It’s strange how people develop routines and when one thing goes wrong, the whole routine is out of whack. That’s pretty much what happened to me this week after my camera broke. Well, it only half broke, the truth is that it’s still functional but the focus is hit-or-miss and the macro setting is kaput.
No macro + no focus = unappetizing food photos. And that’s something I desperately want to avoid.
But as someone who’s become accustomed to using a camera while cooking (think wooden spoon in one hand, camera in the other), this was quite a setback. So much so that I spent most of the week bringing my poor little point-and-shoot to camera doctors all over the Chicago area. And I was afraid to cook anything important without my camera by my side lest I miss something good.
In the end I was forced to make a very adult decision: yesterday afternoon I purchased a brand spanking new DSLR, a Canon EOS Rebel XSi.
I’m still trying to learn how to use my new toy, so please be patient while I get the hang of it. You wouldn’t believe all the buttons and options this thing has! My first attempt at using it was for this roasted red pepper beef salad, and I took the photo before I’d even looked at the manual. What can I say, I was too hungry to study.
Despite the distraction of a new toy, I did take a few minutes to enjoy this fabulous roasted red pepper beef salad. There’s no exact recipe for it as I used ingredients I had on hand including leftover top sirloin, my new favorite cut of meat, so consider this “recipe” to be a “guide” instead. The flavors in this salad work extremely well together, although I felt it could have used a bit extra punch, so next time I’ll add some very thinly sliced red onions.
Roasted Red Pepper Beef Salad – serves 2
1 red bell pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
6 ounces steak (My favorite is top sirloin: it’s relatively affordable, has great flavor and is fairly lean, but use whatever meat you like best.)
4 cups mixed greens
10 cherry tomatoes
1/2 avocado, diced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion (optional)
Salt and pepper
Begin by roasting the red pepper either on the stove top or under the broiler. For both methods begin by lightly coating the red pepper in 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Place the pepper on a broiler pan or directly on a burner set to high heat and roast until the skin turns black, rotating the pepper every few minutes. Once the exterior is charred on all sides, set it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the pepper sit for 10 minutes, then remove the pepper from the bowl and peel off the skin and discard. Also discard the seeds, then slice the pepper into thin strips.
If using raw meat (opposed to leftover cooked steak), season the outside well with salt and pepper. Heat a grill or skillet to high heat (also preheat the oven to 400°F if using a skillet) and sear the steak on all sides, about 2 minutes per sides. If using a grill move the steak to a cooler part and cover, or if using a skillet set it in the oven. Cook the steak until it reaches desired doneness, about 5 to 8 minutes for top sirloin to reach medium rare. Let the steak cool to room temperature in a shallow bowl to collect the juices. Once cool, slice the steak into 1/4-inch thick pieces.
Divide the lettuce between two plates and top each with half the sliced roasted red pepper, cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onion and steak. To make the dressing, mix the remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil in with the accumulated meat juices. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salads.