Friday, May 22, 2009

Sliced Chili Rubbed Flank Steak on Spicy Rice with Shrimp and Guacamole Stacks

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


2 to 2 1/4 pounds flank steak
1 1/2 tablespoons grill seasoning, a palm full and a half
1 tablespoons dark Mexican chili powder, a palm full
1 lime, zested
Cooking spray or oil to coat grill or grill pan
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup white rice
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons hot sauce, eyeball it
1 pound small to medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves or flat-leaf parsley
2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
2 Hass avocados, halved, scooped from skin and sliced
1/2 lemon
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled queso Asadero


Preheat outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to high. Rub the meat with a mixture of grill seasoning, chili powder and the lime zest. Let meat stand 10 minutes. Grease grill surface then add meat and cook 7 to 8 minutes on the first side, 5 to 6 minutes on the flip side for medium doneness.

For the rice, heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add butter, and when melted add rice and toast for a couple of minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic and cook for a few minutes to begin to soften the veggies. Add stock and raise heat to bring up to a bubble. Stir in the tomato paste and hot sauce. Reduce heat to simmer, cover the pot and cook 18 minutes, until rice is tender. Add shrimp to the pot in the last 5 minutes of cooking. The shrimp will steam on top of the rice. Cook the shrimp until pink and firm. Combine the seafood and cilantro into the rice and season with salt, to taste.

Season sliced tomatoes with salt and dress the avocado with lemon juice. Make 4 stacks alternating the tomatoes with avocado and onions.

Slice the steaks and serve on a bed of shrimp rice, the guacamole stacks alongside. Garnish the guacamole stacks with cheese crumbles.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother's Day Pasta Sampler

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 servings


1 1/2 pounds bow tie pasta

Pasta with Peas:

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock, plus more if needed
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 (10-ounce) box frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
10 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded
A handful mint leaves, finely chopped

Pasta with Carrots:

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 (10-ounce) box frozen cooked carrots or baby carrots
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
A few dashes hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

Pasta with Peppers:

1 (16-ounce) jar roasted yellow or red peppers, drained (about 5 to 6 peppers)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste


Heat a large pot of water to a boil, salt liberally and cook pasta to al dente.

While pasta cooks, you will need 3small skillets set up and a food processor near by. Set up 3 serving dishes that would hold half a pound of pasta each on a counter near the stove.

In first skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat, add onion, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and sweat 5 to 6 minutes. Add stock and zest and bring to a boil. Add peas, season with salt and pepper and heat through, about 2 minutes. Put in food processor and process until a smooth sauce forms and transfer to a bowl, fold in fresh ricotta, basil and mint with rubber spatula, adjust seasoning salt. When pasta is ready, add a ladle of pasta water or chicken stock, if needed and 1/3 of the pasta to the bowl. Toss the pasta with sauce.

In the second skillet while peas are cooking, add chicken stock, carrots, curry powder, hot sauce, salt and pepper, to taste, honey and butter. Bring to a boil and let simmer to heat through, 10 minutes.

While carrots are cooking, grind roasted peppers into a paste. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in third pan over medium-low heat and saute the garlic and red pepper, stir in ground peppers and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rinse processor bowl and return to base to grind the carrots when they are tender. When peppers are hot, stir in balsamic vinegar and parsley and let simmer over low heat. Stir in starchy cooking liquid or stock, scrape sauce into serving dish and coat 1/3 of the pasta and cheese.

Grind carrots into a smooth paste and transfer to a serving dish. Thin carrot sauce with starchy liquid or stock and toss with remaining half pound of pasta and chives.

*Cook's Note: Each of the 3 sauces will require a ladle of starchy cooking liquid taken just before draining pasta or chicken stock, optional.