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Paloma My God: Steak Tacos, Palomas & Crunch Dynasty

A good weekend requires a nap to recover.

A great weekend requires two naps.

Either I had the best weekend ever or I’m 80, because I took two naps Sunday afternoon and then fell asleep again at 7 pm. As you do.

I did have a pretty terrific weekend. My friends Lindsay, Sarah, and Anna came up to visit from North Carolina and it was just all kinds of fun. Great friends, all the food, and all the tequila. Seems like a recipe for success.

On Friday, they got in 40 minutes early than expected and banged on my back door like cops coming to do a drug bust. I jumped and shrieked a bit, because as I said earlier, I’m 80. Also, I keep a lot of illegal drugs in my house. We made beer-marinated skirt steak tacos on the grill and ate dinner on the porch. Fan living, y’all. The charred tomato salsa is oh-so-good. It’s got that slow burn from the ancho chile, but the sweetness of the charred tomato. I might have eaten the leftovers for breakfast Monday morning.

Taco bar is the best bar after alcohol bar.

Taco bar is the best bar after alcohol bar.

On Saturday, we went to a yoga class. It  was a hilariously hippy-dippy class. “Put your hand down on the ground like an angel is kissing the earth.” I don’t know what it says about me, but I really want to go back.

That afternoon, I hosted a happy hour at mine to introduce some of my North Carolina friends to some of my Richmond friends. And when I say I hosted this party, I mean I drank all the drinks while Lindsay, Sarah and Anna did a lot of the work. I mean, I prepped a lot ahead of time. But they helped so much to cook, clean, buy ice, refill water, pass out mini-Atlantic beach pies, make all the Palomas, drink all the Palomas, etc. I’m pretty sure they hosted the party more than I did. What was I doing? Holding witty, engaging sober conversation. Well, I held conversation. The Palomas were flowing, y’all.

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Double fisting like a champ.

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Another in a series of photos of me taking photos of Anna taking photos of me. I plan to do this for the rest of our lives.

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Seriously, Lindsay and Sarah did all the work. I just pointed at the ice. Photo by Becca! 

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Not pictured: tiny pies. And allllll the palomas. 

Our weekend ended with brunch at Stella’s and a trip to the Stella’s Grocery. Stella’s is no joke in the brunch department. You like sweet brunch? GREAT. Greek Easter bread done French-toast style topped with whipped Greek yogurt, sour cherries and pistachios. You like savory brunch? GREATER. The Loukaniko sausage skillet and the black kale skillet are both excellent. Start your meal with an order or hummus and Bloody Mary or a mimosa. (Virginia lacks the alcohol-limiting blue laws that North Carolina holds onto so dearly, making it so much easier to drink on Sunday. Hallelujah and pass the bottle.)

We stopped by the Stella’s Grocery after brunch.  It’s been open for about a month and sells specialty food items, like boozes, meats, prepared foods, such as smoothies, Greek Salads, and desserts (baklava!). Also, condiments. Why do condiments get their own section? Because I found a condiment, Crunch Dynasty, that is made right here in Richmond and it is made right here by my very own friends, John and Anya. I met Anya through work and John through Anya. They are a hilarious, kind, and cool couple with some kids who are the same. One of their kids knows all the knock-knock jokes ever and the other one told me my hair was like mermaid hair. I’m a big fan of all of them.

But I digress. Condiments.

If Chris Pratt were a condiment, he would be Crunch Dynasty.

Delicious, delicious dynasty. 

Crunch Dynasty is this amazing, mysterious condiment that somehow works on everything. Honestly. It’s as good on vegetables as it is on rice as it is on salmon. It genuinely tastes good on everything. Nay, it makes everything taste better. It makes you happy. And it is spicy. Crunch Dynasty keeps you on your toes. It’s like the Chris Pratt of condiments. If Chris Pratt was from Richmond, was Chinese, and tasted of garlic. To be fair, I haven’t tasted him. He might taste of garlic.

Then as quickly as they came, my friends left. And I took all the naps. And then I wrote this post.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to take a nap.

Tecate Skirt-Steak Tacos from Bon Appetit

  • 1 pound skirt steak, silver skin removed, cut into 6-inch pieces | I doubled the amount of steak b/c it looked wimpy.
  • 1 12-ounce can pale lager (such as Tecate)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • ¼ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, cored
  • ½ canned chipotle chile in adobo, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for serving
  • 8 fresh corn tortillas
  • Avocado slices, crumbled Cotija cheese, and lime wedges (for serving)

Combine steak, beer, 1 Tbsp. lime juice, 1 tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper in a resealable plastic bag. Seal; chill 3 hours.

Cook onion, garlic, and oil in a small skillet over medium heat until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Let cool.

Prepare a grill for high heat (if using charcoal, prepare two zones of heat, high and medium-high). Grill tomatoes over high heat, turning occasionally, until well charred but still holding their shape, 6–8 minutes.

Reduce grill to medium-high heat (or use medium-high zone if using a charcoal grill). Remove steak from marinade and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper and grill until charred, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let steak rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend onion and garlic, tomatoes, chipotle, and remaining 3 Tbsp. lime juice in a blender until smooth. Add chopped cilantro, season with salt, and pulse until just combined. Transfer salsa to a small bowl.

Grill tortillas until soft and beginning to char, about 30 seconds per side. Slice steak against the grain into ½” strips. Top each tortilla with a few pieces of steak, then some salsa, cilantro leaves, avocado, and Cotija cheese. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

The Paloma from StyleMePretty

  • 2 oz. Reposado Tequilla
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • a pinch of salt (or a salted glass rim)
  • agave syrup to taste (optional)
  • Ice
  • Garnish with lime, mint leaves, thyme, or jalapenos if you like some heat

In a shaker filled with ice mix tequila, grapefruit juice, and lime. Shake, shake, shake. Pour over ice, add a pinch of salt, and garnish. Add agave if you feel it’s not sweet enough.

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Tortilla Española: Simple, Spanish, Non-Slutty, Eggy Goodness

I can’t remember the first time I ate tortilla española, but I’m sure it was a life changing experience. So life changing, I cannot remember it.

Boom. Joke landed.

But seriously, folks. Tortilla española. Are you familiar with this Spanish delight? It is the simplest food. Egg. Potato. There’s some salt. A LOT of olive oil. Sometimes, people try to add some other shit in. But I’m a bit of a purist. We’ve got a good thing going, baby. Why fuck mess ruin fuck that up?

Tortilla bella.

Tortilla bella.

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself: Self, what is the difference between this dish, and say, a frittata.

Well, let’s start with the obvious: this one is better.

CALM DOWN. Frittatas are excellent. They’re unbelievably versatile. But, they’re incredibly difficult to spell. So, let’s simplify our lives.

The main difference, based on my one Google search my vast experience and knowledge is that a tortilla española must always have egg + potato as a base. A frittata is egg + anything. Frittatas? Kinda slutty. Butternut squash? Cool. Cheese? Whatever, I’ll try anything. Have some self-respect, frittatas.

Before you think that the tortilla española is boring for being basic, I will repeat the thing I keep repeating on this blog: I don’t know what I’m doing.

Ahem.

I will repeat another thing: the simplest food, when executed well, is the best food.

Believe you me. Though simple, it is not a dish for the timid. It requires some real machismo. Particularly when you get to that ever-dicey flip of the tortilla to cook the uncooked top.

Edges are done. Time to flip.

Edges are done. Time to flip.

Cover that shit up. Don't slide, just flip.

Cover that shit up. Don’t slide, just flip.

You did it. You are the champion!

You did it. You are the champion!

If done without the proper guts, you will wind up with egg and potato on your floor. But if done with just the right amount of courage (liquid or otherwise), you will come up with a dish that frankly, is just divine.

Your trip to Barcelona is just a bite away.

Tortilla Española from Bon Appetit May 2014 issue

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 cups olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 medium waxy potatoes (about ¾ lb.), peeled, cut into ¾” pieces | Yukon Gold work well. Also, I think you could get a little thinner than this. My potatoes were downright chunky.
  • 8 large eggs

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and dark brown, 35–40 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, heat potatoes and remaining 2 cups oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until oil around potatoes begins to bubble; reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender but have not taken on any color, 10–12 minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving oil. Season potatoes with salt and let cool slightly.

Combine eggs, onion, potatoes, and ¼ cup reserved potato cooking oil in a large bowl and gently beat with a fork.

Heat 3 Tbsp. reserved potato cooking oil in a 10” nonstick skillet over medium heat (reserve remaining oil for another use). Add egg mixture and cook, lifting at edge and tilting skillet to let uncooked egg run underneath, until bottom and edge of tortilla are set but center is still wet.

Set a large plate on top of skillet. Swiftly invert tortilla onto plate, then slide back into skillet, cooked side up. Cook until center is just set, about 2 minutes longer. Cut into wedges.

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