Ribeye Lettuce Wraps with Salsa Criolla

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

With all the summer fun I’ve been having this year I’ve missed a few more weeks of posting here than I’d like.  After two years of saving up my vacation days, I told myself to say yes to any opportunities that came my way and to follow through on promises to visit friends that I’ve been putting off for years.  A partially off-the-grid trip to the mountains in Lassen County, followed by a girls getaway weekend to Pismo Beach has left me feeling relaxed and fulfilled in life, but definitely left this blog by the wayside.  So, before I jet off to New York to visit one of my oldest friends tomorrow I leave you with these grilled ribeye lettuce wraps with salsa criolla.

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

This recipe is a sort of California spin on Argentinian favorites and is, in my humble opinion, a perfect balance between the two.  In college I got to spend a month in Bueno Aires on a summer study abroad and ate and drank my weight in choripanes, steaks, french fries, and red wine.  Typical Argentine food is definitely not light or delicate in any way, but boy is it good if you like meat and potatoes.  The french fries there are beyond comparison by the way, but that’s a topic for another post (psst..I think the secret is sunflower oil).

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

This recipe takes a ribeye, a fattier cut you might save for a special occasion, and not only lightens it up, but stretches it further so you don’t feel so guilty dropping $15 on a good quality one.  Grilling a good steak is the way to go and most of the restaurants in Buenos Aires cook their beef over wood charcoal, providing intense heat and char.  We’ll stick with our normal home grills for this one…

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

These lettuce wraps have two sauces that you can mix and match.  The first is salsa criolla, Argentina’s answer to pico de gallo, made with tomatoes, onions, red wine vinegar, and oregano.  We let it marinate so that the tomatoes soften and release their juices and all the flavors meld.  The second is a california version of chimichurri.  Any porteño would be appalled that I’ve added cilantro, but it brightens the flavor and is a damn good addition if I do say so myself.  If you haven’t noticed, I love cilantro and add it to nearly everything, but if you’re a cilantro hater just use all parsley or a combination of parsley and fresh oregano.  Bonus points if you pick up a fresh baguette to dip in the chimichurri.  It’s highly addictive and you’re going to want to put it on everything, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps | Cravings & Crumbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My dog agrees…

Ribeye Lettuce Wraps with Salsa Criolla
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb ribeye steak
  2. Lettuce, washed and leaves separated
  3. Flake salt to garnish (optional)
Marinade
  1. ¼ c. soy sauce
  2. 3 T. olive oil
  3. Juice of ½ large lemon
  4. 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  5. 2 t. red pepper flakes
  6. 2 t. dried oregano
  7. 2 t. black pepper
  8. Splash of red wine (optional)
Chimichurri
  1. ½ c. parsley, stems removed and chopped
  2. ½ c. cilantro, chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  4. ⅓ c. red wine vinegar
  5. ½ c. olive oil
  6. Red pepper flakes
  7. Kosher salt & pepper
Salsa Criolla
  1. 2 tomatoes
  2. 1 shallot
  3. 3 T. chimichurri
  4. 1 T. red wine vinegar
  5. ¼ t. dried oregano
  6. Kosher salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Begin by making the marinade. Add the soy sauce, olive oil and lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Using a microplane, grate the garlic into the liquids. Add the red pepper flakes, oregano and black pepper. Add the steak to a large ziploc bag and pour the marinade over, smooshing to coat. Allow to marinate at room temperature while you’re making the sauces, or refrigerate up to a day.
  2. To make the chimichurri add the parsley, cilantro, garlic, vinegar and olive oil to a blender or food processor. Blend until herbs and garlic are minced, about 30 seconds. If you're having any trouble blending add more olive oil or vinegar at your discretion. Remove to a bowl, add the red pepper flakes and season liberally with salt & pepper.
  3. To make the salsa dice the tomatoes, mince the shallot, and add both to a bowl. Season with chimichurri, vinegar, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes have released some of their juices.
  4. When you’re ready to make the steak, heat your grill to high (or light a chimney of charcoal briquettes). Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Place the steaks on the grill and cook to medium rare - about 4 minutes on each side, or until the internal temp reaches 130°. Of course, if you like your steak more done, feel free to cook it to your liking!
  5. Remove steaks to a cutting board and let rest ~10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with lettuce and both sauces.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites

A couple weeks ago I finally got the opportunity to try a spicy shrimp taco that I had read about in Saveur over 2 years ago.  The article was about a taco eating trip down highway 99 in California with stops mostly in agricultural areas with larger mexican populations.  I was busy with school and too far away from the restaurants at the time, but I love Mexican food so the article sat in the back of my mind, added onto the running list of food anecdotes and meal ideas I keep in a dark corner somewhere in there.  When I found myself in Fresno recently I somehow unearthed the article from the depths of my subconscious and hopped on Yelp to make sure they were still open.

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites

The tacos.  Were.  Great.  There’s no shortage of delicious tacos in California, and especially not in Fresno, but these stood out as different than what I would usually get.  A flour tortilla holds rice, cheese, guacamole and shrimp bathed in a hot sauce.  They were so filling I could barely finish my second one, but I wanted more of those shrimp.  

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites
For my own adaptation I kept the best parts of the taco and ditched the rice and cheese.  These shrimp nacho bites are crunchy and loaded with freshly made guacamole and shrimp.  Avocados and shrimp can be what I call “quiet” flavors in their plain state, but with so many other fresh flavors and spices, the end product is super flavorful and the perfect combination of crunchy, creamy, fresh and spicy.

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites

Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole Nacho Bites
Yields 12
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Ingredients
  1. 3 6” corn tortillas or 12 thick tortilla chips
  2. 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  3. 1 t. garlic powder
  4. ¼ t. smoked paprika
  5. ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  6. ⅛ red onion
  7. 2 avocados
  8. ½ serrano pepper
  9. 2 T chopped cilantro
  10. 2-3 limes
  11. 2 ½ t. kosher salt, divided
  12. 12 cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
  13. Salt
  14. Vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Begin heating ½” of vegetable or other neutral tasting oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Stack your tortillas and cut them into quarters. Check the heat by dipping a corner of the tortilla into the oil and if it begins bubbling rapidly the oil is ready. Add as many of the chips as can fit in the pan without any of them overlapping and cook, flipping occasionally until golden brown and bubbling has nearly subsided. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle immediately with salt. Continue to cook the rest of the chips in the same manner. If making ahead, allow to completely cool and then store in an airtight container.
  2. Chop the shrimp into bite sized pieces and combine in a bowl with the garlic, paprika, cayenne, 2 t. salt, and 1 t. oil. Slice the red onion thinly lengthwise and set aside. Cut 1 lime into wedges.
  3. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Mash slightly with a fork, adding ½ t. kosher salt. Dice the serrano pepper and add to the avocado along with the cilantro and the juice of 1 lime. Continue to mash the guacamole to the consistency you prefer, then taste to see if it needs more salt or lime juice and adjust as needed.
  4. Heat 2 T. vegetable oil over medium heat in a skillet large enough to hold all the shrimp in a single layer. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes, until the shrimp has just turned pink. Remove from heat and begin assembling nachos. Add a dollop of guacamole on top of each chip, followed by a spoonful of shrimp a few slices of red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Garnish with an extra squeeze of lime juice from the wedges you cut earlier.
Notes
  1. While you can make some components of this dish ahead of time, they must be assembled right before serving to avoid sogginess. If you're making these for a party and want to make as much ahead of time as possible, I would suggest making the chips and chopping and marinating the shrimp 1-2 days ahead of time. The guacamole can be made in the morning and stored in a bowl in the fridge with plastic wrap pressed directly on top so that it doesn't have contact with any air.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Grilled Zucchini Crostini

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Summer is here and with it comes a bounty of produce.  Although my zucchini plant is just at the blossoming stage now, I know that one day i’ll blink my eyes and suddenly i’ll have more squash than I know what to do with.  So, before we get to that desperate stage when we have zucchini coming out our ears, I present to you this simple and delicious grilled zucchini crostini.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

These crostini are are great as a party snack and are particularly delicious with salty olives and a glass of wine.  We start by slicing the zucchini into ribbons and grilling them to get a little char and smokiness.  This can be done on the grill if you already have it lit, but I cooked mine in a grill pan on the stove and they were great.  Once the zucchini are cooked we briefly marinate them in balsamic vinegar to add sweetness and tang.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Picking our bread is important here since not only is it the base of our entire dish, but since there are so few ingredients we want to pick each one with care.  Any good bread that you like will work, but try to pick one that will be nicely crunchy once toasted, so stay away from whole wheat and sandwich loaves.  A country style loaf or focaccia would be particularly nice here.  I used a rosemary focaccia for an extra layer of flavor.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Once we have our zucchini cooked and bread toasted, we’re ready to assemble the crostini.  Drizzle the toasts with a good quality olive oil — or may I suggest the oil from garlic confit?  Then layer some torn fresh mozzarella and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add a few zucchini ribbons on top and season with another small pinch of salt and some red pepper flakes.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Zucchini and fresh mozzarella have delicate flavors, so if you want you can add a leaf of fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for an extra pop.  You should also feel free use any cheese or other toppings you like.  I think goat cheese and prosciutto would be a welcome spin here.

Grilled Zucchini Crostini | Cravings & Crumbs

Grilled Zucchini Crostini
Yields 8
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Ingredients
  1. 3 zucchini (about 1 lb)
  2. Olive oil
  3. 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  4. Kosher salt
  5. Pepper
  6. Red pepper flakes
  7. 4 oz fresh mozzarella
  8. 1 clove garlic
  9. Good bread such as country loaf or focaccia
Instructions
  1. Slice zucchini lengthwise into strips about ½ cm thick. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or grill over high heat and sear zucchini until it slightly chars on the edges, flipping halfway through. Remove to a plate or bowl and toss with the balsamic vinegar.
  2. Slice bread into appetizer sized portions (about 2” x 2”). Toast until just golden brown on the edges and immediately rub with the cut side of a halved garlic clove.
  3. Drizzle the toasts with olive oil, layer some hand torn mozzarella, season with a sprinkle of salt, then top with 2 folded over zucchini strips. Season with another sprinkle of salt and crushed red pepper flakes.
Notes
  1. Feel free to get creative with the toppings - different cheeses, charcuterie, fresh herbs and extra vinegar would be all be great here.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

We all have those few food that we love to eat.  The foods that, no matter the day, time, or place, if it’s there we’ll eat it.  The foods that we fall silent while eating because we’re just enjoying the moment – no need for distraction by conversation.  Corn on the cob is one of those foods for me.

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is simple, soul satisfying food.  There’s no polite way to eat one – you have to use your hands and you’ll probably have to floss afterwards.  There’s no way around it.

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

Growing up I always had my corn boiled with a little bit of butter and salt.  Simple, summer perfection.  One time I went to a sleepover at my guatemalan friend’s house and the neighborhood she lived in had an elote man who sold to the kids after school.  She and her cousins were so excited to get their elotes con mayonesa…me, not so much.  I wasn’t a fan of mayonnaise at the time and couldn’t imagine who would think up such a foul combination.  I’ve since come to my senses and will gladly wait in a line 30+ minutes at the flea market for my elote with mayo, cotija, chile, and lime.

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

This corn is slightly inspired by my recent recipe for Chile Lime Popcorn and I say only slightly because chiles and lime aren’t anything new, just a classic flavor combination that I like to do in different ways.  Here, the smokiness of chipotles underscores the roasted flavor of the corn and the lime perks up the entire flavor profile.  If you remember, in my recent grilled cheese recipe i wrote about my discovery of the existence of dry jack cheese.  Well, I got my hands on a chunk and I’m here to report that it’s really nothing earth shattering.  I used it here since I had it, but parmesan, pecorino, or cotija would all be equally good, and maybe even a little bit more flavorful.

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

This corn recipe would be great with anything else you might be cooking on the grill this summer, especially anything with a mexican flavor profile – grilled chicken, carne asada, ribs…tell me when to stop…

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob
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Ingredients
  1. 4 ears corn
  2. 4 t. olive oil
  3. 4 T. butter
  4. 2 chipotle chiles en adobo
  5. Juice of 1 large lime
  6. Dry jack, parmesan, or cotija cheese
  7. Salt
Instructions
  1. Light coals or, if using gas, turn grill to medium-high and allow to preheat.
  2. Shuck the corn, drizzle each ear with 1 t. olive oil, sprinkle with salt and wrap individually in aluminum foil. Nestle the ears in the coals or place on grill over the hot side. Cook for about 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small bowl. Mince the chipotles and add to the butter.
  4. When corn is ready, unwrap from the foil and brush each ear with the chipotle butter. Season with salt and garnish with grated cheese. Finish with a squeeze of lime.
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Lemon Cream Tart

Lemon Cream Tart

Last week it was my dad’s 68th birthday and when I asked him what he wanted he said lemon pie.  This is the guy whose favorite dessert of his mother’s was lemon meringue pie and who has been talking about making lemon bars for at least two years, since the last time he made them.  So you could say I was less than surprised by his request.  Yeah, he likes lemon…

Lemon Cream Tart

I don’t make pies or tarts very often, so after a few days of stressing about how I would get all the steps done, imagining completing one part of the recipe each day after work, I just started look at recipes and pulling elements that would actually make this dessert doable.   Read More

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