Thursday, May 24, 2018

No Pinquitos? No Problem!

Continuing my "Santa Maria Style BBQ Menu," perfect for Memorial Day weekend, the classic accompaniment to a Santa Maria Grilled Tri-Tip, besides french bread, salsa, macaroni and cheese, green salad, and a strawberry dessert, is pinquito beans. Pinquito beans are very small pink beans that thrive in the fertile soil of the Santa Maria valley. In fact, it's the only place that pinquitos are grown commercially. Unfortunately, I don't have any.

So no pinquitos? No problem! I think everyone is able to locate some humble pinto beans. This recipe for "Pinto Bean Salad" is a zesty variation of the classic accompaniments of pinquitos and salsa, all in one! It has all the flavors I love, onion, cilantro, chiles, tomatoes, and lime! Although it isn't traditional, it's fresh, fast, and downright delicious! 

Pinto Bean Salad

Serves 4-6


1, 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (not the  junk in a bottle!)
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper sauce, or other hot sauce, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a serving bowl, combine the ingredients and mix well. Told you it was fast!

Serve warmed or at room temperature.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Add some Pep to your Cinco de Mayo!

It's no secret that I LOVE Mexican cuisine. However, this Cinco de Mayo will have a Texas twist with these Peppa Marinated Flank Steak Tacos! This is the easiest and tastiest recipe ever! When looking for your flank steaks, they should be thin, and sometimes if you're lucky, you can find them run through a cubing machine which makes the meat more tender. Also, these tacos have such wonderful flavor that salsa is not necessary, although I do drizzle a little of my beloved Cholula over the top!

Peppa Marinated Flank Steak Tacos

Serves 6-8


2 flank steaks, totaling about 2 1/2 pounds

For the Peppa Marinade:
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup hot sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced

For serving the tacos:
Corn or flour tortillas
Chopped white onion and cilantro, mixed together in a small bowl
Your favorite hot sauce


Place the steaks in a nonreactive pan. Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the steaks. Cover the pan and refrigerate overnight, or at least three hours before cooking. Turn the steaks occasionally during the marinating.

Remove the steaks from the marinade, reserving the liquid in a small saucepan.

Grill the meat uncovered over hot, ashen-gray coals for 4 minutes a side, or until the steaks are done to your taste. Let the meat rest 10 minutes before slicing it thin, across the grain.

"Uncubed" flank steak
"Cubed"flank steak

Heat the tortillas on the grill and wrap in a towel or tortillero to keep warm. Meanwhile, bring the marinade liquid to a boil, allowing it to reduce by about a third, a matter of just a few minutes.

To assemble the tacos, place some of the sliced meat on a tortilla, spoon over a little of the reduced peppa sauce, top with some of the onion/cilantro mixture and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Texas Home Cooking, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison.