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Saturday, July 16, 2011

This segment is called: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?...

....My wonderful aunt, well she is my aunt not really that wonderful, but still my aunt.  Anyways my aunt came from the old country (Mexico) to visit my cousins who live here and decided to unexpectedly drop by for dinner, well she gave us a couple of hours notice.  So I cooked :) ARGENTINE STEAKS W/ CHIMMICHURRI SAUCE (ha ha chimmichurri), courtesy of America's Test Kitchen of course.  Let's start with Le' Grille, yes I know my picture has food in it already, but we started my momma's green salsa first (I will post the recipe below)....Look I'm smoking Le' steaks (I am not the greatest smoker in the world I really need to go to BBQ U).  But lets get excited ...YUMMY LE' STEAKS!!!!
Le' Steaks!!!

Well all in all it wasn't that bad seeing my aunt was pretty good and she ended up bringing goodies that my uncles sent over from Le' old country (Mexico).  Sorry for all the rambling I'm a bit tired and well fed :)

Le' yummy sweets ♥

And now for the recipes

My Momma's Smoky Salsa Verde (green salsa)

10-12 green tomatillos (they're the small ones with leaves around them, not to be confused with green tomatoes)
1-2 jalapeños
a piece of garlic
a handful of cilantro
about 1 cup of water 
salt to taste

1. Roast the tomatillos and jalapeños on the grill, remove the majority of the skin and put into a blender with garlic and cilantro (you don't need to use all the jalapeños, it all depends on how spicy you want your salsa to be) add about 1/4 cup of your water to the blender and a small pinch of salt, puree it until smooth or chunky if you prefer it that way.

2. Once your sauce is pureed all you need to do is pour into bowls for serving add a bit more water until it's the consistency you want, taste to see if more salt is needed, and ta-da you have your own homemade salsa verde, no more jar stuff for you :)

Argentine Steaks with Chimmichurri Sauce 
(from America's Test Kitchen)

Chimmichurri Sauce

    1/4 cup hot water
    2 tsp kosher salt
    1 1/3 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
    2/3 cup loosely packed cilantro
    6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (you can do less if you don't really like garlic, or you're a vampire)
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

    1 TBSP cornstarch
    2 TBSP kosher salt
    4 boneless strip steaks (I used top sirloin 'cause I was feeding a bit of people and strip is a bit expensive, you want about 4 lbs.)
    4 2-in. unsoaked wood chunks
    ground black pepper

    1. For the Sauce:  Combine hot water, oregano, and salt in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften oregano.  Pulse parsley, cilantro, garlic, and red pepper flakes in food processor until coarsely chopped, about ten 1-second pulses.  Add water mixture mixture and vinegar and pulse briefly to combine.  Transfer mixture to medium bowl and slowly whisk in oil until incorporated and mixture is emulsified.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature at least one hour (if preparing sauce in advance, refrigerate and bring to room temperature before using).
    2. For the Steak:  Combine cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.  Rub entire surface of steaks with cornstarch mixture and place steaks, uncovered, in freezer until very firm, about 30 min
    3. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes.  Arrange coals in single layer over entire surface of the grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes.  Scrape cooking grate clean with grill brush.  Grill is ready when coals are hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 2 seconds).
    4. Season steaks with pepper. Place steaks on grill, cover, and cook steaks until steaks begin to char, 2 to 3 minutes.  Uncover grill, flip steaks, and cook on second side until well charred about 2 to 3 minutes.  Flip again and cook first side until well charred about 2 to 3 minutes.  Flip 1 last time and continue to cook until second side is well charred and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of steak registers 115 degrees for rare, about 2 minutes, or 120 degrees for medium-rare, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to large plate and let rest, loosely tented with foil for 10 minutes. Slice and serve, passing chimmichurri sauce separately.


    Le' plate with steak, rice, beans, and Russian salad

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Meatless Monday: It's Italian for dinner tonight

    Semi-baked ziti....I don't like pasta dishes to be packed in casseroles and mac and cheese with crumbs on top is just wrong.  I fell in love with ziti when I went out to lunch with one of my best friends it was during Lenten so for all you Catholics out there...you know who you are, well you know what it means a lot of meatless Fridays unless you're truly devout then its meatless everyday during those 40 days.  Anyways my sister and I are doing MEATLESS MONDAYS!!! (echo) from now until we get bored of it (let's see how long that lasts). I am cooking as I type and I can tell you that this sauce is already smelling and tasting so good I want to get some bread and just make a meal of it right now.
    this is what caused all the wonderful aromas in my house
    My pasta is boiling, the sauce is resting and my house smells wonderful. 

    boiling pasta have you ever seen such a beautiful sight
    Ok I'm back and just waiting for my oven to heat up because I like my oven to be super hot before I  put anything into it, or at least that's what I like to tell myself usually I forget to turn it on until last minute.
    my pasta before I put it in the oven
    MY OVEN!!! probably the only time you will ever see it 'cause its cleam
    oh can you see all the wonderful cheeses :)
    It's done I have served myself a very generous bowl and I'm ready to eat, enjoy the recipe!

                          MMMMMMM Ziti!

    Creamy Tomato Sauce
    (Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

    3 TBSP unsalted butter
    1 oz. proscuitto minced (I didn't use the proscuitto Meatless Monday and all, so I used 1 TBSP of the oil with the tomatoes and 1 TBSP of olive oil)
    1 bay leaf
    pinch red peppers flakes
    table salt to taste (trust me I went a bit overboard in my pasta so I didn't add more to the recipe)
    3 medium garlic cloves (minced or crushed with a garlic crusher)
    2 TBSP tomato paste
    2 oz. sun dried tomatoes in oil (see this is where the tomato oil comes from)
    2 cups plus 2 TBSP crushed tomatoes (or if you're like me and didn't read the recipe right and I bought whole peeled tomatoes)
    1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP dry wine
    1 lb pasta (ziti)
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    ground black pepper
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (I didn't add this either I don't think I had any)
    and lastly my special additions
    a spoonful of ricotta cheese
    a couple of mozzarella balls
    and parmesan to taste


    1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat add prosciutto (I didn't add this instead I added 1TBSP of tomato oil and another of olive oil), onion, bay leaf, pepper flakes and about 1/4 tsp salt, stirring occasionally until onion is soft and beginning to turn light gold.  Increase heat to medium-high, add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Stir in tomato paste and sun dried tomatoes and cook, stir constantly, until slightly darkened.  Add 1/4 cup of the wine and stir frequently until all the liquid has evaporated.

    2. Add 2 cups crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to slow, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened (your spoon will leave a trail when dragged through sauce)

    3. Meanwhile bring 4 quarts water to boil.  Add pasta and about 1 TBSP of salt (here is where I went overboard so I didn't add anymore at the end, which is why I forgot the pepper) and cook until al dente.  reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.

    4.(FINALLY!) Remove the bay leaf from the sauce and discard.  Stir in cream, remaining 2 TBSP crushed tomatoes and remaining 2 TBSP of wine into sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add sauce to cooked pasta (I added pasta to sauce, makes it harder to evenly coat pasta), adjusting consistency with the reserved pasta water.  Stir in basil and the big spoonful of ricotta cheese, top with little mozzarella balls and cover with parmesan to taste. Place in oven at 350 degrees (when in doubt use 350) until cheese melts, you can do this in your skillet if its heat proof and serve (this is the semi-baked part)


    this is what it looks like after we all had a taste :) 

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    Sports lover, baseball fanatic, ballpark food enthusiast...Future member of MLB Fancave (wink,wink)
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