Monday, May 30, 2011

carne asada...easier than you think...

so many people are intimidated by things that are surprisingly easy...carne asada is one of those dishes...the secret is in the marinade, which is no secret at all...
Carne Asada
Carne asada shown wrapped up in a flour tortilla with pico de gallo and avocado
Carne asada is the thinly sliced, grilled beef served so often in tacos and burritos. It is also commonly served as is, with rice and beans on the side. Although almost any cut of beef can be butterflied into thin sheets for the carne asada, typically it is made from flank steak or skirt steak. It can be grilled just with salt and pepper for flavorings, or it can be marinated. The following is a recipe for marinated carne asada.
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Carne Asada Recipe


  • 2 pounds flank or skirt steak
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Marinade:
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 jalapeƱo chile pepper, seeded and minced
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seed (best to lightly toast the seeds first, then grind them)
    • 1 large handful fresh cilantro, leaves and stems, finely chopped (great flavor in the stems)
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 limes, juiced
    • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/2 cup olive oil


carne-asada-1.jpg carne-asada-2.jpg
1 Lay the flank steak in a large non-reactive bowl or baking dish. Combine marinade ingredients and pour the marinade over the steak. Make sure each piece is well coated. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
2 Preheat your grill over medium-high flame (you can also use a cast iron grill pan on high heat for stove-top cooking). Brush the grates with a little oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Remove the steak from the marinade. If you are cooking indoors, you may want to brush off excess marinade as the bits may burn and smoke on the hot pan. Season both sides of the steak pieces with salt and pepper. Grill the pieces for a few minutes only, on each side, depending on how thin they are, until medium rare to well done, to your preference. You may need to work in batches. Remove the steak pieces to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal.
(Optional) Serve with warm tortillas (flour or corn). Warm the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side in a dry skillet or on the grill, until toasty and pliable. Alternatively, you can warm tortillas in a microwave: heating just one or two at a time, place tortillas on a paper towel and microwave them for 15 to 20 seconds each on high.

old-fashioned custard pie...

custard pie lends itself to many different incarnations...add fresh fruit, or a nice tart coulis, chocolate sauce, even fresh homemade jam...                   

the other nice thing about this pie is the crust...sweet pastry crusts are wonderful as they are more like a cookie than a pie crust...


  • All-purpose flour, for surface
  • Sweet Pastry Dough
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 12 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for sprinkling
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 1/8-inch-thick round. Fit into a 9-by-2-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Line with parchment, and fill shell with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove beans and parchment, and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  2. With the tip of a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a saucepan, and add pod. Add cream and milk, and bring to a simmer. Remove pan from heat, and cover. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together yolks and granulated sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Still whisking, add warm cream mixture in a slow, steady stream. Add arrowroot and nutmeg. Whisk until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into cooled crust. Skim foam from surface.
  4. Bake until edges of filling are set but center is still slightly wobbly, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight). Before serving, unmold, sprinkle with nutmeg, and dust with confectioners' sugar.


    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 3 tablespoons ice water


    1. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, add yolk and ice water, and process until dough just comes together. (It should not take longer than 30 seconds.)
    2. Shape into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes. (Dough can be refrigerated overnight, or frozen for up to 1 month.)

sweet potato pie...

sweet potato pie is not a substitute for should have its own distinct flavor me, that means mace and cardamom...

pate brisee...


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


  1. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, pouring it through the feed tube with the machine running, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide into 2 equal pieces, and place on 2 separate sheets of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form 2 disks. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.


    • All-purpose flour, for work surface
    • 1/2 recipe Pate Brisee
    • 2 large sweet potatoes, (about 1 1/2 pounds)
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
    • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1 teaspoon ground mace
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup of heavy cream


    1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll pate brisee into a 15-inch round. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off the excess flour; fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate, pressing it into the edges. Trim to a 1-inch overhang all around. Crimp edge as desired. Cover with plastic wrap; chill pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
    2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water; place over high heat and bring to a boil. Fit saucepan with a steamer basket, add sweet potatoes, and cover. Steam until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. You may need to add more water as sweet potatoes steam. Let sweet potatoes cool slightly before removing skins by rubbing potatoes with a paper towel.
    3. Place sweet potatoes in a bowl and mash with a hand potato masher or fork.  the potato should hold some of their texture and form (once again, this is not a pumpkin pie)
      Add butter and beat by hand until well combined and cooled slightly. Slowly add sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add cardamom, mace, nutmeg, vanilla, and heavy cream. Continue beating until well combined, but not mush.  once the butter and eggs are well-combined you can fold the remaining ingredients into the mix.
    4. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Transfer to oven and bake until center has set, 45 to 50 minutes.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

shrimp toast...simply a pain...

once again...i save frying for extreme and worthwhile moments...this is one...

1/2 lb. raw shrimp (shelled)
2 eggs
2 green onions
2 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. grated garlic
Chopped water chestnuts or celery

i like to add minced water chestnuts...but then i think they're wonderful everywhere...
they don't over-power the shrimp...

Chop all ingredients in blender, then add water chestnuts, perhaps 5. Use 8 to 10 slices homemade style bread, crusts removed. Spread mixture on slices. Cut each slice into 4 triangles and fry in hot fat at 350 degrees. Turn once and cook about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on shrimp side, a few seconds on bread side. Fry only a few at a time. Drain and serve at once, or freeze. To reheat frozen toasts heat in oven @ 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

hot chinese mustard...
sweet and sour...
coconut pineapple...

coconut shrimp...fried version...

i love the idea of intensifying the flavor with 
coconut milk i just love 
coconut and coconut milk...

1 lb. med. raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/3 c. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 tsp. ground ginger
3 tsp. curry powder (optional)
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 c. skim milk
1/2 c. cream of coconut
4 oz. flaked coconut
Peanut oil for frying

Marinate shrimp in mixture of lemon juice, salt, ginger and curry powder 
for 1 or 2 hours. Drain well.Prepare batter of 1 1/2 cups flour, 
baking powder, milk and cream of coconut. Coat shrimp with 
remaining flour; dip in prepared batter, then dip lightly into 
flaked coconut. Fry in deep hot (350 to 375 degrees) for 
about 2-3 minutes. Depending upon size of fryer do not 
cook more than 8-12 shrimp at a time.

shrimp does not need a long cook time...the greatest sin is 
to burn the coconut...keep an eye on them...


there are thousands of different dipping 
sauces for this shrimp...
i like a pineapple sweet and sour...
pretty traditional...make it spicy...

or cheat...there a good ones on 
the shelf...especially 
trader joe's...

but it is really only sugar, vinegar, cornstarch and pineapple...maybe a little soy sauce...

coconut shrimp...yum...baked, no frying...

coconut shrimp...
  • 1 1/2 pounds unpeeled, large raw shrimp
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • egg whites
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Caribbean jerk seasoning
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1. Preheat oven to 425°. Peel shrimp, leaving tails on; devein, if desired.
  • 2. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray in a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.
  • 3. Whisk egg whites just until foamy.
  • 4. Stir together cornstarch and jerk seasoning in a shallow dish. Stir together coconut, Japanese breadcrumbs, and paprika in another shallow dish.
  • 5. Dredge shrimp, 1 at a time, in cornstarch mixture; dip in egg whites, and dredge in coconut mixture, pressing gently with fingers. Lightly coat shrimp on each side with cooking spray; arrange shrimp on wire rack.
  • 6. Bake at 425° for 10 to 12 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, turning once after 8 minutes.
there is no such thing as enough...make plenty...

lime bars...

i love citrus, and prefer lime on almost

lime bars...

For the crust:

9 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick, plus one tablespoon)
1/4 cup (55g) superfine sugar (or regular granulated)
1 cup (150g) of unbleached all-purpose flour
pinch salt

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups (330g) superfine sugar (or regular granulated)
3 eggs
2/3 cup (150g) freshly squeezed lime juice (from 4-5 limes)
2 tablespoons lime zest (from 4-5 limes)
2/3 cup (100g) unbleached, all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees Celsius). Line a 8×8″ * square baking pan with a strip of parchment paper (8×14″) that covers the bottom and overlaps on either side. (This is so after it cools, you can pull out the entire pan of lime bars and cut them neatly. You can omit this step completely, though. You don’t even need to butter the pan.)

2. Cream butter, sugar, and salt with an electric mixer. Mix in flour until just incorporated. Press dough evenly into 8×8″ square baking pan.

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. While it cools, prepare the filling.

4. Whisk all ingredients except for the confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Pour into crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes until filling is completely set. Let cool completely. (I help mine along in the freezer for about an hour.) Using the overlapping edges of parchment paper, gently lift the dessert from the pan. Cut into 16 squares. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

who doesn't like squid?...

i love fried foods and hate to fry...chicken, coconut shrimp, shrimp toast need frying...but ugh! frying is not for the faint of heart and only for the best is one...
Sweet & Spicy Sauce:
  1. Slice the calamari tubes into rings about 1/4 inch wide.
  2. Pour the club soda into a medium bowl, place the calamari rings in the club soda, stir until all are submerged. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile combine the flour, salt and pepper, toss until combined. Set aside.
  4. Combine the chili garlic sauce, honey and sesame oil, mix well. Set aside.
  5. Drain the calamari, blot dry.
  6. Dredge the calamari, one at a time, in the flour mixture and set on a plate until ready to fry.
  7. Heat 1-2 inches of oil in a deep, heavy pot to 375 F. Once ready, place 1/4 of the calamari in the oil and fry for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until golden. Don't overcrowd. When you pull it out, place on a paper towel-lined plate and blot gently. Repeat.
  8. Toss with prepared sauce and garnish with sesame seeds if you happen to have them on hand OR serve sauce alongside the calamari. Enjoy!!