Friday Recipe Exchange: Grilled Herb Steak Tacos

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I was planning to put together a salad for dinner on Wednesday after a long day, but when I looked around I had all the ingredients for tacos and that inspired both dinner that night and tonight’s recipe exchange.

For my tacos that night, I used homemade fajita seasoning (recipe for seasoning and fajitas here) instead of packaged taco seasoning. The recipe makes a lot, so I always have some on hand.

On the taco front, not to be missed are JeffreyW’s awesome Fish Tacos (pictured above, recipe and photo directions here).

Earlier in the week, an excellent and creamy, sharp goat cheese was the center piece of my Stuffed Burgers (recipe here) for dinner. So easy to make and full of juicy flavor.

The Dinner Menu was a given, since Olathe Sweet Corn finally arrived in stores. This menu was also the first one I put together many years ago, because it was and still is, a summer staple. Menu, recipes and shopping lists here.

For the pet lovers, here’s Bixby awaiting our lunch guests and a bonus Greek Pasta Recipe.

With that I leave you to the comments. Tacos, burritos or fajitas, what’s your favorite? And what’s on your weekend menu as we move into the last month of summer?

Now for the featured recipe:

Grilled Herbed Steak for Tacos or Burritos

Notes: Serve with either corn or flour tortillas and stuff with fresh garden items, such as tomatoes, lettuce, diced zucchini, grilled corn, and top with Fresh Garden Salsa (recipe here). And if you don’t like cilantro, there are alternatives offered at the bottom of the recipe.

Herb Paste

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves*
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 medium jalapeno, quartered – remove veins and seeds for milder, otherwise, use it all
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh limejuice

Pulse in a food processor or blender, cilantro, garlic, scallions, jalapeño, and cumin until finely chopped. Add oil and process until mixture is smooth and resembles pesto. Transfer 2 tbsps of the herb paste to medium bowl; whisk in lime juice and set aside.

Steak

  • 2 lbs flank steak – cut lengthwise (with grain) into 4 equal pieces (cooks quicker this way)
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Using dinner fork or tenderizer, poke each piece of steak 10 to 12 times on each side. Place in large baking dish; rub all sides of steak pieces with salt and then coat with remaining herb paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator 5-10 minutes before cooking.

To cook: Scrape excess herb paste off steak and sprinkle all sides of pieces evenly with sugar and pepper. Sear steak pieces on the grill for 3 minutes, then turn and grill the other side for 3 minutes. Continue to cook (don’t turn more than one more time) until internal temperature registers 125 to 130 degrees, usually an additional 2 to 7 minutes. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

To Serve: Using a carving knife, slice steak pieces across grain into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Transfer sliced steak to bowl with herb paste-limejuice mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with tortillas and choice of vegetables, shredded cheese and salsa, etc. Garnish with additional limejuice if desired.

*If you don’t like cilantro, you can substitute celery leaves or fresh basil, or try a mixture of both.

That’s if for this week, have a terrific weekend – TaMara

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Busy Day and Taco Dinner

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A couple of times a month I put together a bunch of treats for Bixby and pop them into the freezer. Today I filled old ribeye bones with peanut butter, halved a bunch of apples and froze them for nice treats on hot days.

I also made his favorite Frozen Yogurt Pupsicles and Doggy Peanut Butter-Pumpkin Biscuits (recipes here – with lots of Bixby pics).

It was a long work day of running around to clients and arguing with vendors. Back at my newly relocated office (LOL) I did a bit of work before calling it a day. I was going to have a salad dinner, but then looked around and wonder of wonders, I had all the ingredients for tacos. So that’s what I made, although they were not as picturesque as JeffreyW’s above. Instead of store bought taco seasoning, I use homemade Fajita Seasoning, recipe here. Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, fresh salsa and shredded cheddar  to top off the ground beef in crispy shells.

Tomorrow I’m taking a friend out to a Tapas and Brew Bar, I’m excited, the menu looks great. I’ll let you know how it is  Until then…..

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Spices and Sauces

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I’m heading out for a much needed girls’ day out with LFern. But I didn’t want to leave you without a recipe exchange. I thought it would be fun to focus on one of JeffreyW’s specialties, he likes to make his own spice mixes and hot sauces. Tonight’s recipe exchange was inspired by his great post this week, Chinese Five Spice.

I was a believer in making my own spice mixes when I put together his Fajita Spice (recipe here), which is better than anything pre-made in the store.

He also loves to make hot sauces, recipes and photos here and here.

One of the most requested sauce recipes is a guest recipe from Down Under, Piri Piri (recipe here).

Not technically a spice, but JeffreyW made his own Garlic Breadcrumbs this week, (click here).

What’s on your plate for the weekend? I’ll going to a few open houses and taking Bixby out to enjoy the predicted spring weather. Do you make any of your own spices mixes or sauces? Give us your favorite recipe.

I knew what tonight’s featured recipe would be as soon as I saw JefferyW’s beautiful photographs (top and below).

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Chinese Five Spice from his post:

I was browsing among various recipes for green beans and noticed a call for Chinese five spice in one of them and wondered if I had the ingredients to make my own.  Yes!  –  or at least close enough for my purposes.  I looked over several recipes and they all had the same ingredients with a few variations:  Star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns.  Some used Szechuan peppercorns and others called for the more familiar black peppercorns, one recipe used cassia bark in lieu of the cinnamon, there were differences in the ratios so I just eyeballed mine as I loaded them into my little spice grinder.  I ended up with about a quarter cup of some great smelling stuff.

Those are the Szechuan peppercorns between the cinnamon sticks.  They have an interesting effect in the mouth, some heat and a numbing sensation on the lips.  Another name for them is prickly ash seed.

After all of that, I used about a teaspoon of the spice powder in the soy sauce marinade of the chicken for the green bean dish pictured above.  That was a simple enough recipe, the most prep went into the sauce: 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup chicken stock, a tablespoon of sesame oil, a tablespoon of ginger garlic paste, a tablespoon of honey, and a tablespoon of rice vinegar with a little corn starch to thicken it in the pan.  I steamed the beans for five minutes while the chicken was cooking then added them to the pan with the chicken and then poured in the sauce and cooked until it thickened, a few more minutes.

That’s if for this week. No Bixby update, but he’s doing great, each day he surprises me by what he learns and understands. My little black kitty, Missy has to have surgery next week, so good thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks and have a great weekend – TaMara

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Grilled Herbed Steak for Tacos or Burritos

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JeffreyW’s Smoked Pork Tacos

I’m travelling this week, so this will be quick. Grilled steak wrapped in a warm tortilla is a surefire winner for dinner at my house. Adding an herb paste takes it up a notch and makes a lesser cut of beef perfect for a taco or burrito meal.

Some additional ideas for other tacos/ burritos/fajitas:

Fresh from JeffreyW’s patio garden, Smoked Pork Tacos (pictured above and recipe here)

I made Homemade Fajita Seasoning to season either chicken or steak fajitas (recipe here)

And if you’re looking for something a little lighter, how about Naked Burritos? (click here)  And the first person who goes for the easy joke has to do the dishes.

Also, in case you missed it, I have once again started posting a weekly dinner menu, complete with recipes and shopping lists on Mondays. First one is here.

With that I leave you to the comments. Tacos, burritos or fajitas, what’s your favorite? And what’s on your weekend menu? Also, I would love to know what you like to grill on, as we move full speed into grilling season, I could use some recommendations for the perfect grill.

Now for the featured recipe:

Grilled Herbed Steak for Tacos or Burritos

Notes: Serve with either corn or flour tortillas and stuff with fresh garden items, such as tomatoes, lettuce, diced zucchini, grilled corn, and top with Fresh Garden Salsa (recipe here). And if you don’t like cilantro, there are alternatives offered at the bottom of the recipe.

Herb Paste

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves*
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 medium jalapeno, quartered – remove veins and seeds for milder, otherwise, use it all
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh limejuice

Pulse in a food processor or blender, cilantro, garlic, scallions, jalapeño, and cumin until finely chopped. Add oil and process until mixture is smooth and resembles pesto. Transfer 2 tbsps of the herb paste to medium bowl; whisk in lime juice and set aside.

Steak

  • 2 lbs flank steak – cut lengthwise (with grain) into 4 equal pieces (cooks quicker this way)
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Using dinner fork or tenderizer, poke each piece of steak 10 to 12 times on each side. Place in large baking dish; rub all sides of steak pieces with salt and then coat with remaining herb paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator 5-10 minutes before cooking.

To cook: Scrape excess herb paste off steak and sprinkle all sides of pieces evenly with sugar and pepper. Sear steak pieces on the grill for 3 minutes, then turn and grill the other side for 3 minutes. Continue to cook (don’t turn more than one more time) until internal temperature registers 125 to 130 degrees, usually an additional 2 to 7 minutes. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

To Serve: Using a carving knife, slice steak pieces across grain into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Transfer sliced steak to bowl with herb paste-limejuice mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with tortillas and choice of vegetables, shredded cheese and salsa, etc. Garnish with additional limejuice if desired.

*If you don’t like cilantro, you can substitute celery leaves or fresh basil, or try a mixture of both.

That’s if for this week. Have fun!

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Tex-Mex Pr0n – Fajitas

DSC_6312 [1600x1200]These are a favorite around here.  Wikipedia tells me that fajita is the Spanish word for what we call skirt steak.  I’ve been dinged by pedants at another venue for calling these flat iron steak versions by that name but was defended by plenty of others who cited common usage.  Nowadays any grilled meat served on a tortilla can be called a fajita, chicken is a popular substitute.  I think you could as easily call these tacos but the grilled onions and peppers, along with the thinly sliced meat are the tell.

Flat Iron Fajitas

DSC_5929 [1600x1200]These were awesome!  I Googled around looking for grilling tips for the flat iron steaks we love so well and found plenty of recipes for marinades.  I combined a few of the more interesting ones and came up with a marinade that worked fine for me today.  Naturally, I didn’t write anything down because that’s no fun, but here goes off the top of my head:  Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chili powder (I used ancho powder), ground cumin, minced garlic, black pepper, and salt.

Let the meat marinate for at least an hour, then toss it onto a hot grill – this one got about 6 minutes a side, turn the heat from medium high to medium on the turn.  Let the steak rest while you stir fry the onions and peppers.  I sprinkled a little fajita seasoning over them for a touch of flavor.

Slice the steak across the grain, and serve over a lightly fried tortilla with the cooked veggies.  I made a topping from sour cream and chipotle chili powder with three or four cloves of crushed and minced garlic.DSC_5930 [1600x1200]

Beef and cheese fajitas

DSC_4489 [1600x1200]Thin sliced flat iron steak fried with sliced onions and red bell pepper with dried chili pepper seasonings on a deep fried flour tortilla, topped with cheese.  I had a few corn tortillas left from a different dinner so I cut them into triangles and deep fried them as well for a side.  Garnished with more peppers and onions and a few cilantro sprigs.  These were very good, the flat iron steaks are proving to be very versatile.

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Fusion Fajitas

I was sorting through the freezer looking for tortillas when I ran across a package of onion nan bread.  Mrs J is a big fan of fajitas and we were going to use the leftovers from the steak and peppers dinner yesterday to make them.  I decided to go with the nan bread because it had been in the freezer longer and I thought it would make an interesting dish.  It turned the fajita into something like a gyro.  Mrs J even put some sour cream on hers which made the comparison even more apt.It was quick work reheating the leftovers with fajita seasoning and a splash of water to get it all working.  I made the seasoning, from a recipe I pulled off the web, with corn starch and a powdered chicken stock base.  The rest of the mix was the usual:  Cumin, black pepper, ground dried oregano, onion and garlic powders, various chili powders, cayenne, paprika – you get the idea.  Ratios are more of a person preference than anything, make it as hot as you like.

Warm the nan bread (or tortillas) in the microwave for a minute, covered with plastic, or invert another plate atop them, that works fine.The red peppers in this dish are cherry peppers from the garden.  Also in the mix are green and orange bells, and a sweet yellow pepper called “gypsy”, and some mildly hot peppers that are yellow and turn orange when ripe.  I planted those expecting to get cayennes but they were mislabeled and I have no idea what their names are.  Going to have lots of them, whatever they are!