Steak Salad with Orange Fennel Dressing

Steak SaladA few weeks ago it was super hot here. So hot I believe Adrian Cronauer would have said you could do some “crotch pot cooking.” I don’t want to cook when it’s that hot. Every night I made salads only firing up my indoor grill to grill my protein and some onions. Chaz was surprised at having salad every night but didn’t complain. Besides, salads can be incredibly simply and FAST to make. A bonus for the evenings when I lose track of time in front of the laptop writing or editing.

The most time you’ll spend on this salad is on the orange. If you’ve supremed any citrus before, it won’t take you long at all. If it’s your first time, you might want to do it first to get it out of the way. Slice off the ends of the orange then slice off the rind. Remove all the pith doing this, but leave as much of the fruit as possible. Slice the orange into segments on either side of the membranes and remove to a bowl.

Steak Salad with Orange Fennel Dressing – serves 4

1lb to 1 1/2 lb steak of choice (ribeye is pictured, I’ve also used skirt steak to make this)

1 onion, sliced in rings

olive oil

Mixed greens

2 fennel bulbs, halved, sliced

fennel fronds, rough chopped

1 orange, supreme

salt & pepper

Orange Fennel Dressing

Juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon fennel seed, ground in a spice grinder


Season steak with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside while your grill heats. In a large bowl add the mixed greens and fennel bulb and fronds. When your grill is hot add the onions and season with salt and a little olive oil. If you are using an outdoor grill, make sure you use a grill basket/tray for the onions so they don’t fall through once they get tender. Turn the onions once they’ve caramelized on the first side. Add the steak and grill for up to 6 minutes each side. Remove to a cutting board and let rest for ten minutes then slice against the grain. Remove onions when they are caramelized on the second side. In a small bowl whisk together orange juice, olive oil, fennel seed, and a pinch of salt. To serve, place salad on a plate or large salad bowl then top with steak slices. Garnish with orange supremes and grilled onions. Pour dressing over as desired.

This post is linked to Whole Food Fridays at Allergy-Free Alaska.

Lola Kale Salad

Cleveland War Memorial

Cleveland War Memorial

I am going to give Cleveland a little love today because it is a city deserving of more love than it gets. Sure their sports teams may not be the best, but at least they have pro teams. Not every city can say that. We heard a lot of, “Why are you going to Cleveland?” Why not? If you read My Love Affair, you know the purpose of our trip. But really, why not go to Cleveland?

We arrived late afternoon on a Wednesday and went for a walk right after we checked in. We strolled around at least an hour checking things out and taking pictures. We wandered by a street lined with prop trucks and signs pointing to “catering.” We knew something was up but it took a few trucks to realize something was being filmed. I had to Google it, of course. Prop trucks and catering for Captain America 2: Winter Soldier. Nothing was being filmed as we walked by, but one of the side streets was closed off.

Beautiful pops of color in the middle of downtown.

Beautiful pops of color in the middle of downtown.

Cleveland has gorgeous architecture, beautiful monuments, and little bits of surprises everywhere. Chaz was impressed with how clean the city is.

Dinner at Lola Bistro was the best part of the trip, of course. The second best part, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum. It blew my mind away having lived so close to this gem, yet never visited it before. I hadn’t been so excited about a museum trip since I saw a Van Gogh exhibit at the National Gallery of Art back in 1993.

Music is an integral part of my life as a musician and music lover. To say I was full of awe while inside would be an understatement. It was thrilling and surreal at the same time. Pieces of music history displayed through several floors and the Hall of Inductees. I was like a kid in a candy store. And seeing the awning from CBGB’s had me gobsmacked. I kicked myself for not going back to take a picture of it after I found out I could take pictures inside. Guess who needs to make another trip back?

Cleveland 3The Hall of Inductees is not at all what you think it will be if you’ve never been or been told what to expect. It is dark and all the signatures of the inductees are in a case on the left side of the hallway. The signatures are raised and look like they are glowing against the black background.

We were fortunate that they opened up the special Rolling Stones exhibit early because it was scheduled to open the day after we went. The following weekend, they were playing in Chicago while we were there for Hammerfest. Someone tweeted Mick and Ronnie the morning of Hammerfest telling them they should go to the show. I thought, Yeah right, like they’ll actually show up. If we aren’t friends on Facebook, I’ll share now that they did show up. They didn’t take the stage or mingle. They had their own little area and stayed there. But the important thing is that I was breathing the same air as the Stones and I didn’t have to pay $900 to do it either.

In all seriousness, Cleveland is a great city to visit. We were only there for one night and I want to go again for a long weekend at least.

If you go, the food might inspire you like it did me. This Lola Kale Salad was inspired by our dinner at Lola Bistro and the fact that while they had to remove all the ingredients I’m allergic/intolerant to, it was still a good salad in its simplicity. Sometimes, simplicity is best.

Lola Kale Salad – serves 4 as a side

1 bunch lacinto kale, de-stemmed, cut into a chiffonade

5 leaves nappa cabbage, leafy part trimmed off and cut into a chiffonade

5 radishes, cut into wedges (1/8th)

1/2 – 1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil



Place kale, nappa cabbage, and radishes in a medium mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl or glass measuring cup, add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk until emulsified. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix to coat well.


Eggless Egg Salad

Eggless Egg SaladOn our last day in Cleveland a few weeks ago, we had lunch at our hotel before walking down to the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. My steak salad included hearts of palm which struck me as texture-wise as similar to hard-boiled eggs.


I really do miss eggs. Runny eggs for breakfast, over leftovers, or in soup/stews. Hard boiled eggs for salads, sandwiches, and snacks. Raw eggs to add to batter for baking. I’m making it through, but I think anyone who had to give up eggs will agree with me about missing them.

The hearts of palm went quickly from idea to plate. That’s how much I miss eggs.

My first round topped a salad. The second round was wrapped up in lettuce after my tester said one of her people was curious about it as a lettuce cup. My grocer didn’t have endive to do a nice little cup, so I used Boston lettuce instead and made a wrap. Just as good.

My recommendation to you, if you make this, make sure you have diced avocado and toasted pumpkin seeds to go with it. The diced avocado gives it the creaminess that hard-boiled egg yolks would. The toasted pumpkin seeds give it the meatiness. I use ground mustard because I cannot have prepared mustard. If you use prepared mustard in its place, it will have a much different taste. Eggless Egg Salad 2

Eggless Egg Salad – serves 2-4

2 14 ounce cans hearts of palm, diced (it’s easier to get the long stalks to dice rather than the chunks)

1 avocado, halved

2 teaspoons ground mustard

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon raw local honey (or your sweetener of choice)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

salt to taste

squeeze of lemon juice

pinch of ground coriander and ground cardamom

olive oil

Heat a small pan over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds and toast until fragrant. Set aside. Place diced hearts of palm in a small mixing bowl. In a blender or food processor add half the avocado in large pieces, ground mustard, hemp seeds, 2 tablespoons of the toasted pumpkin seeds, raw honey, turmeric, salt, lemon juice, ground coriander, ground cardamom, and a little olive oil. Start your blender or food processor and remove the center piece of the lid or push through. Drizzle olive oil in until you have your desired consistency.  Pour over the hearts of palm and mix well. Refrigerate if you want to serve it cold. Serve over lettuce leaves, on a salad, or between two slices of allergy-free bread. Garnish with the remaining half of avocado and toasted pumpkin seeds.

If you want to serve it on the same salad I did in the first picture you’ll need: 2 romaine hearts, chopped; 1 cucumber, de-seeded, quartered, sliced; 5 radishes, halved, sliced, and one cup shredded carrot.