Friday, April 30, 2010

Gourmet Cookie Winner and a Wild Photo

 The winner of the Gourmet Cookie giveaway from Sweet Cheeks Bakery is eatlotsachocolate. Congratulations! Contact me and I'll put you in touch with Sweet Cheeks Bakery so you can make your yummy selection. 

Everyone else...please stay tuned as I'm having another giveaway next week that you'll love! 

Now for an interesting photo...this REALLY happened here in Tulsa two days ago at the parking lot on the Summit Club building downtown.  Glad they didn't back up any further!

Check out more outdoor pictures at Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shawn's Grilled Chipotle Steak with Mango Salsa Recipe

Howdy Campers!  First of all allow me to say what an honor it is to be guest posting Nancy's Daily Dish blog this week.  I’m happy to be contributing in some small way and I hope you all appreciate the post and this wonderful recipe.

I’d like to personally thank each and every one of you for this blog’s success.  I am so proud of Nancy and what she’s done with this blog.  Nance is a very passionate person and this blog has allowed her to put both her passions and her incredibly creative talents to work doing something I know that she loves.  Thanks to all of you it’s turned out to be a stunning success and such a boost to Nancy's confidence to find out that so many others out there share the same passions!  For this I am very grateful.

Ok...  Now that the accolades and boilerplate has been dispensed with, we can move on to one of our favorite family recipes.

Years ago when I was a young man (no jokes from the audience, please) my Grandmother used to make us the most delicious baked goods and home-made candies.  After our family moved out of state she would still spend many days each year baking her heart out and preparing HUGE helpings of all our favorites (like her highly prized and award-winning mocha cakes) and shipping them out to us just in time for the holidays.  The funny thing is that she was always famously STINGY with the recipes, refusing to give them away!  That she would go to all this trouble to share her incredible skills but refuse to share HOW to make it left me both amazed and, to a lesser extent, critical of her.  I say all that to say, now that I am older, I feel the exact same way about some recipes!  Hahaha. Is that incredibly selfish or what?  Funny, I used to think the same thing about my Grandmother.  In the end I am happy to say that my Grandmother DID share her secret recipe list before her passing, but you can rest assured that NO ONE was going to reproduce them while she was still able to. ;-)

This is one of those types of recipes in my opinion so I sincerely hope you take the time to try it.

You could sum up my favorite food in two words:  Meat & Potatoes!  I can't seem to make it more than a couple of days without having to have some Red Meat.

I have never been a big fan of marinades as it seems to be one of the most common ways to ruin a good cut of meat or at least hide it’s naturally delicious flavors.  This recipe however is an exception to that.  This southwestern steak will be an instant favorite in any home that loves good Tex Mex or South of the Border  variations on a great steak!

Shawn’s Chipotle Sirloin Steak with Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa

Ok, let’s start with the Salsa.  First let’s start out with some breathing techniques for relaxation and then some wrist revolutions to warm up those wrists ‘cause this one’s got a bunch of dicing.  Take my word for it, it’s worth the effort.


1 small to medium pineapple (approx. 3 cups worth diced)
3 mangos (approx. 3 cups worth diced)
3 kiwi fruit (peeled & chopped)
1 red pepper (or sweet orange pepper), diced
half a bunch of FRESH cilantro, chopped (approx. ½ cup)
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

We are going to slice & dice all this up and combine it in a bowl to let marinade for a minimum of six hours, preferably eight.

I’m going to give a few hints and pics for those of you intimidated with pineapples, mango & such.  Done the right way it’s pretty easy and quicker than you think.

First of all, the pineapple.

Cut off the top & bottom as pictured below:

Then quarter it as shown below.

Cut out the remaining hard center of it as shown:

Time to halve the quarters into eighths:

Then off comes the skin.

What you are left with is the meat of the pineapple which is easily diced in minutes and added to your mixing bowl.

Next comes the mango(s):

Mangos are not as hard as they seem.  They, like pineapples have a hard core as well, but the core of a mango is more oval in nature (almost like an egg) and the most meat is located on just two sides of it.  If you look closely at a mango you will notice that two of the opposite sides appear flatter than the other two.  These are the two sides that have the most meat.

Set your mango on a flat side and cut off the top 1/4th  of the mango as shown:

Turn the mango a repeat:

Take these two pieces and cut through the meat in ¼” criss-crosses without cutting through or piercing the skin of the mango (like I did in the first cut, oops).

Once you have done this simply apply pressure to the ends as shown and press the mango skin flat against the cutting board and Whala!

You can now simply run your knife along the flattened skin of the mango and off pops your cubed/diced pieces.

Cut the remaining meat off of the mango as shown below and dice.

Add the mango to the pineapple in the mixing bowl and we are off to the kiwi:

Next comes the sweet orange pepper:

And then the cilantro.  (Note:  Just loose chop the cilantro; don’t over-do it because you don’t want to overly bruise it by chopping it too fine).

In goes the sugar:

And then the crushed red pepper (I’m getting hungry and I JUST ate this a few nights ago):

And finally the white wine vinegar, yummy!

Note:  Stop nibbling at this point or there won’t be any left to eat with the steak!  Cover and let rest for AT LEAST six hours.  I prefer eight.  Like so many other things, this tastes best after all the flavors have had a chance to really marry and mingle.

Ok, I feel like I’ve spent the whole time so far working with a bunch of FRUITS!  On to the meat of the matter!

This is one of the easiest yet most delicious meats I‘ve ever had.

Note:  Despite the ingredients, this is not a ‘spicy’ or hot steak.  Take my word for it.  It is delicious.

Shawn’s Chipotle Steak
(Feeds eight, so for four, halve everything.)


1 cup orange juice
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 – 2 tablespoons fresh grated orange rind
6 tablespoons chili powder
6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Chili Sauce
A BOOTY-LOAD of minced garlic (10 cloves or 6 tablespoons)

4 – 5 pounds THICK CUT Sirloin Steak (Dang, I’m starving…)

Mango Salsa

1 fresh orange thinly sliced

Fresh cilantro

Alrighty then…  It does not get any easier than this!  Combine the 9 marinade ingredients into a mixing bowl.  I’ve included pics of each one for those of you who don’t know how to pour something into a bowl, hehe.

Next comes my favorite part of this gig…  The meat.  I always trim all the fat off the sirloin.

Once the fat has been trimmed, into the 1 gallon freezer zipper bag the meat goes.

Next, in goes the marinade.  Try and get all the air out by leaving the last 1 ½ inch of the ziplock bag open and applying light pressure until the liquid is at the very seal before closing.

Onto a tray it goes (in case of a leak) and into the fridge for at LEAST four hours but I prefer six.  Once you are ready to cook, pull the meat and discard the marinade.

Ok, we’re almost to the eatin’ part, but first comes the grilling part.  Gas grills are great for some applications but this one demands charcoal (Kingsford preferably).

Fire up the grill and be liberal with the charcoal (just not with your politics).  Let your coals ash over and have it nice and hot.  The point of the vegetable oil in the mix is to let it burn hot and char a bit on the outside of the steak so we are going to spread the coals evenly (2-3 coals deep and evenly spread) and over direct heat.  This adds an immeasurable amount of flavor and taste to the dish.

IMPORTANT:  Let the steak cook till Medium-Rare.  DO NOT OVERCOOK this steak!  The best way to tell if a steak is cooked right is to gently apply pressure with the flat of your tongs.  It should give a bit with ease.  If it is still soft to the touch (jigly as I would say) it’s still rare.  If it gives a bit (a quarter of an inch or so) it is medium rare.  If it doesn’t give much than you have committed a crime and have a well-done hockey puck for dinner.  What comes around goes around.

Well, that’s the gist of it.  One more important note:  Pull the steak when medium rare and make sure to LET IT REST (sit without cutting into it) for at least 7 to 10 minutes.  The steak will continue to slowly cook as it rests and will allow the juices to re-absorb into the meat.  If you cut into it right off the grill it will ‘Run-Out’ on you and you will be left with a pink, but dry end result of all that work.  Take my advice and let it rest properly!

Ok.  Got the steak done and it has rested.  Time to slice it up, serve it up, slap a side of salsa on the plate and call Nancy and me over to the table ‘cause WE ARE STARVING!

Bon Appetite’!  Let me know how you like it!

I never knew one little blog post was this much work!  See you guys next time (in a decade or so or sooner if I’m in the dog-house).


Linking up to:

 Simply Sweet Home

Foodie Friday
Finer Things Friday