lovin’ the grill (+ some recipes)

After living in our old apartment for 12+ years and not grilling (okay, so we maybe grilled twice? three times? in that span of time) we have pretty much fallen in love with our charcoal grill and the ability to cook just about anything on it.  At first, grilling became our sole method of cooking anything to do with meat while our kitchen project was underway (read: while we were sans stove or oven).  But now whenever the rain stops and there is a craving for that charred flavor, it’s pretty easy for me to convince my husband to break out the grill.

As annoying as some of you probably think that she is, Rachael Ray puts out a pretty awesome magazine and equally interesting recipes.  I flipped through the August 2011 issue and dog-eared page 104 because there were some good tips about grilling flank steak in the sliced steak soft taco sliders recipe.  A couple of days later I decided it was time to grill again.  So picked up a 1.5 pound flank steak at our local Stop & Shop grocery store along with two avocados, red onion, limes, and garlic to make a guacamole to go along with the soft tacos I had in mind.

The first thing I did when I got home from work was put the steak in a large bowl and coated it with some olive oil, generous amounts of black pepper, and some sea salt.  I let it sit on the counter to let it get closer to room temperature.  In the meantime, my husband got the charcoals going and in about ten minutes we were ready to throw the meat on.  I put a piece of foil on top to tent the meat, and we cooked it for about 8 minutes on one side, and then another 10 on the other side.  I admit, I was a little paranoid about it being undercooked which is why I convinced him to leave it on for a couple more minutes longer than we should’ve.  After pulling it off the grill, we let it sit for about 10 minutes under the foil.


Since there was room around the meat, I sliced the peeled red onion into three large rings, coated them with some olive oil and put them on the grill.   And then I cut the two avocados in half, removed the seeds, coated with a little bit of olive oil and put them down too.  As the fire cooled down after we took the meat off, I put a double-skewered set of cherry tomatoes on to get nice and soft.  Lastly, as the coals were dying down, I toasted the flour tortillas just to give them a little bit of color and crispness.  And yes, I use chopsticks on the grill.  Ha.

Slice up the meat, chop up some iceberg lettuce, and shred some Monterey jack cheese and you have yourself one very tasty steak soft taco dinner with grilled guacamole.  And a very happy tummy.  Grilling brings out a sweetness in the avocados and onion, and it gives the avocado a different texture so enjoy!

And now for the recipes:

Grilled Flank Steak

Ingredients:

– 1.5 to 1 .75 pound flank steak
– olive oil
– ground black pepper
– fine sea salt

Directions:

Place the steak in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Use hands or a pastry brush to make sure the whole piece is covered, then sprinkle on a generous amount of black pepper using hands to rub into the meat.  Add some salt and set aside to marinate and get down to room temperature.  When the grill is ready, place in the middle of the grill or where the coals are the hottest and tent with a large piece of foil.  It needs about 15 minutes of cooking time to reach medium-rare, so cook it on one side for 8 minutes and 7 minutes on the other side.  You can also use a meat thermometer to gauge the doneness to your taste.  (Remember, it will also rise in temperature a couple of degrees when you take it off the grill and let it rest.)  Remove from the grill onto a place, then tent with foil as it rests (about 10 minutes).  Slice against the grain kind of diagonally and serve in a dish in the juices that came out while it was resting.


Grilled Guacamole

Ingredients:

– two ripe avocados
– one red onion (you’ll only be using about 1/2 in this recipe so you can either save the rest to use in something else, or just start off with 1/2 a bulb)
– a handful of fresh cilantro, rinsed, drained, and chopped up
– the juice of two limes
– two cloves of garlic
– salt and pepper
– a little olive oil

Directions:

Cut the avocados in half and remove the seeds.  Place in a small bowl and set aside.  Cut the onion into three large rings (keeping them thick is good because they’ll stand up to the grill a little better) and place them in the bowl with the avocado halves.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on the avocados and onion to make sure the side that will be grill side down is coated.  Place on the grill along the outer edge around the meat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is very tender.  Remove from the grill and let cool a couple of minutes before handling.

Scoop out the avocado into a bowl and mash it with the back of your spoon.  While it’s still very warm, crush the garlic with a garlic press (or mince it up really fine with a knife if you don’t have a garlic press) into the same bowl and mix well.  You’ll be able to smell the garlic as it mixes with the warm avocado.  Chop up about 1/2 of the onion (more or less to your taste) and add to the bowl.  Add the juice of the two limes, a little pinch of salt, some ground black pepper, and the cilantro then mix well.  Let it sit aside while you prep the other ingredients to let the flavors meld.


Serving Suggestion:

To make the tacos, place a tortilla on your plate and put some guacamole on one half.  Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top, then place a couple strips of meat on top.  Add some shredded lettuce and salsa (or in this case, grilled cherry tomatoes) or hot sauce, then fold the tortilla in half.  Take a bite and savor that grilled flavor.

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