|February 14, 2011||Posted by Ashley Marie under Food, International Food|
Every so often, when the stars align, I get a weekend off from work and it immediately sparks my desire to cook at home, an ardor that sometimes fizzles after a busy week at work. After making some of the best salsa ever at work (my boss’s words, not mine) for some breakfast quesadillas with eggs and Manchego, I decided that my Saturday off would be spent cooking for our new tradition, ‘Mexican Night.’
I thawed out the flank steak in my freezer on Friday morning, and instead of our usual lettuce wraps that Mr. Picky has become so fond of, I marinated the meat in a cilantro marinade with garlic and cumin and lime juice. That night after work, I seared the steak on the grill and put it in the slow-cooker with some of the left over marinade, which has a really bright flavor that compliments the char of the grill. Also in the crock pot: cilantro, parsley, peppers, onions, beef broth. After 8 hours of braising the “ropas viejas” (‘old clothes’ in Spanish, because of the way the meat shreds and mixes with the other ingredients, like a pile of old garments), I awoke to the most fragrant apartment ever. I knew our day was going to be great.
After a grocery- and liquor-store run, Mexican Night soon turned into Mexican Afternoon. It started with margaritas. Now, he’s no expert, but my darling made some damn good margaritas. Jose Cuervo mix (yes, we cheated), triple sec, Lunazul tequila, Patron. While he was mixing, I was cooking. I threw some tomatoes, garlic, red onions and scallions on the grill to get a nice char on them. Once they were good and dark, I blended them in the food processor with cumin, lime juice, cilantro and chipotles, the ones in the can with the adobo sauce. Here is where I need to be careful: While cooking at home, I commonly use recipes and techniques from my job. I also tend to use the same grand-scale mentality from the banquet kitchen, often leaving me in trouble. At work we use the entire can of chipotles. On Saturday I used, well, the entire can of chipotles. Well, almost. Either way, the salsa was hot (in temperature) and hot (in spice). It was smoky and it burned as it went down. But it was a good burn. A burn that my boyfriend surprisingly welcomed. And I had succeeded, more than rarely but less than often, in pleasing his most difficult palate.
After eating enough chips and salsa for five, we were a bit full. But the show had to go on. I (ahem, we) made a large molcajete full of guacamole, and I heated up some of the meat that I had shredded earlier. We built our fajitas with the steak, guac, salsa and sour cream and…he ate six of them. In a world where I’m much hungrier and fatter than he, I was very surprised that he was able to get a whole six of those down. I’m not quite sure wether I was drunk or just full, but it wasn’t long after that before I was ready to pass out. Overall, ‘Mexican Night’ was a huge success. Next up on the roster: Beef Fajita Nachos….