The Time is Right: Mexican Marinated Lime-ly Grilled Skirt Steak

skirt steak lime marinade cinco de mayo

Perfectly Grilled Skirt Steak

The life of the food blogger is very complicated. There’s like math when the recipe feeds 8 but I only want to feed 4 and there’s like conversions from liters to ounces and stuff.

But, maybe the most challenging thing is getting the timing right. See, we hope to guide our reader(s) through the perfect preparation of all holiday meals – so we have to actually prepare and write about the holiday meal before the actual holiday. Like celebrating Thanksgiving on the 3rd Thursday of November, Christmas on the 15th of December or July 4th on the 1st.  You understand.

cinco de mayo grilled skirt steak

May 5 – not Independence Day

This week it means that instead of celebrating Cinco de Mayo (not Mexican Independence BTW) on Sunday with the rest of the margarita revelers, I celebrated Dos de Mayo last night.

The only tricky part is explaining to dinner guests that we are in full on Mexican mode 3 days shy of the actual Fiesta.

Dos De Mayo Lime-ly Grilled Skirt Steak (Serves 4)

Total Time: 24 Hour Marinade…Then about 7-8 Mins of Grilling…:10 minutes resting…:05 minutes slicing

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. Your kitchen is small…And this is a big feast, so prepare in stages. I grilled the meat in the afternoon and reheated for dinner
  2. Skirt Steak is a long, big steak…And you only have one grill pan (my new All-Clad one is awesome) So – you will need to slice the steak in half and cook in two batches
  3. As always – grilling causes a lot of smoke and the vent above your stove top doesn’t really do anything…Open the windows and front door to your apartment to ventilate. Plus the wafting of steaky aroma into the hallway may attract that certain someone in the apartment next door
  4. And remember to close the doors to your bathroom and bedroom whilst grilling – otherwise your bed linens and bath towels will soak in the steaky smell

Ingredients:

  • dinner mexican jalapeno marinades skirt steak

    I fear the Jalapeno – so ribs removed

    1 2lb Skirt Steak – I got mine at the Whole Foods meat counter… and, while pricier than I might have thought it would be, it was beautiful

  • The juice from 8 Limes
  • 5 (yes five) giant cloves of Garlic diced
  • 1/4 C of Soy Sauce
  • 1 Big Bunch of Cilantro – chopped
  • 1 TSP Cumin Powder
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper – diced – you can remove the ribs and seeds if you’re averse to too much heat…I did
  • 1 Squirt – Call it a TBSP of Ketchup
  • The Zest of 1 Lime
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Gindo's Spice of Life pepper sauce

    The Spice of Life

    Dash upon Dash of Gindo’s Spice of Life hot sauce – as my guests said ‘fresh and delicious’

1. Squeeze the juice of 8 limes into a bowl

2. Add the zest of 1 lime

Lime marinated skirt steak recipe

Limey!

3. Stir in the Garlic, Soy Sauce, Cumin Powder, Jalapeno, Ketchup, Dashes of Gindo’s Spice of Life, Olive Oil and Cilantro

skirt steak marinade mexican lime

This is not muy difficult

4. Slice that giant Skirt Steak into two equal halves and place each in a ZipLoc bag

dinner marinated skirt steak mexican cinco de mayo

The Skirt Steak – long and lean

Dinner mexican marinated skirt steak

Skirt Steak Halvsies

5. Cover each half of Skirt Steak with equal parts of the marinade

grilled marinated mexican skirt steak with lime

It’s in the Bag-gie

6. Seal the bags and put them in the Fridge over night

…..The Next Day

7. When you wake up.. Flip the bags over to ensure equal marinating on both sides of the meat. And leave them in the Fridge for the day.

lime marinated mexican skirt steak recipe

Don’t forget to Flip It, Flip it Good

8. Remove the marinated meat from the Fridge :35 – :40 minutes before grilling to temperate

9. Heat a grill pan over medium/high and spray with Pam Olive Oil Cooking Spray

10. Add the first 1/2 Skirt Steak and cook on one side for 3 – 4 minutes

dinner mexican All-Clad grill pan skirt steak

All Clad Grill pan – perfect apartment accoutrement

11. Flip and cook the second side for :03 mins

grilled marinated skirt steak mexican

Side 2: Pretty Grill marks don’t matter, cuz you’re slicing it

12. Remove from the pan and let rest while you repeat with the second 1/2 of Skirt Steak

13. Let second half rest for at least :10 mins

14. Slice AGAINST the grain – this means the lines on the steak run one way and you shall cut the other way

dinner marinated mexican style skirt steak grilled

This is EXACTLY how I like my meats

15. Serve…I served as part of a Mexican Tacos Fiesta with a great Tomatillo Salsa – recipe on that tomorrow!

As they say, timing is everything. Not sure what I’ll do on the real Cinco de Mayo…But, if anyone wants to come over for a Memorial Day Feast this Monday, let me know.

Advertisements

If Something Seems Simple, It Is Simple: Taco Soup

Taco Soup recipe el paso seasoning

Easiest Best Soup Ever

Before Super Storm Sandy hit, Chris Christie, New Jersey’s more than portly governor, held several press conferences. During one of the last ones preceding the storm, Chris said simply: If something seems stupid, it is stupid. His statement urged residents to stay off the beaches, move to higher ground, avoid downed power lines etc.

Tonight, we are hunkering down for what might be a significant winter snow event. In the suburbs such weather warnings result in a mad rush at the Stop ‘n Shop, Whole Foods, ShopRite, Price Chopper etc. In New York, we wonder which bars will be open and which restaurants might still deliver if the weather gets really bad.

In the event that (gasp!) restaurants, bars, etc. are closed at some point during the storm, you may want to prepare – You know, rent some movies, learn to knit, dust off the scrabble board…and, please have something ready to reheat and eat. So, you don’t really cook, like ever.

evansweather bill evans nyc abc 7 taco soup

ABC 7 Accuweather’s         Bill Evans

Don’t stress too much. Make something hearty that can sustain you and your crew through the storm…But, something that has ingredients easily accessible and something that’s more than simple to make. And, since Bill Evans, Lee Goldberg and the entire ABC7 Weather Team say that the storm will begin before we are up tomorrow…Please, make it today.

Paula Mac’s Taco Soup (Serves 8 – I know, a lot, but your doormen, neighbors etc. might be hungry too)

Ingredients:

  • rotel tomatoes for taco soup

    Ro*Tel

    2 lbs Ground Beef – 90/10

  • 1 Chopped Yellow Onion
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 1 Can Pinto Beans
  • 2 Cans Shoepeg Corn – Ho Ho Ho Green Giant makes one, but if you can’t find it, whole corn kernels are AOK as well
  • 2 Cans Rotel Tomatoes – in the Mexican Food Section
  • shoepeg corn green giant taco soup

    HoHoHo

    2 Packages of Taco Seasoning – El Paso makes this …I use less than the two packages to reduce spice

  • 1 Package Dry Ranch Dressing Mix – In the salad dressing area
  • 1 Heaping TBSP of Brown Sugar
  • 3 Cups of Water

1. In a large stock pot brown the beef and chopped onion over medium heat

easy taco soup cold weather cooking

Simply brown meat and onion

2. Once browned, drain off the excess fat

3. And…This is the hardest part…. Drain and rinse the beans and add those to the meat/onion mix

mise en place for taco soup

Simple Mise En Place: Can you open a can? You can make this soup

4. Drain the corn and add to the pot

5. Open the packages of taco seasoning and Ranch dressing mix and sprinkle over the meat, beans and corn

taco soup taco seasoning recipe

Simply Sprinkle in the dry stuff

6. Open up the cans of Rotel Tomatoes and pour ’em in

7. Add the brown sugar

8. Pour in the water

9. Stir to combine

taco soup recipe easy cooking

Simply BTB/RTS

10. BTB/RTS (Bring to boil, reduce to simmer) and Simmer covered for 1 hour

11. Let the soup cool…then put it in the fridge overnight. This allows the flavors to all meld together and for the soup to thicken a bit

12. Rent some movies, get all other hunkering activities done…..When ready to serve, reheat the soup over med/low and serve

13. Serve with shredded cheddar or Jack / Cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips

taco soup recipe easy hearty

Simply Garnish with cheese and sour cream

In all probability, NYC won’t be hit that hard with this storm. In any event, it’s a good idea to follow CC’s advice and if something looks stupid, it is stupid. You know what’s stupid? Having nothing to eat if you are stuck inside is stupid. Luckily, you don’t need to panic about starving in the event that you don’t cook and the weather is worse than expected. Paula Mac’s taco soup is not only hearty, impressive and delicious, it seems simple because it is simple.

Subway Spanish And Indulgent Chicken Enchiladas Suiza

enchilada cuida green chiles mexican cooking

Oven Ready

When I first moved to NYC I lived in Brooklyn and commuted each day on the subway to midtown. The :20+ minute ride on the subway each way gave me time to read all of the ads on the trains. Not only did I learn that Dr. Jonathan Zizmor could help with anal warts and fissures (uhm…ewww) but I also picked up a little subway spanish. See, back then a lot of stuff on the subway was translated from english to spanish.

I learned very important phrases like ‘No Se Apoye Contra La Puerta’ = ‘Do Not Lean Against The Door’

and ‘No Pasar Entre Los Cochas‘ = ‘Do Not Pass Between Cars’

Very good information to know in any language.

decision subway campaignBut, I think the best spanish language lessons I ever received were from Julio and Marisol, the main characters in a then AIDS awareness campaign, ‘The Decision’ / ‘La Decision’.

La Decision was a cartoon soap opera that ran in both english and spanish. Every few weeks a new episode was released and we followed Marisol, Julio and their family and friends through the challenges of protecting themselves against HIV/AIDS.

Because the english and spanish versions ran side by side, I was able to read and memorize the spanish while comparing it to the english translation.

In ‘The Decision: I’ the dialogue in spanish goes something like:

chicken enchiladas suiza

Good Choice, Marisol

Marisol: Te amo Julio, pero si tu me amas, tu usas un condon.

An infuriated Julio responds: Un condon!?! Un condon! No!

Ultimately, Marisol wisely determines that though she loves Julio, she doesn’t love him enough to die.

There aren’t as many spanish translations on the subway anymore. A shame because I feel like I’ve maxed out the use of the three or so phrases I do know. I mean how often can I tell people not to lean on something?

I miss those La Decision cartoon episodes whenever I ride the trains now.

One big decision I have to face is how often to make super fattening, indulgent foods…

Warning: the following recipe is more than fattening…use sparingly.

Chicken Enchiladas Suiza (serves 6-8)

Small Space Smarts:

  1. It’s fried….so, your apt will smell like fried, but the aroma dissipates and is worth it. Use a deep pot when frying the tortillas to minimize fry splatter
  2. Buy the Goya Salsa Verde – yes, you can make your own, but it’s labor intensive and means more dirty dishes, expensive ingredients and hassle
  3. Use a rotisserie chicken – even in NYC the rotisserie chickens are more cost effective than buying and roasting a whole chicken or chicken pieces. Not to mention the rotisserie chix are better than you can make at home and time saving.
  4. Bonus – the enchiladas can be prepared well ahead of time and baked off later. So the work will be out of the way and your kitchen can be clear and cleaned when your guests arrive.

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Cooked White Meat Chicken shredded (you can use dark as well – your call)
  • goya salsa verde enchiladas

    Let Goya do the work

    mild green chiles la preferida

    Roasted, Peeled and Diced

    1 4oz can La Preferida Mild Green Chiles – roasted, peeled and diced

  • 1 jar Goya Medium Salsa Verde
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Cups heavy whipping cream…you can use half/half as well, but not whole or skim milk
  • 12 Corn Tortillas – 8 inches in diameter – the medium sized ones from Mission work perfectly here
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying – do not use Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Monterrey Jack Cheese – shredded
  • 3-4 Green Onions – chopped
  • Sour Cream and Salsa as Condiments

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1. Shred the rotisserie chicken and put into a bowl

Price Chopper rotisserie chicken enchilada

Carne de pollo blanco

2. Pour the chiles and salsa verde over the chicken and mix well. Your hands are your best tools here – so dig in and mix!

enchiladas suiza chiles le preferido brand

Add the Canned Chiles and Salsa Verde

mixing chicken enchiladas suiza

Mix with Las Manos (those are not my hands)

3. Mix together the whipping cream and tsp of salt in a round baking dish – pie plate or similar would work nicely here

chicken enchiladas suiza

La Crema

4. Fry the tortillas in 1 inch of very hot oil just until blistered and limp. Try not to over-fry because the tortillas will then be hard to roll

fried flour tortillas for enchiladas

Tortillas Frita

5. Drain the fried tortillas on paper towels and blot to remove excess oil

6. Dip the fried tortillas into the cream/salt mixture

7. Place the fried and cream dipped tortilla onto a flat work surface and add about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture in a line to the center of the tortilla

chicken enchiladas suiza

Enchiladas Del Balanceo

8. Roll fairly tightly

9. Place the enchilada into an ungreased 9×13″ pan, flap side down

chicken enchiladas suiza nestling

Nestle the enchiladas

10. Repeat until all 12 tortillas are stuffed and rolled and nestled into the pan – depending on thickness, you may have to use two pans

nestled enchiladas suiza

Final Nesting Place

12. Pour the remaining cream/salt mixture over the rolled and nestled tortillas

13. Sprinkle the cheese over all of the enchiladas

14. Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the cheese

enchilada cuida green chiles mexican cooking

Oven Ready Enchiladas Suiza

15. Bake in the oven for :20 mins…until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are well heated and bubbly

chicken enchiladas suiza out of the oven

Del Horno

16. Serve with a garnish of tomato salsa and sour cream…and refried beans and spanish rice on the side

I know this recipe says ‘serves 6’….but they really are rich, creamy and delicious and each of our dinner guests needed just one or one and a half. It depends how much chicken you put in each enchilada.

La Decision Uno here might be to make these enchiladas just once or twice a year. I wish I spoke more Spanish, because all I can tell you is that if you eat these enchiladas too frequently, you may not want to apoye contra la puerta – or against anything else.

Guerillas in the Midst of Shrimp Tacos

I’m a little bit of a homophone-ophobe. This is a real condition. Seriously. It describes a person who fears words that sound similar but have two entirely different meanings. Like it was so sweet of the hotel to give us this suite. And I loved the kind maid who made the bed. Just typing it makes me shutter.

In the ’70’s there were constant news reports about the Sandinista Guerillas in Nicaragua. In our house, once my father was home, we watched the news. Well, at least the news was on. I can’t say I really was watching it. It was more like background noise I had to endure until prime time programming (Dallas, Taxi, Different Strokes etc) was available. We had one TVone. So, everyone watched the same thing and the bigger people generally got to dictate what that one thing would be.

Anyway, the fighting in Nicaragua had been going on for years, but really heated up in 1979 after the formal unification of the Sandinista guerillas.

This was also around the time that you could find Planet of the Apes television series starring Roddy McDowall reruns on TV.

And, I was pretty young.

So, when the din of the news reported on the guerillas in Nicaragua, I was certain that they meant gorillas.

Yes, to answer the obvious question, the news rolled footage of the guerillas – but it was 1979 and the footage was grainy, not all high def like now. Even when I would watch the reports, I thought the soldiers could totally be gorillas – like the ones on Planet of the Apes.

It wasn’t until years later that I learned about guerillas and then even more time passed before I was able to admit to my mistake. I’ve had homophone-ophobia ever since.

Recently, I was taking my first stab at using tomatillos – which I was a little afraid of. See ‘Tomatillo’ sounds a lot like ‘Tomato’ (though not an exact homophone). But, just as guerillas are completely different than gorillas, – tomatillos not like tomatoes at all. If you’ve never used them and want to google ‘tomatillos’, you’ll be told that tomatillos are more like gooseberries. This information didn’t help to ease my fear as I’ve never used those either.

This is the recipe from FoodNetwork Kitchens that I used for reference and then tweaked. It’s for two pretty decent sized servings.

Shrimp Tacos with an Avocado/Tomatillo Salsa

Marinate 1/2 lb of large, cleaned and deveined raw shrimp in a mix of lemon and lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper for about an hour. I do use frozen ones and it’s fine. Just fine.

Put 1/2 of a small chopped onion, 1/2 a chopped and seeded jalapeno and 1/2 clove of garlic mashed in a food processor. I often sub shallot for garlic – but since the garlic is going to be processed, it won’t dominate the sauce. Finely chop.

Add in 2 peeled and rinsed chopped tomatillos, 1/2 an avocado chopped, 1/2 tsp of salt, the juice of 1/2 a lime and pulse the mixture until chopped but still chunky.

You can stir in a little bit of sour cream at this point. The sour cream is a nice juxtaposition to the spiciness of the jalapeno and garlic.

Transfer to a bowl and top with some fresh chopped cilantro. Set aside.

Pre-heat a grill pan to med/high. Spray with cooking spray.

Take the marinated shrimp and, if you want some spice,  toss with 1/2 tsp of chili powder and immediately place on the grill pan. The shrimp will cook quickly – about 2 minutes per side. I like a little char on my shrimp. Why? Because as per Anne Burrell: ‘brown food is good food’.

In a second pan, warm up 4 flour tortillas. Put a pan on medium and drop the tortillas in there for a minute or so per side. You just want them warmed, not toasted. You can use wheat or corn, but I really prefer flour.

Topped each warmed tortilla with a heathy schmear of the avocado/tomatillo salsa and 2-3, depending on size, shrimp. Garnish with some more cilantro (remembering that cilantro seems to be polarizing – you either love it or hate it) and a lime wedge.

The salsa makes this meal. And, helped me to overcome my fear of those tomato-sounding tomatillos.

You don’t hear a lot about the guerillas in Nicaragua anymore…or much about the original Planet of the Apes for that matter. Still, when I think back on my homophonic mistake, I know I can’t be the sole soul who made such an error. I mean, didn’t anyone think that Jane Goodall as played by Sigourney Weaver was In the Midst of Guerillas?