Steak & Peppers with Chimichurri

The secret to this recipe from BHG Magazine is the Chimichurri sauce.  It gives that extra kick to a delicious steak. I didn’t have a yellow sweet pepper so I used a green bell pepper.

1 ½ to 1 ¾ lb. Beef flank steak
2 Tbsp. Plus 2 tsp. Olive oil
2 pablano peppers, stemmed & seeded
1 lg. Red onion, cut into 1/2” wedges
1 med. Yellow sweet pepper
1 c. cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. Lime juice
1 tsp. Dried oregano, crushed
1 clove garlic, minced

Season steak with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper; set aside. Cut pablano & sweet peppers into 3/4″ strips. Heat a heavy 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add peppers, onion and a large pinch of salt. Cook 5 minutes without stirring. Cook 5 minutes more, stirring once, or until vegetables are lightly charred and tender. Remove from skillet; keep warm.

Add remaining oil to the skillet. Add steak. Cook 12 to 15 minutes or until medium-rare (145F), turning once halfway through. Transfer steak to a cutting board. Cover, let stand 5 minutes. Slice steak; serve with pepper-onion mixture and chimichurri.

FOR CHIMICHURRI: In a small bowl, combine cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, oregano, garlic and a pinch of salt. Stir in 2 teaspoon oil.

Jalapeno Poppers

I really like a good jalapeno popper.  So I tried making them with Queso Fresco cheese and bacon.  Not a complete success but on the right track.  First I took some jalapenos and cut off the top and removed the seeds.  I did wear gloves because every time I work with hot peppers I either blow my nose with a tissue or scratch my eye and then I have a burning sensation.  Not this time – I got smart.

 

Then I stuffed them with the cheese and placed them in the refrigerator while cooking the rest of dinner.

 

 

About 15 minutes before dinner, I took them out and wrapped them in bacon. I buy pieces and ends of bacon because it is cheaper.  In this application, you should have strips of bacon and not pieces.  I used a toothpick to secure the bacon which then makes it hard to brown all sides of the bacon.  Next time probably will deep fry them. Now when frying I just used a little bacon grease in an iron skillet and fried the poppers.

Although very tasty, they were not completely successful but I learned several things.  First char and remove the skin from the peppers.  This will make them cook a little faster and won’t be so crunchy after frying. Once the skin is removed you could probably even coat them with a beer batter before frying and it would stay in tack.  Will have to give this a try. Secondly, I think the type of cheese is pretty important.  Queso Fresco does not seem to melt as quickly as say cheddar or mozzarella.  Which means it won’t all ooze out when being cooked. Next, make sure your bacon is nice long pieces that wrap completely around each popper. This ensures that the whole popper is covered and will cook through more evenly.  Last, is the way they are cooked.  If deep fryed, you won’t have uneven cooking even with the toothpicks inserted to keep the bacon on.

If anyone has any other suggestions, I would love to hear them.  This is a great appetizer and not too time consuming to make.  Can even be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to fry.  I’ll give you an update next time I make Jalapeno Poppers.

Jamaican Chicken and Swiss Chard

We have a lot of Swiss chard in our garden. When I saw this recipe in Shape magazine, I cooked it up.  The heat from the jalapeno was just enough to give the chicken a little kick. Very tasty.

2 ½ lbs. Bone-in chicken pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, roughly chopped
½ jalapeno, seeded
2 tsp. Ground allspice
3 garlic cloves, peeled
6 Tbsp. Water
1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. Fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 red potatoes
2 large carrots
1 bunch Swiss chard, cut into 1” strips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prep a cookie sheet with foil or parchment and place chicken in the center of the pan. Season with salt & pepper.

In a blender, process the scallions, jalapeno, pepper, allspice, garlic, water, 1 tablespoon thyme, and ¼ teaspoon salt into a smooth paste, adding some olive oil or additional water if needed.

Coat chicken with the marinade, placing some between the meat and skin if possible, and set pan aside. Cut potatoes into 1 1/2” cubes and carrots into 1 1/2” pieces and place around the chicken. Drizzle vegetables with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons thyme and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Top pan with thyme sprigs.

Transfer pan to the oven. Toss chard with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. After 35 minutes, add chard to the baking sheet on top of the carrots and potatoes. Continue cooking until chicken skin and chard are crisp and the other vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes more.

 

Cheese Fondue Day

Wasn’t it in the 70s when cheese fondue was fashionable? Whether you remember the 70s or not today is Cheese Fondue Day. Below is a recipe for Spicy Pepper Fondue from Celebrations.com.

I made a few adjustments to keep with my Ketogenic diet like using almond flour and Guar Gum instead of the flour. Also, so it was not the consistency of pudding, I used 2 cups of milk instead of 1 ½. I did not use as many peppers as the recipe listed but believe you can without it being too spicy. The peppers didn’t seem as hot once they were put in the fondue. Depending on how spicy you like it, you can add all 4 peppers if you like. We found that this fondue is also very good on baked potatoes. Enjoy!

4 Tbsp. Unsalted butter
6 Tbsp. almond flour
1 Tbsp. Guar Gum
2 c. milk
8 oz. Colby Jack cheese, shredded
1 large Poblano pepper, finely diced
2 Jalapenos, finely diced
1 Habanero pepper, finely diced
Salt & pepper to taste

 

 

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until the butter has absorbed all the flour. Add the milk and bring the mixture to a low simmer (bubbles will start to form around the edges). Reduce the heat to low and add the shred cheese, whisking until all the cheese has melted. Stir in the peppers, salt and pepper.

Remove the fondue from the pan and transfer to either a fondue pan or a serving bowl. Serve with fruit, vegetables, bread or crackers for dipping.

If you want to make this fondue ahead of time, do not make it any more than 24 hours in advance.