Recipe: Summer steak salad by David Theiss

Steak salad with corn and tomatoes

Steak salad with corn and tomatoes

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I was rummaging around my seasoning cabinet and came upon a new jar of cumin. I suddenly remembered I had bought it for a great little recipe I’m going to share with you today. But first a little about cumin.

Roasted and dried seeds from the small plant cuminum cyminum, (a member of the parsley family), it’s usually ground and known for its earthy, fragrant flavor, a key ingredient for chili and curry powder. Regionally we associate it with Latin, Mexican, or Indian cooking.

The history of this flavorful herb goes way back in time about 5,000 years. Native to the Eastern Mediterranean region, ancient Greeks kept a dish of it on their table, as we would salt and pepper today. A practice continued to this day in Morocco. Egyptians used this spice in foods as well as in their mummification processes. In the Middle Ages, cumin was the most common spice available which gave it a trade value, often used as money. Cumin also was thought to promote love and fidelity. It was alleged to keep loved ones and chickens from wandering. Married militia were sent off to war accompanied with a loaf of cumin bread in hopes of their safe return.

Cumin is also respected for its health benefits as a prized antioxidant. One study found it more effective than Vitamin C. For centuries it has been used to treat indigestion, gas, bloating, improved immune response, insomnia, asthma, common cold, anemia, among others.

Cumin’s distinctive flavor, dusty, nutty, spicy, with a hint of warm tones, is recommended to be used in moderation. Here’s that great recipe for a lite refreshing dinner.


Steak and marinade

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons onion powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 pound top sirloin steak

Combine all marinade ingredients together in zip top bag with the sirloin steak. Remove as much of the air in the bag as possible. Let sit refrigerated at least two hours (longer is better).

Cook to medium rare and slice across the grain in thin pieces.


1 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite size pieces

Hand full of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Small red onion, sliced

1/4 cup sliced black olives


1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Juice of two lemons

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Combine ingredients ahead of time and refrigerate. Toss all salad ingredients in bowl, serve on individual plates, top with the sliced steak and Gorgonzola cheese. Add dressing, and serve.

Here are a couple more great uses for cumin. Enjoy!

Taco seasoning

1/4 cup cumin

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon oregano

1/4 cup salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in an airtight container. Use three tablespoons of seasoning per one pound of ground beef or turkey.

Chili seasoning

1/4 cup cumin

1/2 cup chili powder

1/4 cup garlic powder

3 tablespoons oregano

1/4 cup onion powder

1/4 cup salt

3 tablespoons black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Use 1/4 cup of chili seasoning mix per one pound ground beef or turkey.

David Theiss, a longtime Carson City resident, is owner of Butler Gourmets Meats.


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