freestyle fridays

life is too short to eat boring food

if you've lived close to as long as i have, you've called on your trusty taste buds approximately 50,000 times.  (i left out the pablum years) seriously, do the math. i'm not even counting snacks!  i've had to get glasses, i don't hear as well as some, my nose has been stuffed up more times than i can count, even touch has let me down occasionally (after a dentist visit, anyone?), but i have to say that taste is the one sense that has remained pretty darned trustworthy. and i'm pretty sure you could say the same thing, too.  what i'm getting at ought to throw your taste buds a party!

and nothing says taste bud party better, for me, than thai food.  i love, love, love thai food.  i love thai food so much that our great friend and great chef, kate seideman-barclay, most generously prepared an all-thai wedding reception for us.  yep, a yankee groom of ukrainian/polish descent and a southern bride of english/scots-irish roots chose to eschew the traditional foods of their native homelands for a not-so-traditional thai theme.  and for us, it was a perfect fit, seeing as we are a not-so-traditional couple. 
if a bright, flavorful, fresh, healthy, yet filling and satisfying dish sounds like a great way to throw your party, indulge yourself with one of my all-time favorites--yam neua, or in english,
spicy-as-you-like-it thai beef salad
serves 2
1 bunch cilantro, stems only, chopped
2-4 serrano chiles, chopped (heat can be adjusted by seeding and stemming chiles)
2 dried red thai chiles, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced (remove tough outer leaves, trim lower stalk to tender 3-4")
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 T palm sugar (you may substitute golden brown sugar)
1/2 c lemon juice
1-2 T nam pla, (thai fish sauce), to taste
1 lb lean sirloin, trimmed
steak seasoning dry rub (of your choice)
juice of 1 lg lime
1c lettuce mix
1c shredded napa cabbage, bok choy, or cabbage
1/2 c mung bean sprouts, sunflower sprouts, or both
1 small red onion, halved, sliced thinly
2 pickling cucumbers, sliced thinly
1/2 c loosely packed mint leaves
1 tomato, sliced in wedges

prepare steak by marinating in lime juice five minutes per side. rub with selected seasoning. grill or broil under high heat, turning occasionally, for a total of about 5-8 minutes for medium-rare, (or longer if you must). transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest.

combine dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl, blending well to dissolve sugar.  set aside.
with a sharp meat carving knife hold blade at a 45 degree angle, slicing thinly, crosswise. transfer meat to dressing. 
assemble salad ingredients on your prettiest platter, or two individual salad plates.   top salad with beef and dressing. toss lightly.
serve warm.
dig in!

super foods we used 
grass-fed beef
muscle enhancer
nothing beats pure protein when it comes to building muscle. the fatty acids in grass-fed beef are skewed towards the omega-3 variety, reducing inflammation. it also contains conjugated linoleic acid (cla) which studies have shown to help reduce belly fat and build lean muscle. shoot for no more than two 6-8 ounce lean cut servings a week.
chili peppers
immunity booster and metabolism revver
chiles stimulate metabolism, act as a natural blood thinner, and help release feel-good endorphins. they are also rich in beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin a in the blood and fights infections, as well as capsaicin, which inhibits inflammation. all this from half a chili pepper, or 1 tablespoon chili flakes, a day.
bok choy
bone builder
this crunchy cruciferous veggie is rich in calcium, as well as vitamins a and c, folic acid, iron, beta-carotene, and potassium, which keeps your muscles and nerves in check while lowering your blood pressure. shoot for a cup of this, and other cruciferous offerings, a day.
immunity booster
the lycopene content of tomatoes can help protect against degenerative diseases. shoot for half a tomato, or 12 to 20 ounces of tomato juice a day.

what we harvested this week: cucumbers, spinach, kale, peas, turnips, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet onions, spring onions
what we produced this week: strawberry balsamic black pepper glaze, strawberry lemon vanilla bean jam, spicy thai pickle, deli dills (in progress)
what we tackled this week: creativeLIVE photography workshop with penny de los santos
what we are thankful for: a big thank you to our generous friends, tom and janet harmon braz, for their donation of a refrigerator, double oven, stove top, dishwasher, and sink with disposal for the commercial kitchen in the works on the farm. their beautiful kitchen remodel is our wonderful kitchen blessing!
words that inspire us:
"one doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." andre gide, author


  1. greatchefkate20 May, 2011

    Yay! You have insipred dinner tonight! I like a version of this Thai dish with some fish sauce in the dressing. mmmm mmm good! Thanks for the shout out! Love yall!

  2. yay back atcha! (and we love you, too!)


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