Monday, April 22, 2013

Kicked Up Carne Asada Steak

Carne Asada Steak with Guacamole Salad
Winter should be gone by now, but here in Denver we are getting another round of snow for today and tomorrow!  At least over the weekend we had decent weather for grilling.  I made this marinated flank steak on Sunday when it was a “balmy” 54 degrees outside….LOL.  Still, it was a nice break from the cold and snow we have experienced this April.   
This marinated flank steak has become a staple in our house since I came across it several years ago while watching the Food Network.  The original recipe was entitled Tacos Carne Asada, but I loved the flavor of the meat so much that I didn’t want to cover up the meat with anything besides some guacamole and a side salad.  The marinade for this steak is called Mojo and it certainly gets the Mojo working on the meat by tenderizing it and imparting to the meat the most delicious citrus, garlic and jalapeno flavors.
2 pounds flank steak or skirt steak
1 recipe Mojo – recipe below
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 recipe Guacamole salsa – below
Shredded romaine lettuce for side salad

Mojo Marinade:
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced ( I leave the seeds and veins in for some added kick!)
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
1 orange, juiced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
½ cup olive oil

Using a mortar and pestle (or a bowl and the back of a wooden spoon), mash together the garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper to make a paste.  Put the paste into a glass jar or plastic container and add the lime juice, orange juice, vinegar and olive oil. 

Shake it up vigorously to combine.  Lay the flank steak in a large baking dish and pour the marinade over it, making sure to cover the meat fully.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 8 hours.  The longer the meat is marinated, the more the flavors can sink into the meat.  Do not marinate the steak for more than 8 hours or the meat will get mushy. 

Preheat an outdoor grill or a ridged grill pan over medium high heat.  Pull the steak out of the mojo and season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper.  Grill or broil the steak for 7 to 10 minutes on each side, turning only once, until medium rare.  Place the steak on a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to re-distribute within the meat.  Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal and serve with romaine lettuce and guacamole salsa on the side.  It’s also delicious with a side of black beans or you can put the meat into tacos as the original recipe suggests.  Cheers!

Guacamole Salsa:
3 ripe avocados, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp Garlic powder
1 handful Cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 Fresh jalapeño, finely chopped
5-6 Cherry tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the insides, discarding the seeds.   Mash the avocado in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients, stirring thoroughly to combine.  For best flavor,  allow the guacamole to sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour for the flavors to combine together. 


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Garlic Lime Pork Chops

Garlic Lime Pork Chops

These pork chops have the scrumptious flavors of tangy lime, garlic, cilantro and some Tabasco for a little kick.  I love how the grilling process brings out the tangy lime and garlic flavors so nicely.  The Tabasco addition to the marinade just gives it a little heat on the back end and it is quite subtle……not overwhelmingly spicy or vinegary. 
I reluctantly admit that this recipe is the first time I have brined my meat before cooking it.  I have heard time and time again how brining makes the meat turn out so moist and delicious, yet I have never taken the time to try it until now.  Let me just say that I am totally blown away by the difference this makes in the moistness of my grilled meat.  I will be brining from now on! 
This recipe was inspired by a recipe I found on – link below

 The recipe called for the pork chops to be grilled and then coated with the garlic lime vinaigrette afterwards.  I decided to marinate the chops in the vinaigrette instead and the end result was awesome!  I added some Tabasco and some Worcestershire for a little kick as well.  Grilling the chops will bring out the best flavors in the marinade, but these chops could also be pan seared on a grill pan on the stove top.  Cheers!
Brine Mixture

1/3 cup salt and 4 cups warm water. 
Dissolve the salt in the warm water.  Add cold water to cool it down- about 2-3 cups of cold water.  For food safety, it is important to cool the water down before placing the pork chops in the brine.  Place the pork chops in the brine mixture, making sure the chops are completely covered by the liquid.  Refrigerate the brine and chops.  Brine the chops in the mixture for 1 hour.  Chops can be brined for longer if desired. 

Garlic Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 3 limes
5 dashes of Tabasco
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 /2 tsp Worcestershire
Cracked fresh pepper to taste
4 (1/2 inch thick) pork chops

Whisk together lime juice, garlic, red-pepper flakes, salt, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking well. Whisk in cilantro, Tabasco and Worcestershire.   Remove chops from brine, rinse chops in cold water and then marinate pork chops in the vinaigrette for 30 minutes.

Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat. Take chops out of marinade and season with cracked pepper. Grill pork chops, covered, turning over once, until just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes total.  After removing chops from grill, allow them to rest on a plate for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute inside the meat.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bacon-Green Chili Breakfast Burritos

Bacon-Green Chili Breakfast Burritos

I spent the past week trying to get back into the routine of life after my fabulous trip to San Francisco.  I haven’t cooked much this week as a result, but I did make these breakfast burritos  - a recipe that I am always adjusting and trying to perfect.  I would love to hear what you add to your breakfast burritos and what you do to make them extra delicious!  I really would have loved to smothered these with spicy green chili but I didn’t have any on hand this time.  So, chopped green chilies mixed into the filling had to suffice for now.   This makes 4 breakfast burritos, but you could always adjust to serve more if needed.  Enjoy!

2-3 cups frozen hash browns  
4 flour tortillas
5 slices cooked bacon- crumbled
3 roasted green chilies, chopped
4 eggs, slightly beaten
Shredded cheese - Mexican blend (1-2 cups)
Cholula sauce
                                                             Salt and pepper to taste

Spread out hash browns on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt to taste when they are soft and cooked.  While the hash browns are cooking, sauté green chilies in a large pan in a little olive oil over medium low heat for about 5 minutes or until soft. 

Push the chilies over to one side of the pan.  Add a little salt and pepper to the eggs and then add the eggs to the same pan, cooking the eggs on medium heat.  When the eggs are set and no longer runny, mix in the green chilies with the eggs. 
Add the potatoes to the egg and green chili mixture
Add the crumbled bacon to the mix and stir to mix the ingredients evenly.

Build each burrito one by one.  Place one tortilla on a plate, sprinkle with shredded cheese (as much as you like- I like alot) and then spoon about 2-3 large spoonfuls of the filling mixture onto the middle.  Next, douse the filling on your burrito with a generous amount of Cholula. 

I heat each tortilla with filling on top in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds so that it is easier to roll up.  After the burrito is rolled, I put it back into the microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt everything together.  All that’s left to do is pour more tortilla over the top and enjoy! 
Sour cream is always good on top or mixed in with the filling too.