Not only did a Hurricane blow through this week, but so did Halloween! Luckily, Sandy swept in and out just in time for a cool, fall night for the kiddos to do some trick or treating. And this guy got to hand out lots of candy…
I was trying to find the perfect Halloween dinner (hot dogs were off limits) and I went through lots of pumpkin/squash/fally’ type entrees. But then, for some reason, short ribs popped into my head, followed by tacos. So boom – Short Rib Tacos it was! I investigated a variety of different recipes, but this one from So Tasty, So Yummy sounded like the best flavor combination to me. I took the base of it, added a little of this and a little of that, and I don’t often throw rose petals at myself, but Halloween night, it was a shower of rose petals, because man were these good! We paired them with those delicious Pickled Red Onions from the Southwestern Pulled Brisket Taco recipe, some cilantro and fresh homemade salsa, and oooh it was a Halloween dinner to remember!
Short Rib Tacos
*Adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy
8-10 short ribs (bone in or boneless)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 small cans of black beans
1 – 14.5 oz can tomatoes w/ green chilis
1 – 14.5 oz can regular diced tomatoes
(I used the basil flavored but I don’t think it matters – if you wanted to kick up the heat, you could probably use 2 cans of the tomatoes w/ chilis)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 – 1 tsp red chilli flakes
juice of 2 limes
3 cups beef broth
*corn or flour tortillas
1) Mix the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder in a bowl. Rub each short rib in the spice mixture and place them in a large ziplock bag. Let marinade in the fridge for at least an hour (obviously, the longer the better! I think I did mine for about an hour and a half)
2) In a food processor, take the 2 cans of black beans and the 2 cans of diced tomatoes and puree together. Set aside.
3) In a large dutch oven (or heavy pot) heat 4 tbsp. olive oil. Brown each short rib on both sides and then set aside on a plate.
4) To the same dutch oven, add the chopped onions and saute until translucent (about 3-4 minutes). Then add the garlic and chili flakes and saute another minute, or until fragrant.
5) Add the beef broth, lime juice and black bean/tomato puree to the garlic and onion mixture, scraping the brown bits from the short ribs. Return the browned short ribs to the dutch oven in a single layer and let come to a boil.
6) Reduce heat to low and cook the short ribs on low heat for up to 4 hours, depending on how much time you have (the longer cooked, the more tender the meat). After about an hour and a half, shred the short ribs and return the shredded meat back to the sauce to soak in the flavor. If they’re on a bone, the meat can be removed from the bone and shredded, or if they’re boneless, you can just shred the meat.
7) Be sure to reserve some of the sauce from the short ribs and reduce it for 10-15 minutes before serving. It’s a great little accompaniment to the tacos!
Serve the short ribs on corn or flour tortillas with the reduced sauce, some salsa, queso fresco and cilantro. Mmmmmmm.
Hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween!
It’s been way too long since Buffalo Chicken has showed it’s mug here. So happy Buffalo Chicken Monday to all!
While most of the Buffalo Chicken recipes on this Blog have been pre-meditated, this one was purely by accident. Yesterday morning, while still half asleep, I reached my hand in the freezer, did an “eenie, meenie, miney, moe” and pulled out what you could call the ‘pandora’s box’ of the freezer – ground chicken. For some reason, I continue to buy this at the store, and then when faced with doing something with it, always seem to be left scratching my head. Last time I was faced with this was back in April, when Southwest Chicken Burgers were born. And last night, almost 4 months later, a new ground chicken master piece was born, and Buffalo Chicken Tacos was it’s name! You could use rotissere chicken or shredded chicken breast for this as well.
Buffalo Chicken Tacos
1 lb. ground chicken
(I used the 93/7 mix)
2 stalks of celery, diced small
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 onion, diced small
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
1/4 cup Ranch dressing (or blue cheese, depending on your preference)
(I used a light version, but you could use full fat or fat free too)
2 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
6 (or so) corn tortillas
1) Cook celery, carrot, onion and garlic over medium heat in a non-stick skillet until translucent (about 5 minutes)
2) Add ground chicken to vegetables and sautee until cooked through.
3) Take the Frank’s and ranch dressing and whisk together in a small dish, then pour the mixture over the vegetable/chicken mix. Add blue cheese and stir until melted.
4) Let simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes, until some of the sauce has absorbed.
5) Cook corn tortillas over direct flame until char marks appear, then flip and repeat on the other side.
6) Top with minced celery and carrot and sprinkle some blue cheese and ranch or blue cheese dressing.
Dave can sometimes be competitive – well let’s say like 99.9999999% of the time anyway. And sometimes I think it’s a good thing, but sometimes it’s kind of annoying, especially when he does it with silly, everyday things that really don’t warrant being competitive – like when we go to a restaurant, and he proclaims that he can make that dish better than they can – or when we take a leisurely bike ride to get ice cream like a mile down the street from our house, and he rides 50 feet in front of me doing all these fancy bike tricks while I sit back on my Huffy from 7th grade and roll my eyes. Stuff like that.
So Friday, we decided to try this new place in Allston called Lone Star Taco, being that it was Cinco de Mayo eve. And it was delicous! A very simple menu, with only 6 types of tacos to choose from, a few other side dishes, and a selection of Tequillas that would make your head spin. But one of the favorite flavors of taco that we got was the smoked brisket taco. Yum. And I made the mistake of saying “Ya know, I bet you could make this at home in the crock pot” and Dave went on to tell me that it was impossible, because smoking meat is completely different than cooking it in the crockpot, and you’d never be able to achieve the same flavor – wah wah wahhhhh. And so my competitive side came out and I said “I will accept that challenge”. And accept I did 🙂
Southwestern Pulled Brisket Tacos
*Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen
3 pounds beef brisket
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup dark Karo syrup
(you could also use brown sugar or molasses)
1) Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat just until beginning to smoke. Add the meat and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker; leave the skillet on the heat.
2) Add garlic, onion, chili powder, coriander, and cumin to drippings in the skillet and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Add vinegar and boil until it’s almost gone, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
3) Stir in water and pour the mixture over the brisket.
4) Crush the tomatoes through your fingers into the slow cooker; add the tomato juices, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and karo syrup.
5) Cover the cooker, set it on LOW, and cook the brisket until it pulls apart easily with a fork, about 8 to 10 hours (my piece of brisket was only 2.5 lbs, so I did 8 hours)
6) After 8 hours, shred the beef. Strain the vegetables, etc. from the sauce and return to the crock pot. Return the shredded beef to the crock pot as well. Cook on low for another 2 hours or so (this will help the sauce infuse into the meat)
Pickled Red Onions
1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 to 3 really good shots hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
1 red onion, sliced into very thin rings
1) In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar with 1/2 cup of cold tap water.
2) Stir in salt, the sugar and the hot sauce.
3) Add the sliced onions and let sit for at least one hour.
*As with most things, the longer you let these ‘pickle’ the better!
You’ve waited a long time – GO EAT! As an added optional step, I took the sauce from the crockpot and let reduce for about 20 minutes over low heat in a saucepan and served the sauce with the tacos in addition to the picked onions. Just for some extra flavor.
So what’s the verdict you ask? Was my pulled brisket taco better than Lone Star’s? Well, let’s just say, that after 3 tacos, Dave said “we should definitely make that again” which = “Wow Kate, you were right – you CAN make it just as good in the crockpot” – I’m really good at reading minds 🙂
Hope everyone enjoyed their Cinco de Mayo weekend!
Friday – we made it! Congrats everyone!
Friday’s have really morphed over the years. I remember growing up, Friday was the day that I got to have McDonalds for dinner (Fish and Chips during lent – being the stellar catholic that I am) I’d get my chicken nugget happy meal (and usually a collection of ten of the same toy) but I knew that every Friday, I was gettin’ MacShack, and it helped me get through the tough elementary school week.
In high school, Friday meant a night out at the mall or the movies – getting dropped off and picked up by the parents was a major drag, until finally your first friend got their liscense and we’d jam in the car feeling like rockstars because we could come and go as we wanted, as long as we were home by curfew of course.
In college, Fridays were major – anyone who was anyone was out – and if you weren’t out, you should call the doctor cuz’ something MUST be wrong with you. It was the official start of the weekend, and it usually was a late one, that entailed ordering pizza at 3am (well, that’s what mine were like anyway.)
Annnnd in 2012, Fridays have changed quite a bit – all day at my desk, I think about my sweatpants just sitting at home, waiting to be put on. And the highlight of the night for us is deciding if we’re drinking wine or beer, and if we’re going to stick to the usual pizza-Friday routine, or try something different. And the hottest seat in town is on the couch, and dinner at the coffee table, and if we’re up passed 11pm, there’s probably a full moon.
And this Friday is no different, although instead of pizza, we’re shakin’ it up a bit and making shrimp tacos. We have a recipe that we absolutely love, for Cilantro Lime shrimp tacos, that is TDF. But, tonight we’re trying a new spin and making Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream from Life’s Ambrosia. And to really spice it up, pairing it with Habanero Salsa. I am starting to aquire a taste for hotness, and if Dave doesn’t have sweat dripping down his forehead, than it’s not ‘really’ hot.
Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream
1 lb or so of shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
Cilantro lime sour cream (recipe underneath)
Habanero Salsa (recipe underneath that recipe)
1) In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Add in shrimp and toss to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to give the flavors a chance to marry.
2) Cook shrimp in a skillet or grill pan on medium heat until pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
3) Heat corn tortillas over direct flame, approximately 30 seconds, until char marks begin to appear.
Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream
1/4 cup sour cream (we used low fat)
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1/4 tsp cumin
juice and zest from one lime
salt to taste
1) Stir ingredients in a bowl and voila!
2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 habanero, chopped small (can use half if you don’t want it to be super spicy – the whole adds some extra heat, if you can stand it – also would advise using gloves while cutting)
Juice of 1 lime
1 handful of cliantro, chopped fine
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Place tomatoes in food processor; pulse to desired chunkiness and add to large mixing bowl. Do the same with the onion (when making salsa I like to layer each ingredient vs. putting them all in the food processor at once)
2) Add minced garlic, chopped habanero, lime juice, cilantro, chilli powder, cumin and salt and pepper and mix together.
3) Let sit for a while, maybe 1/2 hour or so. I like to let sit at room temperature (cold tomatoes skeeve me out) and the longer it sits, the more the habanero will settle in with the other flavors.
And, when you have all three players ready, layer Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream, Salsa and Shrimp, fold and ENJOY!!!