Carne Asada: Three meals in one

September 11, 2008 4:57:53 PM PDT
As a mom and busy professional, Barbara Adams understands the challenges of preparing nutritious meals when time is short and money is tight. That's why she created a website dedicated to helping the home chef with recipes that are practical and affordable. Barbara shows us how a little planning for leftovers can produce three delicious easy meals!

Barbara Adams has spent her whole life cooking. She owns and operates Beyond Wonderful's parent company, TediJak Productions. A mother and busy professional, Barbara understands the challenges of preparing fine food when time is short, and specializes in recipes that are practical, accessible, and always Beyond Wonderful.

Barbara Adams created www.beyondwonderful.com, a website designed for the Home Chef -- recipes focused around meals, wine, cheese et al and who has a wonderful feature blog on Wednesdays "Hungry for the Weekend." Again, all geared for women or men who want great and healthy food they can prepare themselves at home without having to be a gourmet chef.

RECIPES:

Carne Asada
This simple grilled steak forms the basis of many Mexican delicacies. Let the steak star as a main course alongside rice and vegetables, serve it for breakfast with eggs or chop it up for tacos and tostadas. Don't forget the final spritz of lime-it makes all the difference!

Ingredients:
Serves 4

2 pounds flank steak, sliced no more than ½ inch thick*
Salt
Limes, quartered

*Ask for "bistek" at your local Hispanic market, or have your butcher specially slice a flank steak for you, extra thin.

1. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the meat. Set aside

2. Heat a grill or dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over a medium-high flame and lightly brown the steak for 45-50 seconds on one side. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning.

3. Flip the steak and cook for approximately 30-60 seconds on the second side.

4. Squeeze lime juice over the meant and serve promptly.

Preparation time: a few minutes

Steak Tacos (Tacos de Bistek)
In Mexico, you'll find these tasty tacos at street stands everywhere. A squirt of fresh lime juice is the key to authentic Mexican flavor.

Ingredients: Serves 4

1 pound flank steak, sliced no more than ½ inch thick*
Salt
Limes, quartered
Corn tortillas
Onions, chopped
Cilantro
Favorite salsa such as salsa picante roja or verde, or salsa de aguacate

*Ask for "bistek" at your local Hispanic market, or have your butcher specially slice a flank steak for you, extra thin.

1. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the meat. Set aside.

2. Heat a grill or dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over a medium-high flame and lightly brown the steak for 45-50 seconds on one side. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning.

3. Flip the steak and cook the second side for approximately 30-60 seconds.

4. Transfer the steak to a clean working surface and cut into ¼-inch strips. Then slice the strips to create ¼-inch dice.

5. Sprinkle the meat with lime juice and toss. Set aside.

6. Using the grill or pan with a lower heat, briefly warm the tortillas to soften them.

7. Fill the tortillas with the meat, onions, cilantro and salsa. Add extra lime juice if you like.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Salsa de Aguacate
(Avocado and Tomatillo Sauce)

Try this simple-yet-succulent salsa on tacos, tostadas or salads (and of course for dipping with chips!). A refreshing alternative to typical red salsa or guacamole. Unlike guacamole, this avocado dip won't discolor, thanks to the naturally acidic tomatillos.

Ingredients

1/2 pound tomatillos, shucked and quartered
3-4 ripe Haas avocados, peeled and pitted
3-5 Serrano chiles
1/4 small onion
2 large cloves garlic
1 bunch cilantro, divided
1 teaspoon salt
¼-1/2 cup water

Instruction

1. Place the tomatillos, avocados, chiles, onion, garlic, half of the cilantro, salt and 1/4 cup of water in a blender and puree until smooth.

2. Add more water if needed to achieve the desired consistency, then transfer the mixture to a bowl.

3. Chop the leaves and soft stems of the remaining cilantro and stir into the salsa.

Preparation time: Under 10 minutes.

"Garden Grill" Salad with Steak
This is a great way to make use of leftover grilled vegetables and steak. In fact, I always grill more than I need to make sure I have plenty the next day. Any type of vegetable will work well, but brilliant bell peppers, red onions, and yellow squash are especially colorful.

Ingredients
Serves 6-8

4 cups mixed greens
2 cups grilled vegetables
1 cup tomatoes, cut in eights
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly torn
1/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly torn
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound carne asada (grilled flank steak), cooled and sliced into thin strips
½ cup crumbled feta

1. Place the mixed greens and vegetables in a large bowl.

2. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley and mint leaves.

3. Combine the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a separate spacious bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil, forming an emulsion. For detailed instructions, read "How to Make an Emulsion."

4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat.

5. Arrange the salad on individual plates and top with strips of grilled steak.

6. Sprinkle on feta and serve immediately.

Preparation time: 5 minutes with pre-grilled vegetables and steak.

How To Grill Vegetables
Although there are many good techniques for grilling vegetables, I find using a grill basket is especially quick and easy. Plus, since you cut the vegetables into bite-sized chunks before grilling, they're ready to eat the minute you bring them inside.

1. Preheat a grill to high heat.

2. Cut assorted vegetables into bite-sized chunks. Peppers, zucchini, squash, onions and mushrooms all work well.

3. Combine the vegetables in a grill basket and pour on a splash of olive oil or your favorite oil-based salad dressing (such as Italian or vinaigrette).

4. Place on the preheated grill and cover.

5. Cook until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown on the edges, about 20 minutes. Stir them every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking and promote even cooking.

6. Sprinkle with salt and serve.


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