Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Skirt Steak Soft Tacos w/Homemade Guacamole

Freshly prepared, homemade guacamole makes me LIE, CHEAT and STEAL. I 'lie' to my husband over the amount the avocado yielded. I 'cheat' my toddler by offering a shiny, red pre-dinner lollipop to keep her occupied and I 'steal' from my baby claiming his dislike for 'the Mexican fruit' only after I present it to him along side (his all time favorite) Gerber Crunchies. “So weird, he won’t even touch the stuff!?" All of these despicable acts are to ensure I get more than my fair share of what I consider ‘the green gold.’ Sure...I love it on chips or atop of a salad, but nothing gets me more excited than a soft warm tortilla, loaded up with chunky homemade guacamole, topped with a grilled, marinated meat or fish, rainbow medley of lightly charred veggies and finished off with a fresh and tangy salsa verde lovingly prepared from scratch!

On the other hand, the fake taste and preservatives added to prepackaged guacamole depresses me and nothing disappoints more than when I anxiously cut into an avocado expecting it to be ripe and delicious... to find it devoid of flavor. Forget about the days I visit the store with a 'Mexican Fiesta' theme in mind only to be visually insulted by a huge display of neon green, rock solid, smooth avocados. I've actually been known to abandon cart and store, in search of the perfect "hass." Considering leaving behind a cart of hand picked perishables is rude and socially irresponsible, I'm often left standing there angry and dejected...as if the produce stocker's were out to wrong me that day. These are the outings I return home with a tub of Greek yogurt, chorizo sausage, hunk of brie cheese and strange, organic peanut butter...as my husband helps unload the bags, confusion morphs to concern and before he even has time to speak, I’m on the phone ordering a large tomato pie.

The other day our grocery store was well equipped with all we needed to make the skirt steak tacos with homemade guacamole you see pictured here. On this particular evening, I promised myself to show some composure and (like I preach to my children) work on the art of sharing. Plenty of avocado to go around, it surprisingly felt wonderful to watch my family indulge. Never proud of my behavior in the past...now that it's here in writing (and I'm making great strides) consider this my confession.

Meant to be inspiration more than an exact guide, if some form of this multiple layered soft taco is not already part of your weekly repertoire (coming from an adult woman just learning to share) ...it’s never too late!
For the Skirt Steak:
Place skirt steak in a large food, zip lock bag and add: scant 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and just a bit of cumin. Massage it all into the meat and place in the fridge until ready to cook. (Do this the night before or right before you cook. (We find while if it sits a while with this rub it does infuse the meat with flavor, but it's also very good done right before grilling.)

When ready to cook, remove skirt steak from the bag and grill a few minutes on each side (depending on heat of grill and thickness of steak) until slightly blackened on top and medium rare in the center. Remove from grill and let sit. When ready to slice into strips, do so against the grain.

For the Veggies:
We use peppers and onions. Cut them up into strips and placed them in a tinfoil or veggie basket outfitted for the grill. Dress with olive oil, some salt and pepper and place on the grill mixing around now and then until you start to see a light charring. Remove from heat when charred and soft.

For the Salsa Verde:
(MORE OR LESS TO TASTE) Take 5 medium tomatillos (husks removed, cut in half perpendicular), 1 medium onion (quartered, skin still on), 1 jalapeno pepper (whole), 2 medium red tomato's (cut in half perpendicular), 4-6 cloves of garlic (whole, skin still on) and dry roast on an ungreased cast iron skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally so not to burn (10-15 minutes). Remove from pan. At this point, remove skin from onions and garlic and depending on desired heat, carefully remove seeds and pulp from none...half... or all of the jalapeno. Last, add all ingredient to a blender and blend to a pulp (or your desired consistency). If too thick and/or spicy add water and blend again. S&P to taste. YUM, FRESH & SO HEALTHY...NO PRESERVATIVES!

For the Guacamole:
Find Haas avocado's that are greenish brown and just soft to the touch. If they're really hard and green they're not ready and you better come up with plan B (or abandon cart and move on the the next store). If they feel extremely soft, they're over ripe and no good as when you cut into them they'll be laced with dark brown/black spots that are not appealing.

Depending on the size...one or (in our case now) two is good. Carefully slice them around length wise until you have separated the two sides. Stick the heel of your knife into the large seed and gently pull the seed away. Now dig the avocado out with a spoon into a bowl. Mash ever so slightly with a fork (depending on your desired consistency...we like ours a bit chunky.) To our guacamole we add (and like I said no exact measurements here): a little bit of finely chopped onion, fresh diced and seeded tomato, chopped cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. (Add very finely diced and seeded jalapeno or crushed red pepper flakes for heat.)

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