Southwestern Steak Tacos

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Sorry my posts have been so sporadic (does anyone else think of “Clueless” when they use that word?). Sometimes real life gets in the way. So I’m back, where were we? Right, summer.

It is summer in the Midwest, which means heat indexes above 100 and humidity that makes you feel like you are underwater every time you step outside. Growing up here Nick and I are used to the weather, but it is still nice to get away. Somehow we managed to miss the most brutal week of the summer so far by going on a little road trip to North Carolina. We spent a blissful week visiting family, eating, drinking, and seeing as much of this beautiful state as we could.

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{“High Falls” in Asheville, NC}

We had such a great time! We went to Trader Joe’s for the first time (sad isn’t is?), hiked to waterfalls, went to our first (and last) “juke joint”, swam in the ocean, and made new friends. But I think the best part was getting to spend time with my husband. With 2 full time jobs between us, and Nick also in nursing school we don’t get to spend as much time together as we would like. It was a great change of pace to see each other everyday with only beer runs and platters of fried chicken keeping us apart.

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{Scott (Lex’s Brother), Nick, Alexis, and I at the “Juke Joint”}

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{Still waiting for the recipe for these blueberry dumplings-the best dessert I’ve ever had}

Naturally we brought home a few souvenirs to remind us our trip. Shells from the beach, honey from a local apiary, and remnants of the fruit basket my dad sent us on our last day. Oh and one more thing, a Le Creuset grill pan. On our way home we stopped at a pretty cool outlet mall outside of Raleigh that had a Le Creuset store and it just so happened that my color (Dijon) was on sale. I scooped it up and used it our second night home.

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One of the books I read on our road trip was Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking. I’ll talk more about it on Monday but these steak tacos were good! This flank steak gets a quick marinade before getting thrown on the grill (or in your new grill pan). Toss in some veggies and jazzed up sour cream and dinner is ready. The leftover steak is also really good with eggs for breakfast. (Oh you will also notice the lack of tortillas in the pictures. I didn’t forget, but have to lay off the carbs and sugar (temporarily) for medical reasons. And oh how I miss them both)

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Recipe from Casual Cooking by Sara Foster

Southwestern Steak Tacos with Chopped Charred Summer Vegetables

Serves 2-4

  • 1 1 pound New York Strip steak 1 ½ inches thick
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ears of corns, husks and silks removed
  • 1 red pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 1 bunch scallions, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • Sea salt
  • 4 corn tortillas, warmed
  • ½ cup cilantro-lime sour cream (recipe follows)

Place the steak on a plate and squeeze the lime juice over both sides; sprinkle both sides with the cumin, chili powder, and pepper, and rub the seasonings into the steak. Set the steak aside to rest at room temperature while you grill the vegetables.

Heat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. (Or prepare a hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill.) Put the corn, bell pepper, and scallions in the skillet to grill for about 5 minutes, turning often, until the vegetables are charred in places and the scallions are wilted. Transfer the vegetables to a plate to cool slightly Add the tomatoes to the skillet to char for about 5 minutes, turning often. Remove the tomatoes to the plate with the other vegetables. Roughly chop the pepper, scallions, and tomatoes and return them to the plate. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and mix with the other vegetables. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, cover loosely with foil to keep warm, and set aside.

Season both sides of the steak with salt and grill for 5 to 6 minutes per side. Move the steak away from the direct fire, close to the grill or cover the steak with foil and cook for another 7 to 8 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads 120 F for medium-rare (for medium cook the steaks a few more minutes, until the thermometer reads 130 F). Transfer the steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest again for about 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak on the diagonal against the grain.

To assemble the tacos, lay the warmed tortillas on a work surface or platter. Lay the steak slices down the center of the tortillas and spoon the vegetables over the steak, dividing them evenly. Top with mixed greens and a dollop of the cilantro-lime sour cream, fold in half, and serve.

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Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream

Makes about 1 cup

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Texas Pete or Tabasco
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime

Combine the sour cream, cilantro, cumin, hot sauce, and lime zest and juice in a small bowl and stir to mix. Serve or refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve or up to 1 week.

RTK note: While in Wilmington NC, I tried Texas Pete hot sauce for the first time and I love it! 

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{See the hot sauce in the corner? Nick and I also tried oysters for the first time-delicious!}

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One

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Can I share something with you? I’m a little nervous. This is my first post and it officially marks my foray into the blogging world. I’ve had this blog floating around in my head for a while but I wasn’t sure if I would have anything productive to offer the blogging community (I’m still not sure, if you want me to be completely honest). But food and family are my two biggest passions and I decided that, ready or not I was going to do this because it makes me happy. So. Here we go.

I guess now would be a good time for introductions. I’m a twenty something (26 if you want to get specific) working the typical 8-5 job in the corporate world. When I’m not working, most of my time is split between eating and spending time with my giant family (yes we include our dogs as family). So I thought I would make a little place to document my two loves and have something to refer to when my great-grandchildren want to know what I was doing when I was a twenty something, you know, back in the 2010’s. 🙂

As this is our first time together I don’t want to bore you with too many details, so, let’s talk about food shall we?

This first post is a celebration of sorts, so what better way to celebrate than with cake? Since honesty seems to be the theme of today’s post let me share another secret with you. Up until a few days ago, I despised confetti cake. Man that feels good to get out. But seriously, the box confetti cake (not to be confused with boxed yellow cake, because that is delicious) has never appealed to me. I tried it when I was 7 years old and still remember the dry, artificial, crumbly taste it left it my mouth. I refused to eat it ever again and never looked back. Until I saw this. Have you ever seen a more tempting picture? No? Me neither. I knew I had to make this cake, even though it called for vegetable shortening (something I try to avoid due to the copious amounts of cake I consume).

With the help of my best friend Alexis I made a two-layer cake, took out the almond, and opted for more vanilla. I also used brown sugar buttercream (adapted from Joy the Baker) to increase the sugar content of my cake. Friends, I am in love with this cake. I want to make it every day and eat it for breakfast. I love it so much that I am not going to waste any more of your time with words. Print this recipe out, find some shoes, and run to the store for some shortening.

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Celebratory Confetti Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Slightly adapted from thekitchn.com

(makes two 9 inch round cakes)

  • 4 egg whites from large eggs
  • 1 cup milk divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
  • 8 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1/3 cup multi-colored jimmies (or one full container)

Heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans. In a small bowl mix the egg whites, ¼ cup milk, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix for 30 seconds or until well combined. Add the butter and shortening and mix for another 30 seconds- 1 minute. Pour the remaining ¾ cup milk and continue mixing on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Gradually pour in the egg white mixture, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. Mix for one more minute. Gently fold in the jimmies.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and place the pans on a baking rack to cool. Then turn the pans onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing.

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Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Joy the Baker

1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese, softened

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons heavy cream

2-3 cups powdered sugar depending on desired consistency

Cream the butter and cream cheese together in an electric mixer (be sure that the two are at room temperature to keep your frosting from getting lumpy). Add the brown sugar and vanilla and beat for about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time.  Alternate with the heavy cream until you reach your desired consistency.