Monthly Archives: November 2009

Happiness is….

… my family, all under one roof…

… the kitchen, hectic with various tasks,  pots bubbling on the stove…

…cooling off on the front porch for a moment, sitting on the chair in the dark, so quiet that I can hear a cricket chirp slowly, the foxes yip in the distance and the fizzy roar from my champagne glass. It reminds me of the beginning of the Pirates of the Carribean, floating slowly in the dark, hearing the clink of dishes from the Blue Bayou, watching the fireflies and hearing the plink of the banjo, with the anticipation of what is to come…

… returning to the bright indoors, getting a puff of hot, turkey scented air in the face, seeing the sparkling crystal, china and silver gleaming on the dining table, and hearing the faint sound of football from the family room…

… having so much to be thankful for this year: my family’s good health, a sumptious meal soon to be devoured, cool spiced pumpkin chiffon pie for dessert and a turkey coma tonight.  I am thankful for all of this, and for Thanksgiving!

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Wishing you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wordless Wednesday

Brunch and dinner…

My Idea of Health Food… Easy Steak Tacos

I have finally caught this flu tiger by the tail and am feeling much better. And, I am feeling hungry! Hunger is such a good feeling, it is your body’s way of saying, “I am ready to be fueled now, I have things to do, so get in that kitchen and cook me something, woman!” And I am happy to comply.

My debut to real food was this simple taco dish for Sunday supper.

(Doesn’t this make you hungry too?)

A dear friend G___ took me grocery shopping Saturday and it was a big outing for me. A highlight, besides a fridge full of lovely healthy food, was seeing the two firetrucks full of handsome firemen shopping for the week. They were like a horde of hunky locusts clearing the store of all comestibles. I was glad to have hit the beef and produce sections before they swept through. This great taco recipe is sure to please even a hungry hero after a long days work, and I am sure you will be happily stuffed too.

Easy Steak Tacos

Marinated flank steak (see below)
Cherry tomato salsa (see below)
Small corn or flour tortillas or taco shells (I like blue corn tortillas, when I can find them, or multigrain olive oil tortillas)
2 limes, cut into wedges
Grated cheddar cheese (optional)
2 avocados, peeled and sliced
Taco sauce (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

For the Steak:
1 flank steak
1 Tbl chile powder (I like New Mexico Sweet chiles cause I’m a heat-wimp)
1 Tbl ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl red wine winegar

Rub the flank steak with these spices and put into a ziplock bag, then add the oil and vinegar and seal. Chill (this can be done the day before).

30 minutes before starting dinner, remove the steak from the fridge.

Usually I make the salsa while the steak is losing its chill. While chatting on the phone, drinking a beer and feeding the cat, the steak is ready to cook by the time you are done with all of these pleasant tasks.

Cherry Tomato Salsa

1 box cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1 jalapeño pepper
1 red bell pepper
A bunch of cilantro
1 lime
Salt
Black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and put in a medium bowl. Chop the red onion and put in a strainer, rinse with cold water and drain, and add to tomatoes. Cut the jalapeño in half and remove seeds. If you are like me you should wear rubber gloves. Finely chop the pepper, taste a bit of it, if it’s really hot only add half, if it’s mild add the whole thing to the salsa. Chop half of the cilantro and add to the bowl and then add the juice from the lime. I put my limes in the microwave for 20 seconds before cutting in half and juicing. Add seasonings, taste for salt and pepper and toss well.

Chop the remaining cilantro and reserve as a garnish for the tacos.

(even out of tomato season you can make wonderful salsa!)

To cook the steak:

Pat the steak dry with a paper towel before cooking. Using a grill pan or large skillet, heated very hot, cook the flank steak 2 minutes on each side for medium rare (3 minutes for medium, any longer and it will be tough and chewy; if using a skillet add a little vegetable oil to the pan). Remove to a plate and let sit 5 minutes.

Warm the tortillas, and set out the salsa, the chopped cilantro and optional garnishes as desired. Slice the steak across the grain into thin slices and arrange on a platter. Decorate with the limes wedges and avocado slices.

(perfect juicy easy steak)

I like a tortilla filled with 2 slices of steak, a piece of avocado, a large spoonful of salsa, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of cilantro. (3 WW points this way!) Last night though, I decided to make guacamole, or you can purchase guacamole from the store.

Guacamole

2 ripe avocados
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 red onion
1/2 tomato
1/3 tsp ground cumin
Dash cayenne
1 lime

In a molcajete or mortar and pestle pound the garlic and salt together until they form a smooth paste. Add the avocado and pound until a chunky mixture is formed. Dice the tomato and onion and add to the avocado. Add cumin, cayenne and lime juice and stir well. Check for seasonings, it might need a little more salt, lime juice or heat, depending upon your preferences. This won’t keep so feel free to indulge yourself and eat it all. Remember, avocados are really good for you! Vitamin G (for guacamole)!

I hope you try this sometime. I know it’s not a holiday meal but it’s delicious, fast and relatively inexpensive. My flank steak from Safeway was $10.65 and I will get several meals from it, or it will feed 4. And, you can make this dinner in the winter as cherry tomatoes are always abundant and taste better than any winter tomato sold out there. If you really want a fast dinner, you can make this with store bought fresh salsa. But if you can delegate cutting the tomatoes to someone or make 5 minutes to do this little task I promise you that you will be making cherry tomato salsa often.

Many thanks to annaconda for the guacamole recipe, and for taking me to that marvelous estate sale where I found a molcajete for $10 – awesome!

Olé!

Gone fishing…

(Or something slightly less fun…) There will be a slight pause while I recover from the flu. Promise to be back in the kitchen soon!