Tag Archives: salsa

Ancho and Coffee Crusted Steak Tacos w/ Spicy Corn Salsa

I’m not sure if it’s because I lived in Arizona, California and Texas, but I’m pretty sure that tacos are a way of life for ‘us people’.  They range in flavors and toppings galore as you have Sonoran, Baja, Texmex, standard beef and cheese, shredded chicken..I could go on and on and on.  So I will!

I tried to break out of that standard taco fare box and make it a little more refined, perhaps bigger and brighter flavors, and boy did that work out for me!  Hey, I had OVER a pound and a half of steak, plus toppings and my family of two (apparently starving) adults and two lil ones and we ate it ALL.  I won’t even bother you with the details of me just standing haphazardly at the butcher block shoving steak slices in..damn good!

*I also mentioned below, please cook to your desired preference..However, we may or may no longer speak if you choose well-done, but…

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs flat iron steak
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp ground coffee
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp canola and 1 Tbsp butter, for the pan) 

Spicy Corn Salsa

  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (I left seeds in, but remove to cut the heat if desired)
  • Juice of 1 ripe lime
  • pinch kosher salt

Garnish

  • Corn tortillas, grilled and warmed
  • Lime wedges
  • Salty cheese (cotija, feta, parmesan)
  • Jalapeños, thinly sliced. 

Lets marinate this steak!  2-3 hours prior to grilling up, you’ll want to begin this.  You could do a longer marinade time, however, marinades can break down the meat too much and it just won’t be quite as good, texture wise.

In a small dish, whisk together all of the spices listed above for the steak.  While using your fingers, coat the steak evenly with the spice blend, cover and place in your refridgerator until ready to grill.  

Next we can prepare that super easy spicy corn salsa!  As always instructed ;), start by rinsing and chopping and dicing the veggies needed.  

In a microwave safe medium-size bowl, pour in the 2 cups of frozen corn.  Pop into your microwave for just about 30 seconds tops.  You do NOT want hot, mushy corn.  On to the other easy part, to that corn add in the prepared red onion, halved tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and diced jalapeños.  Give a good squeeze of fresh lime juice and a hefty pinch of salt.  Toss to coat, cover and like the steak, refridgerate till needed.  

Ok friends..now here come your options and the “blah-blah-blah” of how to cook a steak.  Please follow along.

You can absolutely grill this (quite delish), you can sear in an oven proof pan and pop in the oven to finish or even vice versa, you can place it under the broiler..do what makes your heart sing.  However, if you want it how I made it, then here it goes:

Remove the marinated, dry-rubbed steak from the refridgerator 20 minutes prior to cooking.  I brought my cast iron skillet up to medium/medium-high heat and then added in the 1 Tbsp canola oil and 1 Tbsp butter (never margarine people).

Once the skillet was just slightly smoking, knowing it was hot and ready, I layed the steak into the hot oil and butter.  WALK AWAY.

Let that steak sear and do its thing.  It will of course have a dark outer-edge due to the sugar, coffee and spices creating that great “crust”.  You so, so want that.

I prefer my steak a perfect medium-rare, so for my weight of meat I let each side sear for about 8 minutes on each side…then place on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.  PLEASE let rest!!  During that time you can get out your choice of salty cheese, the spicy corn salsa AND start to quickly warm and slightly char the corn tortillas!  

*If you have a smaller cut of steak, cook anywhere from 3-5 minutes per side (for medium-rare,  internal temperature of 135 degrees).  Of course you can eat the steak to your liking, so cook it longer if you so desire.

*If you follow the medium-rare advice, but someone in your family is “weird” about that ;), simply take a few of the slices and return back to the pan for just a few seconds.  It WILL cook fast!

Once the steak has had its rest period (keep those juices IN!), slice thinly against the grain..this is sooooo tender and just melts with that fantastic crust.  Drooling….again.  (You can also dice up the slices for small mouths..aka my kiddos).

The time has arrived..assembly time!  Simply take a warm and charred corn tortilla and lay a couple of slices of that beautiful steak on top.  Garnish with a spoonful of the Spicy Corn Salsa, a bit of salty cheese and a few lime wedges..enjoy!!  

Margarita Chicken Fajitas

I’m pretty sure that when one has fajitas, it is also the norm to be sipping on a margarita.  Now…how about we combine the two?  Which is really no problemo here in my casa!

The flavors and ingredients of your traditional margarita are the exact components that make a chicken flavorful and tender.  Everything about this is right!  Now add a warm flour tortilla, large dollop of sour cream, salsa and grilled veggies…oh my my my… 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2lbs chicken breasts (cut into strips) or chicken tenders
  • 1/2 quality margarita mix (NOT lime green 😉
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1 tsp margarita (kosher) salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 limes, juice and rinds
  • 1 jalapeno, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Red onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp evoo (I used a hatch green chili infused oil..but regular is fine! 😉

Garnish

  • Tortillas
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa/Hot Sauce
  • Cilantro
  • Pico de Gallo   

    Sipping on this delight is an essential part of making Margarita Chicken Fajitas!

     

In a large ziplock bag (set into a dish in case of ‘spillage’), combine the margarita mix, tequila, salt, cumin, lime juice plus rinds and the quartered jalapeno.  Zip and give a good shake! 

       Next, you’ll add the chicken into the bag of marinade and zip on up!  Place this in the refridgerator for 1-3 hours (turning over to distribute once per hour if possible). 

 Right before you’re ready to take the marinating chicken out of the ‘fridge, feel free to slice up the onion and bell peppers!  *I like all colors of onion & pepper really, so whatever you have on hand works fine!! 

 Heat a large skillet, cast iron or grill to med-high heat.  If using a pan, add about 1 Tbsp oil and heat up till almost smoking or grease your grill so that the chicken does not stick.  

Once hot & ready (and depending on the size of pan/grill), add one-half to all of the chicken and marinated jalapeno.  Cook for a few minutes on each side until a nice brown sear occurs.  Set aside on a plate to redistribute the juices. 

   Now that the chicken is done, add the sliced up fajita veggies to the same pan and sauté till slightly browned but still crisp (a few minutes). 

   Plate the cooked chicken and veggies and serve with warm tortillas, garnishes of your choice and a cold margarita!  Enjoy!

Simple Restaurant Style Salsa

I have a huge arsenal of hot sauces and salsa’s in my repertoire, now while this one may not be considered “authentic”, it is damn good!  This easy salsa is ALWAYS such a hit at parties…like, there is NEVER any left and people always ask “who made this??”  Now you can say “I did!”

It’s pretty much just a two-step process..no roasting, no boiling, no nothing (our friends at Rotel did most of the work for us ;)!  All you need is your food processor and 5 minutes to get the fiesta started.

*I always choose Rotel’s “cilantro & lime” mixed with their “hot”…this has quite a kick to it though.  So if your party likes it a bit more mild , I’d omit the “hot” and choose their original or something similar.

^^again..just that one can of “hot” will do it…if you cannot drink a bottle of Tabasco sauce like myself, I’d advice against it.

*You can use a blender if you do not own a food processor, but blenders do tend to make things ‘frothy” instead of finely diced.

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes (flavor of choice)
  • 1/2 white onion, rough chop
  • 1 cup cilantro (stems & all)
  • 1 large clove garlic, rough chop
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Hefty pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions 

In your food processor, add in all of the above ingredients EXCEPT the 1/4 cup of sliced green onions.

   Pulse your processor till your desired texture is achieved.  We like ours a bit thinner…so I just pulse it longer.  Simple!

Here is where you will fold in the green onions to give it a bit more bite and texture.

     Depending how soon you’re eating this, pour into a serving dish or into a sealable container (I.e. Tupperware, Saran Wrap).  If eating later, just cover and place in the refridgerator till munch time!  Enjoy!

Chili de Árbol Sauce

Ya know that super spicy ‘hot sauce’ you have to ask the waiter for at restaurants?  The velvety smooth one that they don’t normally serve with your chips and salsa due to its insanely hot heat level?  Well this is it.  You can also use this as a fantastic base for a great enchilada sauce or soup.

Now please don’t be deterred from making this because you see dried Chilis.  Besides a couple of garlic cloves and water, these are your only ingredients.  Seriously.

The Starting Lineup

  • 4 Ancho Chilis (dried)
  • 2 New Mexico Chilis (dried)
  • 1 cup of Chilis de Árbol (dried)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, smashed 

Ok, first thing to do is boil a few cups of water in a pan.  Meanwhile, cut the stems off of each pepper and shake out as many seeds as you can.  Don’t worry about getting every single seed out, this will also go through a mesh sieve after they’re puréed.

  

Place the deseeded chilis in a large bowl and pour the now boiling water over them.  Cover the filled bowl immediately with a plate or Saran Wrap.  This will rehydrate and soften your dried peppers. *you can see the Saran Wrap billowing up from the hot steam.  

 

Let these chilis steep in the hot water for 30 minutes.  Once time is up, use a slotted spoon to add the peppers to your blender.  Also add in 2 cups of the water that the chilis soaked in and your 2 cloves of garlic.  

Blend for a minute till smooth.  If needed add more of the chili water to thin. *I recommend holding a towel over your blender lid as you purée.  The hot liquid tends to expand and you don’t want to get burned.  Promise.

Slowly, about 1/2 cup at a time, pour your blended chilis into a fine mesh cooking sieve that is hung over a bowl.  *dont mind my sieve.  My boys like to steal it from my kitchen and ‘catch butterflies’ with it through out my home.  It has lost its beautiful, once round shape..  With a rubber spatula, push down on the sauce to press the liquid through the sieve while it catches all of the seeds & skins.  It will be paste-like and the sauce in the bowl underneath will be smooth. 

  

After you’ve pressed all of the liquid through the metal sieve from your blender..your done!!  Authentic Chili de Árbol sauce for all your Mexican inspired dishes!🔥💃👌

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