I’ve noted previously that with the basic “busy-ness” of life these days, my cooking has pulled back to a few favorites that are simple and fairly healthy. Seared scallops with grilled veggies, trout with veggies, grilled chicken…with veggies. See a theme? We love grilled vegetables and seafood is good. Throw in fresh herbs and some fresh bread, small glass of wine, and dinner is complete.
At times though, I want to try something different. Perhaps a technique to challenge my weird kitchen ways or a groovy way to combine flavors. I’ve found when I do this, I usually say, “Should have stayed simple”. Cooking for two is a challenge. Cooking for a large party even more so, considering I tend to forget a primary ingredient or dish and at the last minute slap my forehead and wonder what the hell I’m doing in the kitchen.
Which brings me to two weeks ago for our daughter’s 9th birthday party. She became fond of pulled beef tacos in Laguna Beach, CA this past August at a place called Laguna Feast. The Feast is a little corner taco place throwing down good Mexican food for the last 25 years. When asked what she wanted for her birthday dinner, she requested pulled beef tacos. So, that’s what I tried to fix up.
I started with two pieces of london broil since I couldn’t find “flank steak”. A very kind 80’ish year old woman helped me select the london broil when I asked her if she was familiar with flank steak. She gave me a 10 minute lesson on cooking roasts and whatnot. Reminded me of my Aunt Julie. In any case, as you can see, I gave it a good rub to start:
I let that sit overnight. On the morning of the party, I chopped up onions and peppers, filled the dutch over 2/3 with water, covered with foil, put the lid on and put in the over on 250 degrees for the next 8 hours or so.
Upon returning from a four hour soccer game(s) excursion, I was greeted with wonderful aromas in my kitchen. The beef for sure, but the onions and peppers were there and you could catch a hint of the smoky jalapeno, too. I resisted the urge to peek….until…
…it was showtime. Sure enough, the meat just pulled apart with tongs. The flavor was good, but I need to refine the rub a bit if I’m to make this again. For me, it was lacking a bit of spice. After pulling it apart, I let it sit for a good 20 minutes as the meat absorbed the liquid. Then we threw down a taco bar. My little addition was an avacado/honey crema that was very tasty.
I also had put together a fresh tomato salsa that had a good kick to it. You can’t go wrong with tomatos, onion, jalapeno, lime juice and salt/pepper.
I will certainly go back to the “slow cook” type of meals over the coming winter. Next on the menu is something to do with pork. Until then, have fun in your kitchen and eat good food!