I had better luck with the press and cooking went OK. Then my luck turned bad towards the end of this batch, but I did get enough to turn out some tacos.I’m not sure what happened, other than I got tired from being on my feet for too long. The tortillas were refusing to release from the plastic and I ruined half of them. I did save some from a trial run this morning – they kept alright in a zip bag and just needed rewarming,I made those enchiladas yesterday but didn’t take any photos. They were pretty good – chopped grilled chicken breast, Spanish rice, white cheese, and sour cream rolled in the fresh tortillas and drowned in salsa verde.
Moar tacos! That taco rack is pretty handy, I’ve been brushing oil onto the tortillas and placing them like so and then popping them into a 350 oven with the beans, meat, and cheese. Warm the tortillas and the fillings in the microwave first because five minutes in the toaster oven is only enough to melt the cheese and give the tortillas a light toasting. They are easy to dress with the cold toppings while still in the rack before they go to your plate.Top of the world, Ma! Christmas tree? Haven’t seen it. Ginger Boy gets his wildcat on during a walk past the brush pile.Mrs J’s favorite cake is carrot cake. She mostly begins them with a box mix and is content to add extras like crushed pineapple, fresh grated carrots, nuts, and the like but went with a scratch build this time. She assembled hers in two 8 inch round pans because that’s what we have. The canned icing looked so lame she decided to help it out:I think I read somewhere that they’ve fiddled with the icing recipe to eliminate some unhealthy ingredient. Maybe this particular brand is just not very good. Dunno. This one has chopped pecans and toasted coconut to make it more appealing. The cake tasted great!Took another run at a puff pastry pot pie. The sheet of dough needed only minor trimming to fit. Worked well, cooked it in the toaster oven at 375 for about 30 minutes. Lost track of the total time because I kept adding minutes when it was looking like the top wasn’t brown enough yet.
I gave the dough an egg wash on both sides before covering the dish for baking. Alton Brown mentioned this in one of his recipes, I think to help keep the gravy from soaking through the dough and not letting it puff. It worked, I guess. Sorta. Maybe not! Be sure to sprinkle the top with kosher salt before baking.
We were in the local Kroger store the other day and I spotted a newly stocked item – queso quesadilla. It’s a white cheese that melts really well without separating into solids and oil. My understanding is that the folded and grilled tortilla menu item called “quesadilla” gets its name from the cheese and not the other way around. I used some on these tacos and the bits that are close to the hot, taco seasoned beef are melting quite nicely.
I opened a jar of habanero hot sauce a while back and there’s been a squeeze bottle full of it in the door rack of the fridge since then, I decided I had better use it on something. Turns out it works very well on a pork taco. Either I’m tougher than I used to be or the aging in the fridge has tempered the heat in this particular batch – it was a lot sweet and just a tad hot.
We’ve had a brisket in the big basement freezer since they sold for $3/lb. I brought it out to thaw the other day. I was thinking I might smoke it outside in my little electric smoker but decided not. I kind of winged the recipe, poked in a couple dozen garlic cloves, smeared it all over with mustard and sprinkled on all the various powders that looked good: Garlic, onion, a couple of different chili powders, cumin, black pepper, and a little kosher salt. I didn’t want to use much salt because that just ruins using the drippings for a sauce.I cooked it in a covered pan at 250ish for four or five hours, letting it braise in its own juices. I drew off the extra liquids and let it cook uncovered for a while, let it cool and then put it into the fridge to firm up for the slicer. I sliced it very thin across the grain.We had some for lunch today in a few tacos. The corn salad went well with them.
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).
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.
- 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.
- 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