Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Biscuits & Peach Jam-Buttermilk Ice Cream

Biscuits and Peach Jam-Buttermilk Ice Cream

If you're looking for the ultimate southern ice cream, I think this is it.  Made by a midwesterner no less ;).  But it's got the southern trifecta:  biscuits, peaches, and buttermilk.  Swirls of peach jam and crispy, buttery, slightly salty biscuit crumbles are mixed into a tangy buttermilk base, creating a great flavor profile of sweet-salty-tangy-creamy.   It's good stuff, right here.

I was admittedly a little apprehensive about biscuits being mixed into ice cream - it seems like it could have been a textural disaster - but I crumbled my biscuits into really small pieces, so it was just a nice little crispy and salty contrast to the creamy ice cream and sweet jam.

In short, I Joey Tribbiani'ed my love for peaches, biscuits, and ice cream, and "put my hands together." I urge you to do the same.

Biscuits and Peach Jam-Buttermilk Ice Cream

Biscuits and Peach Jam-Buttermilk Ice Cream
barely adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts
makes about 1 quart

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 3 oz (6 Tbs) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup crumbled sweet cream shortcakes (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup Peach jam, chilled (recipe follows)
Whisk about 1/4 cup of the cream with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.  Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.  

Combine the remaining cup of cream, the sugar, and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes, stirring periodically.  

Remove from heat and gradually whisk the corn starch mixture into the cream mixture.  Return the pot to the heat and cook, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds.  Remove from heat.

Slowly whisk the hot cream mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.  Whisk in the buttermilk.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours, or overnight.

Assemble your ice cream maker and pour the ice cream base into the maker.  Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.  Use a rubber spatula to mix the crumbled biscuits into the ice cream, then layer into a storage container, alternating layers of ice cream and jam.  Press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface of the ice cream and seal with an airtight lid.  Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Sweet Cream Shortcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (only White Lily will do)
  • 2 Tbs cold unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Butter a 9x9 inch baking dish.  

Put the flour and butter in a food processor and pulse 15 times.  Add the cream and pulse until the dough comes together into a shaggy mass.  

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to bring it together.  Fold the dough in half, then fold it over itself two or three times.  Press the dough into the prepared pan.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. 

Once it's cool, crumble enough of the biscuits to make 1/2 cup of crumbs.  Spread them in an even layer on a parchment-lined plate and freeze until needed.

Peach Jam
  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into large chunks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
Puree the peaches and measure out 1 cup of the puree for the jam.  Reserve any remaining puree for another use (recommended:  bellinis).  

Combine the peach puree, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and boil for 8 minutes (or until it is thickened slightly).  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Ultimate Summer Menu Planner

Hi, friends!  Long time no post.  I took a bit of an unplanned break from the blog over the past few weeks to spend more time with the family, wind down summer vacation, try (and failed) to get my house organized, and get Caroline ready to start the first grade (how is the possible).  I missed posting, but I have to admit - it was a nice respite for me, and it gave me the much-needed time to clear my head, then immediately fill it back up with ideas for future posts, recipes, and all things Pink Parsley!  So in the next few weeks, I have a lot to share:  a quick recap of a weekend trip we took to the mountains, the rebirth of my "Feeding my Family" series with a post all about school lunches, and several great recipes that you will definitely want to make before summer's end.

So speaking of summer's end, I've been thinking of all the things I still want to make before it's too late. And that got me thinking about all the delicious meals I've made over the course of the past few years.  And THAT led me to putting together this post for you all.  I'm featuring five menus that you should definitely make before Labor Day.  I'm including drinks, apps, and desserts within each menu, but if you're just looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal, feel free to tone it down a bit (or not!).


The Summer Meal of 2014

The Ultimate Summer Meal

I have made this exact menu three different times this summer for entertaining.  In fact, my mother-in-law even requested it for her Bible Study group this weekend.  This summer salad has become a classic with me and several of my friends and blog readers, and I beg you to at the very least, make the salad for dinner one night this week!  And the ice cream…. I haven't blogged it, but that's purely because I can't keep it it around long enough to photograph it.  It is the best ice cream I've ever made, and one that I will be making every year for the rest of my life.  If you don't have an ice cream maker, this ice cream is the perfect reason to buy one.  Just simply amazing.

Fresh Peach Wine Coolers
Cheesy Baked Vidalia Onion Dip (Bakin' and Eggs)
Grilled Summer Vegetable Chopped Salad
Tomato-Basil Bruschetta
Sweet Corn & Black Raspberry Ice Cream (Annie's Eats)

Low Country Love

Low Country Summer Menu

This is another meal that I've made several times.  When we go to the beach with our friends, each family is in charge of dinner one night out of the week, and this has become our go-to dinner.  Now I make it semi-frequently at home as well, and it's another great meal for entertaining.

Strawberry Rosé Sangria
Low-Country Grill
Garlic Cheddar Biscuits (add one cup of cheddar and a few cloves of minced garlic to my buttermilk drop biscuits)
Sliced Watermelon
Peach Cobbler

Summer Fiesta

Summer Fiesta Menu

You know I couldn't make a menu compilation without including Mexican food, right?  I'm pushing my spicy citrus-grilled shrimp tacos, but feel free to use your favorite taco here instead if you want something else (chicken, ground beef, beer-battered fish, etc).  

Summer Margaritas
Bacon-Chipotle Guacamole
Spicy Citrus Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Mexican Grilled-Corn Salad
Blackberry Pie Bars

The Ultimate Southern Summer Dinner

Southern Summer Menu

You are also probably unsurprised that I'm including a southern menu, right?  This southern feast will leave everyone full and happy!  It's reminiscent of the "Sunday dinners" that we used to have after church, but with updated recipes (and Bourbon!).

Blackberry Lemonade (spike with bourbon for an adult beverage!)
Pimento Cheese
BBQ Chicken Kabobs
Cornmeal-Crusted Okra
Summer Corn Pudding
Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Peach Pie

Summer Classics, Reinvented

summer classic, reinvented menu

This menu takes summer classics, and turns them on their head for a fun new spin.  This is great for casual entertaining, or just a weeknight dinner with your family.  Who doesn't like pizza and rice krispie treats?

Summer Shandy (1/4 cup lemonade + 3/4 cup Hefeweizen beer, served chilled)
Black Eyed Pea Hummus
BLT Pizza
Watermelon-Cherry Tomato Salad
S'Mores Rice Krispie Treats

I hope you found something you are just dying to make this week.  I'll be back later this week with some more dinner ideas, plus an ice cream that you definitely don't want to miss out on!  Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

BBQ Turkey Meatballs over Cheddar-Corn Quinoa

BBQ Turkey Meatballs over Cheddar-Corn Quinoa


I've had meal-planning ADD lately.  I sit down to plan my menu, write it all out, make my grocery list, then decide I hate everything on it and start over.  I'm pretty certain that last week I created three separate menus before finally settling on the final version.  And I have to say, I'm glad I floundered the way I did, because last week's meals were pretty spectacular!  I must do my best work under pressure.  
Leading the way was this last-minute addition, and ironically, it was just kind of thrown together on a whim.  I didn't have it in me to drag all the kids to the grocery store that day, so I needed to figure something out based on what was in the fridge.

The meatballs are an adaptation of my BBQ chicken burgers, and they were a smash hit.  Everyone in my family just devoured these.  To keep this dinner on the light side, I threw together a grilled corn and cheddar quinoa salad, and the pairing of the meatballs with the quinoa was just fantastic (though I think the meatballs would be fabulous over cheesy grits as well).  These would be a great addition to a party spread or tailgate as well, just served as-is.  Or topped with melted cheese and turned into a bbq meatball sub.  Um, yes please.

This was a filling and satisfying summer meal, but it was nice and light as well.  The perfect balance between my desire for healthy dinners, and wanting to serve something hearty and filling for the kids.  It's a winner all-around.

BBQ Turkey Meatballs over Cheddar-Corn Quinoa

BBQ Turkey Meatballs over Cheddar-Corn Quinoa

BBQ Turkey Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 5 Tbs bbq sauce, divided
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, panko, scallion, cilantro, paprika, garlic, mustard, salt, cayenne, brown sugar,  and 2 tablespoons of the bbq sauce.  Lightly but thoroughly mix with your hands to incorporate all the ingredients.  Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, form the mixture into balls, and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of bbq sauce to a small bowl.

Bake the meatballs 11 to 12 minutes, then brush with the reserved bbq sauce.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are cooked through (160 in the center).  

Cheddar-Corn Quinoa
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 ears of corn, grilled, roasted, or boiled, kernels cut from cobs
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced into thin rings and rinsed under cold water
  • 3 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 3/4 cup freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
Bring the quinoa, broth, and a big pinch of salt to a boil in medium saucepan.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked through.

Remove the quinoa from heat, and add to a medium mixing bowl.  Stir in the corn, onion, cilantro, scallion, and cheese.

In small bowl, whisk together the oil, pepper flakes, garlic, and vinegar.  Pour over the quinoa and gently mix to combine.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Serve the meatballs over the quinoa.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Spicy Steak Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

Spicy Steak Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

It's Taco Tuesday, and everything is awesome!  Who else is watching the Lego movie on repeat?  I don't mind so much, especially when it inspires meals such as this.  This, along with my grilled summer veggie salad, have become my favorite dinners of the summer.  Two more big reasons to love it?   It's incredibly quick and easy, and healthy to boot.

The steak is rubbed with a spicy mixture of cayenne, black pepper, salt, and paprika, and then thrown on the grill.  Meanwhile, you simply mix up a quick watermelon salsa, warm your tortillas, and you're ready to eat.  The smokiness and spice from the steak pair wonderfully with the sweet and spicy watermelon salsa, and the cotija cheese gives the tacos a subtly creamy and salty finish.  I loved these tacos so much, and we all "mmm'ed" our way through dinner.  I served  these tacos with grilled Mexican-style street corn and more watermelon, and it was pretty much the perfect summer dinner.

So today's Tuesday… who wants tacos?

Spicy Steak Tacos with Watermelon Salsa 

Spicy Steak Tacs with Watermelon Salsa
adapted from Cooking Light, August 2014
serves 4

  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 pound flank or skirt steak, trimmed 
  • Cooking spray
  • green onions, roots trimmed, finely minced
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime

  • 1/2 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped
  • (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2.  Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, paprika, oil, and red pepper in a small bowl. Rub both sides of the steak with the pepper and oil mixture.
  3.  Arrange steak on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3-4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 5 minutes; cut steak across the grain into thin slices.
  4. 4. Combine watermelon, cilantro, green onions, lime juice, chile, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
  5. 5. Place tortillas on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 1 minute on each side or until lightly charred.  Divide steak, salsa, and cheese evenly among tortillas.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spinach & Zucchini-Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

Spinach and Zucchini-Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

What do you get when you combine one of my favorite comfort foods with fresh summer produce?  Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna Rolls!  These tender pasta rolls are stuffed to the gills with a mixture of ricotta, parmesan, zucchini, onions, and spinach.  Then they're smothered in marinara sauce and cheese, baked, and devoured.  And my gosh, they are good!  And as far as eating a baked pasta dish with three cheeses, they are actually pretty light.  A modest amount of cheese goes a long way in lightening these up, and the addition of zucchini and spinach bulks up each serving.

Spinach and Zucchini-Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

I've been making a conscious effort to eat healthier this summer, and it's so refreshing to be able to enjoy a meal like this with no guilt.   It still has that satisfying comfort food feel, but thanks to a few steps to lighten it up, it's actually fairly healthy.  Definitely the best of both worlds.

Spinach and Zucchini-Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

Spinach and Zucchini-Stuffed Lasagna Rolls
adapted from Skinny Taste
makes 8 rolls
  • 8 lasagna noodles, cooked, drained, and patted dry
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz zucchini (about 2 medium), grated and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup  part skim ricotta cheese 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups Marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • fresh basil for garnish (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the zucchini and sauté until it is softened and beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and cook until fragrant about one minute.

In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, red pepper flakes, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  

Lay out the lasagna noodles on a clean work surface. Make sure noodles are dry. Take a scant 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over the noodle. Carefully roll the noodle and transfer it seam-side down to the prepared baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining noodles and filling.

Ladle the remaining sauce over the lasagna rolls and top each one with 1 tablespoon of mozzarella cheese. Cover the baking dish with foil, and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook an additional 10 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly, sprinkle basil over the top, and serve.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Oven-Fried Shrimp & Okra Po' Boys (and a po' boy salad)

Oven-Fried Shrimp & Okra Po' Boys

Oyster po' boys are one of my favorite foods ever.  Love the bread, love the fried oysters, love the remoulade sauce… it's all good.  But… not good for you.  Like, at all.  So it's relegated to a "once a year, only order it on vacation" food. That doesn't mean I don't crave it though.  And when I do - there's this sandwich.  No, it's not the same as the real oyster deal.  But it's pretty darn good.  And oh, about 1,000 calories less.  So it's a winner all-around.

When I first saw these in Cooking Light, I got so excited because HOW have I never thought of an okra po' boy before??  Genius!  Instead of being deep-fried, the shrimp and okra are tossed in buttermilk, then coated with spicy Cajun-spiked cornmeal.  They are baked in the oven, and come out perfectly crispy and delicious.

Another way that these cut calories is portion control.  Instead of being served on a big honking baguette, they are served in hot dog buns - like a lobster roll.  Definitely splurge and buy fresh hot dog buns from the bakery for these; or better yet, make your own!  A spicy and creamy remoulade sauce rounds them out, and I'd recommend serving simply with some chips, or go all-out summer and add some corn on the cob and watermelon.

Oven-Fried Shrimp & Okra Po' Boys

As for me?  I had a hankering for a salad that night (I told you, I'm obsessed with salads this summer).  So I turned my sandwich into a big salad with romaine, tomatoes, grilled corn, then okra and shrimp, and thinned out the remoulade with a little buttermilk to make a kick-ass dressing.  Winner winner, po' boy dinner.

Turned my shrimp and okra po' boy into a salad.  #greatdecision #clblogger #clkickingdishes #pinkparsley #summertime

Oven-Fried Shrimp & Okra Po' Boys
 Cooking Light, June 2014

The sandwiches were a little messy for the kids to eat, so I ended just giving them the okra and shrimp with some remoulade for dipping.  They loved this, and I think it would be a fun appetizer served this way too!

  • 15 small okra pods, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 low-fat buttermilk, divided
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 10 oz medium shrimp, deveined, peeled, and tails removed (preferably gulf shrimp)
  • 1 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 3 Tbs canola oil
  • 4 top-split, hot dog buns, toasted
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced romaine or iceberg lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • Remoulade sauce (recipe below)
Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat  to 450 degrees.

  1. Combine the okra and 2 tablespoons buttermilk and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl; gently stir to coat.
  2. Place shrimp in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with flour; toss well to coat. Drizzle with remaining 6 tablespoons buttermilk, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Drain okra and shrimp through a sieve; discard liquid.

  3. Combine cornmeal and Cajun seasoning in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add okra and shrimp; seal bag, and shake well to coat.

  4. Carefully remove pan from oven; drizzle with oil, then use a brush to coat the entire bottom of the pan with the oil.. Remove shrimp and okra from cornmeal, shaking off excess, and arrange in a single layer on the pan. Bake for 5 minutes.  Carefully flip the okra and corn, then bake an additional 4 to 5 minutes, or until the shrimp and okra are cooked through.
  5. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the rémoulade on one side of hot dog buns; divide lettuce and tomato evenly among buns.  top with the shimp and okra and serve.
Remoulade Sauce
adapted from Annie's Eats

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ Tbs pickle juice
  • ½ tsp prepared horseradish
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • Dash of hot sauce
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thai Grilled Steak Salad

Thai Grilled Steak Salad 

This has been the Summer of Salads.  We've been eating salads for dinner at least once a week, and oftentimes more than that.  Now, before you roll your eyes at me for getting excited about salad, let me clarify that we've been eating ridiculously amazing salads.  Like this chopped grilled summer vegetable salad.  And it's chicken fajita counterpart.  And a balsamic steak and tomato salad with bacon and blue cheese.  And a Georgia-style caprese salad.  And a shrimp and okra po' boy salad.  And last but not least, this Thai Grilled Steak Salad.

When I was young and hip and lived in the city, there was a gourmet grocery store/take out place called Eatzy's.  They had a glorious selection of all sorts of snacks, cheeses and meats, prepared salads and dinners, and an amazing deli.  It was right across the street from my gym, so I used to treat myself once a week to their Thai steak salad.  I'm quite certain it wasn't authentic, but I just loved it so much.

This salad is reminiscent of that one, and dare I say even better?  Being that this is a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, there are of course a few offbeat methods and steps.  Their goal for this salad was to be able to make it completely from ingredients found in the grocery store.  Therefore, a few creative substitutions and steps were taken to avoid a trip to an Asian grocer.  So while making your own toasted rice powder may seem a little strange, and toasting spices may seem like too much work, trust me on this.  Those little things just take a few minutes; they really elevate the salad to the next level, and are well-worth your time.

The dressing hits the usual Thai flavor points of hot-sour-salty-sweet-bitter, and the savory steak and crisp and refreshing cucumbers and herbs play so nicely off of it.  This was a really great dinner served simply with some fresh fruit and grilled corn, and the leftovers were stellar as well.

The Summer of Salads.  It's a thing.  What's your favorite salad?

Thai Grilled Steak Salad 

Thai Grilled Steak Salad
adapted from Cook's Illustrated

  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbs long-grain white rice
  • 3 Tbs lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 2 Tbs fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 1/'2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 lbs flank steak, trimmed
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped (Thai basil, if you can find it)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 3 shallots, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and sliced into thin rings
  • 1 seedless English cucumber, sliced as thinly as possible (use a vegetable peeler or mandolin)
Prepare grill.

In a small skillet, heat the paprika and cayenne over medium heat.  Cook, shaking the pan often, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Transfer to a small bowl.  Be very careful and run the fan over your stove if you have one as you toast the spices, because the toasted cayenne will burn your eyes and throat if you're not careful!

Return the now-empty skillet to medium-high heat, add the rice, and toast, stirring frequently, until it's a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a small food processor or spice grinder, and allow to cool 5 minutes before grinding the rice to a fine meal.  You should have about 1 tablespoon of powder.

In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, water, granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of the toasted spice mixture.  Set aside.

Season the steak liberally on both sides with salt and pepper.  Place the steak on the grill and cook until it's just beginning to char, and beads of moisture appear on the outer edges, 5 to 6 minutes.  Flip the steak and continue to cook until the steak reaches 125 degrees (for medium-rare), about 4 to 5 minutes longer.  Transfer to a plate and allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes.  Slice 1/4-inch thick on the bias, against the grain.

Toss the cucumber slices, shallots, and serrano rings in the bowl with the dressing, then use a slotted spoon to remove them and arrange on a serving platter.  Toss the steak and herbs in the bowl with the dressing, then place on top of the cucumber slices.  Sprinkle the toasted rice powder over the top, and pass the toasted spice mixture at the table for those who want more heat.  Serve warm or at room temperature.