Houston’s inspired Thai steak salad

This past week was hell. I’ve experienced bad days but a bad week, really? Nothing about it was sexy.

Everything that could have gone wrong did.

I tried my normal get-out-of-the-funk routines – music, car dancing, meditation, Jack Daniels and ginger ale – nothing seemed to work. I held on tight and reminded myself that next week will be better. I’d make sure of it.

Last night, still feeling like I was in a bit of my January-coma, I had a flashback to something that always made me happy. Everything I’ve ever eaten at my favorite restaurant, Houston’s, that I love and miss so much.

When I lived in NY/NJ, Houston’s was one of my go-to’s. Now that I’m back south, Houston’s is just a fond memory that I look forward to reconnecting with on my next visit north.

When I find something I love I stick with it so I’d usually order the same thing. A lemon drop martini, spinach dip and the Thai steak salad. I don’t eat red meat or pork anymore but Houston’s steaks are the kind you come out of the red meat closet for.

The Thai steak salad is one of those dishes that you know was created by the Gods. A combination of tender, marinated steak, mango, avocado, tomato, cilantro, peanuts and a Thai sauce that deliver’s a food orgasm every time.

Last night, I needed a pick me up so I searched online for a steak inspired by Houston’s.

No recipe compared until I found this one on savory-bites.com.

Now, let me be clear. This did not replace the Houstons’ version. Didn’t come close. (I did mention that the salad served at Houstons is made by the Gods right?) I’m a mere human. And I assume the savory-bites dudes are also human.

But it did satisfy me on many levels. A creamy, moderately spicy peanut sauce, a colorful combination of fresh fruits and vegetables, fixed my red meat craving and it’s the anti-salad – it actually fills you up.

As my way of fully shaking last week and the damage it did on happy Shannon, I’m posting about food all week long. Because great food is a perfect way heal the blues.

Happy eating.

Sauce Ingredients:
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp hot water
1 1/2 tsp Sriracha
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/8 cup sesame oil
2 tbsp canola oil
1/8 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Salad Ingredients:
1/2 lb skirt or flank steak
1 ounce noodles, cooked al dente
1 large handful baby spinach
1 large handful shredded cabbage
10-12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 large handful cilantro
2 carrots julienned
1/3 cup diced mango (ripe and sweet)
A handful crushed peanuts

Directions:
In a small bowl using a whisk, whisk together all sauce ingredients until creamy. Set aside.

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Note: The recipe calls for skirt or flank steak. I had boneless ribeye so I used that. You can also use grilled chicken or skip the meat all together.

Season the steak with salt and pepper. In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter on medium high heat. Cook the steak to desired temperature. My husband and I prefer our steaks medium well. Season with salt and pepper. I also drizzled pineapple juice on the steaks while they were cooking. Mainly because Houstons’ Hawaiian grilled steak is to die for. This did not make it taste like Houstons but was tasty none-the-less.

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While you are preparing your steak, in a large bowl, mix all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. It is best to use your hands to mix the ingredients.

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I did not have add avocado but it is a great addition to this salad. Just make sure that the avocados are perfectly ripe – not too hard and not too soft – still firm so they hold together with all of the other ingredients.

When the steak is done, let it rest for five to 10 minutes. Then slice the steak into thin slices.

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To avoid making the salad mushy, toss the peanut dress into single serve portions. Then add the steak on top and serve.

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