the salad were perfect for the spiciness of the meat and everything stayed loaded on the bun, believe it or not.  All in all, a satisfying meal.

And for what it’s worth…

We have salad with nearly every meal we eat, so you’d think my fridge would be full of salad dressing.  With the exception of a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch my son requests because he likes to dip his chips in it, there is no bottled dressing.  I stopped buying it years ago because the over seasoned flavor dominated anything it was poured over.  Plus, the ingredient list left quite a bit to be desired:  high fructose corn syrup on my salad?  No thanks!

When I make salad dressing, it’s basically either lemon or lime and olive oil, just as I’ve written above.  From there, I alter it depending on what kind of salad we’re having, or what the salad will be served with.  I’ve added honey, mustard, a bit of balsamic vinegar, basil oil, roasted pepper oil, grapeseed oil, garlic, herbs…the list is endless.  It takes so little time and is so worth it because it tastes better, and is more healthy.

One more thing…

I honestly didn’t realize who Bruce Aidell was.  Even though I’ve purchased his brand of sausage many, many times, I never put two and two together.  Now I know.  Last again, I’m sure.

Grilled Rib-Eyes with Tomatoes and Kalamatas


I have a tendency to skip the sections in food magazines like “Quick Kitchen” in Gourmet, or “Too Busy to Cook” in Bon Appetit.  I look at the photos, am sometimes mildly curious, then realize there’s nothing to do.  What is that?  Do I long for the torture that inventive recipes sometimes entail?

Who knows, but recently a photo of steak simply displayed on a plate caught my eye.  Steak with Olives somehow got past my filter, bothering me each time I thumbed through the April issue of Gourmet until I finally gave in, realizing it was an easy way to make my husband’s suggestion for a sunny weekend “Summer’s Here” celebratory dinner come to fruition.

With Bellinis.

He said he was in the mood for a fruity drink, and this is a person who doesn’t normally drink.  His comment of, “You know, margaritas…” was heard, but I’d seen something about Bellinis somewhere and had white peaches on the brain.

And I’d seen the Steak with Olives for days and days, okay, months…scoffing at me from the magazine pages, challenging me each time I searched for something more interesting.  I was winning until I found the rib eyes on sale at my grocery store.  Nothing stimulates my brain like steak, a sale, and gorgeous weather.

Well, it sounds good anyway, right?

Suffice it to say I’ll look more closely at those “quickie” recipes from now on.  They’re a great springboard for other things…like the other recipe I saw for Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus with Parmesan.

Dinner time.

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Brown Derby Style Cobb Salad

This past week has been a whirlwind of activity for us.   Mild in comparison to past years, but after so many months of having the house entirely to myself each day, having the Resident Teen out of school, wondering about summer school, and no summer camp scheduled for the first time in ten years — well — my blogging time is all helter-skelter.  To boot, my husband is sorely in need of a vacation so decided we’d all get away for a bit last weekend.  Needless to say, my poor blog has been left unattended.  Stressfully so.  It feels somewhat like leaving a child that needs attention.

Our little trip this past weekend was to Universal Studios in LA, or Hollywood, as they describe it even though Hollywood is a bit of a trek down the 101.  Still, the theme park is nestled up against quite a hill, and is home of the real McCoy.  You know — the place where Universal’s famous back lot and sound stages are.  The place where they filmed so many wonderful movies — especially the old ones.  Those black and white gems with stars like Jimmy Stewart and Rock Hudson.  Why the inspiration and connection to food?  The Brown Derby restaurant, of course.  No,we didn’t eat there because it no longer exists like so many other of the old places.  But the original Bob’s Big Boy does, so we did eat breakfast there sitting in a vinyl booth, enjoying all the old photos of Hollywood, old Los Angeles, and movie stars.  It was completely great — as was the breakfast which must have had a million calories in it.  Deep fried french toast, anyone?

The Brown Derby restaurant was the birthplace of the Cobb Salad.  I’ve made many over the years, experimenting with the placement of the ingredients on the plate more than actually considering what the traditional ingredients of a Cobb Salad might be, so this was a good experience learning something new.

The idea to add steak was inspired by the July 2007 issue of Sauveur magazine which features a serious hunk o’ beef on its cover and is aptly named, “The Steak Issue,” a great issue if you’re a beef lover.  Although I didn’t have flank steak on hand as the recipe calls for, I did have three thick hunks of top round steak.  Technically the thickness is what dictates whether it’s a steak or a roast, and my pieces of top round were just shy of two inches.  So steak.  The marinade in this recipe is one of the best we’ve had.  The original recipe can’t differ much from mine, but I didn’t have the exact ingredients, so my recipe follows.

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