Carne Asada with Fresh Corn Salsa (GF, DF)

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)

  • Servings: 6-ish
  • Difficulty: slice & squeeze, patience, grill, slice & toast
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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
  • cheese
  • sour cream
  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • whatever else you normally put on your tacos/fajitas

  1. 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)
  2. Let the meat marinade for 8-24 hours. This is crucial!! It turns your tough junky cut of meat into delicious-ness.
  3. 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).
  4. 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).
  5. Put the meat under foil to rest. Heat up a pan on medium for the corn tortillas while you make the salsa.
  6. 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).
  7. 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)
  8. 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!

 

End of Summer Strawberry Salad

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)

  • Servings: 3-4 as a side salad
  • Difficulty: Heat & Stir, Measure & Mix, Wash & Dress
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Lemon Vinaigrette:

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

Candied Walnuts:

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


  1. 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)
  2. Mix up the dressing ingredients in a bowl or salad shaker thing.
  3. 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!)

 

Saucy Peanut’s Thai Noodle Salad (Gluten-Free, Dairy-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)

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: Mix, boil, cool, chop and stir
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Peanut Sauce:

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

Salad Stuff:

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

3 eggs

oil

salt and pepper

  1. Boil the water for your noodles and heat a pan to medium-hot for your fried eggs.
  2. 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!
  3. While waiting for the pan to be hot/water to boil, julienne the vegetables and toss them with the sauce.
  4. 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)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Paella on a Budget

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

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: One pan, one cutting board, one measuring cup
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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.)

  1. mix the spices, salt and rice in a bowl
  2. 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.
  3. 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!