So it must be pretty obvious by now that The Husband and I like a few things, namely spicy food, grilling and drinking. We like entertaining and having friends over, and the grill (and the Southern California weather) are pretty perfect foils for that.
Recently I found a carne asada recipe that I decided to tweak and use for marinating a whole chicken. “Carne” means meat, right, not necessarily beef, so I thought it would work. And boy, did it. I butterflied that chicken and let it sit for a day before throwing it on the grill, and everyone was happy!
A few weeks ago we invited our friends T & J over for J’s birthday celebration. The Husband suggested that we cook J some Southern food, since her mom is from the South and she does like some of those native delicacies. I think my mouth did literally gape open at that point—I’d never made fried chicken before, and I didn’t fancy sitting over a hot stove with boiling oil on one of the hottest days of the year.
Naturally, after some research in an unintentionally hilarious Southern Cooking cookbook created in 1971, I decided to text J and see what she wanted for her birthday dinner! Genius, right? And she chose Mexican. Whew! That is totally in my wheelhouse.
My new love is Da-Le Ranch, this great farm out east of civilization in SoCal, that has all free-range, happy animals without hormones, cages and all other sorts of horrible, factory-farming practices. I’d love to go on one of their tours, but only when the weather gets cooler. I don’t relish the idea of being in 110°F heat walking around what comes out of the back of the animals, if you know what I mean!
I ordered a few rib-eyes from them plus a pork butt, and carne asada and carnitas were on the menu for J’s birthday. Plus, she wanted a coconut white cake, which came together very nicely the day before with the leftover lemon curd from the cupcakes in the center with the lemon buttercream frosting on top, covered in coconut. My cake decorating skills leave something to be desired, so there isn’t any photographic evidence of the cake. But J thought it was amazing, and that’s all that matters.
That rib-eye was meltingly tender and didn’t hurt my stomach at all. Most “grass-fed” beef must be labeled incorrectly, because unless its truly, 100% pasture-raised, my stomach goes in knots for days. Not so with Da-Le beef, which was expected but still a wonderful surprise! We can’t wait to have the second one just grilled simply. (Sorry no pictures of the finished beef asada—we were too hungry to take pictures!)
But, in the meantime, here’s the asada recipe. I think this would be a great marinade for any protein, especially to spice up some tofu or seitan on the grill, or even some mushrooms. Oooh, portabello mushrooms marinated in this and grilled as a burger substitute? Oh yeah.
Juice of one orange (or 1/2 cup)
Juice of three limes
6 finely chopped green onions
2 Tbs ancho chili powder
1 Tbs Mexican oregano
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs cumin seeds, toasted and ground
2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
5 cloves of garlic
2 jalapeño chilis
1 Tbs grapeseed oil
Blend the garlic, jalapeños and grapeseed oil roughly. Add the rest of the ingredients and pour over your protein or veggies. Marinate for at least four hours, overnight if possible.
**For true carne asada with beef, slice up a whole white onion and two jalapeños and add to the marinade. When you grill the meat, make sure you cook these up too to add to tacos when you serve them up.