Friday, May 24, 2013

Foodie Faves:
What's cooking? Skirt Steak with Cilantro-Garlic Sauce

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve discovered a great new website for home cooks: The tag line for this site is “Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide.” You may recall that I recently conducted a purge of my pantry (The Alaskans Are Coming!); since that week, I’ve had “Sell By” and “Best if Used By” on the brain. So I was understandably thrilled to find this site with answers on all kinds of questions about food storage, shelf life, and tips on freezing foods I hadn’t thought to freeze. They even have an app!

I’ve now spent a really ridiculous amount of time just cruising around the site. Here are the sort of fun factoids you, too, can unearth there.

■ Store avocados at room temperature until ripe. After that, they’ll keep another 3-5 days in the fridge if you put them (whole) into a plastic bag.

■ Apples give off ethylene, a gaseous hormone that can cause vegetables like lettuce to spoil faster. So you should store apples in a separate refrigerator compartment, or in a sealed plastic bag.

■ Unlike imitation vanilla, pure vanilla extract keeps forever. [The Kitchen Goddess only buys pure vanilla.] Store it in a cool, dark cupboard and keep the cap tightly closed.

■ White rice, wild rice, and all those cousins of white rice – basmati, arborio, and jasmine – will keep forever, whether in your pantry, your refrigerator, or your freezer, as long as you keep them in sealed, airtight containers. Brown rice, on the other hand, has a high oil content and could spoil in as little as 3 months if you keep it in your pantry. Best is to keep brown rice in the fridge (6-12 months) or the freezer (12-18 months).

■ Most melons – except watermelons – continue to ripen after they’ve been picked, as long as you leave them out at room temperature. Refrigeration will actually cause uncut melons to lose flavor and become mealy.

The only point I’ve found to argue with is StillTasty’s contention that bittersweet chocolate (even if opened) will keep at normal room temperature for a year. I say, if you’ve got chocolate in your pantry that you haven’t used up in a year, you are definitely doing something wrong.

Another fave for your Memorial Day grill

I can always spot a favorite recipe by the number of grease spots on it. The sheet with this recipe has not only grease spots but quite a few notes and adjustments, and the words “Excellent and easy” that I wrote at the top. It also can be done, start to finish, in half an hour if you don't wait the full 30 minutes after applying the rub. The original – on – has received 151 reviews as of this writing, with a rating of 3½ forks. Very impressive. And well deserved.

Two warnings:

1. I’ve given the quantities for the sauce as they are in the original recipe, but only a fool would make just this much. I routinely make double the amount shown. You’ll want to put it on everything but toast. (Hmmm...toast...)

2. Buy a little extra meat so you don’t have to fight with your family over who gets the leftovers the next day.

Skirt Steak with Cilantro-Garlic Sauce

Adapted from Gourmet magazine, April 2004

Serves 6.

For the sauce:
1-2 large garlic cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (well packed) coarsely chopped cilantro, roots and stems included
¼ cup best quality olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the steak:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 rounded teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2½ -3 pounds skirt steak

Make the sauce. Mince the garlic and mash it to a paste with the salt. Put all sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until almost smooth. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, salt, and pepper, mixing well. Pat the meat dry, then rub both sides with the cumin mixture. Let the meat rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling. Grill over a hot fire for 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let the meat rest 5 minutes before slicing. Serve drizzled with sauce. Set extra sauce in a pitcher on the table.

Menu Suggestion: I served this meat with Eric Ripert's Salad Monique and oranges with olive tapenade. Dessert was strawberry sorbet with brownies.


  1. The skirt steak looks wonderful and I love the 'Pease Porridge' comic!
    I'm excited to check out and thanks for sharing some of the tips that they give!

    1. I'm such an information geek, I loved that site the minute I saw it! Hope you like the steak.

  2. I also have ice cream forks, pictured, like yours. I'm not sure I would have known what they were had my friend Ivy Alley not used them often. She has a big collection and they are beautiful. Yet another reason you two must connect. Ice cream forks...

    1. You know, I always called them sherbet spoons, but now I see you could as easily call them forks. And I agree that Ivy and I should meet!

  3. I almost bumped my head on my computer screen,while leaning in to your wonderful photo of the skirt steak...yes, yes...I thought I could smell the aromas of that spectacular looking dish! Hope mine would turn out as perfectly!
    Eileen in Atlanta