Carne Asada is one of my favorite things. You take this crappy cut of meat and turn it into a tender explosion of flavor with a bit of time and lime juice.
The sweet summer corn in this is the best. Corn on the cob is so versatile, I use it in EVERYTHING when it is in season. For this recipe the sweetness of the fresh corn pairs great with the sourness of the lime in the salsa and the charred bits of the corn tortilla.
The plate pictured is a Lisa Orr lunch plate I picked up when the Artstream Nomadic Gallery was in town. I was really excited to see it in the gallery when it came through, I have been lusting after one of her plates for a while now. I love Lisa’s work, her surfaces are so luscious and intricate!
Carne Asada with Fresh Corn Salsa (GF, DF)
Meat & Marinade:
- About 3 lbs of the cheapest cut of steak you can find (seriously I mean the absolute cheapest per pound hunk of beef you can find. I used some chuck, you could also use skirt, sirloin or tenderloin)
- 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro (about 1 1/2 cups of chopped leaves)
- 3-5 cloves of garlic minced
- 6 medium limes juiced
- 1c cold water
- salt to taste (you will need none to a max of 1 tsp)
Fresh Corn Salsa:
- 2 limes juiced
- one big handful of cilantro leaves finely chopped
- 1 fresh corn cob
- 3 small or 2 medium red peppers
Other topping options, choose what makes you happy:
- jalapeno aoli: mix Mrs Renfro’s jalapeno salsa with mayo
- sour cream
- whatever else you normally put on your tacos/fajitas
- Start your marinade. Put all of the marinade ingredients into a gallon ziplock bag (besides the salt!) and squish it around. Taste it (before you put in the meat!). For this marinade you are looking for something that tastes like it does not need salt or is a little salty (if you are only going to marinade 8 hours or so). Once your happy toss in the meat (pro tip: if the meat is more than 1 inch thick cut it into 2 steaks or the middle will be tough)
- Let the meat marinade for 8-24 hours. This is crucial!! It turns your tough junky cut of meat into delicious-ness.
- Turn on your grill and get that baby hot. (Gas grill tip: if you like things a little smokey get yourself a cherry, apple, hickory (etc) stick and shove it in the back of the grill/on that stupid top rack, it will slowly smolder and give some of that delicious smoke taste).
- Put the shucked corn and peppers onto the cool spot on your grill and the meat on the hotter part. I cooked everything for about 10 min total, 5 min on each side (then the veggies about 5 min more, the peppers were not blacked enough).
- Put the meat under foil to rest. Heat up a pan on medium for the corn tortillas while you make the salsa.
- Make the salsa: Cut the corn off the cob, pull the charred skin off the peppers, and cut that up. Mix it up with the lime juice and cilantro (you could definitely add tomatoes or jalapenos here if you wanted to).
- Cut up the meat and grab out whatever other toppings you want on your tacos. (Also, if you cut the meat across the grain, it will be at its most tender)
- Oil your tortilla pan (I use a cast iron skillet, use whatever you have though) and brown/blacken your tortillas one by one, plate the tortillas, top with your desired toppings, and enjoy!
This salad is a showstopper and it takes about as much time to make as a normal chopped veggie salad! It’s also a great way to eat up those last few strawberries (or blueberries or maybe peaches) before the first frost kicks in.
The peppery bite of the arugula along with the tartness of the dressing contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the strawberries and the candied walnuts
The bowl is by Andrea Keim you can find more of her work here.
End of Summer Strawberry Salad (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
1 tsp good brown mustard
1 lemon juiced
2 Tbsp rice vinegar or other light vinegar
2 Tbsp olive or other oil
lots of freshly cracked pepper
1-2 Tbsp sugar
1 handful of walnuts (or pecans, or whatever nuts you like), chopped
canola or olive oil
Other Salad Stuff:
1 container/bag of arugula
1 large handful of strawberries sliced or quartered
- Heat a nonstick pan with to medium heat. Add in the oil, sugar and nuts and stir until the sugar becomes a sticky mess and coats the walnuts. Immediately dump the nuts out (or they will burn) onto something like a plate or parchment paper to cool. (pour some hot water in the pan to dissolve the sugary mess to make clean-up easy later)
- Mix up the dressing ingredients in a bowl or salad shaker thing.
- Wash the arugula, toss the strawberries and nuts on top and dress with the lemon vinaigrette (and if you are like me, a LOT of fresh ground pepper), and enjoy!
Note: The nuts can be made ahead of time, they will keep for a few days in the fridge or your counter if it is cool (and ant free!)
Whew, It’s ben a long hiatus! And here it is, a long awaited new recipe!
You know the peanut dipping sauce you get with the gai satay appetizer at your favorite Thai restaurant? The one where you are tempted to lick the dish even though you are in public, and if you have no manners or are feeling especially weak in the morals department you do! Yea well, that delicious stuff is basically the dressing for this cold noodle salad but jazzed up with a TON of garlic and a bit of spice. The vegetables in the salad can be changed to anything you want as long as they are julienned-ish or small sized (cucumber would be great or sautéed mushrooms or snow peas).
I picked up this lovely celadon dish last weekend at the Port Chester Clay Arts Center during their springfest fundraiser. The artist, Dalia Berman was kind enough to tell me about the pieces I purchased and how the artists were affiliated with the center.
Saucy Peanut's Thai Noodle Salad (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
3 Tbsp peanut butter
5 cloves of garlic minced or put through a press (or less if you are a wimp)
1 jalapeno minced (seeds and membranes removed for less spice)
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp corn syrup or honey
sugar to taste (pinch-2tsp)
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 bunches (servings) of bean thread/glass noodles or rice vermicelli noodles or a mix of the two
2c julienned or matchstick carrots (2-3 carrots worth)
1 small julienned red onion
salt and pepper
- Boil the water for your noodles and heat a pan to medium-hot for your fried eggs.
- Make the peanut sauce by mixing all the stuff together and taste it. It should be lightly sweet, a little salty and very garlicky, if you think it needs something more add it!
- While waiting for the pan to be hot/water to boil, julienne the vegetables and toss them with the sauce.
- Cook noodles per package directions and fry your eggs. (How I fry eggs: add oil to the ripping hot pan, it should shimmer. Crack in ze eggs, salt and pepper them. Leave eggs alone until they are brown around the edges and most of the white is set. flip them over, count to 15 or 30 depending on how you like your yolks and plate them immediately)
- Drain the noodles, rinse them under cold water and give them a few chops with your knife so you don’t end up having to eat a birds nest.
- Mix the noodles in, put an egg on top of each serving and garnish with cilantro if desired then EAT!
Note 1: The sauced noodles and fried egg will keep well over night and be a good lunch for tomorrow if you refrigerate the leftovers!
Note 2: The peanut sauce can be customized to whatever you desire. The parts you have to keep are the peanut butter, corn syrup and rice vinegar everything else is personal preference.
Sorry for the late post guys! Between moving and just general life craziness it’s been difficult to find the time. This chicken stew is great though. It takes a fraction of the time of traditional beef stew and it is a little bit lighter as well. The bacon and sage give it some of the traditional richness and flavor.
I love this simple celadon plate I picked up from Bunny McBride right before I left Iowa; the celadon really sets off whatever you place on it. It is a bit difficult to find his pieces because he doesn’t have a large online presence. You can check or contact AKAR if you were looking to buy or if you we looking to check out a few more of his pieces click here.
1 tsp garlic oil
1 chicken breast diced
2 slices of bacon, sliced
4 medium carrots sliced
2 medium-small potatoes or 1 large, diced small
1/4-1/2 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp sage
1/2c red wine
fresh cracked pepper and salt to taste
1 and 1/2c water or chicken broth
1 tbsp cornstarch
rice to serve with (about 1c dry)
- Heat oil on med-high and brown the chicken. Add in bacon and carrots and cook until bacon is cooked.
- Add in seasonings and wine. Cook 3-4 min then add in 1c of water/broth. Stir the 1 tbsp of cornstarch into the 1/2c water/broth and add in until the broth thickens until your happy with the consistency.
- Add in the potatoes and cook until done (about 15 min, also start your rice now). Adjust seasoning and serve!
Will bringing this banana bread into work make you an office hero? Will it get you all the brownie points for being sensitive to your co-workers dietary needs? Will your other co-workers even notice this is gluten free unless you blab your silly little mouth about it? Will you impress yo co-workers with yo mad baking skillz? Will it impress yo momma that you actually used your oven as something other than storage?
The answer to pretty much of that is YES!!!
There are a ton of great GF banana breads out there but I started substituting because GF flour is PRICY. I really can’t get enough of this stuff.
The plate in the picture is a hodge-podge. If I’m remembering correctly Amy Santoferraro fished it out of a dumpster after another grad student had tossed it. She then used as a plate for an alternative slip and printing demo during one of my classes. It actually got fired and ended up at a benefit auction for the Alfred Clay Collective where I swooped it up for a steal. Honestly its really not the best plate, it’s a BRICK but I love it for the story. If your looking for some of Amy’s current work click here.
Gonna Eat All That Banana Bread
2 medium bananas (about 1 c)
½ c of GF steel cut or rolled oats
1/3 c oil
¼ c dark corn syrup
¼ c sugar
¼ c almond or other milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp amaretto (optional but highly suggested)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c and a heaping ¼ c of GF Flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 Flour)
Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large loaf pan or other medium sized dish.
Mush bananas and oats together with a fork, add in the rest of the wet ingredients and stir. Let this sit for a few minutes if you have time, if you don’t no big deal. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and pour into your baking dish.
Bake for 35-45min until a knife comes out cleanly, cool and eat!
NOTES: If banana chunks or whole oats in your bread give you the willies; just mix up all the wet ingredients in a blender until obliterated. Then stir in the dry ingredients and bake as normal.
You can definitely substitute ½ c of brown sugar for the syrup/sugar combo or maple syrup for the corn syrup.
Since this is such a moist banana bread definitely make sure you are checking to make sure the middle ends up fully cooked. Sometimes I have to turn the oven down to 300 and cook for 5-10 min if the top ends up browned before the center is fully cooked.
Authentic Paella is so delicious but not all of us have the time or money to cook it over a wood/charcoal fire in a giant paella pan with a bunch of saffron threads. (If you’re looking to take the plunge and go all out try Alton Brown’s recipe here) This is my I’m-kinda-broke-and-don’t-really-need-to-cook-for-10 version.
The smoked Spanish paprika is essential, it’s definitely something to buy if you don’t have it on hand. If you’re not a fan of regular paprika (like me, I think its tastes like nothing) Smoked paprika is whole different ball game, its sweet, smoky and a whole lotta goodness. It’s also excellent in deviled eggs and egg salads.
The plate is by Andrea Keim and you can see more of her work here.
Paella on a Budget
1c of diced or crushed tomatoes (about half a can)
1c of rice
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 tsp-1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp of garlic oil
1 tsp of oil
1 tsp of salt
1.5-2c of chicken or other broth
3 chicken thighs or 1.5c Shrimp
2c of vegetables (green beans, bell peppers, carrots, etc.)
- mix the spices, salt and rice in a bowl
- heat a large skillet over medium heat with the oils. If you’re using chicken thighs brown them on both sides then remove them from the pan. Stir fry the rice and spice mixture until browned and fragrant. Stir in the root vegetables if using and heat for a min.
- Stir in the tomatoes and 1c of the broth, place the chicken (if using) on top. Cover with a lid or foil. Cook for 10-15 min until liquid is absorbed. Stir in the remaining 1c of liquid, quick cooking vegetables and shrimp (if using). Cook for 15-20 min until rice is done. Serve and enjoy!
This was such a delicious kitchen experiment. I ended up buying way too many carrots from the local co-op and was putting them in EVERYTHING and this was one of the best discoveries in the week of all-things-carrot.
I recently picked up this lovely Michael Connelly plate at NCECA at the Art-Stream trailer. Totally worth the splurge! The imagery on the plate (there is a yellow house hidden under all that food) is subtle enough to add interest but not detract from the food, and its a sturdy sucker so I’ll be sure to be using it for years to come.
Not so Nachos
3 medium potatoes
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp Mexican hot chili powder (or chili power plus cayenne pepper)
1 tbsp garlic oil
Vegetable oil for greasing pan
½ lb ground beef
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 lemon juiced
Salt and pepper
3 corn tortillas per person
Your favorite salsa and whatever else you wanna serve this with like rice, lettuce or whatnot
- Turn your oven to 350 degrees and oil/grease a pan/cookie sheet. Dice up the potato and carrots and toss with the garlic oil, cumin, chili powder and ½ tsp of salt. Roast for 30-45 min flipping/stirring halfway through until deeply browned.
- During the last 15 min of the vegetables roasting, cook the beef with salt and pepper in a small skillet. Toss the tortillas on top of the roasting vegetables or on another rack to crisp up (check on them every few min or they might burn!). Once cooked through add in the chopped cilantro and lemon juice and remove from the heat.
- Use the crisped corn tortillas as giant tortilla chips and serve with whatever else you want besides salsa.
NOTES: If you want to do your tortillas at the end crank up the oven to 425 degrees and cook on a wire rack (or the oven grates if your lazy) for 1-5 min until desired crispiness is achieved.
This salsa is like a taste of summer in the middle of the winter.
Normal salsa is made of a bunch of things I really shouldn’t have (tomatoes, onions and garlic). This has none of those and its DELICIOUS. I use it on all of my Mexican wannabe foods.
Plate by Jacob Hostetler. Follow him on Instagram @jadahost
Smashing Strawberry Salsa
1 1/2c frozen straberries
1/3 can pineapple chunks
1/4c pineapple juice
2 lemons, juiced
2tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 green pepper
1/2 c frozen corn
salt and corn syrup to taste
1 jalapeno seeded for mild or with seeds for medium-hot
- Defrost strawberries until they are soft enough to dice up but not yet mush. Dice up the rest of the ingredients and add in juices. Stir. Adjust with corn syrup and salt if needed.
- Serve now or refrigerate overnight and enjoy later! (This does keep for a few days.)
Ok a smidge of misdirection in the title. I love this recipe because you can adapt it to how much energy you actually want to put into it. It can be as simple as pouring out some boxed broth, flavoring it and adding you fixings (noodles, greens, protein and siracha) or you can go all out and make your own broth like I did here. It’s also one of those recipes where you can specifically shop for ingredients that impress or you can just throw in whatever you have in the fridge/cupboard.
The flavors in the broth can be mixed and matched a hundred thousand different ways by combining any number of ingredients commonly used in Asian cooking. Things like ginger, garlic, soy sauce/tamari, fennel, coriander, curry power, five spice powder, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, fresh cilantro, lemongrass, coconut milk, lemons, limes and chilis/spicy peppers all make great additions. So feel free to experiment and find some flavors you enjoy or take inspiration from a traditional recipe!
Bowl by Wendy Thoreson more of her work can be found here.
Effortless Asian Soup
- Enough chicken bones and water to fill a large pot
- 1tbsp Tamari
- 1.5 in of ginger, sliced
- ¼ tsp Fennel seeds
- ¼ tsp Coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp Red pepper flakes
- 3 dried shitake mushrooms
- Siracha to taste
- Salt to taste
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Rice or Glass noodles
- Quartered baby Bok Choy
- Place your chicken bones and water in a large pot or crockpot along with all seasonings except garlic and salt. Simmer all ingredients for 2-4 hours adding water if necessary (AKA continue binge watching a show on Netflix and forget you have things on the stove). Strain and reserve ginger slices, mushrooms and any chicken that was on the bones.
- Prepare noodles according to package directions (boil or soak).
- Grate the ginger and garlic into the broth and dice up the mushrooms and chicken. Bring it all to a boil for 3-5 min. Season to taste with salt/tamari (the broth should be a little salty). Drop in the bok choy, cook for 30 seconds to a min (until bright green). Divide the vegetable matter, noodles and broth into 4 (or more) portions add siracha to taste and enjoy!
NOTE: if you are making this to divide up for lunches soak the rice noodles and don’t cook the bok choy. Put the bok choy and the noodles in the to-go container and pour the hot soup over them, the vegetables will cook as the soup cools in the fridge and the noodles won’t get as mushy!
This recipe is one of my staples. Its super easy to adapt to whatever you have in the fridge (just replace the greens with whatever vegetables you’ve got laying around). And if your hungry RIGHT NOW this can be made in as little as 5 min (well, if the rice has already been cooked).
Bowl by Andrea Keim, more of her work can be found here
Crazy Simple Fried Egg and Rice Bowl
- 1 Egg
- 1 handful of greens like baby romaine or spinach
- 1 tsp Canola or other cooking oil
- Grab your cooked rice out of the fridge and microwave it with a little water (if it is dry) or start cooking some rice. Once the rice is hot/done drizzle with a little tamari.
- Heat a small skillet over medium to medium-high heat with about a tsp of oil until its shimmering and almost smoking. Crack the egg into the oil and sprinkle with salt (this would be the time to use one of those splatter screens if you got one). Cook the egg until it is bubbling and browned on the edges then flip and cook for a few seconds until the whites are set. Place the egg over the rice.
- Toss the greens in the skillet and squeeze siracha on to taste (1/4tsp-1tsp). Continuously toss the greens and siracha until they are wilted. Place greens over rice and serve!