Pina Colada Shrimp Tacos and Pineapple Salsa

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The weekend is almost here! I have a huge…HUGE…to-do list. Naturally, it’s all related to outdoor projects. And naturally, the forecast for Sunday looks like the start of a three-day marathon of thunderstorms. Isn’t that special? Time to buckle down on Saturday then. That means not a lot of time for cooking. If your schedule is going to be full like mine, this quick and easy shrimp taco dish might be for you. Most of the prep is done ahead of time and you let the salsa and shrimp marinade as long as you need. A quick saute, and whoomp there is it. (Sorry for that. I’m not sorry for the 90s though. That was a great decade.)

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Start with the pineapple salsa ingredients: jalapeno, green onion, pineapple, and the juice of one lime.

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Start with about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fresh pineapple. Fresh will taste better than canned, trust me on this one. Give it a rough chop. Remove the seeds and membrane from half a jalapeno. Slice up a couple of green onion. Chop half a red onion.

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Throw it all in a small bowl and juice one lime over it. I love that juicer. It makes me happy. Then place the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour, but longer is better.

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Place one pound of peeled, deveined, tails-off shrimp in a plastic bag. Pour in enough pina colada drinking mix to cover the shrimp. Place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, but you can let it sit for longer if needed.

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Heat a pan over medium-high heat or heat a grill pan on your grill. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and discard the leftover sauce. Place in pan and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.  Grill or cook until heated through or until pink and cooked through if using raw shrimp.

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Place cooked shrimp on tortillas and top with pineapple salsa. You could use some grated mild cheese, but I prefer the clean, crisp taste of the sweet shrimp with the sweet and spicy salsa and nothing else.

…except maybe a little cilantro.

I’m taking a bow for making it almost to the end of this post without reference to the pina colada song and getting caught in the rain.

Enjoy!

Pina Colada Shrimp Tacos and Pineapple Salsa

1 1/2 to 2 cups of fresh cut pineapple

1/2 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed

1/2 small red onion, chopped

3 or 4 green onions, sliced

1 lime, juiced

1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails off (may be raw or cooked)

pina colada drinking mix

pinch of red pepper flakes

8 small flour tortillas

cilantro for topping

optional: grated mild cheese such as queso fresco or Monterey Jack

  1. In a small bowl combine chopped pineapple, jalapeno, red onion, green onion, and lime juice. Place in refrigerator and let sit for at least 15 minutes, but may be made in advance.
  2. Place shrimp in a large baggie. Pour enough pina colada mix over to cover and seal bag. Place in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, but may marinade longer.
  3. Heat a pan over medium-high heat or a pan on a grill.
  4. Remove shrimp from bag and discard leftover marinade.  Place shrimp in pan and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Grill or saute shrimp until heated and cooked through.
  5. Serve on tortillas, topped with pineapple salsa and cilantro.

 

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Steak Lettuce Wraps

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Summer did a drive-by yesterday here in the Midwest. Temperatures were near 95 degrees. Oh, but it felt SO GOOD. I think not only because some parts of our area were under snow just a couple of weeks ago, but the humidity was low so it felt like a good heat. The mid-summer heat in the 90s can be oppressive when you can see the humidity hanging in the air. The corn loves it, so there’s that. Corn is king in these parts.

Yesterday was a reminder to get the grill serviced so it can be used…pronto! It was a night for quick meals with some crispy vegetables and medium-rare meat because to stand over the heat of the grill any longer than medium-rare would have been unpleasant.

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One trick to working with steak is to salt it and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes. Nothing bad will happen during that short time unless you have an overzealous dog roaming the house.

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While the steak rests, make an onion and cucumber relish. Peel and slice a cucumber. Then thin-slice a small red onion. I never really find “small” anything anymore. Recipes that call for small vegetables make me laugh. Maybe I should shop the organic section a little more.

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In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup rice vinegar and 3 teaspoons of sugar. Stir in the cucumber and onion to coat. Put the bowl in the refrigerator while  you prepare the rest of the meal.

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Next prepare a sauce that will be both marinade and wrap topping. Two for one! Gotta love it when it’s simple.

In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, the juice of one lime, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 inch of ginger root, and 2 garlic cloves. Whew, sounds like a lot, but it’s all worth it.  Blend until smooth.

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Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of creamy almond butter to the mixture and blend again.  Take 1/4 cup of the liquid and pour into a bag along with the steak. Let marinade on the counter for 15 minutes.

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There’s my trusty cast iron pan again. Heat a heavy pan to medium-high heat and cook the steak until medium-rare.

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Don’t cut it or poke it yet! For the love of steak, control yourself.  Tent it loosely with foil and let it rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.  Then slice thin.

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If you’re not acquainted already, meet Bibb lettuce. It’s a cute little variety that is perfect for lettuce wraps or if you want a low-carb burger and use lettuce in place of buns. That’s not my thing, but I’m extending the olive branch with Bibb lettuce as a suggestion.

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Top lettuce leaves with a slice (or two if you want a mouthful) of steak, drizzle on the remaining almond butter sauce, and top with the cucumber onion relish.

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Simply yum! Enjoy!

Steak Lettuce Wraps

1 lb sirloin steak

Salt

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

1/2 red onion, thin sliced

1/3 cup rice vinegar

3 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 garlic gloves

1″ ginger, peeled and chopped or 1 teaspoon dried ginger

Bibb lettuce

  1. Salt steak and let rest on counter for 30 minutes.
  2. Assemble the cucumber onion relish by combining rice vinegar and sugar in small bowl. Add sliced cucumbers and onions. Stir to coat and refrigerate.
  3. Combine soy sauce, lime juice, olive oil, honey, sesame oil, pepper flakes, ginger and garlic in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add almond butter and blend until smooth again.
  4. Place steak in a large baggie. Add 1/4 cup of the almond butter sauce to bag.  Let marinade on counter for 15 minutes.
  5. Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat then add steak. Cook until medium rare. Remove steak to a cutting board. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.  Slice thin.
  6. Assemble wraps by place one or two slices of steak on a piece of Bibb lettuce. Drizzle on the almond butter sauce and top with cucumber onion relish.

 

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Homemade Naan

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Welcome to another week! I had some major dental things done last week that left me swollen, sore, still sore today, and out of sorts. I swear I think it’s still Friday. That means I deserve a weekend do-over, don’t you agree?

Thanks to sore gums, I’ve been sticking to easy foods like soups and ice cream. It may not be tonsils, but I think ice cream should be a meal when you’re in a pain. Oh, yes, I do.

On Friday night I had a delicious broccoli cheese soup and some naan. Unfortunately that naan was $3.99 for two pieces. And as much as I love naan, I decided I was tired of paying so much for so little, especially when it’s so EASY to make. One recipe costs a couple of dollars and yields 8 pieces of naan. Let’s do it.

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Start with 2 teaspoons of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Add to this 1/2 cup of warm, but not hot, water.  Let it sit a few minutes until you see some bubbles around the edges of the bowl.

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Add 1 egg, 1/4 cup canola oil, and 1/3 cup of plain greek yogurt to the bowl. Stir until smooth.

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In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Then add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir.

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Keep adding flour by the 1/2 cup until you can no longer stir with the spoon. At this point you will be about 2.5 cups total flour.

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Turn the dough out onto a floured surface or a piece of waxed paper. I prefer waxed paper because it helps contain the mess a little better.  Knead the dough for 3 minutes, adding flour as necessary until you reach 3 cups total flour in the dough.

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Place the dough in a bowl, loosely cover and set in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.  It was pretty chilly this weekend. What’s up with the heater coming on in mid May?! So I turned the oven to the WARM setting while mixing and then switched it off when I put the bowl in so it wasn’t too hot for that delicate yeast.

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Lightly punch the dough down and turn onto a floured surface again or another piece of waxed paper. Cut the dough into 8 pieces.

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Time for a big ol’ heavy pan. Heat it over medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. This process is now similar to my fry bread, but it’s more of a grilled bread than fried.

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Roll a piece of dough into a circle with your hands. Then flatten with a rolling pin. Don’t roll the dough pieces all at once. Only roll before placing in the hot pan. This helps ensure the most bubbles, and you want bubbles in naan.

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Place the dough on the hot pan and let it cook until you see those desired bubbles forming. Flip and let cook on the other side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

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I put the naan on a cooling rack while I cook the rest of the dough. It helps keep it from getting soggy on the bottom if placed on a plate. Sometimes I tear a little piece of the end and nibble while cooking the rest too.

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You can serve plain, brushed with butter and herbs, as a side to soup, dress them up as pizzas, slice in half and use as sandwich bread, make breakfast burritos with them… use your imagination and taste buds. They keep well too. Just bag and store in the refrigerator for a week. Very little work, very little money, a whole lot of possibilities. Enjoy!

Naan

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup warm water

1 egg

1/4 cup canola oil

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

3 cups flour, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. In a small bowl combine the sugar, yeast, and water. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add yogurt, oil, and egg to the bowl. Stir until smooth.
  3. Place 1 cup of flour and the salt into a large bowl. Combine, then stir in the wet ingredients. Keep adding flour until you can no longer stir the dough with a spoon, about 2.5 cups of flour total.
  4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 3 minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup additional flour if dough is sticky. Place dough in a bowl and cover loosely. Let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  5. Lightly punch dough down and move to a floured surface. Cut into 8 pieces.
  6. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking oil.
  7. Roll dough piece into a ball and flatten with a rolling pin until about 1/4″ thick. Place in hot pan. Let cook until bubbles form. Flip and continue to cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Place on cooling rack.
  8. Continue with remaining dough pieces, only rolling flat right before placing in hot pan.

 

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Sesame Chicken Pasta

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I posted earlier about my gardening projects. All of this work so far I have done alone, including pruning trees and doing the usual spring cleanup of fallen branches, leaf raking, and cleaning up after the dogs and what they deposited into snow over the winter. Hey, fun times.

Each night I have been exhausted and we ended up eating leftovers or grabbing subs more often than I care to admit. I did make a huge pot of pasta fagioli soup one night that lasted us 3 nights of dinner. Thank goodness my son was such a fan of it. Did I document how I made it? Nope! My bad. But I did grab some shots of this summer favorite of mine, Sesame Chicken Pasta. It’s good hot. It’s good warm. It’s good cold. It’s good reheated.

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Start by combining 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Then watch as it all separates into these cool layers.

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Next take 1/4 cup of sesame seeds and swirl them around in a pan over medium high heat.  This will only take a few minutes, so keep an eye on it and keep the pan swirling. Sesame seeds will scorch quickly if not watched.

I pour the seeds into a small bowl.

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Then pour the seeds from the bowl into the dressing mixture. …And spill seeds all over the counter anyway. C’est la seeds.

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Give it all a good shake if using a handy dressing container like this. Whisk away if using a bowl. No matter how much you shake the seeds will collect at the top. Don’t sweat it.

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Boil some bow tie pasta. Grill 2 chicken breasts and slice thin. If you need to cut corners, use chunks of deli chicken or rotisserie chicken.

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Pour in the dressing and stir, stir, stir. YUM.

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I love this dish in the summer. Oh, well, fine. I love it in the autumn, winter, and spring too.  The dressing is a nice balance of smoky and tangy. The sesame seeds have a nice pop. Sometimes I cook up baby sweet peas and toss them into the mix as well, so get creative and toss in some veggies and make it a one pot meal!

Enjoy and see you on Friday with a Get Ready For Sunday installment!

Sesame Chicken Pasta

16 oz bow tie pasta

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced thin

Optional: cooked vegetables

  1. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid or a large bowl, combine oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, black pepper.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add sesame seeds. Cook and stir sesame seeds until golden brown.
  3. Add sesame seeds to dressing mixtures and shake or whisk to combine.
  4. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and let cool.
  5. In a large bowl combine cooked pasta, grilled chicken, and dressing. Stir to combine.
  6. Optional: add cooked vegetables such as 1/2 cup peas or sliced carrots.
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I Am Back From Saving a Hillside

I’m going to show you something revealed to me when the snow melted and I finally ventured outside earlier this spring. It’s horrifying.

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Yikes.  Like, YIKES. See that block in the right corner? That’s supposed to be on the wall.  See all that exposed landscape fabric? Well, it’s not supposed to be exposed. Or bulging like that.

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The earth has fallen. More like the earth has fallen off that hill and added a good foot to the soil at the base of the wall. Roots exposed. Shrubs died. Cats sleeping with dogs. (Ghostbusters reference. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) This was a bad situation.

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A really bad, UGLY situation. So I threw myself into fixing this part of the yard. It took a lot more work and shoveling than I expected.  First step, I had to keep the dogs out of this little garden area. It was a favorite spot for one of the dogs, so I knew I would need fencing.  You can even see how they “terraced” a spot leading into that area by walking it so many times. I wanted to keep this and other projects I have going on as low-cost as possible. I view it as a challenge to myself to make more, recycle more, upcycle, etc… whatever Pinterest-y term you like to use.

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Enter Freecycle. If you haven’t heard of Freecycle, it’s website of communities across the country and members post unwanted or wanted items for free. What is lying around  your garage or basement may be someone else’s needed item for a home, yard, new baby, etc… And it’s free. Free to post. Free to pick up items. It’s a wonderful way to keep items out of landfills. Craiglist also has a free items sections, so I watch them both for yard-related postings and sometimes even plants.  Just this weekend I responded to a free plants posting and went to a woman’s house and helped her pull lily of the valley, ferns, wild ginger, and hostas that she wanted to thin out.

I lucked out, and I mean LUCKED OUT,  on my first attempt at Freecycle. Just as I started this project, someone in my town disassembled their garden and gave away framed chicken wire panels. They had loops on them for mounting and came with the stakes. I picked up 6 of them, and look how perfectly it fit up the side of the hill. It was like it was meant for me. I left the bottom and top panels secured only one side so I can swing them open as gate access.

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Then I started shoveling soil.  And shoveling soil. And shoveling soil into buckets and carrying them up the hill. And dumping soil. And raking soil. And shoveling some more soil. I scraped soil off the top of the wall. I repositioned and secured rocks that had fallen out of place. It was a long day, but in the end I felt I had redistributed some dirt where it used to live and covered up some vulnerable roots.  I walked away with a broken back and a sore wrist after, but I take comfort in the health of my soil. Man, does that soil have a lot of worms in it! I won’t touch them with bare hands, but I’m glad they are there.

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The area that lost the most soil and required the most work was covered in burlap. I didn’t want all my hard work to slide back down.

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Oh, and this guy thought I spent 7 or 8 hours making the ultimate cat bed for him. Look at that smug pose.

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As part of my recycling mode, I tried using some hardware cloth and stakes I had from a project several years ago. Unfortunately memory distorts, and the hardware cloth was much shorter than I remembered. It was not going to keep a determined dog from her favorite digging spot.

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Look who’s back. He was glad when I pulled up the initial fencing attempt and let me know his thoughts on the matter by lying right across where I was installing the fencing.

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I managed to move the cat and put up 36″ chicken wire. It’s worked like a charm. Not a single breach by a dog or cat since it’s gone up. You can see I started getting impatient and putting in some new plants. First I had to rip out several dead spireas and start hacking away at a forsythia that’s looking miserable. I won’t cut it all out though and give it a fighting chance if it can recover. I’ve purchased a couple of plants that I always love, heucherella and coral bells.

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I have been busy every night since then going around my front garden beds, pulling and splitting hostas. I did something similar to this project several years ago with a long hillside in the front that was weedy, ugly, and eroding. I spent two summers filling it with hostas. I had no idea what I was buying at times, just what looked pretty and would grow big and strong. Now I have a very colorful hillside in the front and thankfully I can use them to fill this back hillside now. That doesn’t mean I didn’t succumb to buying a hydrangea and a peony to stick in there as well. There had been a pretty snowball bush in this bed that died, so I replaced it with a hydrangea.

I also forgot about a rhododendron I planted a few years ago in a corner of the house. The poor thing never grew an inch. It didn’t die, it just never grew. I clearly chose a bad spot for it. So I also put that back towards the fence. Daylilies are like weeds, but at least they’re pretty weeds. I transplanted many of those along the back fence and scattered some ferns amongst all of it.

I just love spring when the ferns emerge all curled up in their fiddlehead formation.

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You can do it, lone remaining spirea! I believe in you. Besides 2 barberry shrubs, this was the only shrub to survive. It’s a little pathetic looking, but if it’s still trying, then I’ll give it a chance. I took off all the dead wood and will cheer it on.

It’s an ongoing project to keep planting and filling in the space. Our city offers free compost at the landfill from all the yard waste they pick up. It’s a popular offering though and they are currently out of prepared compost. But I’m watching and will be there with my buckets when the next batch is ready. My next project is a small raised garden bed beside the patio on the downward part of the hill that is eroding away. As you can tell, living on the side of a hill has some challenges.

Freecycle also helped me nab two large sections of trellis to use there as well for some much-needed privacy from our downhill neighbors. Go Freecycle!

So that’s where I have been and not in the kitchen for the past week and a half. I hope you’ll stick with me this summer as I work through some major landscaping projects to repair my backyard and try to serve us tasty summer meals for my household and share them with you as well. I do have a delicious sesame chicken pasta dish that I will post later today. It’s been quick but delicious meals like that and corn griddle cakes which have saved us from nonstop fast food or ham sandwiches.

Enjoy your Spring!

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Get Ready for Sunday (Grilling): Bourbon Brown Sugar Steak

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Some things I like: Whiskers on kittens and bright copper kettles. Sure, sure, those are fine. Though as far as copper goes, I’m eyeing some copper wind chimes for Mother’s Day. Just putting that out there, Universe.

Other things I like: brown sugar, steak, and of course bourbon. Combine the three, and I’m a pretty happy person.

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This steak marinade couldn’t be easier with only 3 items: brown sugar, bourbon, and red pepper flakes. Wham. That’s it.  Mix equal parts brown sugar and bourbon in a plastic baggie. Toss in a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Let marinate for at least 3 hours. But I cheated and put the steak in the marinade, then put the bag in the freezer for a couple of days. Let thaw overnight if you do this.  But if your steak was previously frozen, don’t re-freeze.

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I used a 1.5 pound sirloin steak that was about 1.5 inches thick. I like my steak on the rarer side of medium rare. My grill is not season ready yet, so I pan cooked the steak. Due to my mother’s tendency to overcook steak until it was practically beef jerky, I always approach steak with an anxious heart. This method worked well for me.  First heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Then get your cast iron pan. Praise the skies and earth for cast iron pans.

Put the empty pan on high heat. Let it start to smoke, then throw in about half a tablespoon of butter. Or a whole tablespoon. You know how I am with butter.

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The butter will brown almost immediately.  Then throw the marinated steak in the pan. It will smoke and sizzle and spit and you’ll start to worry, but don’t! It’s fine. Let it  smoke away. The outside is searing and the sugar is caramelizing. Let it cook for 3 minutes on one side.  Then use tongs or a spatula and flip and let cook for 3 minutes on the other side. In case that wasn’t clear: DO NOT POKE THE STEAK. Sorry for the caps. It’s rude to yell.

Just don’t you dare cut or stick anything in that steak yet. You’ll let out all the juices bubbling away inside. Trust me, later you will swoon at how juicy this steak is.

After the steak is cooked for 3 minutes on each side, place the entire pan with the steak in it in the heated oven for 3-10 minutes, depending on how rare or well done you want your steak. I left mine in the oven for 3 minutes.  Remove from the oven and tent with aluminum foil for 5 minutes.

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And wow.  Wait one more time…

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Yep, wow. The amount of juice coming out of that steak was incredible. I cut it on a meat-only cutting board with a surrounding indent to catch juices. That little “moat” filled with the juice and actually ran down onto the countertop. Swoon-worthy.

The brown sugar caramelized. The bourbon flavor was strong but not overpowering. It was love at first, second, third, fourth, and so on… bite.

So grill away but don’t be afraid of the pan fried method of making steak. Either way, just make sure there’s a drink in your hand while cooking. “Go meat!”

Brown Sugar Bourbon Steak Marinade

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup bourbon

1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1.5 pound sirloin steak

  1. Mix brown sugar, bourbon, and pepper flakes in a plastic baggie. Add steak.
  2. Let marinate at least 3 hours or overnight.  If steak has not been previously froze, baggie can be placed in freezer. Let thaw overnight in refrigerator when ready to use.
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Santa Fe BBQ Fry Bread Pizza…And Desserts

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Summer isn’t that far off. Wait…it’s still freezing temperatures here and we had a little sleet the other day. BUT spring can’t be stopped. The buds are coming out on the plants and once in a while we’re teased with a 60-degree day and sunshine. So why am I thinking about summer? Well, just like the trees and flowers know to wake up with the changing season, apparently my body knows vegetables will be abundantly available soon and I start craving non-meat meals.

Last week I made pizza dough and topped with Santa Fe pizza fixin’s… tangy BBQ sauce, black beans, fresh corn cut right off the cob, grape tomatoes, and a cheese mix of sharp cheddar and mozzarella. It was so good I continued to want more of it all weekend. ALL. WEEKEND. I wasn’t in the mood to make another batch of dough though and was busy in the yard. Gotta take advantage of the sun when it’s out in April. We’ve been practically swimming this month with a deluge of rain.

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I had also been wanting to make some fry bread.  Fry bread is a non-yeast dough that is rolled and dropped into hot oil. Some recipes use butter, some use milk, some use neither.  I like this recipe with a little butter cut into the dough, but it would work without it as well. Fry bread can be dressed up sweet or savory and makes a great base for taco salad.   It didn’t take long for me to connect the dots and decide to make fry bread pizza.

Start with 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoons of salt. Cut 2 tablespoons of cold butter into the dry ingredients.

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Add 3/4 cup of lukewarm water and stir to combine until you have a shaggy dough ball. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

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After the dough rests, divide it into 8 pieces. I find it’s easy to use a large sheet of waxed paper to pat the dough into a circle and cut into fourths and then eighths.

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Roll the dough until it’s about 5 inches in size and about 1/4 inch thick.

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Nope.

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Yep.

Heat up about 2 cups of oil in a large pan on the stove. You can use vegetable oil. I used peanut oil because has a higher smoke point. If using a thermometer, heat the oil to 375 degrees. I don’t use a thermometer, so I test little scraps of the dough. If it sits in the oil like the first picture above, the oil is not hot enough. If you stick your dough in now, it will just soak up the oil and be a soggy, unpleasant thing to eat later.

When you drop the dough in, you want it to sizzle and start bubbling all around immediately, like the second picture. That means the outer layer is crisping up and sealing itself, which allows the inside of the dough to cook without soaking in any oil. It’s the same for anything else you cook in oil – seal the outside, let the inside cook from the heat.

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When the oil is hot enough, carefully lay in your dough rounds. Let them cook for 60 seconds on one side. Use tongs to flip them over and cook for 60 seconds on the other side.

If you see an air bubble forming on an uncooked side, channel the Beatles for a minute and…let it be. Don’t poke it. That will create a hole where too much oil can get in when you flip the dough to cook on the other side. I usually watch the bubble when I flip the dough to see if it deflates itself. If not, I either A) Live with it. Fry bread is all about pillowy layers inside and that just adds to it. Or B) Use a knife to poke the cooked side of the dough and gently press with the tongs to see if that helps the bubble deflate.

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After removing the fry bread from the oil, place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels and put into a warm oven.

On to my mini pizzas!

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I spread a little BBQ sauce on the fry bread. My toppings of choice were…leftovers. These were the unused portions from the Santa Fe BBQ pizza a few nights ago. Shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, quartered grape tomatoes, canned black beans that were rinsed, and corn cut off the cob. A note on corn on the cob: it’s delicious. Yes, I am located in the Midwest. I am not originally from here, and the knowledge that corn could be eaten raw off a cob was a strange and foreign concept to me. But once I started tasting it in salads or on pizza, I liked it. It has all the sweetness of sweet corn but with a pleasant crunch.

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Add your cheese and toppings. Broil in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is bubbling at the edges.

fb 24Take a bite and die of happiness that your two cravings have been satisfied in one meal. Look at the layers!

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Of course, far be it from me to deny you of any extra sensory enjoyment. Take a fry bread and sprinkle powdered sugar on it. Close your eyes, take a bite, and be transported to a county fair.  Or cover it with marshmallows and chocolate chips, broil for a minute, and enjoy a mini s’mores pizza.  Enjoy!

Fry Bread

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

3/4 cup warm water

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. 
  2. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two forks.
  3. Stir in the water to make a shaggy dough ball. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into eight pieces. Roll each piece until it is about 5 inches round and 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Heat 2 cups of oil in a large pan on over medium high heat.  If using a thermometer, heat oil to 375 degrees. Or use a small piece of dough to test if the oil bubbles and the dough browns when it is placed into the oil.
  6. Cook for 60 seconds on one side. Flip, and cook another 60 seconds.  Remove cooked bread to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and place in a warm oven.
  7. Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup for dipping, top with pizza toppings or dessert pizza toppings.
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