Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grilled Flank Steak with Roasted Poblanos and Grilled Onions

* We were so hungry by the time we got to dinner that I completely forgot to take a picture but the photo is a pretty good representation of the flank steak...

I have been a slug recently when it comes to blogging. I hope you can forgive. Anyway here is a recipe that my lovely wife and I enjoyed last night for date night that was so easy and unbelievably delicious. I am partial to Mexican food and fortunately for me there enough variations to accomodate my lovely wife's rather diverse palate (ie. she doesn't like to have too much of one type of food.) This particular recipe in the original form is on the Food Network site. I will give you my version because to be quite honest I think I could give Emeril a run for his money... (just kidding Emeril)

I should also point out that I personally LOVE the flavor of lime and when I see it in a recipe my first inclination is to "double it". That is almost exactly what I have done in altering this recipe especially in regards to the marinade. I thought it worked very well but if you aren't a lime fan just dial it back a little and up the olive oil...

3/4 cup finely chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup lime juice plus the juice of 1/2 lime for the poblano/onion mixture
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
4 poblano chiles
1 large sweet onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
Bamboo skewers (two per onion slice)
10-12 flour tortilla
2 limes, cut into wedges, optional


In a blender or in the bowl of a food processor, combine the chopped onion, the garlic, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lime juice, cumin, oregano and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Process until smooth.

Place the flank steak in a shallow non-reactive dish and spoon the marinade over the meat. Turn the steak so that both sides of the meat are in contact with the marinade and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

While the meat is marinating, prepare the poblanos: Place the poblanos over a direct flame and roast, turning occasionally with tongs, until the skin is charred and blistered all over. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes. Remove the poblanos and, when cool enough to handle, carefully remove the charred skin by rubbing with your fingers. Remove the stems and any seeds and, if necessary, rinse briefly under cool running water to remove any remaining skin. Slice the poblanos into thin strips and place in a small mixing bowl. Set aside at room temperature for up to 2 hours, until ready to serve the tacos.

Preheat a grill to high. Place the onion slices on a flat surface and insert two bamboo skewers into the concentric rings in order to hold the rings together on the grill. Using two skewers prevents the onion from spinning around when you try to flip it. Brush the slices on both sides with 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil and place the onion slices on the grill. Grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on the edges and soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the skewers from the onion slices and add the onions to the poblanos, separating the onion rings with your fingers. Toss to combine. Add the lime juice from 1/2 a lime and season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside until ready to serve the tacos.

Remove the meat from the marinade and shake or use a spoon to remove any excess. Rub the meat all over with the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and season on both sides with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Grill the steak, turning once, to the desired degree of doneness; for medium rare, this should be about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Side note: For flank steak, medium rare is really the only option. Those a bit squeemish about the sight of blood in their steak should probably not try this recipe since over-cooking the flank steak will make the meat very tough and noboby else at the party will like it. If it helps, flank steak is a thinner cut of meat and there is no danger in preparing to medium rare.

While the meat is resting, heat the flour tortillas as instructed on the package. Wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm. You can also use corn tortillas but for this dish I prefer the flour.

When the meat has rested, slice against the grain into very thin strips and serve, with the warm tortillas, poblano-onion mixture and crema. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
I paired this dish with a nice inexpensive (under $10) Malbec from Argentina called 'Conquista' and we had chips and salsa to start. Rick Bayless/Fronterra Kitchen's has some of the best salsa's that you can buy off the shelf at your local grocery. We tried the Mango Key Lime salsa and it was delicious with this meal.
(We also had mango slices but since I am TERRIBLE at finding ripe mangos I won't review them here. Next time I will send my lovely wife to pick out the mangos because I obviously have no clue... :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Street Style Enchildas and Margaritas

A couple years ago my wonderful wife and I began what we affectionately know as "date night" and it has been a fixture in our life ever since. Because we both love to cook (and eat) it normally centers around some favorite dish or something we have been wanting to try. There have been many steak themed date nights ( because I am a carnivore ;) as well as Mexican, Italian, Indian, etc.

This past Friday we did an old favorite, Rick Bayless's Street Style Enchiladas. This is a very messy dish to make but it tastes totally unlike what you think an enchilada should taste like. He suggests dried Ancho chiles but I like to mix in different types of dried chiles to add some extra zip, Chipotle being a favorite. Essentially what you do is toast and then rehydrate the chiles. When that is finished you blend in the blender the chiles, 1 1/2 cups of the water you soaked the chiles in, and some chopped garlic. When that has been blended you push it through a strainer into a pie plate and add about a teaspoon of salt.

Here is where it gets really messy. You need to heat a non-stick pan with a little oil. When that is hot then you dip your corn tortilla in the chile garlic mixture to coat on both sides and add to the oil. Rick says 20 seconds per side but if you wait that long you might find it impossible to flip the tortilla. I would cut that in half and do it for no more than 10 seconds on each side. When that is finished fold over the tortilla and put on a non-stick baking sheet. You need to repeat this two more times for one enchilada. You take the folded tortillas and overlay them to make a complete circle again. This doesn't need to be super pretty since you will essentially be putting toppings over the tortillas at the end.

When you have as many as you need to feed the two of you (I would recommend 2 per person) then you put the tortillas in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Rick recommends 5 minutes but I prefer to have the tortillas a little more firm so I let them go a little longer. The topping consists of shredded rotisserie chicken (I usually pick up one from the grocery store), 4 cups of Romaine lettuce tossed with 1 1/2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, and grated parmesan for on top. When the tortilla's come out of the oven arrange them on the plates and top with lettuce, chicken, and parmesan however you like and you are ready to go. Very simple and relatively healthy.

The accompanying drink was, of course, classic Margaritas. I like lots of lime flavor so I normally triple the number of limes this calls for. I mix the juice of 6 limes, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 cup of tequila, 1/2 cup of grand marnier, and alot of ice in a pitcher and pour into your standard Margarita glasses lined with salt. These are pretty strong so be wary. The extra lime and sugar make these easy drinking and you would hate to ruin the mood by over doing it, if you know what I mean.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My favorite condiment...

Meet my favorite condiment. Hands down. Bordering on obsession...
I bought a bottle of this stuff on the way out of Jamaica a couple years ago and now I put it on everything. I mix it into hamburger and make Jamaican Jerk Bleu Cheese burgers. I spread it on chicken thighs and make grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken. I even put a dollup in the Thousand Island dressing on my Reuben for St. Patty's day.
There is no doubt this is spicy stuff so if you are tempted to pick up a bottle be warned. This delicious marinade requires very little time to work it's magic. That being said there is so much flavor in this little bottle you might be converted like I was and start to look for ways to incorporate this in your cooking.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Savor This...

Hello Everyone,

This little cross-section of my favorite things (family, food, music, and a wee bit of philosophy) is still underconstruction but when it is finished (or at least presentable) I hope you will make it a place to stop and start your own adventure towards personal enrichment.

Hence, the "Savor This..." theme. It is really all about finding the experiences that make you happy and if sharing my experiences helps you discover yours then we will all be better for it.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bombay Sliders


1 cup mayonnaise, divided
6 1/4 teaspoons curry powder, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
1 garlic clove, minced
2 pounds ground turkey
6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup minced green onions
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon hot chili powder or Hungarian hot paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 small dinner rolls, cut horizontally in half, lightly toasted


Mix 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 1/4 teaspoons curry powder, and next 3 ingredients in small bowl for sauce. Let stand at room temperature while preparing sliders.
Place turkey, next 6 ingredients, remaining 1/4 cup mayonnaise, and 4 teaspoons curry powder in large bowl. Mix with fork or hands just until blended (do not overmix). Divide mixture into 12 equal portions. Using wet hands, form each portion into patty about 1/2 inch thick.
Preheat broiler or heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. If broiling patties, brush rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil and arrange patties on sheet. Broil (or cover patties in skillet and cook in batches) until cooked through, pressing patties down lightly with spatula before turning over, about 3 minutes per side (or 4 minutes per side if cooking in skillet).
Place patties on bottom halves of rolls. Top each patty with sauce. Cover with roll tops. Place 3 sliders on each of 4 plates and serve.