Tag Archives: Recipes

A little #wine for #NationalTacoDay

4 Oct

It’s not every day I sit around praying for the Taco Muse to visit me as I contemplate what to write about for National Taco Day. But like something straight outta Homer’s Odyssey, a taco recipe landed in my inbox from…wait for it…a Greek food company.

And I know I’ll catch el infierno from my Mexican friends, but I’m gonna pair it with–get ready–Chilean wine. Hey, what’s not to love about a little peace, love and global cuisine in Today’s Crazy World? Besides, I’ve been feeling all ornery-like since the candidates’ debate, so this is me stirring the palate pot.

Further down you’ll find the recipe for Grilled Chile-Lime Flank Steak Soft Tacos with Charred Pineapple Salsa (say that 10 times fast), courtesy of the muy Greek Gaea. But in the meantime, here’s my pairing suggestion.

montes-twins

A bee-yoo-tee-ful glass of 2013 Montes Twins Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon blend is going to send your Taco Tuesday into maximum overdrive. Big, bold blackberries, a trace of red roses and sweet spices will play nicely with the seasonings in the taco recipe. And the saucy tannins are going to grip that flank steak like they mean it. [El Full Disclosure: I received this bottle of wine as a sample from a public relations company, but my opinions are my own. As always. Why can’t the FCC just be happy with me writing about stuff I like? But that’s a whole other story. El Heavy Sigh.]

Oh, and don’t wait until your tacos are ready. Heck, crack open the bottle while you’re cooking. Last but not least, this recipe’s a little on the long side (and no, that’s not me looking a gift Taco Muse in the mouth, but just sayin’), so I’ll sign off for now. ¡Salud!, my darlings, and wish me well on my International Entrepreneurship midterm tomorrow.

Taco recipe.jpg

Grilled Chile-Lime Flank Steak Soft Tacos with Charred Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons of Gaea’s Kalamata D.O.P. Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Charred Pineapple Salsa

1 small pineapple, 3 to 3 1/2 pounds
1 small red onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of Gaea’s Kalamata D.O.P. Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ fresh jalapeño or serrano pepper, scraped of seeds and minced
16 6-inch corn tortillas

For the Steak Marinade:

In a small bowl, mix all spices, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and blend well to make a paste. Place the meat in a shallow dish and rub the paste evenly over both sides. Cover the steak and let it marinate for 1 to 4 hours.

For the Charred Pineapple Salsa:

When the steak is done marinating, preheat the grill; you’ll cut and grill the pineapple first and then put the steaks on the grill when the salsa is ready.

To cut the pineapple, slice off the leafy top and just enough of the bottom of the fruit so it rests flat on a cutting board. Slice off all the skin with a sharp knife, cutting from top to bottom and taking off as little of the flesh as possible, rotating the pineapple as you go. Discard the skin. Cut out any “eyes” with a paring knife and discard. Slice the fruit away from the core in four or five grill-friendly slabs.

When the grill is hot, place the pineapple slabs on the hot grill and grill quickly until the fruit just begins to show some browning, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. (If you want one side to be truly charred or blackened, let it go for 4 to 5 minutes on one side only.)

Take the fruit off the grill when it’s as browned as you like. Set it aside to cool for a few minutes and then dice the pineapple for the salsa. In a medium bowl, mix the diced charred pineapple, red onion, cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, vinegar, remaining olive oil, salt, and minced hot pepper and blend well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To cook the steak:

Place the steak on the grill and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side or slightly longer if you like it more well done. Remove the steak from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. While the grill is hot, place the tortillas on the grill and grill for 10 seconds on each side then wrap in a linen napkin for serving.

Slice the steak into 1/2-inch slices, place on a platter, and spoon over the charred pineapple salsa. Place the tortillas on the table and serve family style.

Advertisements

A #Pisco Cocktail for Peruvian Independence Day

27 Jul

Break out the lomo saltado and the bottles of pisco, chicos y chicas: Tomorrow is 28 de julio, or Perú’s Independence Day ! I know I promised you part 3 in the Canadian wine series, but guess who’s up to her eyebrows in deadlines? So in lieu of the final installment in the Canadian wine series, I present you with a re-blog of a post that was a hit about this time last year: Señorita Vino’s very own “Caipirinka” recipe: A Peruvian twist on a Brazilian classic, with pisco (of course!) as the main ingredient. So shout it with me one more time: ¡Que viva el Perú, carajo! 

Variety, chicas y chicos, is the spice of life, so to add a little sabor to your weekend, it is my supreme pleasure to introduce my latest invention…the Caipirinka. It’s a refreshingly  exotic blend of mangoes, lime and pisco.

Yep, it’s like the Brazilian Caipirinha but with a two-fold Peruvian twist: 1). Pisco is the national drink of Perú*, and 2). Mangos grow happily in Perú. And of course, there’s 2a: Señorita Vino’s parents hail from the land of the Incas.

If you’re not familiar with pisco, it’s a clear alcoholic spirit made from grapes. Some say it’s comparable to Italy’s grappa and Greece’s ouzo. And  like grappa and ouzo, pisco can knock you flat on your asti spumante, so be forewarned: un poquito goes a long way.

Adding to the Caipirinka’s uniquely Peruvian flair is the mango. Perú is one of six countries that exports mangos to the U.S.  The mangos I used to make the Caipirinka were generously provided by the Mango Board, which probably had no idea I’d use them to make an alcoholic beverage.
In case anyone’s keeping track, this is arguably the world’s most nutrient-rich cocktail. Mangos contain more than 20 different types of nutrients and vitamins, and just one cup of mangos is 100 calories and provides 100% of your recommended vitamin C allowance. See? Señorita Vino cares muchísimo about the health (and girlish figures) of her readers.

I used fresh, pureed ataulfo mangos, the oblong, bright yellow fruit in the photo above. ¿Porqué ataulfo? Because this variety has no fibers and is as smooth as butter, making it a great option to blend in cocktails or fruit smoothies. Not only that, but the flesh is gloriously golden, calling to mind the gold treasure of the Inca empire. Now there’s a culture that literally worshipped its bling. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So without further ado, here’s how you can add a little Inca gold to your Peruvian Independence Day celebration. Because we all have different palates (See “Vino 101”), you may want to adjust the amount of sugar, lime or pisco. If you do up the pisco content, Señorita Vino takes no responsabilidad if you wake up in an exotic land, covered in gold sequins and tropical bird feathers. ¡Salud!

*There is some debate between Perú and Chile as to which country ‘invented’ pisco. It was Perú, of course (see 2a above).

Señorita Vino’s Caipirinka 

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 cup of ripe Ataulfo mangos (about 2), cubed

6 tablespoons of  sugar syrup (make ahead: Dissolve 8 tablespoons of baker’s sugar into 8 tablespoons of water in a pan over low heat. Bring to a boil, then boil for 1-2 minutes. Refrigerate. Keeps for about 2 weeks in the fridge).

8 ice cubes, cracked

4 key limes (or 2 regular limes), cut into small wedges. Save a few slices as a garnish, if desired.

4 teaspoons raw cane sugar, divided

4 ounces of pisco

3 additional ice cubes, cracked

In a blender, place the 8 cracked ice cubes, the mango and the sugar syrup. Blend until the mango is completely liquefied. Set aside. Place an equal amount of lime wedges into four small glasses. Add a teaspoon of raw cane sugar to each glass. With a muddler (see photo) or wooden spoon, crush the lime and sugar until it forms a paste.

Place the remaining three cracked cubes in a cocktail shaker. Add 2/3 cup of the mango puree and the pisco and shake until condensation forms on the shaker.

Shake it, chica!

Pour immediately into the cocktail glasses. Garnish with lime wedge if desired.

Put a Little Passion in Your Pisco

12 Apr

I’m baaaaaaaack! From vacation, that is.

Two weeks in Perú have left me jonesin’ for the latest spin on the Andean nation’s  cocktail of choice, the Pisco Sour. This popular new version features an intoxicating splash of passionfruit for an exotically fruity twist and can be found in trendy restaurants or bars from Lima to Cuzco and points beyond.

Passionfruit Pisco Sours, as enjoyed at Ache restaurant in Lima's Miraflores neighborhood.

Passionfruit Pisco Sours, as enjoyed at Ache restaurant in Lima’s Miraflores neighborhood.

Here’s Señorita Vino’s own take on a drink that will leave you longing for Llama Land. This cocktail is the perfect aperitif, or you can do what I’m doing and use it to cure a case of post-vacation blues.

Señorita Vino’s Passionfruit Pisco Sour

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups pisco

1 cup sugar

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, no seeds or pulp

1 cup passionfruit juice (you should be able to find this in an ethnic grocery store)

Angostura bitters (just a few drops’ll do ya!)

12 ice cubes, crushed

2 egg whites

METHOD:

Pour pisco, sugar, lime juice, passionfruit juice and a couple of drops of Angostura bitters into a blender and blend on medium speed until thoroughly mixed (two to five minutes). Next, add the crushed ice and the egg whites and blend again for about three minutes. Pour the mixture into small shot glasses and top with a drop of Angostura bitters.

¡Salud!

Serves about 8 (or four if no one has to drive!)

A Labor-free Labor Day Recipe

31 Aug

Darlings, I swear this end-of-summer heatwave is causing my keyboard to wilt. To avoid an ugly mess (and to get myself to the gym to burn off last night’s gorgonzola burger and Pinot Noir), I am re-blogging last year’s recipe for a refreshingly chilly avocado soup. Try it tonight with a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc. And in case you were wondering, my summer vacay has drawn to a close, so stay tuned for fresh new posts starting next week. Feliz Labor Day!

Guac rocks, but hot (as in weather) goes better with chilled eats. I opened the fridge yesterday in search of a quick afternoon snack and found myself face to face with five small,  it’s-now-or-never ripe avocados. I was a slacker about going to the store this week, so Necessity kicked in and I found myself the mother of an impromptu end-of-summer meal idea: cold avocado soup.

A chilled avocado soup paired with Sauvignon Blanc takes the burn out of a hot summer day.

What can I say – it’s quick, it’s easy, and it looks like you labored over it for hours. Toss some canned crab with onions, lemon juice and salt, drop a forkful on top of your soup, and girlfriend, you’ve got yourself a bowl of Señorita Vino’s official ‘Adios Summer’ Soup.

I suggest pairing this with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Either a New Zealand Sauv Blanc or a Chilean Sauv will do; you’ll have more grapefruit notes in a New Zealand Sauv Blanc and herbaceous, grassy notes in the Chilean version.

Give the recipe a whirl and let me know what you think. Even better, be creative and add your own variations and seasonings. I’d love to hear your  twist on what’s sure to be a Labor Day party fave.

Buen provecho, chicos y chicas!

Señorita Vino’s ‘Adios Summer’ Chilled Avocado Soup

(4 to 6 servings)

THE SOUP:

5 small ripe avocados (or 3 medium sized)

3 tbsp. nonfat plain yogurt

1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice

1 large clove of garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tsp. salt

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

THE TOPPING:

8 oz. of canned crabmeat (fresh is better, but canned was all I had in the kitchen!)

1/2 persian cucumber, seeded and diced

2 green onions, sliced

1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Peel and seed the avocados, chop and toss them in a blender. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, crushed garlic clove, salt and chicken broth. Blend until smooth. Add salt to taste; chill. Drain the canned crabmeat and place it into a bowl. Add the sliced green onion, diced cucumber, chopped cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Toss until well-mixed and adjust seasonings according to taste. Chill the crab topping. Pour the avocado soup into a bowl and top with two or three forkfuls of the crab mixture. Now relax, pour yourself a glass of chilled vino blanco and enjoy the last official weekend of summer!

Torrontes and Peruvian Comfort Food

30 Sep

Whoa – storm clouds are gathering outside my window, thunder is pealing, and I feel cheated out of Southern California’s version of an Indian Summer. This calls for comfort food.

In case you missed my Hispanic Heritage Month guest post, here’s the full article and the recipe for Peruvian seco de pollo. Pair this with an Argentinean Torrontes and add a little Southern Hemisphere warmth to a blustery fall day. ¡Provecho!

Seco de Pollo – Peruvian comfort food

Picture Los Angeles, circa 1970. A pale blue ‘64 Chevy Impala is cruising north on L.A.’s I-5 freeway. In the front seat, a striking couple from Perú argues in Spanish about whose family has produced the best cooks. In back, a little girl in a fuzzy white alpaca sweater gazes out the passenger side window. The destination: One of a handful of Peruvian restaurants in Southern California.

That little girl is me, and the lively pair in the front seat are my parents.  Once or twice a month, we’d leave the Orange County suburbs and make the hour-long trip north to Los Angeles in search of anticuchos, picarones, papa a la huancaina and a frosty bottle of Inka Cola. Long-gone hole-in-the-wall restaurants with stately names like El Tumi and Inca Palace were the only places my homesick parents could enjoy Peruvian delicacies featuring ingredients not readily available at the neighborhood chain grocery store.

There was one dish, however, that my father could make at home which didn’t involve an elaborate ingredient scavenger hunt: Seco de pollo, a Peruvian stew with chicken, potatoes and cilantro.

Heavy on the garlic and onions, laden with succulent chicken, and emerald-green from the cilantro, my father’s seco was the menu item of choice when relatives flew in from Lima, or for boyfriends having dinner at our home for the first time. But seco was not just for special occasions.

Weeknights, the herby-garlicky aroma of a hearty seco would waft from the kitchen into my bedroom, signaling a much-needed homework break. During a soggy El Niño year, my high school suspended classes one afternoon because of the deluge. I came home to steamy kitchen windows and a massive, chipped casserole of seco bubbling away on the stove.  Later that evening, perched on our lemon-yellow plastic dinette chairs, my family warmed up with heavenly-hot helpings of seco de pollo while the rain relentlessly pounded the house.

With apologies to my father, once I left home I adapted his seco recipe to accommodate my own style of healthy cooking. The flavor is still authentic, and thanks to globalization and big-box stores, I can use Peruvian beer in the preparation.

Peruvian cuisine is today’s culinary media darling, and the recent surge in trendy Peruvian restaurants has made the family car trip in search of comida peruana a distant memory. Still, nothing beats a homemade seco, chipped casserole and all.

Papi’s Seco de Pollo (Peruvian chicken stew)

Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS:

3 lbs. boned and skinned chicken breast

Marinade

5 large garlic cloves

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground black pepper

½ cup red wine or apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Stew

3 ½ tbsp olive oil

1 seeded and minced jalapeño pepper (if you like it spicy, make it 2 jalapeños)

6 small yellow onions, chopped

1 tbsp salt

8 oz. of Cuzqueña beer (or any pale lager if you can’t find Peruvian beer)

2 cups of chicken broth

1 cup of the juice left over after browning chicken

6 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 to 2 inch chunks

2 cups fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped and tightly packed

½ bag frozen green peas, thawed

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the chicken breast to about 2-inch cubes and set aside in a glass bowl.
  2. Peel and crush the garlic with a garlic press. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the garlic, cumin, black pepper and salt to a paste. Mix in the vinegar, then add the olive oil and stir vigorously.
  3. Pour the mixture over the chicken, stirring to make sure each piece is evenly coated. Tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap and marinate for three hours.
  4. In a large casserole, heat the olive oil at high heat, then add the chicken and brown it on all sides (10 – 15 minutes). Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Reserve residual juice in a measuring cup or bowl.
  5. Using the same casserole, stir in the onions, salt and jalapeño peppers and sauté until the onions are golden (about 15 minutes). Pour in the beer, reduce the heat and cook until the beer has completely evaporated.
  6. Add the browned chicken, the reserved juice and the chicken broth. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook for about 30 minutes.
  7. Add the potatoes, cover and cook for another 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the potatoes are cooked.
  8. Check occasionally and stir. Add more stock if needed.
  9. Add the peas and cilantro. Stir thoroughly and cover and cook for about six minutes.

10. Serve hot with steamed white rice. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro, if desired.

Señorita Vino guest blogs on Flanboyant Eats

7 Sep

Chicas y Chicos!

It’s time to get your Hispanic Heritage Month on. Señorita Vino is a guest blogger on the fabulous  Flanboyant Eats blog today as part of the culinary “All Around Latin America Tour.” Here’s an appetizer:

Seco de Pollo – Peruvian comfort food

Picture Los Angeles, circa 1970. A pale blue ‘64 Chevy Impala is cruising north on L.A.’s I-5 freeway. In the front seat, a striking couple from Perú argues in Spanish about whose family has produced the best cooks. In back, a little girl in a fuzzy white alpaca sweater gazes out the passenger side window. The destination: One of a handful of Peruvian restaurants in Southern California.

(See 9/30/11 post for update)

The ‘Adios Summer’ Soup

31 Aug

Señorita Vino's 'Adios Summer' chilled avocado soup.

Guac rocks, but hot (as in weather) goes better with chilled eats. I opened the fridge yesterday in search of a quick afternoon snack and found myself face to face with five small,  it’s-now-or-never ripe avocados. I was a slacker about going to the store this weekend, so Necessity kicked in and I found myself the mother of an impromptu end-of-summer meal idea: cold avocado soup.

What can I say – it’s quick, it’s easy, and it looks like you labored over it for hours. Toss some canned crab with onions, lemon juice and salt, drop a forkful on top of your soup, and girlfriend, you’ve got yourself a bowl of Señorita Vino’s official ‘Adios Summer’ Soup.

I paired it with a glass of dry Chardonnay. While the fridge may be bereft of food, there’s always a chilled bottle of white wine, and yesterday it was Tolosa Vineyards’ 2009 No Oak Chardonnay.

Give the recipe a whirl and let me know what you think. Even better, be creative and add your own variations and seasonings. I’d love to hear your  twist on what’s sure to be a Labor Day party fave.

Buen provecho, chicos y chicas!

Señorita Vino’s ‘Adios Summer’ Chilled Avocado Soup

(4 to 6 servings)

THE SOUP:

5 small ripe avocados (or 3 medium sized)

3 tbsp. nonfat plain yogurt

1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice

1 large clove of garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tsp. salt

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

THE TOPPING:

8 oz. of canned crabmeat (fresh is better, but canned was all I had in the kitchen!)

1/2 persian cucumber, seeded and diced

2 green onions, sliced

1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Peel and seed the avocados, chop and toss them in a blender. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, crushed garlic clove, salt and chicken broth. Blend until smooth. Add salt to taste; chill. Drain the canned crabmeat and place it into a bowl. Add the sliced green onion, diced cucumber, chopped cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Toss until well-mixed and adjust seasonings according to taste. Chill the crab topping. Pour the avocado soup into a bowl and top with two or three forkfuls of the crab mixture. Now relax, pour yourself a chilled, dry Chardonnay and enjoy the last official weekend of summer!

%d bloggers like this: