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Dec 28, 2012

“Japexican” Steak Salad

“Japexican” Steak Salad

A couple of weeks ago, we had a surprise 60th birthday party for my mom. Let’s just say, we were pretty crafty with our planning or mom is the most gullible person ever. Either way, it went off (almost) without a hitch. It fell to my dad and I to bring her to the country club where about 100 of her nearest and dearest friends and family members had been hanging out for almost an hour enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

Mom thought she was going to a surprise party for another close friend and we kept getting frantic texts from my brother wondering where the hell we were: we were still at home because mom had decided I had nothing suitable to wear to anyone’s party. “Too low cut,” she scowled at my favorite go-to long sleeve basic black dress. “Looks cheap! What is that, polyester??” she lamented when I modeled a navy shift dress with orchid printed panels (in her defense, it was an H&M dress, but I do consider myself the

aq original “maxanista” and I honestly thought I could work that dress and no one would know.) “NO.” was her monosyllabic take down of my favorite outfit, a snow white feathered mini dress with a black silk top. She then started insisting that I drive to the local mall and grab something, anything, from the rack so that she could be seen with me in public. Needless to say, this went on for quite some time until I had to put my foot down and inform the birthday girl that it was the feather mini dress or nothing at all. Your pick, Yogi, I challenged. She sighed, “Well, its better than the others I guess. And we are late, so lets go.”

So far, so good. We made it into the car and were enroute to the party. However, I had failed to pack any jewelry to go with any of the above-mentioned hideous outfits—a big no, no with Indian women. How can you go to a party with not a single piece of jewelry on? And so, a quarter of a mile from the country club, she insisted my father pull over at a store to buy me some jewelry at, wait for, BIG LOTS. Mom and Big Lots have a long-standing love affair and no matter how much money she has made or will ever make won’t break that. It’s true love. We ran in, picked out the first earring and necklace set that could maybe pass for cubic zirconium (or plastic) and finally, we were on our way. So far, the surprise was still in play and I was feeling pretty good about this.

That is, until  we got there. Dad dropped us girls at the side door by the coatroom and went to park the car. While we were hanging out coats, some genius rushed into the coatroom to ask if we were with Dr. Kothari’s party (dad). Yes…my mom replied, confused. This was supposed to be a surprise party for somebody else! “Oh, ok, then let me go tell everyone to get in the room and be quiet for the….” I shot him my dirtiest stink eye and hissed, “Will you just shut up! Shut up and go away.” A faint  flicker of understanding sparked in his eyes and he quickly walked away. Ugh, I thought, really? This douche is going to ruin the surprise at this point? And I’m sure mom knew what was going on by that point but she gamely played along and was truly touched and brought to tears when everyone jumped out and screamed “Surprise!!!”

After that, the party went off without a hitch. Everyone loved the menu, which I had helped to coordinate with the head chef of the country club, a former Culinary Institute of America Graduate. I’m not going to mince words here, I was not that excited about the menu. It was ethnic food (I hate that word “ethnic” food, but its 6:00 am and I can’t think of anything less offensive. Sorry to my “ethnic” readers, I know how annoying that is.) served in classic, crappy banquet style.

I won’t get into the specifics, but lets just say they turned my poblano stuffed peppers with quinoa and toasted pumpkin seeds into bell peppers stuffed with cous cous and they were serving frozen potstickers “to order”. Oh, fancy. They fried it in a pan in front of us and everything! But the one good thing they did have was sliced flank steaks with a variety of Mexican topping to add on: guacamole, salsa fresco, green sauce, etc. I topped mine with salsa fresca and a drizzle of lime and it was really good.

So, when I drove home a few days later, I was totally craving steak with salsa. What a great combination! I love me a good Thai beef salad and I started thinking about making a little Japanese-Mexican riff on the dish. I had a nice, big dry aged boneless rib eye in the fridge and decided, tonight, it’s just you and me, baby.

I marinated the steak in equal parts of soy sauce and mirin—nothing else, and made my salsa fresco while the steak came up to room temp. It was a pretty thick ribeye so I preheated my oven to finish is off after it seared on the grill pan, but when I inserted my meat probe into the steak before putting it in the oven it was already perfectly medium rare. I sliced the steak very thin across the grain, spooned some salsa fresca over it and drizzled the plate with a quick splash of lime.

It. Was. Crazy. Awesome.

Get on it!


“Japexican Salad”

 Ingredients (steak)

  • 2, 4 oz. flank steaks (or any steak you have laying around, I used ribeye and it was delicious)
  • 2 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 2 TBSP Mirin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Ingredients (Salsa Fresca)

  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ½ white onion (about ½ cup), diced
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • ½ TBSP lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • ¼ loosely packed cilantro leaves roughly chopped
  • ¼ TSP cumin powder
  • salt and pepper to taste