Beef & Turnip Pasties

Having grown up an airline brat, I can tell people that I’ve been to places like Italy, Hong Kong, France, and England; however, most of these trips were made when I was a kid with a kid’s typical palate, and therefore, I’m sad to say, I wasn’t particularly culinarily adventurous. I remember being in Rome but whining unless I got a plain cheese pizza. I remember being in Hong Kong and demanding American fried chicken from KFC instead of Chinese food. (There’s a story for a blog post some day involving my grandmother’s kindly housekeeper, her attempt to placate a bitching 4-year-old by making fried chicken, and instead terrifying said 4-year-old by killing the chicken in front of her.)

One foreign food memory instantly came to mind when My Kitchen, My World announced that the July destination was Great Britain. I remember being in a cafeteria style restaurant with my parents when I was maybe 11 or so. Hungry, but finding most of the options non-appetizing, my mother tricked cajoled me into eating a rather tasty looking savory pie. A sucker for buttery crusts, all I saw was the flakey pie topping and failed to see the little sign labeling it as steak and kidney pie. It wasn’t until we sat down at the table and I had taken a few bites when I saw the word “kidney” on the receipt. I freaked out, asking my mother if there really was kidney in the pie. My mother shrugged and waved her hand dismissively, saying that it was just the name. Gullible, I finished off the pie, but when I found out weeks later that there really was kidney in steak and kidney pie, I felt ill and think that was the beginning of my adolescent maternal resentment.

Well there’s no kidney in this dish, but that food memory made me think of trying my hand at making a savory British pastry for my MKMW submission. With shell peas and more turnips from the CSA, I thought that adding ground beef to those ingredients would result in a great filling for Cornish pasties. Pasties are handheld pies, believed to have been made from leftovers in order to be a cheap and portable meal for miners. I adapted a fast puff pastry recipe from King Arthur Flour for the pasty crust, swapping some cream cheese in place of some of the butter to add a little more tang to the crust. I then started to brown ground beef, but I had to pass the reins of cooking the filling over to John so I could nurse the baby, shouting directions to him from the living room. John either follows direction well or did a bang up job of interpreting my directions which were to saute the vegetables in butter, add back in the cooked beef, season the beef with Worcester sauce and seasonings, then make a slightly thickened sauce with flour and chicken stock. I got to jump back in to finish off the filling with a touch of cream and some fresh dill before folding them up in circles of the pastry dough. You’ll notice in the final plating picture that these pasties weren’t picture perfect: in a rush to get these in the oven so we could hopefully eat before the baby started her nightly colic crying, I didn’t crimp these suckers. They still look and tasted pretty darn good though. Sound complicated? Well, to sound like a smug mother for a second, if I can make them while juggling caring for a newborn, then what’s your excuse? Give it a try: the slightly creamy filling tastes light from the sweet peas and grassy dill, counterbalancing that flaky, buttery pastry shell. I promise it’ll be worth the effort.

Note: This puff pastry recipe is even faster and easier when made in the food processor. Just pulse the butter and cream cheese in the dry ingredients until you have fine crumbs, then process the sour cream until you see large clumps of dough, kind of looking like spaetzle. Instead of pasties, you can make this filling and then make small turnovers, following the directions in the KAF recipe regarding cutting the dough into 16 squares and using 1 tablespoon of filling in each square.

  • 1 recipe of “Fast and Easy Puff Pastry” substituting 4 oz cream cheese for 4 oz of the butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 16 oz lean ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 small to medium Tokyo Cross turnips, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb shell peas (or 1/2 cup fresh peas)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Make the puff pastry according to recipe directions, but substitute 4 oz of cream cheese for 4 oz of butter. While dough chills, make the filling. Start by heating canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Drain off fat then set cooked beef aside. Add butter to pan and melt over medium heat. When foam subsides, add the turnips, onion, and garlic and saute until onion and turnips soften, about 10-15 minutes. Add the peas and continue to cook until bright green, another 4-5 minutes. Add back in the beef then mix in Worcester sauce. Sprinkle with flour and let cook for 1-2 minutes to get rid of raw flour taste. Mix in the chicken stock and simmer for 1-2 minutes then stir in cream, looking for a light sauce consistency. Stir in dill and adjust salt and pepper to taste. If you can, let the filling cool before filling pastry.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out dough to 16 inch by 16 inch square. Using a bowl as a stencil, cut circles, approximately 4 inches in diameter. Brush the edges of the circles with beaten egg then add approximately 1/4 cup of filling, just slightly off center, of each circle. Fold the edges of the dough together and crimp with a fork, then place on prepared baking sheet. Brush pasties with beaten egg and sprinkle with flaky sea salt if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Yields 4-6 pasties.

CSA Count: 4

Shell peas, Tokyo Cross turnips, fresh garlic, dill

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Short Rib Lettuce Cups

Right now, it’s sunny outside, but rain and/or snow along with cold temps are allegedly on their way. When it’s damp and cold, I long for three things in a meal: 1) Comfort, 2) ease, and 3) color. Here’s a meal that meets all three criteria.

This meal couldn’t be easier: slather some seasoned short ribs in a marinade over night, then toss them with chunks of yam into a slow cooker. Let the slow cooker do the work for you while you enjoy the delicious aromas and cuddle under a blanket with a good book (and maybe a cooperating purring cat and dog that enjoys snuggles if you live in my house.)

The color comes from the spring green cucumbers and bright orange carrots which flavor themselves from sitting in a bath of rice vinegar, water, sugar, and a little salt for a couple of hours. They add crunch and a delicious tang of acid to the soft, yet spicy rib meat that falls off the bone.

Last, but most importantly, comes the comfort from a mix of textures: you’ve got tender, tasty meat cupped in a crunchy bowl of butter leaf lettuce, bright with flavors of mixed cilantro and mint. Additional comfort comes from the sweet, warm, five spice spiked yams. And if those reasons aren’t enough, then make these short ribs for the sole reason that Rush Limbaugh is an idiot.

  • 1.6 lbs short ribs
  • 1/4 cup low sodium tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Asian Five Spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 inch peeled ginger, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 medium yam, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon steak seasoning

Garnishes

  • Butter leaf lettuce leaves
  • Chopped mint and cilantro, about 1 tablespoon each
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced on a bias, about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • water

Combine short ribs with marinade ingredients (tamari soy sauce through ginger) in a large plastic bag and let sit for at least 8 hours or over night. Remove short ribs and sprinkle both sides with steak seasoning. Place ribs, marinade, and yam in slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours.

While ribs cook in slow cooker, combine rice vinegar, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl and stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Add the carrot and cucumber and add enough water to cover vegetables completely. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

To serve, shred meat off of bone. Place shredded meat in lettuce leaf and top with pickled vegetables and minced cilantro and mint. Serve yam on the side, on a bed of warm rice if you wish.

Makes 6-8 lettuce cups.

CSA Count: 4

Butter leaf lettuce, carrot, cilantro, cucumber

 

 

Smorrebrod

Smorrebrod! I just like saying it– smorrebrod! And if you’re John, you’ll reply, “Gesundheit.”

The challenge destination from My Kitchen, My World this month is Denmark. I admit to having to do an internet search of Danish food to get some ideas of what I might do. I could have taken the easy way out and written a post about a danish (as in your coffee and) inspired apple tart that I have in the hopper, but that seemed, well, like copping out.

Instead, I decided on doing smorrebrod, or Danish open-faced sandwiches. Smorrebrod is traditionally a slice of dark rye bread, spread with bits and pieces of things you might have had in your dinner the night before such as liverwurst or smoked fish. It’s economical since you not only used up leftovers but the bread was your plate which you could eat instead of cleaning. Smorrebrod has greatly evolved as the list of acceptable ingredients– poached lobster, seafood cakes, crisp vegetables– has grown, and now it seems to be just as much about color and plating as it is about taste. I decided that this would be a fun and challenging post topic, an excuse to play with my food and work on my plating skills.

That was before I learned that smorrebrod is serious business. Traditional ones are complicated with a long list of rules governing everything from what ingredients are to be paired together to the order in which you eat them. Well, no offense to the Danes, but I decided to cast tradition aside, putting together my sandwiches with what I had on hand and what sounded good to me.

I decided to make two different kinds of smorrebrod: a roasted vegetable on a lemon zest and dill cream cheese spread and tender pieces of steak on a bed of watercress paired with a stone ground mustard, butter, and truffle salt spread. Both were served on dark rye as I was not crazy enough to buy two different kinds of bread.

If you’re a traditionalist though, you can find so many delicious sounding recipes here. Really, I say put together whatever you want on your smorrebrod and follow tradition by following my simplified rules: 1) it tastes good, 2) it’s texturally interesting, and 3) it looks pretty. Oh, and add a 4th rule: drink some aquavit being sure to say, “Skol!” first.

Note: To make the beef smorrebrod a little more authentic, add some horseradish to the spread. These recipes make 4 smorrebrod each. They of course make great regular sandwiches– I had the best lunch yesterday combining my leftovers into a beef, watercress, roasted fennel and roasted tomato sandwich.

Roasted Vegetable Smorrebrod

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed of stems and tough outer pieces, then cut into wedges
  • 6 large cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices dark rye bread, trimmed of crusts
  • 3 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Hold the zucchini next to a slice of bread and cut the zucchini to the same length. Then slice the zucchini lengthwise into quarter-inch thick slices, about 1 inch wide. Do the same with the eggplant.

On a foil lined baking sheet, spread out the zucchini and eggplant slices. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. On a second foil lined baking sheet, spread out the cherry tomatoes and fennel bulbs. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place both sheets in the oven on racks placed in the center of the oven and roast for 20-24 minutes or until zucchini and eggplant are tender and lightly browned and tomatoes are wrinkled and juicy. Set aside to cool.

While vegetables roast, mix together the cream cheese, lemon zest, and dill in a bowl. When vegetables are cool to touch, spread the cream cheese mixture from edge to edge on each slice of rye bread. Shingle the eggplant and zucchini together so that they look like vertical stripes, I was able to fit 2 slices of each on my bread. Slice the fennel into slivers and place a few slivers in the center of each vegetable smorrebrod, topped off with 2 or 3 tomato halves.

Beef and Watercress Smorrebrod

  • 16 oz bone-in rib eye steak
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided and at room temperature
  • olive oil
  • truffle salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 1 bunch watercress, leaves removed from stems
  • 4 pieces dark rye bread, crusts removed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter over medium high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the steak with a couple of pinches of truffle salt and about 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. When the fats in the pan ripple and smoke a little, add the steak, cooking for 3-4 minutes or until browned on one side. Flip it over and place skillet in the oven, cooking for 12-15 minutes for medium rare or until an instant read thermometer reads 125 degrees F. Remove to a plate and let rest for 15 minutes.

Mix together the remaining 3 tablespoons of softened butter with the mustard and another pinch of truffle salt. Spread from edge to edge on each piece of rye bread. Place a small handful of watercress leaves on top of each slice. Cut the steak on a bias and against the grain in slices about 1/4 inch thick. Place about 4-5 slices on a diagonal on top of watercress.

 

Asian Steak Tacos

When I was little, my parents tried to entice me to try new foods by calling it the Chinese version of something familiar. Scallion cakes were “Chinese pizza.” Rice noodles wrapped around pieces of shrimp were “Chinese burritos.”

I remember one time my brother, exasperated with these comparisons, complained that just because the food has the same shape as something familiar doesn’t mean that you’ll like it. After all, a scallion cake might be flat and round, but it doesn’t have the cheese, tomato sauce, or variety of toppings that make pizza delicious. It’s just dough with green onions. True, calling it Chinese pizza didn’t tempt me to eat it. I was tempted to eat it because it was fried dough and onions. My parents could probably have saved themselves a lot of trouble by just telling me that it’s fried, so I’d like it.

In any case, I thought about my brother’s rant while I set out to make this Asian style taco. The idea came to me while looking at bunches of baby bok choy, radishes, cilantro, and a jalapeno from the CSA. Being a fan of pickled radishes on tacos, and remembering how I put bok choy on a burger, I thought why not combine the two ideas? I marinated some skirt steak in oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and Chinese Five Spice powder; made a spicy pico de gallo of sorts with the radishes, cilantro, jalapeno and a touch of rice wine vinegar; I chopped and sautéed the bok choy with some garlic; and for my taco shells– those crispy fried scallion cakes.

These tacos were so delicious– the steak was tender and juicy, the radishes added crunch and spice. The bok choy added a fresh green flavor and the scallion cakes were soft, yet crispy and laced each bite with a light onion flavor. If the picky eaters in your life don’t respond to these Chinese tacos simply because it doesn’t have the refried beans, cheese, and tomato salsa that makes Mexican tacos so tasty… well, just tell them that these are fried.

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup Tamari soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1.5 teaspoons hot mustard
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped

Radish Pico de Gallo

  • 1 bunch, medium pink radishes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • salt and pepper

Tacos

  • 10 oz skirt steak
  • Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1 recipe scallion cakes
  • 2 bunches baby bok choy, chopped with stems separated from leaves
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt and pepper

Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Put the skirt steak in a large ziplock plastic bag and add the marinade. Seal the bag and make sure the marinade covers the steak. Place in the refrigerator, rotating every now and then, and let marinate for at least 4 hours or over night.

Combine the ingredients for the radish pico de gallo and set aside to give the radishes time to soak up the flavors of the lime juice and rice wine vinegar.

Take steak out of the refrigerator to take off some of the chill while you make the scallion cakes according to your chosen recipe. Cook the steak and bok choy while you fry up the pancakes, keeping pancakes warm in a low temperature oven if necessary.

Preheat broiler or grill. Take out the skirt steak and discard the extra marinade. Sprinkle both sides of the skirt steak with steak seasoning. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare or grill longer to your desired degree of doneness. Remove skirt steak to a plate and cover with foil, allowing the steak to rest while you make the bok choy topping.

Heat 2 teaspoons of canola oil and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped bok choy stems and saute until tender, about 3-4 minutes, then add the chopped boy choy leaves, and continue to cook until the leaves have wilted, about another 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thinly slice the skirt steak against the grain and on a bias. To assemble tacos, place 2-3 slices of skirt steak on each scallion cake. Top with a small pile (about 2 tablespoons) of boy choy then finish with a spoonful of radish pico de gallo. Serve with these Sweet Potato Cilantro cakes if you wish.

Serves 4, with 2-3 tacos each.

CSA Count: 4

Radishes, baby bok choy, cilantro, jalapeno

Flank Steak with Lime Butter Braised Radishes

It must have been a good summer for radishes. It seems like I saw them almost every week at farmer’s markets and we frequently received bunches of them from the CSA this year. And not just your usual red variety– pink beauties, icicles, Easter eggs, and these amethyst radishes. One may not normally say this about radishes, but boy were these the little jewels for which they were named.

I wanted to find a new way to try eating these beauties since the only ways I ever know how to eat radishes are pickled on tacos, plain with feta and salt, or perhaps my favorite way– with sea salt and herb butter on toasted pieces of baguette. After a quick google search of radish recipes, I noticed that “butter braised radishes” kept coming up. How can you not be intrigued by an idea that mentions butter?

So I decided to braise these radishes with butter, lime zest, and scallions, all the better to pair with pieces of tender flank steak that I had rubbed with a Mexican inspired blend of spices and unsweetened cocoa. The result was fantastic! Tender, juicy and spicy steak paired with peppery and citrusy crisp radish slices. Give this a try the next time you want a quick, colorful, and delicious mid-week meal.

  • 2 lb flank steak
  • 1 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch amethyst radishes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup water
  • zest of 1 lime and juice from half of it
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Preheat broiler or grill. Mix together steak seasoning, brown sugar, cocoa, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush both sides of flank steak with canola oil then rub seasoning mix into both sides. Let steak rest for 5-10 minutes before cooking for 7-8 minutes per side for medium rare or a few minutes longer per side if you want your steak more well done. Remove steak to a plate and tent with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing across the grain and on a bias.

While steak cooks, prepare the radishes. Melt butter in a medium skillet that has a fitted lid over medium heat. Add the scallions and radishes and saute for 5-6 minutes or until radishes are shiny and start to soften a little. Add lime zest, lime juice, and water then cover with the lid. Reduce heat to medium low to keep the radishes on a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until radishes are tender but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate steak slices then spoon the radishes and the braising sauce over the slices then serve with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

CSA Count: 2

Amethyst radishes and cilantro

Thai Beef Skewers

Sometimes I over think things. Take these Thai style beef skewers for instance. I craved those thin slices of beef that balance sweetness with citrusy lime juice, salty fish sauce, crisp and caramelized edges and bright herbal flavors from fresh basil. I searched and searched the internet for marinade recipe ideas, convinced that the ingredient list must be a mile long, but found that it really wasn’t anything more than a mix of sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce.

So I mixed together my own marinade with those basics plus a hint of toasted sesame oil and fresh garlic for added flavor then next set upon how I should slice the piece of well-marbled chuck eye steak that I’d purchased so I could get the slices nice and thin. In the past, I’d sliced thin pieces of chicken for Thai style stir fries by taking mostly frozen pieces of chicken and slicing them using the slicing blade in my food processor. That blade is sorely neglected, so why not try it here? I put the steak in the freezer for 45 minutes and set about slicing, except oops– the steak wasn’t frozen enough. I ended up with some pieces of minced beef instead of the 1/8 of an inch thick clean slices I sought. Oy… how would I ever manage to skewer that? I took the rest of the steak and sliced against the grain super thin slices with just my knife, no appliance needed.

Like Scarlett O’Hara, I went about dumping all of the steak, slices and minced bits, into my marinade, putting off thinking about the problem for another day, well, actually for a few hours. When it came time to skewer, I carefully threaded the slices onto skewers then haphazardly clumped the minced pieces together, skewering what I could. I handed them off to John to set on the grill thinking that we’d lose half of our main course as those minced pieces would surely fall off through the grate, but to my surprise, all the skewers came out in tact. A quick drizzle of lime juice and a sprinkle of fresh basil and chives was all that these skewers needed before being served. The meat was so tender and was that balance of salt, sweet, and citrus that I’d sought. Despite over-thinking things, we had a fine, simple meal. Let the simplicity of the following picture speak for itself.

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out John's amazing shiso leaf martini which was the perfect accompaniment for our meal.

Note: This makes a dinner for 2-4 or could be an appetizer for a party of 8. If you don’t trust your knife skills and want to try the food processor slicing blade trick, I’d recommend freezing the steak for at least 1.5 hours or until the steak feels mostly frozen with just a little give when you press it. Since you’ve got the grill out, why not try grilling baby bok choy as a side?

  • 16 oz boneless chuck eye steak
  • wooden skewers, soaked in a glass of water for at least 3 hours
  • 1/4 cup Tamari soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh basil and chives
  • steamed rice (optional)

In a baking dish or glass bowl, mix together the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic cloves, and sesame oil. Slice steak against the grain, about 1/8 of an inch thick. Place steak slices in the marinade, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to over night.

While grill heats, carefully thread steak slices on skewers, weaving each piece up and over skewer like you’re sewing a stitch at least 2 times then stretch out the piece so it lies flat. This maximizes the surface area of each piece of steak with the contact of the grill. Cook on direct heat for 3-4 minutes per side or until beef is slightly charred. Remove skewers to a plate and squeeze lime juice over the skewers then sprinkle with basil and chives. If serving as entrée, place two skewers on top of a small pile of steamed rice per plate.

CSA Count: 3

Garlic, chives, basil

Lettuce Wrapped Steak Tacos

Chinese banquets were a part of growing up in my family. If you haven’t had the experience, picture a room full of round tables topped with lazy Susans. For some reason, each table has a bucket of ice, a tiny bottle of 7-up, and a bottle of sparkling cider as your multi-functional center piece/serve yourself beverage bar. This is then followed by course after course of delicious, but usually the same dishes that you find at every other banquet: the first plate of cold cuts (only these are in the form of sesame flavored jelly fish strands, bbq pork and jellied greyish looking ham? god let that be ham), crispy chicken, shark fin soup, steamed fish, some seafood and vegetable medley. If you’re (meaning me) really lucky, the penultimate entrée before a plate of noodles or fried rice, will be some amazing “wrapped” thing– pieces of roast pork or duck with its crispy skin in steamed buns or pancakes, or the surprisingly delightful chopped squab that you wrap in lettuce and plum sauce.

Quite a lengthy and seemingly strange way to introduce a recipe for tacos, huh? Well, these tacos, which I wrapped in crisp butter lettuce leaves instead of tortillas, reminded me of the lettuce wrapped squab. Lettuce wrapped squab, I feel has been bastardized in the last few years by the concept of a certain “Asian” restaurant chain’s chicken lettuce cups. Although I admit that those chicken lettuce cups are tasty as hell, I miss the more complex flavors of the lettuce wrapped squab and wish there was a way to popularize that. Alas, I don’t think squab is destined to be a regular source of white meat due to the expense for such little meat (and the notion that you’re essentially eating pigeon) so I’ll just settle for adding more ideas to the delicious lettuce wrapped oeuvre.

Here we have pieces of flank steak rendered tender after a quickish marinade in a mix of fresh squeezed orange juice, a splash of tequila, and a bit of dark Tamari soy sauce. Once broiled, the sugars from the juice in the marinade gave the steaks a flavorful crust which paired nicely with the tangy crunch of some pickled jalapenos and radishes as well as the refreshing crunch of the lettuce. Serve with chips and guacamole and preferably a couple of margaritas, and you have an amazing and fast summer time meal.

Note: This recipe makes two light but filling entrees or could serve 4-6 as a small bite course. Since it’s summer, you could definitely grill these instead of broiling, but I opted for broiling since I felt a little silly setting up our charcoal grill for two small pieces of steak.

  • 2 pieces of flank steak, weighing 5 oz each
  • Juice of 1 large orange
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cloves of green garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large jalapeno, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2-3 radishes, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1 small head butter crunch leaf lettuce, leaves separated and kept whole, washed and spun dry.
  • 1/3 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Whisk together the orange juice, tequila, oil, soy sauce, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper in a small baking dish. Add the flank steak, cover with plastic wrap, and set in the refrigerator for half an hour. Flip the steaks and let the other sides marinate at room temperature for another half an hour. Take out steaks and discard marinade. Season both sides of both steaks with the steak seasoning and broil or grill for 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare, extending the time if you prefer your steaks more well done. Remove to a plate and tent with foil, letting the steaks rest for 10 minutes.

While steaks marinate, combine the vinegar, sugar, and water in a bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add the radishes and jalapeno. Let vegetables sit in quick pickling solution.

When ready to serve, slice steaks across the grain into pieces about 1/4 inch thick. To make a taco, place 2-3 slices of steak in a lettuce leaf and top with crumbled cheese, a few slices of pickled vegetables, and a sprinkle of cilantro.

CSA Count: 2

Green garlic, butter crunch leaf lettuce