Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Vacation: California Eating

We are in Southern California for two weeks.  We planned the trip months ago, and it wildly changed shapes as we anticipated moving: first a vacation, then a shorter house-hunting/buying trip, then back to a full two-week vacation -- and here we are. 

Ben and I each have three siblings, and in the first few days of this trip, through funny timings, we saw four of those six, and the one boyfriend, two spouses, and ten children that go with them, along with good high school friends.  And what I realize most -- again -- is that "home" is all about the people.

Today the bulk of our local friends will trickle back into town from various vacations, and we will meet them with tacos in the yard and fireworks.

I’m aiming to eat tacos at least every day, if not most meals, while I’m here.

Last night we made a flank steak with chimichurri (heavy on the cilantro), Bon Appetit’s charred corn salad, and a green salad with avocado.  Throw all that in a tortilla and it’s tacos, again!  This Chimichurri is great on any meat as a marinade or a sauce, on bruschetta, on vegetables, even from a fork.

KJ's Chimichurri Sauce
     adapted from bon appétit, makes about 2 cups


1/2 cup red wine vinegar (we didn’t have this so improvised with cider and a splash of balsamic – red best if you have it)
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Fresno chile or red jalapeño, finely chopped – optional.  adjust the heat to taste
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro – or more, these proportions are flexible!
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Combine vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, garlic, shallot, and chile in bowl and let stand 10 min. Stir in cilantro and parsley. Using a fork, whisk in oil. Season with salt. 
Use as sauce or marinade. 

Charred and Raw Corn with Chile and Cheese
       Bon Appetit , July 2014

This corn salad is Mexican street corn -- charred and sweet, salty with the tang of lime and chiles -- but tidier on the fingers and cheeks.  Think one ear of corn per person and adjust proportions accordingly. 


4 ears corn 
1 shallot, sliced thinly
½ red chile (holland or fresno) sliced -- can use jalapeno etc. but red brightens the dish 
¼ cup lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 T vegetable or olive oil, divided
2 oz. queso fresco or cotija, crumbled
¼ cup cilantro, chopped 


Turn grill on medium heat.  
Cut kernels off 1 cob and toss them with shallot, chile, and lime juice in a large bowl; 
season with S&P and set aside.
Brush remaining ears of corn with 2 T oil and grill, turning, until very tender and charred (about 10–12 minutes).  Let cool.
Cut kernels from cobs and add to reserved corn mixture along with cheese, cilantro, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil. Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.

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