February 2009


Churrasco is one of the first things we seek when we visit Puerto Rico. My husband fell in love with this dish during one of his first trips to the island, and frankly, it is pretty darn good! The word Churrasco is commonly used to describe a cut of meat that is prepared on the grill.

There are several variations of this dish, they stem from the cut of meat used. Skirt is pretty popular, and I have even seen flank steak used. I much prefer to use a fillet mignon that I “unroll” by cutting into one long strip, about 1/3 ” in thickness, then flattened with a mallet. The one commonality, no matter the recipe or its country of origin, is the chimichurri sauce that is served with it. Chimichurri is a cilantro based pesto used to dip the Churrasco.

Churrasco w/ Chimichurri and Seasoned Parmesan Fries

Churrasco w/ Chimichurri and Seasoned Parmesan Fries

Ingredients:
2 fillet mignons, about 3/4 lb each
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
garlic powder
2 TB extra virgin olive oil

Method:
1. Using a sharp knife, cut the fillet into one long strip. Place in between two pieces of plastic wrap and flatten with a meat mallet until you reach about 1/8″ in thickness.
2. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and refrigerate for 3 – 4 hours.
4. Remove meat from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, approx. 20 minutes.
5. Heat oven or grill to 450 degrees. Cook in the grill, or oven grill, 2 minutes per side for medium rare.
6. Serve with chimichurri sauce. Serves 4.

Chimichurri sauce:
In a food processor, puree the following ingredients: one bunch of parsley, one bunch of cilantro, 4 garlic cloves, 2 jalapeno peppers (one seeded), 3 TB olive oil, 2 TB chicken broth, 1 TB kosher salt, 1 teas. ground pepper.

Notes:
1. The chimichurri recipe above makes about 8 servings. Make the entire recipe if you wish, and just freeze for future use.
2. Leaving the seeds in one of the jalapenos will make the chimichurri a little kick. For a milder version, seed and devein both peppers.

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Narrowing the field down to “Five Things I Love” was no easy feat! Yet I was thrilled at the chance of doing this and the fact that I had about a week’s notice to think through it. When it came down to the wire, I literally threw seven pieces of paper, each listing a local favorite, in a mixing bowl and just picked five for the Indy Star.  Then, I decided to post the other two here. So who are they, you ask?

  • Classic Cakes of Carmel – I am bound and determined to try every flavor of cake made in this bakery.  So far, I have tried: almond, chocolate chip, chocolate, mandarin orange, lemon, spice, and white.  My top pick is the almond cake with raspberry filling.
  • Kincaids Meat Market – I was thrilled to find this “old style” butcher a few years ago.  Their staff is very knowledgeable and their products top quality.  These guys carry the most flavorful beef ternderloins I have ever tried.

fivethingsilove2

Ginger Glazed Salmon with Sun Dried Tomato Couscous

Ginger Glazed Salmon with Sun Dried Tomato Couscous

I first developed this recipe for a client with celiac disease who follows a very strict diet.  After making it for her several times, and getting requests for it over and over, I finally decided to make it for myself.  It takes no time to prep and bake and worth the minimal effort required!

Ingredients
4-6 oz salmon filets
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, shredded
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 TB low sodium soy sauce
2 TB honey
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Season salmon filets with salt and pepper. Then top with ginger, garlic and soy sauce. If time allows, let them sit in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for at least 6 hours.
3. Baked uncovered at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Drizzle with honey and return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
4. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Notes:
– I find Reynolds Non Stick foil to be a lifesaver when making this recipe. In a pinch, cover your pan with regular aluminum foil and spray with Pam.
– I prefer metal pans for quick cooking recipes like this one, and most fish recipes.
– Coucous makes a great side dish!