Spring Potato Salad

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I don’t remember ever paying much attention to the seasons when it comes to food. It’s both a privilege and a curse of living in America. In fact, it wasn’t really until I studied abroad in Argentina that I was really confronted with the we-don’t-have-it-if-it’s-not-in-season nature of finding and cooking food. But, even then, Argentina, and all travels before that, preceded the deep interest I now have in cooking and eating healthy, so it was more of a nuisance than anything else.  All I wanted was some fresh veggies to balance out the extreme amounts of delicious beef I was eating, but alas.

Now, however, with farmer’s markets, with the tons of food blogs I now follow, with my realization that “in season” actually means good, I’m  paying attention. I’m certainly not at the point where I will only cook vegetables that are in season–that seems like a waste of a supermarket to me– but I have definitely found that my tastes are much more in tune with the flavors and foods of fall, say, or now, of spring.

So when I saw this recipe for a new potato and arugula salad, I was sold. If I hadn’t seen this recipe, one visit to the farmer’s market alone could’ve told me that arugula is in season.  And doesn’t it remind you of spring?  Plus, not being a fan of traditional potato salad, I was pleased to find one that wasn’t so heavy on the mayo and had the tartness of Greek yogurt. I didn’t modify the recipe much, but I did change the steps to make it a one-bowl deal. I figured with the nice weather we’ve been having, you might want to make it for the BBQ I’m sure you’re having this weekend. 😉

Spring Potato Salad
Recipe courtesy of TheKitchn
Serves 6 as a side, 4 if you make it a meal

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs new potatoes (I got a variety of purple, red, and white), scrubbed well
1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive-oil mayonnaise
2 large shallots, sliced thin
1 large bunch of arugula (I used baby)
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 tsp garlic powder
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
Optional: diced ham or diced hard-boiled eggs to give it a protein boost and make it a meal

Directions:

1. Add your potatoes to a large pot, and fill the pot until the potatoes are covered with about 2 inches of water. Add at least 1 tbsp of salt to the water, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and either return to the pot, or set the strainer over the pot so they continue to drain.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the Greek yogurt and mayonnaise in a large bowl with a lid.  Add the garlic powder, and add black pepper to taste.
IMG_71133. Set up a station where you have the hot potatoes at the beginning, your cutting board in the middle, and the bowl with the yogurt/mayo mix at the end, like this:
IMG_71144. Take one potato at a time from the pot, and cut it into quarters.  Add the quarters to the yogurt bowl, and repeat this process until you’re out of potatoes.

5. Toss the potatoes with the yogurt mixture until well coated.
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6. Add in the arugula, dill, and shallots, and mix to coat. Season to taste with salt and more pepper. Serve warm (my preferred method) or refrigerate for at least an hour and serve cold.
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7. OPTIONAL: if you would like to eat this as a complete meal, I would recommend adding some diced deli ham or a diced hard-boiled egg. I did the ham method, and it was delicious!

Spring Potato Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs new potatoes (I got a variety of purple, red, and white), scrubbed well
  • ½ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup olive-oil mayonnaise
  • 2 large shallots, sliced thin
  • 1 large bunch of arugula (I used baby)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
  • Optional: diced ham or diced hard-boiled eggs to give it a protein boost and make it a meal
Directions
  1. Add your potatoes to a large pot, and fill the pot until the potatoes are covered with about 2 inches of water. Add at least 1 tbsp of salt to the water, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and either return to the pot, or set the strainer over the pot so they continue to drain.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the Greek yogurt and mayonnaise in a large bowl with a lid. Add the garlic powder, and add black pepper to taste.
  3. Set up a station where you have the hot potatoes at the beginning, your cutting board in the middle, and the bowl with the yogurt/mayo mix at the end, like this:
  4. Take one potato at a time from the pot, and cut it into quarters. Add the quarters to the yogurt bowl, and repeat this process until you're out of potatoes.
  5. Toss the potatoes with the yogurt mixture until well coated.
  6. Add in the arugula, dill, and shallots, and mix to coat. Season to taste with salt and more pepper. Serve warm (my preferred method) or refrigerate for at least an hour and serve cold.
  7. OPTIONAL: if you would like to eat this as a complete meal, I would recommend adding some diced deli ham or a diced hard-boiled egg. I did the ham method, and it was delicious!

 

 

Cooking Cure Day I-don’t-know-anymore

Well, guys, as it happens, sometimes our best-laid plans go awry.  After successfully completing two weeks of the Cooking Cure, I fell off the wagon during dinner week.  Happy hours, rehearsal dinners, and weddings all conspired to make me uninspired to keep up with the Cooking Cure (and eat all the delicious things at these events instead….worth it!). And you know what? It’s OK.

When it comes to dieting, you can’t let guilt consume you.  Dieting/losing weight/maintaining weight loss is a long haul.  You will have ups and downs, and you will have setbacks. It is a very easy thing to think that one mistake ruins the whole process, but it doesn’t.  You are human.  Humans make mistakes.  But, best of all, we also learn from them.  I know this was true for me when I was losing weight, and I know it will continue to be true throughout this whole healthy eating thing.  I will have weekends or vacations or, hell, weeknights, where the last thing I want is to eat healthy, where all I crave is greasy pizza and sweets. And, lucky for me, I’ve never felt terribly guilty about this, because I know I can, and will, pick up again.

Just as I don’t feel particularly guilty about not getting through dinner week on the Cooking Cure. Instead, when this week started again, I just jumped right back into planning my meals for the week.  Thing is, the Cooking Cure for me was never about learning to meal plan or to cook at home all the time–I had already been doing those things for months and months.  It was about reinspiring and motivating me to continue learning and being creative in my meals.  And I think the first two weeks of the Cure were sufficient for me.

In fact, after having such success with the Coconut Carrot Soup during lunch week, I decided to revisit my lunch plan this week and choose another recipe to make: Sriracha Steak Lettuce Wraps. If I’m being honest, the decadence of the weekend actually made me crave some of the lighter, healthier, salad-based recipes I had found during lunch week, so I decided to ride that wave. And boy am I glad I did.

I was very intrigued by the cube steak, which I had never cooked with before.  It’s basically a steak that has been tenderized with a meat mallet so that it looks like ground beef but is actually one piece of meat.  This means that you dice it, and you get bigger chunks of meat than just the little morsels of ground beef, which I actually liked as it felt both more substantial and more manageable. The only things I changed from the original recipe was the amount of honey used, and that I added some sesame oil to the relish to give it that toasted flavor!

The best part of this meal was how easy it is to make! In fact, while the steak was marinating in the delicious Sriracha sauce, I checked the mail, fed my cats, chopped up the cucumber relish, and minced all my aromatics (not bad for weeknight cooking!).  By the time I was done with all that, the steaks were ready to throw in the wok, and once they got in there, they only took about 7 minutes!

Spicy Steak Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from Simply Scratch
Serves 4

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Ingredients:

For the steak:
1 lb cube steak, diced
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp Sriracha
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
Juice of one lime
2 tbsp (for the marinade) coconut oil, melted+1 tsp coconut oil (for sauteing)
5 green onions, sliced
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
1 tbsp cornstarch
Lettuce leaves

For the cucumber relish:
1/2 cucumber, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt

Directions:

1.  In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, melted coconut oil, Sriracha, lime juice, and soy sauce.

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2. Add the diced cube steak the bowl, and mix together to coat.  Let marinate, uncovered and on the counter, for at least 30 minutes.

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3. Meanwhile, do any small errands you need to, and then get to making the cucumber relish!  Combine the finely chopped cucumber, red bell pepper, and red onion in a bowl (with a lid so that you can store this later!) with the toasted sesame oil and a dash of salt.

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4.  Slice and mince the green onion, ginger, and garlic, if you haven’t already.  Once the 30 minutes are up, heat the remaining tsp of coconut oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat and add your aromatics to the pan.  Saute for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

5. Add in the chopped steak, with all the marinated juices and stir fry for 4-5 minutes until there is no more pink visible.  Then, mix in the tbsp of cornstarch and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.  You will notice that the sauce will begin to thicken and darken and will really coat the meat.  That’s what you’re looking for!  Season with some kosher salt!

6.  Put a lettuce leaf or two on a plate, and fill with the steak mixture, making sure not to overfill so that you can pick it up with your hands!  Top with as much or as little of the cucumber relish as you’d like!

Steak wraps and carrot soup!

Steak wraps and carrot soup!

Sriracha Steak Lettuce Wraps
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the steak:
  • 1 lb cube steak, diced
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp (for the marinade) coconut oil, melted+1 tsp coconut oil (for sauteing)
  • 5 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • Lettuce leaves
  • For the cucumber relish:
  • ½ cucumber, finely diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, melted coconut oil, Sriracha, lime juice, and soy sauce.
  2. Add the diced cube steak the bowl, and mix together to coat. Let marinate, uncovered and on the counter, for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, do any small errands you need to, and then get to making the cucumber relish! Combine the finely chopped cucumber, red bell pepper, and red onion in a bowl (with a lid so that you can store this later!) with the toasted sesame oil and a dash of salt.
  4. Slice and mince the green onion, ginger, and garlic, if you haven't already. Once the 30 minutes are up, heat the remaining tsp of coconut oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat and add your aromatics to the pan. Saute for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  5. Add in the chopped steak, with all the marinated juices and stir fry for 4-5 minutes until there is no more pink visible. Then, mix in the tbsp of cornstarch and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. You will notice that the sauce will begin to thicken and darken and will really coat the meat. That's what you're looking for! Season with some kosher salt!
  6. Put a lettuce leaf or two on a plate, and fill with the steak mixture, making sure not to overfill so that you can pick it up with your hands! Top with as much or as little of the cucumber relish as you'd like!