Coconut Macaroons

31 Jan

My sister asked me to make coconut macaroons for an upcoming family event. Don’t let their beauty deceive you, they are actually one of the simplest things you can make. Next time you need to throw something together quickly, this is definitely the recipe for you.  It can be a little messy and that makes it the perfect recipe to get the kids involved.

 

Coconut Macaroons

 

 

What you’ll need:

1 14-ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

 

1.  Preheat oven to 325ºF.
2.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
3.  In a medium bowl, mix together the shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract.  It is easiest to use your hands.  This is where the kiddies can get involved.

Coconut Macaroons
4.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form.

Coconut Macaroons
5.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Coconut Macaroons
6.  Using two spoons, form the coconut mixture into mounds on the baking sheet.  Space about 1 inch apart.

Coconut Macaroons
7.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until the tops and edges are golden brown.
8.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave at 30 second intervals.  Dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the chocolate and return to the lined baking sheets.
9.  Place the macaroons in the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to set.

 

 

Coconut Macaroons

 

 

 

Love always, 

The Refined Palate

Christina Miros ©2015

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

26 Jan

We are officially in a declared state of emergency here in the tri-state area due to what is said to be the most epic blizzard in New York history.  We all made our runs to the store to stock up on necessities in preparation of the oncoming storm. Obviously for me, besides a bottle of wine or two, some of those necessities included a few ingredients to make these triple chocolate chip cookies.  Here is a simple recipe to make your house and your soul feel warmer on this cold day. Hurry and bake them soon; you don’t want to be left without electricity and without cookies.

 

 

 

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

 

 

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

1 cup softened unsalted butter (2 sticks)

2 eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 box instant chocolate pudding

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 1/2 cups flour

Semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, softened butter, and vanilla; beat until creamy.
3.  Add eggs and beat.
4.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.
5.  Mix in chocolate chips; I use roughly 3/4 of an 11 1/2 oz bag (326 grams).
6.  Form cookies in your palm; just a bit smaller than a golf ball. Spread cookies onto ungreased baking sheet at least one inch apart.
7.  Bake for 6-8 minutes.

 

 

 

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

 

 

Stay safe & warm fellow East coasters 

TRP

Christina Miros ©2015

Pizza Night

22 Jan

My sister was coming over for dinner the other night and I wanted to make something special.  I could have made anything really, but I decided to make pizza.  My sister loves pizza, I love pizza, basically everybody with a soul loves pizza; you can’t go wrong.  I have made pizza many times before but I wanted to make these extra special and delicious.  My sister loves white pizza so I made one with a garlic béchamel sauce topped with cremini mushrooms, roasted garlic cloves and fresh thyme.  The other pizza was more my style with a traditional red pizza sauce, slices of Spanish chorizo, Manchego cheese and caramelized onions.  I still taste these pizzas in my daydreams because they were so good.  The only thing I am missing to make these pizzas even better is a 700º brick oven.  Oh well. Anybody know a mason?  Send them to my backyard to build me a pizza oven. I’m sure I could DIY it…maybe?

 

 

Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Pizza

Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Pizza

For the Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour until well mixed.
2.  Gradually whisk in the milk until there are no lumps.
3.  Add the salt, pepper and garlic.
4.  Mix in the parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is well combined.
5.  Remove the sauce from the heat.  It will thicken as it sits.

For the Crust:

Store-bought, duh!  I used a whole wheat crust for this pizza.  When I say store-bought, I don’t mean a big brand pizza crust that is sold in the cardboard rolls.  Find the pizza crusts in the bakery that are sold in a plastic bag.  You could always make your own, but I find that these bagged pizza crusts work just fine and save me a bunch of time.

1.  Flour your surface.
2.  Roll out the crust using any method or tool.  Whatever works.  I use my hands instead of a rolling pin.  In high school I worked at a pizza place so I like to think I know what I’m doing.  If your dough doesn’t want to stay stretched into a round shape, place it on a preheated pizza stone and it will help the dough stick in place.

For the Toppings:

1 16 ounce package cremini mushrooms, sliced
8-10 garlic cloves, roasted
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat your oven to 500° F.
2.  Place your rolled out crust in the oven for 10 minutes.  This will allow it to cook just a little before you place all the ingredients on, keeping it from getting soggy.
3.  After 10 minutes, spread the garlic white sauce on top.
4.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese around evenly.
5.  Scatter the sliced mushrooms across the pie.
6.  Place the roasted garlic cloves around the pie.
7.  Sprinkle fresh thyme over all the toppings.
8.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.
9.  Slice and serve while hot!

Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Pizza

Chorizo & Manchego Cheese Pizza
with
Caramelized Onions 

Chorizo Pizza

For the Sauce:

1 28 ounce can tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt
Sugar

1.  Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2.  Saute the garlic until it slightly softens, about 3 minutes.
3.  Add the tomato sauce, oregano and basil.
4.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.
5.  After 30 minutes, season the sauce with salt to taste and sugar to lessen the acidity.

For the Toppings:

1 package of sliced Spanish chorizo; it will be near the deli section by the prepackaged salami and prosciutto.
1 wedge of Manchego cheese, grated
3 scallions, thinly sliced for garnish
Caramelized onions

1.  Preheat the oven to 500º F.
2.  Place the pizza crust on a preheated pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes.
3.  After 10 minutes, top the crust with the tomato sauce.
4.  Sprinkle the grated Manchego cheese evenly around the pie.
5.  Top the cheese with the slices of chorizo.
6.  Spread the caramelized onions evenly around the pie.
7.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
8.  Garnish with sliced scallions.
9.  Slice and serve while hot!

Chorizo Pizza

These pizzas are a quick and fun meal to throw together for the family.  They are also a great way to get your children involved in the kitchen.  These pies,
without question, blow any delivery pizza out of the water and you
won’t be spending nearly as much to make them yourself.
Crack open a nice bottle of wine and enjoy the
best pizza night you have ever had.

Pizza Night

Love Always ,

The Refined Palate

Christina Miros ©2015

SUPER BOWL SNACK IDEA: Chicken Parmesan Crostinis

15 Jan

This recipe is a play on the popular dish, chicken parmesan.  I thought it would be fun to make a mini version that could be served at a cocktail party; especially your upcoming Super Bowl party.  The same snacks are often served at all football-themed parties which can become boring and predictable; two adjectives that do not describe me.  The best part about this recipe, besides the way it tastes, is that it can all be done in advance; saving you time to enjoy the party.  If you are planning on bringing this to someone’s house to help out the host, or if you are making it for a potluck party, make sure you don’t eat them all before you get there; you may be asked to leave.  Just saying!

 

Chicken Parmesan Crostini

 

 

 

Tomato Sauce

1 28 ounce can tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
Black pepper

1.  Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add the onions and cook over medium heat until they are translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute, or until the garlic begins to soften.
2.  Add the tomato sauce to the pan.  Season with the oregano and basil.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes.
3.  Wait until the end to season with the sugar, salt and black pepper.  I always season any type of tomato sauce with sugar because it helps to cut the natural acidity from tomatoes.  The sugar will balance out the flavors without actually making the sauce taste sweet.

 

 

Chicken Meatballs

1 package ground chicken
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Salt
Black pepper
Shredded mozzarella, to top the crostinis

1.   Preheat oven to 400°.
2.  Mix everything except the chicken together in a large bowl.
3.  Add the chicken and mix until everything is evenly distributed throughout the meat.
4.  Form one small patty and cook it.  Taste the sample you cooked to make sure your meatball mix is seasoned appropriately.  Add salt if needed.
5.  Form the mix into 1 inch meatballs.
6.  Place the meatballs onto a large pan and cook for about 10 minutes.
7.  After 10 minutes, change the oven setting to broil.  Broil the meatballs on high for about 5 minutes, or until the tops start to brown.
8.  Transfer the meatballs to the tomato sauce on the stove and continue to simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.

 

 

Crostinis

1 baguette, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt

 

1.  Set the oven to broil.
2.  Brush each slice of bread with olive oil only on the top side.
3.  Broil for about 5 minutes, or until the bread turns golden.
4.  Remove the bread from the oven and rub each slice with the fresh garlic clove and lightly season with salt.

 

When all the components are ready, place one meatball on top of the crostini.  There is no need to spoon much additional sauce on top of the meatball since the meatballs were already simmering in the tomato sauce.  Place some shredded mozzarella on top of the meatball and broil for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted.  Top the crostinis with chopped fresh basil.  If you are making this ahead of time, I would suggest saving the baking of the crostinis until right before the party.  This will keep the crostinis fresh and ensure that they will not crumble upon your first bite.  If you have a party full of carb-watchers, the crostini can be completely left out.  Just serve the meatballs with a toothpick for easy eating.  Another fun idea is to stuff the cheese inside of each meatball rather than melting it on top.  This would require a block of mozzarella cheese instead of using shredded cheese.  Cut the large block into small bite-sized cubes, sticking one cube into the center of each meatball as you are rolling them out.  Continue to cook the meatballs as directed.

 

 

Enjoy eating your meaty balls!

Chicken Parmesan Crostini

Love you much, 

The Refined Palate

Christina Miros ©2015

SUPER BOWL SNACK IDEA: Chick Pea Cakes

13 Jan

 

 

 Chick Pea Cakes
topped with
Sirloin Steak Tips & Balsamic Reduction

 

 

chickpea14 copy

 

 

 

Looking for new ideas for your upcoming Super Bowl party menu?  This chick pea fritter is seriously so flippin’ fantastic, I had to pat myself on the back.  I topped it with some sirloin steak tips because me love steak, but it can just as easily be made into a vegetarian option by omitting the sirloin.  These fluffy little bites are easy to just pop into your mouth and get on with the party.

 

 

Chick Pea Fritter:

 

1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, charred
2 cloves roasted garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
1 tablespoon flour
Plain breadcrumbs for coating
Water, until chick pea mixture just comes together
Fresh basil
1/2 cup balsamic Vinegar
Salt, to taste

1.  Cut the red pepper into large strips and sauté in a hot pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Cook until the red pepper is charred on the outside and slightly softened.  You could just as easily use a jarred roasted red pepper if you prefer.

2.  In a food processor, combined the chick peas, garlic, red pepper, flour, one tablespoon of the olive oil and salt.  Puree the mixture.  If you need to add water, add it slowly just until the mixture starts to come together.  It should be like a paste, but not smooth like hummus.

3.  Transfer the chick pea mixture to a bowl.  If the mixture is too sticky, add more flour.  If the mixture is too dry, add more water.

4.  Form the chick pea mixture into 1 inch balls and coat in the bread crumbs.

5.  Heat the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a sauté pan.  Add the coated chick pea balls to the hot oil and flatten each one a bit with a metal spatula.

6.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy.

7.  Add 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar to a saucepan.  Heat the vinegar over high heat until it is reduced by half.  Set aside.

 

 

Sirloin Steak Tips:

1 pound sirloin steak tips
Salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

 

1.  Season the sirloin liberally with salt on all sides.

2.  Heat the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over high heat.

3.  When the pan is hot, add the sirloin.  Cook for 3 minutes on each side for medium rare.

4.  Transfer the sirloin tips to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

*  If you can not find sirloin steak tips, you can use skirt steak, hanger steak, tri-tip, or even tenderloin.

 

 

How To Assemble:

1.  Place one basil leaf on top of the fritter.

2.  Place one slice of sirloin on top of the basil leaf.

3.  Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the sirloin.

 

 

Chick Pea Fritter

 

 

 

 

Made with love always ,
The Refined Palate

Christina Miros ©2015

SUPER BOWL SNACK IDEA: Mini Corn Dogs

11 Jan

The Super Bowl is just another reason to throw a good party.  It is the perfect time to make delicious finger-foods that are easy to eat with
one hand, while you’re using the other to hold a cold beer.
Here is one fun recipe you can make for your
Super Bowl party and it’s guaranteed
to be a hit.

 

Corn Dogs

 

 

 

Mini Corn Dogs:

1 cup yellow cornmeal, plus 1/4 cup
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 package cocktail hotdogs
1 package of wooden skewers or lollipop sticks; cut in half
Vegetable oil for frying

 

1.  In a medium pot, add the oil.  Turn the heat to medium and heat the oil.
2.  In a large bowl, add the 1 cup of cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together.  Add the beaten egg, milk, oil and honey.  Stir until combined.  The batter will be a little thicker than a pancake batter.
3.  Remove the hotdogs from the package and pat them dry.
4.  In a small bowl, put the remaining 1/4 cup of cornmeal.  Toss the hotdogs in the dry cornmeal.  This will help the batter stick to the hotdogs better.
5.  Insert the sticks into the hot dogs.  Dip each hotdog into the batter.  Let the excess batter drip off and immediately place it in the oil, while still holding the stick.
6.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until all sides are a deep golden brown.  Remove from the oil and transfer onto a paper towel to drain the grease.

 

To save some time, you can make the batter ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.  You can also cook the corn dogs ahead
of time, store them on a wire rack, and reheat
them before serving.  Serve with your
favorite condiments and enjoy!

 

 

Corn Dogs

 

 

Love Always,
The Refined Palate 

 

 

Christina Miros ©2015

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie with Salted Caramel

10 Jan

Cookie Pie

 

 

 

I had a leftover pie crust in the refrigerator and I wanted to make something other than a typical fruit-filled or cream-filled pie.  I was scrambling through my head thinking about what ingredients I already had in the pantry.  I always have the baking basics in my pantry; sugar, flour, baking powder, brown sugar and vanilla extract.  I decided to make a chocolate chip cookie pie because I love chocolate chip cookies and after a brief thought, I remembered about that vanilla Haagen Dazs I had in the freezer that would go lovely scooped right on top.

 

For the Cookie:

1 pie crust
2 cups brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened 
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 box instant vanilla pudding (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
Chocolate chips; any variety

 

 

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.
2.  Place the pie crust in a 9″ pie plate.  Press the sides of the crust so they are attached to the pie plate.
3.  In a large bowl, cream the brown sugar and butter with an electric mixer, or you can use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
4.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.
5.  Add baking powder, salt and flour.  Mix until combined.
6.  Add as many or as little chocolate chips as you would like.  I used semi-sweet.  Mix these in with a rubber spatula, or just use your hands; the best tools.
7.  Transfer the dough into the pie crust.  Gently press down to evenly distribute the dough.  Press some additional chocolate chips into the top, just because it looks nice.

Cookie Pie
8.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  The pie may still be a little jiggly in the center.  Allow it to cool completely before slicing.

 

Cookie Pie

 

 

9.  Serve by itself or with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.

 

Cookie Pie

 

 

For the Salted Caramel:

1 cup granulated white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt

 

1.  Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
2.  The sugar will start to form clumps and then eventually melt down into a thick amber-colored liquid as you keep stirring.
3.  Once the sugar is completely melted, add the butter immediately.  Do so with caution because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.
4.  Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted.
5.  Very slowly, drizzle the heavy cream in while whisking.  The mixture will bubble again so be careful.
6.  Bring the mixture to a boil for 1 minute.  It will rise as it boils.
7.  Remove it from the heat and stir in the salt.
8.  Allow the caramel to cool before using.

 

 

Cookie Pie

 

 

 

 

With love from chocolate ,
The Refined Palate

Christina Miros ©2015

Cooking a Turkey

9 Jan

 

Whole Turkey

 

 

Now that we learned how to brine our turkey, it’s time to cook it.  We already rinsed the brine from the turkey.  Now we are going place the turkey onto a roasting rack in a roasting pan and get started.

 

You need:

1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 onion, cut in quarters

 

1.  Preheat the oven to 450°.
2.  Pat the turkey completely dry with a paper towel.  This will help the skin to get brown and crispy.
3.  Remove any giblets.  My turkey had the neck and back inside the cavity as well.  Set this aside.  Do not throw it away!
4. Brush the turkey skin with a combination of olive oil and melted butter.
5.  Season the bird liberally with kosher salt and pepper, both inside the cavity and on the skin.
6.  Add the aromatics to the cavity; the carrots, celery and onion.  You could also throw in fresh herbs or lemon, but I just used whatever I had in the refrigerator.
7.  Tie the turkey legs together with butcher’s twine.
8.  Add the turkey to the oven and cook for 30 minutes at 450°.
9.  After 30 minutes lower the temperature to 325°.
10.  For my 19 pound bird, I cooked the turkey for an additional 3 hours at 325°.
11.  Cook the turkey until the internal temperature reads 165° on a meat thermometer.

 

 

With the turkey parts you removed from the cavity, we are going to make some stock!  Whoop whoop!  This is such a great way to utilize all the parts of an animal and also add some extra flavor to dishes in the future.  In this case, we are going to use some of the stock for our gravy; as well as any pan drippings.

You need:

The turkey parts
3 carrots, cut in thirds
3 celery stalks, cut in thirds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, cut in quarters
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 cup fresh parsley

 

1.  Throw all the ingredients into a large pot.
2.  Fill the pot with cold water and put over high heat.
3.  Bring the water to a rolling boil.  Allow it to boil for 5 minutes then reduce to a simmer.
4.  Remove any floating bits off the top with a spoon.
5.  Leave the stock to simmer away for a few hours.
6.  After cooking, strain the stock and season with salt.

 

 

 

Turkey Stock

 

 

The Gravy:

1/4 cup turkey fat; from the drippings
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pan drippings
1 1/2-2 cups turkey stock
Splash white wine
Poultry seasoning
Salt
Pepper

 

1.  Pour the pan drippings into a measuring cup.  Place the measuring cut into the fridge.  This will harden the fat and make it really easy to scoop it right off the top; separating the fat from the good stuff.
2.  Warm the fat in a saucepan.  When the fat is hot, whisk in the flour to make a roux.  The roux will act as the base for your gravy.  Cook the roux for a few minutes until it is golden brown.
3.  Pour the pan drippings into the roux and whisk.
4.  Add the turkey stock.  Whisk in a 1/2 cup at a time until you reach your desired gravy consistency.
5.  Add in the splash of white wine.  Season with salt, pepper and herbs.

 

The Cranberry Sauce:

1 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest

 

1.  Throw all the ingredients, besides the orange zest, into either a slow cooker or a medium saucepan.
2.  If using a slow cooker, cook on high for 2 1/2-3 hours.
3.  If using a saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer until all the cranberries are soft and bursting.
4.  The sauce will thicken as it sits.

 

Cranberry Sauce

 

♦     ♦     ♦     ♦     ♦

Depending on how many people are eating this turkey, you may
have leftovers.  Stay tuned for some
Day 2 Dishes to see how I
utilize the turkey in
different ways!

♦     ♦     ♦

Turkey

Love Always, 
The Refined Palate

Christina Miros ©2015

Lookin’ Fine Turkey Brine

8 Jan

I was eligible for a free turkey for acquiring a certain amount of points at the grocery store; not surprising.  I picked up the turkey to make it for New Years day.  I wouldn’t normally choose to make a turkey, but since it was free, I brought the bird home.  Since turkey can be pretty lame, I wanted to do anything I could to bring it to the hip side of dullsville.  The solution was to make a brine.  Get it, solution?  Okay, enough of the nerdy chemistry jokes.  Here is the recipe for a tasty turkey brine.

 

Turkey Brine

 

 

Turkey Brine:

2 gallons water, separated
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 oranges, peels only
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
5 bay leaves

 

 

1.  Place all the ingredients into a pot plus one gallon of water.  Bring the ingredients to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
2.  Place the turkey in a container large enough to hold the turkey and the brine.  You can also use a large roasting bag.
3.  Pour the brine over the turkey.  Add the remaining one gallon of room temperature water.
4.  Close the container, or tie the roasting bag securely closed.
5.  Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.  I like to brine my bird for 2-3 days for maximum flavor.
6.  When you are ready to prepare, rinse your turkey and discard the brine.

 

You can use anything you want to flavor the brine.  The basics are the water, sugar and salt.  The science behind the brine is that the salt solution will penetrate the protein and start to break down the muscle fibers, making them less tough.  The muscle fibers will absorb much of the liquid, increasing the moisture levels.  This process will result in a tender and juicy turkey that will leave you saying, “lookin’ fine turkey brine.”

Happy Brining

TRP

Christina Miros ©2014

Tequila-Lime Steak Fajitas with Roasted Garlic Tortillas

7 Jan

Fajitas can be so good, but they can also be pretty bad.  It’s not one of those things that can’t be messed up.  Like mac and cheese for example, it’s all good; there are just different levels of goodness.  Fajitas are not one of those things that can still be good even if they’re bad.  I decided I would not (could not) make a bad fajita.  Fajitas seem fairly basic but there is a lot of technique that goes into each component to create perfection.

 

 

 

Tequila Lime Fajita

 

 

 

 

The Steak:

1 skirt steak, about 1 pound
1 shot tequila
2 limes, zest and juice
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 jalapeño, sliced
Olive oil
Salt

1.  Throw all ingredients into a ziplock bag and allow the steak to marinade at least 30 minutes.

Fajitas
2.  Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.  It is really important that the steak is dry.  This will allow it to get a nice sear on the outside.  Season the steak on both sides with salt.
3.  Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat.  Once you see the oil start to swirl, it is hot enough to add the meat.  Cook for 3 minutes on each side for medium rare.
4.  Remove the steak and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

 

Steak Fajita

 

 

 

The Onions & Peppers:

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
Water

1.   Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan.  When the pan is very hot, add just the peppers.  If you have a lot of peppers, cook them in batches.  You do not want to overcrowd the pan; overcrowding will prevent the peppers from getting good color and flavor.  When you see the peppers are developing color, add 1/4 cup of water to the pan, this will help them soften without burning.  When the water is cooked away, season the peppers with salt and remove them to a plate or bowl.
2.  After all the peppers are cooked, cook the onions.  Lower the heat to medium to cook the onions.  Unlike the high heat fast cook method used for the peppers, the onions will take a little longer.  Same thing goes for the onions; when they begin to soften, add 1/4 cup of water to the pan.  When the water is cooked away, season the onions with salt and add them to the plate with the peppers.

 

The reason we wait until the end to season is because salt draws out liquid and we want the vegetables to stay as dry as possible
to help them brown.  If we salt in the beginning, there
would be too much liquid in the
pan to gain color.

 

Fajitas

 

 

The Roasted Garlic:

8 whole garlic cloves, or however many you would like
1/2 cup olive oil

1.  In a small sauce pan, add the olive oil and garlic.
2.  Heat over low heat until the garlic starts to turn golden, about 20 minutes.

 

This is the way I learned how to roast garlic working in restaurants.
Of course you can use your oven, but this way is much
simpler and you can reserve the garlic infused
oil for another dish.  The trick here is to
make sure the oil is never too hot;
it is very easy to burn garlic.

 

roasted garlic

 

 


The Tortillas:

Flour tortillas
Roasted garlic
Reserved garlic oil

1.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved roasted garlic oil in a sauté pan.
2.  Heat each tortilla in the oil one at a time.  Constantly move and flip the tortillas so they do not burn.  You just want to achieve a little golden color but not so much that the tortilla isn’t pliable.
3.  When the tortillas are done, spread the roasted garlic onto each one.

 

 

The Toppings:

Condiments vary for fajitas depending on personal taste.  I topped mine with an avocado salsa, pickled red onions and queso fresco.

Avocado Salsa:

2 avocados, diced
1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Salt

1.  Mix the ingredients together in a bowl.

 

Pickled Red Onions:

The pickled red onion recipe can be found here.

 

 

All good fajitas deserve a good side.  Instead of the
usual rice and beans, I decided to
make some baked sweet
potato fries.

 

 

The Side:

2 sweet potatoes, cut into fries
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt

 

Sweet Potato Fries

 

 

1.  Preheat the oven to 425º.
2.  Peel and cut the sweet potatoes.  Add them to a pan and coat with olive oil.  Season with chili powder, cumin and salt.
3.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until soft.
4.  Turn the oven on to broil and broil the sweet potatoes for an additional 3-5 minutes.

To go with the seasoned fries, I made a spicy ketchup.  Just mix ketchup with some hot sauce, chili powder and a 1/4 teaspoon of white wine vinegar.

Vegetarian?

Just omit the steak and bulk the fajita up with some beans or marinated tofu.  

 

Assemble your fajitas and enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: Have someone close
by in case you need to be
carried away from
the table.

Fajita

always, 

The Refined Palate

 

Christina Miros ©2014

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