I've been traveling so much that I haven't had a chance to cook much, which is always disconcerting for me. I often crave salads when I am eating at hotels and always a bit disappointed at the lackluster ones that I end up getting. For one of the things that shows that I am a true Californian is my love of big salads that include meat. It is one of my favorite lunches and is especially good when the weather is hot. I know it's now fall and I will start making lots of soup soon, but I just had to make a salad that satisfied my craving and today was sunny and warm. So I created an Italianized stir fry with steak, red peppers, zucchini, garlic and onions and placed on top of a bed of lettuce - I used iceberg with arugula thrown in as that was what I had, but any kind will do. I cooked the meat and vegetables in olive oil seasoned it with basil (I only had dried) and added a bit of balsamic vinegar. That made a lovely savory dressing for the greens that included the liquid in the pan from making the meat and vegetables. It combined both a bit of Balsamic Vinegar and also a squeeze of lemon to brighten it up. And, it was so good - you will want to try this!
Warm Italian Steak Salad
1/2 pound flank steak (can also use round steak or chuck steak) slice thin against the grain
1 red pepper, stem and seeds removed, sliced into thin strips
1 zucchini, stem removed, cut into half, then into quarters and then into thin strips
1 onion, ends removed, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 large clove of garlic minced
4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
Salt and fresh ground Pepper to taste
2 big handfuls of mixed lettuce leaves, torn into bite sized pieces (I used iceberg and arugula)
Put lettuce onto a large serving plate. Heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large frying pan. Add in the garlic and onions and cook until onions just become translucent. Then add the red peppers and zucchini strips. Cook until the peppers are softened and the zucchini and onions brown slightly. Remove to a plate and reserve. Add in additional 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and heat until smoking. Add in steak and let cook until one side gets browned, turn and let other side brown. Then return vegetable mixture to the pan. Put in vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Toss until thoroughly mixed and spoon on top of the lettuce. Serve immediately.
Five Element Analysis
Lettuce of any kind belongs to the Fire Element and the Red Pepper adds even more Fire. The beef steak and zucchini both belong to the Earth Element so it is covered and the garlic and onions add the Metal Element. The lemon juice, Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil bring in the Wood Element so only the Water Element needs support as there is only a small amount of salt. So be sure to serve this with another Water food such as a berry dessert or showcase a Water food at another meal during the day to achieve balance.