Monday, May 14, 2012

Food. #3

It's been a while since I've done a food post and Cinco de Mayo weekend was a perfect excuse. I took a stab at smoking brisket on my gas grill last Friday, with less than impressive results, but thankfully I got good flavor out of it and am looking forward to taking it on with a better cooking setup for smoking low and slow. When I went to the store to get the brisket, I made sure to snag a nice ~2lb flank steak for fajitas later on; that later on was the following Monday.

Beth already had a pico de gallo recipe and she borrowed a fajita marinate recipe from Food Network's Paula Deen (one of her few recipes that doesn't have butter in it). I covered her progress doing the work, and as she's made every flank steak for fajita weeks we've had previously, I continued the tradition of letting her cook it which worked out great as I needed to work the camera (and my beverage). The ingredient lists are as follows and of course the pics will explain the rest. Mmhm, what a tasty dinner. I got hungry editing these photos a few days afterwards, and if I did my job right you'll be ready for a meal after finishing this post.

Fajita marinade for ~1.5lbs (flank) steak (Paula Deen):
- 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- 4 tbsp Tequila
- 4 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp lime zest
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 jalepeño, chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tbsp honey
- Kosher sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Pico de Gallo (Beth):
- 6 to 8 plum tomates, chopped
- 1 small or half large red onion, diced
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
- ~1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 jalepeño, diced (not pictured)
- Kosher sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Fajita fixin's (Beth):
- Yellow, red and green bell peppers, cut in large strips
- 3 onions (whatever you like, we used sweet), sliced
- Kosher sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Marinate the steak overnight in a zip-lock bag. The flank steak is typically cooked on med-high to high after the grill is pre-heated, 6-10 minutes a side (rotating by 1/4, halfway through for pretty grill marks) depending on thickness and grill heat. Our flank steak was weighted thick on one end which is pretty typical of this cut. The goal for us was medium to medium-well and while in a perfect world it would all be cooked to the same temp, you'll need to cook for the thickest section. Take a meat thermometer and once you get 150-155 degrees on the thickest part of the cut, take it off the grill and let it rest for 15-20 minutes on a plate. The fajita fixin's should be sautéed in pan on medium to high heat, starting with the peppers, adding the onions after the peppers soften. Add EVOO and seasonings as you cook. Pick up whatever tortillas you like; low carb, spicy, plain or whole grain. Just make sure they're a brand/flavor that you like. Wrap up the ingredients, use some sour cream for 'tortilla glue' and enjoy.

The entire set can be found here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beer of the Month - Mayo

La cerveza del mes de Mayo es Grupo Modelo's Modelo Especial {4.4 abv}. When Cinco de Mayo came to mind several weeks ago I remembered how much I enjoyed (and preferred) Modelo Especial over more popular imported Mexican beers like Corona and Dos Equis. When it comes to this category of brews (many others too for that matter) it's important not to buy into the publicity machine. There are many great Mexican beers that fly under the radar, but unless you're at one hell of a beer distributor (or in the south-west) you'll rarely find more than five choices.

Fast forward to today, siete de Mayo, as we decided to make a festive fajita dinner to follow the spirit of the cinco de Mayo celebration (we were at my buddy Paul's wedding on Saturday). Flank steak was acquired and grilled, fajita fixin's were sautéed and cooked up, and once my tortilla was full of deliciousness I washed it down with one of my favorites.

Mexican beers are well known for their light flavor profile and refreshing taste when it's hot out. They're also known for pairing well with a wedge of lime. Modelo Especial doesn't disappoint; with its bold body and moderate carbonation, it really comes across as an affordable yet quality product. Modelo Especial is is a lightly hopped pilsner, golden like a field of wheat in the glass, delivers a touch of sweetness and crisp farewell. It pairs well with just about any dish, but once you get peppers, onions, beans, grilled meat and rice involved, look out. 3 stars.

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