Flank Steak Tacos with Roasted Pineapple and Cilantro Lime Sauce

Flank Steak Taco with Roasted Pineapple and Cilantro Lime Sauce

Yields: 10 tacos

Ingredients

Steak

1½ pound flank steak

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

Cilantro Lime Marinade/Sauce

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 2 limes)

1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped roughly

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons worcestshire sauce

½ teaspoon soy sauce

¼ teaspoon fish sauce

¼ cup grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon adobo sauce

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pineapple:

1 3 to 4-pound pineapple, ends, outer rind and eyes removed, sliced lengthwise into 1/2–inch slabs

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Tacos

10 Corn tortillas

2 avocados, halved and pits removed

Handful of fresh cilantro leaves, for finishing

Pat the steak dry with a paper towel. Pierce, in rows, both sides of the steak with a fork.  Cut the steak into four equal-sized pieces, cutting with the grain. Season all pieces/sides with the salt and pepper. Place meat in a zip-top bag.

Combine marinade/sauce ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides a few times during the processing.

Transfer 1/3 of the marinade into the zip-top bag containing the steak. Seal and massage bag so that the steak pieces are coated in the marinade/sauce. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Adjust an oven rack to the upper position. Turn the oven to broil.

Combine granulated sugar, cumin and salt in a small bowl and stir. Sprinkle mixture evenly over both sides of pineapple pieces.

Transfer pineapple pieces to aluminum-lined sheet tray and broil for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping once halfway, until lightly caramelized.

Remove steak from bag and wipe off excess marinade with a paper towel. Place a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add grapeseed oil and heat until the oil just begins to smoke. Lay steak in pan and cook on all sides until well caramelized. Use your digital thermometer to achieve the perfect medium-rare, 125 to no more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The total cooking time will be 7-9 minutes.

Remove steak from pan and let rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.

Cut cooked steak pieces in thin slices against the grain.

Heat corn tortillas directly over medium-low heat on your stove. Flip every 10 to 15 seconds with tongs to achieve a lightly toasted tortilla.

Assemble your tacos! Add steak, roasted pineapple, sliced avocado, cilantro leaves and a drizzle of the remaining cilantro lime sauce to your tortilla and enjoy.

Pan Seared Salmon with Dijon Crème Fraiche and Lentil Frisée Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Lentils:

1 cup beluga lentils, rinsed well and drained

3 cups vegetable stock

1 dried bay leaf

5 sprigs fresh thyme

Mix the lentils with the stock, bay leaf, and thyme in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring the saucepan to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked through but not mushy. Drain. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

Salad:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced small (⅔ cup)

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated (1 cup)

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) 

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint

1 small head frisée, rinsed and dried, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces (2 cups)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Add the olive oil, onions and carrots to a medium sate pan over medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

In a large bowl, combine the contents of the sauté pan along with the lentils.

Grab the vinaigrette and give one more good shake or whisk, then pour it over the warm salad and gently mix with a large spoon.

Fold in the parsley, mint and frisée. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salmon:

1 pound salmon fillet, 1½ inches thick, skin on, cut into 4 equal pieces

1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 3 lemons), grated on a Microplane

2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pat the salmon dry, then pat the non-skin side with the lemon zest and chopped thyme, season lightly with salt and pepper, and allow the salmon to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat until hot; add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter to the sauté pan. The butter will bubble up, turn brown and perhaps even smoke. Swirl the sauté pan to distribute, then add the salmon, skin side up.

Cook for 1 minute, flip to skin side down and continue cooking for 30 seconds.

Cover the sauté pan and immediately push the sauté pan off the heat. Turn off the heat and allow the salmon to rest undisturbed for 15 minutes.

Dijon Crème Fraîche:

1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard

¼ cup crème fraîche

Place the mustard and crème fraîche in a small bowl and stir until combined.

Serve salmon topped with a dollop of Dijon crème fraîche and on a bed of the lentil frisee salad.

Note: I recommend preparing this recipe in the following way in order to maximize your time. Cook lentils first. While lentils are cooking, make the vinaigrette, followed by the Dijon crème fraiche. Start the salmon and then work on the salad. And, as always, mise out/prep your ingredients first!

Artichoke Pesto Sandwich

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Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

Yield: 4 servings

1 (14-ounce) can or jar artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained and squeezed of excess water

1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup whole milk ricotta, drained

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 slices whole wheat bread, toasted

1 (12-ounce jar) roasted red bell peppers, drained

2 cups spinach

2 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly

4-ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

 

Place artichoke hearts, basil, ricotta, pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth, approximately 1 minute, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.

Place an oven rack on the top rack and line 2 sheet trays with aluminum foil. Turn your oven to broil.

Assemble 4 sandwiches by spreading 2½ tablespoons of the pesto on each piece of toast. Layer spinach, red bell pepper and tomato on one side of the sandwich (atop the pesto). Add mozzarella on the other side of the sandwich. Place sandwiches, open-faced, on the foil-lined sheet trays (2 sandwiches per sheet tray).

Place 1 sheet tray under the broiler until the cheese is nice and melty. (This may happen quite quickly depending on your oven!) Remove from the oven and repeat with the remaining sheet tray.

Rosemary Garlic Tomato Confit

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Rosemary Garlic Tomato Confit

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, crushed, skins discarded
1 (3-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
2 dried bay leaves
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

In a medium sauce pan over low heat, combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary and bay leaves. Mix until well coated and cook until just beginning to bubble. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes collapse. Discard the rosemary and bay leaves before serving.

Add confit to pasta or serve over toasted bread.

Note: If you enjoy a little heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the confit to spice things up!

 

 

Lima Bean Rosemary Puree

Dip into this delicious dip any day of the week!

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Lima Bean Rosemary Puree

 

1 lb (approximately 3 cups/1 bag) frozen lima beans

3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (1 5-inch sprig)

¼ cup 2% plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice from 1 large lemon)

1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ freshly ground black pepper

¾ teaspoon ground fennel

3 tablespoons water

 

Cook lima beans according to package instructions (stovetop or microwave).

Add lima beans and remaining ingredients to a food processor. Blend until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve with crudité or in place of serving rice or mashed potatoes in a dish.

Vietnamese-Style Wild Snapper Lettuce and Noodle Wraps

Gather the troops! This is a super fun meal to share and it’s quick and easy to make. Be sure to use Seafood Watch to find a best choice for snapper at your local grocery store or fish market. Enjoy! (P.S. This recipe was recently featured in Clean Eating Magazine!)

vietnamese-lettuce-wraps

Photo by Andrew Grinton

Yield: 4 servings

 

Dipping Sauce

¾ cup distilled white vinegar

3 tablespoons raw cane sugar

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1 lime)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

½ thai chile, thinly sliced, or more to taste

 

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

 

Lettuce Wraps

8-ounces vermicelli noodles

12 red leaf lettuce leaves (6-ounces or ½ bunch)

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 cup fresh mint leaves

1 cup fresh thai basil leaves

8-ounces small carrots, (approximately 4 small carrots) peeled, cut in half widthwise and thinly sliced lengthwise

 

Add water to a large saucepan (enough to boil the noodles) and bring to a boil. Add noodles and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes until noodles are soft. Drain and rinse noodles under cold water and place in a bowl.

Arrange lettuce, herbs and carrots on a tray or plate.

 

Snapper

1 pound skinless snapper fillets (¾ to 1-inch thick), pin bones removed

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

 

Pat fish dry and season fish evenly on both sides with salt. Cut fish into 3-inch by 1-inch strips.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add oil. Heat until hot and oil is shimmering, approximately 2 minutes.

Add fish strips, adding the thickest strips to the pan first, and let cook for 2½ minutes total, flipping the fish every 30 seconds. Fish will start to flake when done.

Transfer fish to a plate. Serve immediately.

Gather the family/friends around the table! To serve, place some noodles on a leaf of lettuce. Add some carrots, fish and fresh herbs. Roll or fold the lettuce to form a wrap or pocket. Spoon over some sauce (or dip the lettuce wrap in the sauce). Eat and repeat!

Note: If you are not up for making the wrap, you can always shred the lettuce on your plate and add the other wrap items on top and spoon over the sauce like a salad dressing.

Classic Basil Pesto

Pesto never goes out of style and it’s application is wide and varied. Add it to pasta or roasted vegetables. Slather it on chicken or use it as a pizza sauce. And the best part? You can make large batches, while the basil is overflowing in the summer, and freeze it for later use. Hooray for pesto!

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Classic Basil Pesto

Yield: 1 cup

 

2 ¼ packed cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (2 teaspoons)

½ cup pine nuts

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, not pre-grated

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a food processor, process to combine, the basil, ¼ cup oil, garlic, and pine nuts. Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining ¼ cup oil, and the cheese. Process until the desired texture is achieved, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. For the record, I add about ½ teaspoon salt and a few good cranks of pepper. No need to rush; taste as you go. Take your time and enjoy.

Note: Care for a nuttier flavor in your pesto? Try using toasted pine nuts.

 

Tzatziki: Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Dip

There’s nothing like a cool dip on a hot summer day!

tzatziki

Tzatziki: Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Dip

Yield: 4 servings

 

1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt

2 small cucumbers (English, Japanese, or Persian), peeled, seeded and diced small

1 small garlic clove, peeled and grated on a Microplane

1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish

1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint

1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon red wine vinegar

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Garnish with dill.

Serve with grilled meat, pita crisps and/or freshly cut vegetables such as carrots, celery, bell peppers and cucumbers.

Wakame Avocado Puree

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Wakame Avocado Puree

Try this as a spread on Asian style tacos or as your next avocado toast…

 

½-ounce dried wakame

¾ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems

¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves

¼ cup grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoons grated (grated on a microplane) fresh ginger

2 small cloves garlic, peeled and grated on a microplane (1 teaspoon)

1 large avocado, pit removed and flesh scooped out

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Place the wakame in a blender and blend on high to turn into a fine powder. Remove wakame powder and set aside.

Place remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in 2 teaspoons of the wakame powder. (Reserve remaining wakame powder for sprinkling over fish, rice or popcorn.)

 

Photo: Ronald Tsang

P.S. This recipe was recently featured in Clean Eating Magazine!

Lemon and Herb Kefir Spread

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Lemon and Herb Kefir Spread

(Look for kefir in the yogurt section of your grocery store.)

2 cups plain whole milk kefir
1 teaspoon finely chopped preserved lemon (optional)
½ teaspoon lemon zest, grated on a Microplane
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pour the kefir into a nut bag or a triple layer of cheese cloth. Place the nut bag in a strainer. Place the strainer inside a bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 16 to 18 hours.

Discard or reserve the whey (clearish liquid) in the bowl. Transfer the strained kefir from the nut bag into a small bowl. Add the preserved lemon, lemon zest, lemon juice and thyme and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slather on a piece of your favorite toasty bread and serve!

Photo: Ronald Tsang

P.S. This recipe was recently featured in an issue of Clean Eating Magazine!