HOW ABOUT SOME COFFEE WITH YOUR STEAK?

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If you’ve never used coffee in marinades or dry rubs for meat, you are missing a great opportunity to enjoy its mysterious flavor added to usual suspects such as herbs, peppers, and spices.  I’ve blogged before on a take on pork tenderloin that I still think is one of the best recipes I have in the blog, and that uses coffee as one of the ingredients.  But today I’ll switch gears and apply a coffee-based dry rub to beef. The recipe, published by The New York Times,  was recommended by our very dear friend, Marijo, who happens to be a great cook, so when she raves about something, I am all ears. And taste buds. It did not take me too long to jump on it, although it is taking me a long time to share it here.  What else is new?  That’s the way Sally rolls…

Steak_Coffee

ALL-PURPOSE CALIFORNIA BEEF RUB
(as published in The New York Times)

2 tablespoons finely ground coffee
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 ½ tablespoons granulated garlic
1 heaping teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Rub on the meat you intend to grill and leave it for at least one hour, overnight works too.

Grill to medium-rare, or to the level of your choice (hopefully not well-done!)

Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe click here

Comments: I’ve made this recipe quite a few times, with flank steak, flatiron steak, tri-tip, and even bison rib eye steaks. For the bison rib eye, I adapted it to sous-vide and it turned out spectacular, but the photos not so much, so I won’t dedicate a special blog article for it.

SOUS-VIDE METHOD: Apply the rub, and seal the meat in a plastic bag (vacuum is fine, water replacement method will work too). Leave the meat in the fridge for one hour or more, whatever is convenient with your schedule.   Place the bag in the water-bath set for 134 F (medium-rare) for a minimum of 3 hours.  I left mine for almost 6 hours, as I started cooking it at lunch time and we enjoyed the meat at dinner time that evening.  Once the meat is cooked, open the bag, discard the liquid accumulated inside, pat-dry the surface with the meat with paper towels.  Sear on a blazing hot grill or cast iron pan.

To our taste, the sous-vide was by far the best method for bison steaks. Same applies to flatiron. For flank and skirt steak, we think there is not much improvement by going the sous-vide route, both cuts of meat cook perfectly fine on the grill. Whatever your method of cooking, this rub is money!  Give it a try…

Marijo, thanks for sending this recipe our way,
looking forward to many more!

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BEER-MARINATED GRILLED SKIRT STEAK

When grilling meat, I normally follow the Brazilian rule of using only salt as seasoning.  We are all about the flavor of the beef, preferring not to mask it with spices and rubs. But, I thought that Marcella’s take on skirt steak was too tempting to pass.   She marinates the meat in beer and soy sauce, and also adds orange slices to the party.  I normally reach for lemons or limes, but whenever I use oranges in cooking I am  surprised by how much I enjoy their subtle citric tone, a tad less aggressive.   We both loved the flavor they imparted to the meat… the beer definitely comes through loud and clear.  I marinated the meat from early morning to dinner time.

sliced

BEER-MARINATED GRILLED SKIRT STEAK
(adapted from Mexican Made Easy)

1 orange, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 + 1/2 pounds skirt steak
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 cup light-colored beer (preferably lager style)
1/2 cup soy sauce
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In a wide, shallow glass baking dish, scatter half of the orange slices, half of the onion slices and the garlic on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the steak all over with salt and pepper and put in the dish on top of the orange and onion slices. Scatter the remaining orange, onion and garlic over the steak and pour in the beer and soy sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
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Prepare a grill on medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the steak to your taste,  about 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second for medium-rare.
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Let the meat rest, tented with foil, for 10 minutes before slicing it.
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ENJOY!
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to print the recipe, click here
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served
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Comments:  Skirt-steak is one of the busy cook’s best friend!  Less than 10 minutes on the grill and you are on your way for a tasty dinner.  Now, if not only you are very busy but you also don’t have a functional kitchen, this type of meal will be a life-saver.   I like to wrap the meat in large butter lettuce leaves, top with salsa and/or guacamole, but this time I made it even simpler and only added fresh, juicy tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of grated Cotija cheese, just to keep it on the Mexican environment…    😉 Of course, corn or flour tortillas, fajita-style are the most authentic way to go.
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The same marinade worked great on chicken thighs, as you may remember from a recent post.  I marinated the chicken the whole day in the beer-soy-oranges, roasted low and slow with the skin side down, then flipped the pieces to have the skin up, and finished them off under the broiler.
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CHICKEN-APRICOT SKEWERS

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We grill pretty much the whole year, including this past winter, definitely the hardest I’ve endured, but somehow survived.  I actually feel I survived against all odds, but my beloved (rolling his eyes to the ceiling) insists that “it wasn’t that bad”.  We fully disagree on this. Anyway, as I was saying, we use our grill all the time. If necessary, we brush the snow off and go to work.  Of course, it’s much nicer to grill when the sun is shinning and the temperature starts to get where I like it, mid 90’s.   We are not quite there yet, but the sun has been shinning as bright as the apricots for these skewers.  The recipe from Bon Appetit is absolutely delicious!  Coconut milk, peanut butter, and cilantro make a marinade-sauce combo very hard to beat.

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CHICKEN-APRICOT SKEWERS
(slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2012)

3/4 cup canned light unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped jalapeño (about 1 large)
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 24 chunks
12 firm ripe small apricots, halved, pitted
Freshly ground black pepper

Purée first 6 ingredients and 3/4 tsp. salt in a blender until smooth. Add 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and jalapeño and blend briefly to combine. Transfer 1/2 cup marinade to a small bowl; cover and chill for serving. Place remaining marinade in a resealable plastic bag; add chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Heat your grill to high. Holding 2 skewers parallel to each other and 1/2″ apart, thread 1 piece of chicken onto skewers, then 1 apricot half. Repeat with 1 more chicken piece and 1 more apricot half (using 2 skewers helps hold the meat and fruit together). Repeat with remaining skewers, chicken, and apricots for a total of 12, each holding 2 pieces of chicken and 2 apricot halves. Season with salt and pepper. Brush apricots with some marinade from bag; discard remaining marinade.

Grill skewers on one side until chicken is well browned, 3—4 minutes. Turn and grill until other side is well browned, 3—4 minutes longer. Move to a cooler part of grill. Cover grill and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving platter, and serve drizzled with the reserved marinade (bring it to room temperature before serving).

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

served1
Not sure if it is my Brazilian nature, but I have a real soft spot for anything with coconut milk. As I mentioned before, I normally go for the light version that has a lower fat content, unless specified in the recipe that it won’t work.  For sauces and marinades the lower-fat performs as well as the regular one.  My preference is for the brand Thai Kitchen.   I had a small problem making the marinade because unexpectedly there was no cilantro in our fridge.  I made the marinade without it, and next day got some cilantro, shredded the leaves and  added to the sauce reserved for serving the skewers. I actually think it turned out very good, the cilantro retained a fresher flavor this way.   If you make this dish, consider my tweaked version.  😉

The apricots were pretty soft after grilling, in fact some bits stayed behind on the grill, but I am not sure this could be avoided.  Maybe apricots a little less ripe than the ones I used would stand the heat better.  If you prefer a firmer fruit, consider grilling the apricots by themselves, just for a couple of minutes.  I actually did not mind their softness, they almost turned into a component of the coconut sauce.  Delicious!

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