Tag Archives: beef

Short Rib Nachos

These are O.M.G good.  Life changing.  You can also make them in less than 10 minutes, give or take grating cheese time.  How is that possible you ask?  Your best friend the freezer.  Remember these amazing short rib tacos from a couple of months ago?  Well you made a big batch like instructed and froze a bunch for later.  Now is the time to dig them out of the freezer and spread them all over a huge mound of chips and cheese.  Seriously, if you are going to take the time to make a slow cooked item like short ribs, it takes the exact same time to cook enough for 4 as it does for 6 (or 10 for that matter) so go ahead and make way more than you need.  Then when Thursday night football rolls around and you realize you don’t have a fabulous football meal planned for mid-week you can absolutely kill it with these nachos.

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If you don’t have those short ribs tucked away in your freezer go ahead and throw some shredded chicken on here – really this is just a method.  Swap out cheddar for jack cheese or red salsa for green – it’s a great way to get rid of stuff hanging around in your fridge.  One pro tip courtesy of my husband – make sure to take the extra step of tossing half the chips and cheese together before topping with the rest.  That ensures you don’t just end up with one layer of cheese, neglecting lots of the chips.  This made the perfect football dinner (yep just for two people, no judging) but it would also make a great appetizer for Fiesta Friday.  I went ahead and just ate these babies straight off of the cookie sheet because I didn’t want to waste time transferring them to something nicer but for a dinner party just use two spatulas to transfer, should happen pretty easy with all that cheese acting as glue!

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Short Rib Tacos (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  freezer diving
Special Equipment:  none

  • 10 ounces of tortilla chips
  • 8 ounces of grated jack cheese
  • 1 to 3 fresno chilis (or jalapenos) thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups leftover short ribs (or other shredded meat) – room temperature or rewarmed
  • 4 tablespoons salsa verde
  • 2 scallions, green and white part, chopped
  • sour cream to serve

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  On a cookie sheet spread half of the chips and half of the cheese and toss together.  Top with the rest of the chips, then evenly distribute over top the rest of the cheese, the chilis, the short ribs and the salsa.  Bake for 6 to 7 minutes until all the cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with the scallions and dollop on the sour cream or serve on the side.

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Short Rib Nachos

  • Servings: 4
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Special Equipment:  none

  • 10 ounces of tortilla chips
  • 8 ounces of grated jack cheese
  • 1 to 3 fresno chilis (or jalapenos) thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups leftover short ribs (or other shredded meat) – room temperature or rewarmed
  • 4 tablespoons salsa verde
  • 2 scallions, green and white part, chopped
  • sour cream to serve

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  On a cookie sheet spread half of the chips and half of the cheese and toss together.  Top with the rest of the chips, then evenly distribute over top the rest of the cheese, the chilis, the short ribs and the salsa.  Bake for 6 to 7 minutes until all the cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with the scallions and dollop on the sour cream or serve on the side.

Asian Skirt Steak with Grilled Scallions

As the weather heats up I start looking to the grill more and more for quick and easy dinners.  The thought of turning on an oven just makes me sad and there is nothing better than grilling dinner on the deck, drinking a beer and watching the sun set.  This steak is so stupid simple and comes together really quickly.  Marinate it the night before and all you have to do it throw it on the grill with some scallions.  Pair with some rice (I like to make big batches and then freeze individual portions in plastic baggies to make my own instant rice).  If you want to amp up the veggies maybe throw some peppers on the grill as well or even green beans or snap peas (as long as you have a grill basket).  Leftovers are also delicious tossed on a salad or some cold udon noodles.  Fire up that grill!

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Asian Skirt Steak with Grilled Scallions (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  beef teriyaki
Special Equipment:  grill

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger root, chopped
  • 1 to 2 skirt steaks depending on size
  • 6-8 scallions

In a large plastic baggie combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, chili paste, garlic and ginger.  Add the skirt steaks and let marinate for at least an hour or overnight.

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Heat your grill to high and grill the steaks for 4 minutes.  Flip the steak and add the scallions to the grill diagonally so they don’t fall through the grates.

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Let the steak cook for another 4 minutes or so, flipping the scallions once so they get grilled on both sides.  Let the steak rest under some tinfoil for 5 to 10 minutes then slice thinly across the grain and serve with the grilled scallions.

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Asian Skirt Steak

  • Servings: 4
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Special Equipment:  grill

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger root, chopped
  • 1 to 2 skirt steaks depending on size
  • 6-8 scallions

In a large plastic baggie combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, chili paste, garlic and ginger.  Add the skirt steaks and let marinate for at least an hour or overnight.  Heat your grill to high and grill the steaks for 4 minutes.  Flip the steak and add the scallions to the grill diagonally so they don’t fall through the grates.  Let the steak cook for another 4 minutes or so, flipping the scallions once so they get grilled on both sides.  Let the steak rest under some tinfoil for 5 to 10 minutes then slice thinly across the grain and serve with the grilled scallions.

Short Rib Tacos and a Shopping List

Yea I know, what won’t this woman put in a taco??  Pretty much nothing but honestly these are incredible, not just because of the flavor but how easy they are.  Time consuming sure but the “hands on” time is almost zero.  I got the methodology from Cooks Illustrated – if you have never picked up their magazine it’s definitely worth a try.  They basically do all the work for you by testing and retesting different ingredients, proportions and cooking methods in a super methodical, almost scientific way.  I can find sometimes the flavors a bit lacking, but the techniques they share are always spot on and flavor is easy to enhance with some tweaks.  This method is just genius because it cuts out the two most annoying things about slow cooking – browning and chopping.  Browning meat is incredibly important to flavor, as the heat carmelizes the sugars in the meat and really develops them.  By lifting the short ribs out of the liquid it’s braising in on onion slices these folks have discovered a way to get the browned meat without having to spend the time cooking each side before adding it to the pot with the aromatics.  Also by pureeing the sauce you lose the need to chop any of the veggies, meaning all you have to do is slice an onion and then everything else is just tossed in the pot.  I did this in a dutch oven but you could easily convert this to a slow cooker (especially in the summer not to heat up the house).  I included both so you can do either.  This recipe makes a ton so perfect for your next taco party.  It can be frozen for up to 6 months so if you don’t eat it right away divide the rest into smaller portions and then you can have pulled short rib tacos on a week night and blow everyone away.

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Short Rib Tacos (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  Cooks Illustrated
Special Equipment:  dutch oven or slow cooker

  • 1 ½ cups beer (I used Negro Modelo)
  • ½ cup cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 6 ancho chiles, stemmed and torn into 1 inch pieces (I leave the seeds in but you can take them out for less heat)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano (dried)
  • ½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1-2 large onions, sliced ½ inch thick slices
  • 3 pounds boneless short ribs

Take the short ribs out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you are going to cook.  Pat them dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper.  Preheat your oven to 325 degrees (if using the dutch oven).  Then dump in the beer, vinegar, anchos, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, clove and cinnamon in a large dutch oven (or slow cooker).  Season with salt and pepper again and then nestle in the onion rounds so they form a layer on the bottom of the pot (or slow cooker) that will keep the short ribs from touching the bottom.

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Depending on the size of your onion it will probably only take one but have a second on hand just in case.  Place the short ribs on top and cover.  Place in the oven and cook for 3 hours (if using a slow cooker cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours).  The meat, even without browning, should have a nice crust on it.

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Take out the meat and put it in a bowl.  Pull out the bay leaves and then blend the onions and the liquid in a blender or food processor.  The original said to trash the onions but why throw away flavor??  At this point you could probably just use the sauce but I like to get as much fat out of it as possible.  Easiest way to do this if you have time it to place it in the fridge or freezer until the fat creates a solid layer on top that you can scrape off (that will take a couple of hours).  If not just let sit until the fat rises to the top and skim it off.

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Shred the meat with 2 forks or your fingers and stir it into the sauce.  It can be served right away, or stored in the fridge for a couple of days and the freezer for a couple of months.

Short Rib Tacos

  • Servings: 8
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Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 ½ cups beer (I used Negro Modelo)
  • ½ cup cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 6 ancho chiles, stemmed and torn into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano (dried)
  • ½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1-2 large onions, sliced ½ inch thick slices
  • 3 pounds boneless short ribs

Take the short ribs out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you are going to cook.  Pat them dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper.  Preheat your oven to 325 degrees (if using the dutch oven).  Then dump in the beer, vinegar, anchos, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, clove and cinnamon in a large dutch oven (or slow cooker).  Season with salt and pepper again and then nestle in the onion rounds so they form a layer on the bottom of the pot (or slow cooker).  Place the short ribs on top and cover. Place in the oven and cook for 3 hours (if using a slow cooker cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours).  Take out the meat and put it in a bowl.  Pull out the bay leaves and then blend the onions and the liquid in a blender or food processor.  At this point you could probably just use the sauce but I like to get as much fat out of it as possible.  Easiest way to do this if you have time it to place it in the fridge or freezer until the fat creates a solid layer on top that you can scrape off (that will take a couple of hours).  If not just let sit until the fat rises to the top and skim it off.  Shred the meat with 2 forks or your fingers and stir it into the sauce.  It can be served right away, or stored in the fridge for a couple of days and the freezer for a couple of months.

Here is the shopping list for this week’s menu calendar dishes which can be found here.

Shopping List for July 20-24

Items are tagged with the day of the week they are used so if you don’t want to cook that day just scratch it off

  • butter (Mon/Thurs)
  • ginger (Mon/Tues)
  • jasmine rice (Mon)
  • unsweetened coconut milk (Mon)
  • dark rum (Mon)
  • brown sugar (Mon)
  • 3 limes (Mon)
  • allspice (Mon)
  • cayenne (Mon)
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin (Mon)
  • 1 bell pepper (Mon)
  • 2 red onions (Mon/Thurs)
  • 2 1/4 pounds center-cut salmon fillet (Tues)
  • soy sauce (Tues)
  • rice vinegar (Tues)
  • 2 lemons (Tues)
  • oyster sauce (Tues)
  • fish sauce (Tues)
  • sesame oil (Tues)
  • chili paste (Tues)
  • 2 scallions (Tues)
  • garlic (Tues)
  • panko (Tues)
  • snap peas (Tues)
  • 1 large bunch of swiss chard (Thurs)
  •  white wine (Thurs)
  • 8 ounces penne or other short cut pasta (Thurs)
  • red pepper flakes (Thurs)
  • nutmeg (Thurs)
  • 1/2 cup cream (Thurs)
  • 1 to 2 rotisserie chicken breasts (Thurs)

Indian Steak Gyro

I know, I know – gyro’s are Greek but that is the best way I can explain this delicious vindaloo inspired steak sandwich.  I cook flank steak…a lot.  It’s a pretty lean and inexpensive cut of meat so I am always looking for different ways to cook it.  When Food and Wine magazine ran a vindaloo flank steak recipe I tried it that very week.  For those of you that don’t eat a lot of Indian food vindaloo is a spicy dish from Western India.  Chilis and vinegar make this a punchy sauce that is usually stewed with chunks of lamb or chicken.  Patrick and I like vindaloo sauce so much we order a side of to mix into our dishes at our neighborhood Indian spot Cusbah, where the waiter’s tee shirts read, “I survived the vindaloo.” wpid-20150519_135707.jpgThis marinade is really more of a paste and the recipe makes quite a bit.  I only used half on our steak and froze the rest to use later – the paste would also be fine in the fridge for several days.  I decided to serve it gyro style rolled up in store-bought naan (I have actually made homemade naan before which isn’t too difficult, just not really feasible for a weeknight meal) and served with a my own yogurt sauce.  This sauce is terrific on lots of things – lamb burgers, grilled chicken, even as a dip for crudite.  Also if you are intimidated by the heat factor of the vindaloo, the yogurt sauce will go a long way to offsetting it.  Alongside the gyro I made this awesome Food52 recipe for stir fried cabbage inspired by none other than  Madhur Jaffrey, the mother of Indian cooking in America.  A lot of her recipes can be pretty involved (but worth it) but this one is incredibly easy.  If you don’t want to go with the gyro then this steak would be just as good served on its own along basmati rice or lentils and some roasted cauliflower. wpid-20150601_185750.jpg Indian Steak Gyro (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:   Vindaloo Flank Steak by Food and Wine Magazine

Special Equipment:  blender or food processor

Ingredients:

  • 8 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (if you don’t have seeds use ground cumin but skip the toasting step and just add it to the blender)
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger. peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 large flank steak, approximately 1 pound
  • 2 packages store-bought naan (4 pieces)
  • 5 to 6 ounce container nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped mint (or dill or 1 tablespoon each)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a small saucepan, heat the chiles, cumin seeds and peppercorns over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring the chilies occasionally.  They will get a little darker which is a good thing but be sure not to burn the chilis or the cumin seeds.  If you re using ground cumin just toast the chilis and peppercorns.  Add a 1/4 cup of water and the vinegar, ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, cloves and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring just to a boil.  The vinegar is going to make quite a potent smell when heated so stand back so you don’t get a steaming face full of vinegar!  Once its boiling turn off the heat and let it sit for about 30 minutes until everything has softened.  You can toss the cinnamon stick at this point or leave it in, in a happy accident I left mine in and it pureed up no problem and the taste was great. wpid-20150519_141031.jpg wpid-20150519_151455.jpg Transfer everything to a blender or food processor and add the ground cumin if not using the seeds.  Puree into a paste.  At this point you can store the paste for several days in the fridge or six months in the freezer.  Spread the paste all over the steak on both sides and let marinate on a plate or baking dish for at least an hour and up to 6 hours.  If you only have an hour let it marinate at room temp so the steak isnt cold going into the grill. wpid-20150519_152414.jpgLight your grill and heat it to medium high.  Grill for 10-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak and how you like your steak done.  Let rest for 5-8 minutes, then slice thinly.  While the steak rests, brush the naan with olive oil and grill for 1-2 minutes per side to get a little char and warm them through.  Also make the yogurt sauce by combining the yogurt, garlic, mint and parsley in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper.  To serve slather the naan with the yogurt sauce and pile in slices of steak.   Red onion and or arugula would also be nice in there.

Indian Steak Gyro

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Special Equipment:  blender or food processor

Ingredients:

  • 8 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (if you don’t have seeds use ground cumin but skip the toasting step and just add it to the blender)
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger. peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 large flank steak, approximately 1 pound
  • 2 packages store-bought naan (4 pieces)
  • 5 to 6 ounce container nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped mint (or dill or 1 tablespoon each)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a small saucepan, heat the chiles, cumin seeds and peppercorns over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring the chilies occasionally.  They will get a little darker which is a good thing but be sure not to burn the chilis or the cumin seeds.  If you re using ground cumin just toast the chilis and peppercorns.  Add a 1/4 cup of water and the vinegar, ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, cloves and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring just to a boil.  The vinegar is going to make quite a potent smell when heated so stand back so you don’t get a steaming face full of vinegar!  Once its boiling turn off the heat and let it sit for about 30 minutes until everything has softened.  You can toss the cinnamon stick at this point or leave it in, in a happy accident I left mine in and it pureed up no problem and the taste was great. Transfer everything to a blender or food processor and add the ground cumin if not using the seeds.  Puree into a paste.  At this point you can store the paste for several days in the fridge or six months in the freezer.  Spread the paste all over the steak on both sides and let marinate on a plate or baking dish for at least an hour and up to 6 hours.  If you only have an hour let it marinate at room temp so the steak isnt cold going into the grill. Light your grill and heat it to medium high.  Grill for 10-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak and how you like your steak done.  Let rest for 5-8 minutes, then slice thinly.  While the steak rests, brush the naan with olive oil and grill for 1-2 minutes per side to get a little char and warm them through.  Also make the yogurt sauce by combining the yogurt, garlic, mint and parsley in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper.  To serve slather the naan with the yogurt sauce and pile in slices of steak.   Red onion and or arugula would also be nice in there.

Ginger Beef

The restaurant industry in DC has been absolutely transformed over the last decade.  Once known for stuffy steakhouses filled with lobbyists, Washington can now boast to have one of the hottest food scenes.  In fact in 2014 Bon Appetit named Capitol Hill’s own Rose’s Luxury the best restaurant in the country!  So why, oh why, is it so hard to get some decent chinese food???  Any of you who have been to DC’s Chinatown will know that its laughable to call it so, unless making Ann Taylor Loft and Starbucks have their signs in english and chinese somehow makes it authentic.  I was spoiled by years of great dim sum in Boston’s Chinatown and visits to San Francisco and New York.  There are amazing Vietnamese and Korean places but not so for chinese food.  So if you have a craving for some yummy chinese take out the best option is really to make it yourself.  Honestly even if you do live in a place blessed with decent chinese, cooking it yourself is often quicker than waiting for delivery and certainly a lot healthier.  One of my favorite make at home take out options is this ginger beef recipe.  The mix of pickled ginger (that funny pink stuff served with sushi) and fresh ginger is great.  Ginger root can be sort of intimidating at first but don’t be scared off by its gnarly exterior.  Cut off the peel with a small paring knife (though I see lots of people telling you to scrape it off with a spoon) and you expose the spicy, fragrant, edible part.  Ginger can start to get shriveled up after a while so if you aren’t using it frequently try freezing it.  Once you have peeled it throw it in a freezer bag for months – bonus that its much easier to grate and cut when frozen.

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This stir fry is great because you can add in any vegetables you like, I used snow peas but sugar snap peas, bell pepper, green beans, any would work.  You can increase or decrease the amount of ginger or chili sauce depending on how hot you want it or do what I do and make the full sauce recipe but only half the beef so there is lots of it to sop up with rice or noodles.  Either way its a fast, delicious meal that is great as leftovers – just like good chinese take out should be.

Ginger Beef (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  Beef Stir Fry with Fresh and Pickled Ginger by Food and Wine magazine
Special Equipment:  none

  • 3 tablespoons sherry (any kind works – I use cream sherry)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chicken or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese chile-garlic sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh ginger
  • 1/2 red or white onion sliced
  • 8 ounces snow peas
  • 2 tablespoons pickled ginger, sliced into strips

In a bowl, whisk the sherry with the soy sauce and cornstarch (this is called a slurry – no idea why). Add the steak and turn to coat with the marinade.  Let it sit while you prep the rest of the ingredients.  In another bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the broth, sherry, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, chile-garlic sauce and cornstarch. wpid-20150527_181706.jpg Heat a skillet over high heat for a minute or two.  If you have a wok use it by all means but a skillet can do the job and won’t take up as much space.  I find nonstick is the best for stir fries as you can use less oil – the hands down best pan is Swiss Diamond.  Pricey but totally worth it and often hugely discounted at William Sonoma Outlets if you are near one.  Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and let it get hot.  Add the beef using a slotted spoon so you just get the beef and not the marinade it’s sitting in.  Be careful here – when the beef hits the hit pan it might spit and splatter a bit so make sure you are wearing an apron.  Let the steak sit for 1 minute so it can brown then move it around the pan till its cooked to your liking – only another minute should do if you have cut it thinly.

wpid-20150527_183156.jpgScoop the steak out of the pan and add a little more oil if you need.  Add the fresh ginger, onion, and snow peas and cook for about 2 minutes, just so the onion is no longer raw.  Toss the steak back in along with the pickled ginger and the sauce you made earlier.  Cook it down and stir it around until everything is combined and the sauce has thickened a bit, probably 1 minute more.

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Ginger Beef

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 3 tablespoons sherry (any kind works – I use cream sherry)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chicken or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese chile-garlic sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh ginger
  • 1/2 red or white onion sliced
  • 8 ounces snow peas
  • 2 tablespoons pickled ginger, sliced into strips

In a bowl, whisk the sherry with the soy sauce and cornstarch. Add the steak and turn to coat with the marinade.  Let it sit while you prep the rest of the ingredients.  In another bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the broth, sherry, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, chile-garlic sauce and cornstarch.  Heat a skillet over high heat for a minute or two.  Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and let it get hot.  Add the beef using a slotted spoon so you just get the beef and not the marinade it’s sitting in.  Be careful here – when the beef hits the hit pan it might spit and splatter a bit so make sure you are wearing an apron.  Let the steak sit for 1 minute so it can brown then move it around the pan till its cooked to your liking – only another minute should do if you have cut it thinly.  Scoop the steak out of the pan and add a little more oil if you need.  Add the fresh ginger, onion, and snow peas and cook for about 2 minutes, just so the onion is no longer raw.  Toss the steak back in along with the pickled ginger and the sauce you made earlier.  Cook it down and stir it around until everything is combined and the sauce has thickened a bit, probably 1 minute more.

Skirt Steak with Rajas

At the Costello household grilling is not confined to the summer.  Partly that’s because of D.C.’s temps and partly because we have a gas grill close to the kitchen.  For me it’s also nice to get Patrick involved in the cooking (though there has been some quibbling if just adding fire to something qualifies as “making dinner”).  This meal is great year round – even if it’s snowing, the steak takes almost no time to grill and the veggies are pretty much seasonless (fresh corn would be way better but frozen is just fine).  It’s not the prettiest dish you will find on this blog but it’s delicious and satisfying.  I have served it with rice or quinoa on the side or chips and guac.  If you want to go really crazy you could stuff both the steak and rajas into a tortilla and have taco night all set. DSC03315 Ok now you are asking – what the heck are rajas?  In Spanish it means strips and usually in latin cooking it will mean strips of poblano peppers but really they could be any pepper.  If you haven’t tried poblanos you really owe yourself to grab one.  Most supermarkets seem to carry them these days, they are green but longer and thinner than regular green bell peppers (which I abhor).  They have a medium heat (more than bell, less than jalapenos) and terrific flavor.  Often, like in this recipe, they are roasted, skinned, seeded and cut into rajas.  They are also great for stuffed peppers (chile rellenos).  Once you have tried them they will become a new permanent member of your veggie drawer.

This is the first official “Fiesta Friday” post – yes Monday’s post was also Mexican themed but that was just because of Cinco de Mayo.  Fiesta Friday is celebrated almost every week in our house.  We have found the best way to usher in the weekend is with food that makes you happy – ie spicy and flavorful.  After a long week a nice mojito and some fried plantains sounds good right?  This has caught on with several of our friends and I hope you all try and spice up your weekends as well.

Skirt Steak with Rajas Salad (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration: Skirt Steak with Creamed Corn and Poblanos by Food and Wine Magazine 

Special Equipment: none

Ingredients:

– 2 poblanos – stems removed
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 medium onion sliced (preferably red)
– 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (if frozen no need to defrost)
– 2 or 3 tablespoons sour cream (I use light and think it tastes the same)
– 1 1/2 pound skirt steak brought to room temp

First to make the rajas you want to roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under a broiler.  I use the direct gas flame method but if you want to ensure all the skin and char get off I recommend the broiler as more heat and steam circulate around the pepper that way.  If you do it on a gas stove top, just put the peppers on top of the burner.  Make sure you removed the stems (just pull them off) as those always seem to be the first thing that catches fire!  Jack the heat up and then just keep an eye on them.  You honestly cannot ruin these peppers, in fact you want to burn them. DSC03322 If using a broiler just throw the poblanos on to a sheet pan and put it under the broiler set to high.  For both methods just keep turning until all sides are blackened, about 10 minutes.  It feels totally crazy to just throw your food on the fire but its the best way to go, I swear.  Transfer the poblanos to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let the peppers steam in the bowl for around 10 minutes. The steam magically losens the skin from the flesh.   DSC03331

Then all you have to do is rub off the skin, cut open the pepper, discard the seeds and cut into rajas.  As I said, my gas method will not be perfect but I like the bits of char that are left behind.  If you want you can make the rajas in advance and just keep them in the fridge for a couple of days until you are ready to use them.

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At this point you should heat up your grill on high and season your steak with salt and pepper.  Always take steaks out of the fridge at least 30 minutes or up to an hour before you are ready to cook them.  Super cold steak on a hot grill or pan means a tough steak. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat for a minute.  Then add the onion and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes.  Add the corn and rajas and cook for another 2 minutes. DSC03350

Take off the heat and then stir in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper.  The original recipe calls for a lot more sour cream but I just don’t think its necessary.  Keep the corn salad warm over very low heat.  Throw the steak on the grill and grill 4 minutes one side, 2 minutes the other for medium.  Skirt steak is pretty forgiving so if you go longer the fat in the cut will keep it from drying out. DSC03354 Then just let it “rest” for 5 minutes which means put it on a cutting board covered in tin foil to let all the juices get back into the steak.  Slice and serve with the rajas salad on the side. DSC03359

Skirt Steak with Rajas Salad

  • Servings: 3-4
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Ingredients:

– 2 poblanos – stems removed
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 medium onion sliced (preferably red)
– 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (if frozen no need to defrost)
– 2 or 3 tablespoons sour cream (I use light and think it tastes the same)
– 1 1/2 pound skirt steak brought to room temp

First to make the rajas you want to roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under a broiler.  If you do it on a gas stove top, just put the peppers on top of the burner.  Jack the heat up and then just keep an eye on them.  If in a broiler just throw on to a sheet pan and put under the broiler on high.  For both just keep turning until all sides are black, about 10 minutes. Transfer the poblanos to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let the peppers steam in the bowl for around 10 minutes.

Then all you have to do is rub off the skin, cut open the pepper, discard the seeds and cut into rajas.  If you want you can make the rajas in advance and just keep them in the fridge for a couple of days until you are ready to use them.  At this point you should heat up your grill on high and season your steak with salt and pepper.   In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat for a minute.  Then add the onion and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes.  Add the corn and rajas and cook for another 2 minutes. Take off the heat and then stir in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Keep the corn warm over very low heat.  Throw the steak on the grill and grill 4 minutes one side, 2 minutes the other for medium.  Then just let it “rest” for 5 minutes which means put it on a cutting board covered in tin foil to let all the juices get back into the steak.  Slice and serve with the rajas salad on the side.

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