In honor of Cinco de Mayo we are doing a special Thursday Night Dinner this evening. Tonight we’re going to have skirt steak tacos and then for the craft we get to smack our bird piñata with a baseball bat (kids don’t always get to have all of the fun!). This should be a pretty good night! However, before making your tacos, let me first recommend to you my new favorite hot sauce: See Jane Burn (they all have very silly names). To back up a bit my youngest sister, Meredith, goes to Tulane University down in New Orleans. New Orleans has got to be one of my all time favorite cities. If I had to describe New Orleans’ food in one word it would be: immaculate. I just can’t get enough of the duck and the oysters and the shrimp po’ boys! I think I leave that city a few pounds heavier after every visit. One of my new favorite things to do in New Orleans is to buy and then try all of the different hot sauces. There is a little shop down in the French Quarter that sells dozens and dozens of different kinds of hot sauce. Last time I bought See Jane Burn (they also had See Dick Burn), Ass Kickin' Hot Sauce, and some kind of Obama (yes, even Obama) hot sauce. I've only scratched the surface and I can't wait to go down and try some more. I highly recommend topping off your skirt steak taco with a dash of hot sauce.
Happy Cinco de Mayo to all of you!
Skirt Steak Tacos
by stephania stanley
What you need:
- 1 lb skirt steak (sliced into ¾” strips)
- 1 clove of garlic (minced)
- 2 cups of red cabbage (diced)
- 1 lime
- 1 cup sliced Gruyer
- ½ cup cilantro (chopped)
- 1 tbs. of butter
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 dash chili powder
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash ground black pepper
- 6 – 10 corn tortillas
What to do:
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Place your tortillas in the oven and let them sit until you are ready to serve. Take out a large skillet and put it over medium-high heat. Add butter and once the butter is melted throw the garlic into the pan. Saute the garlic for about two to three minutes and then add the steak. Add the cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook the steak for about 7 minutes for medium rare (leave it on for another minute or two if you like your steak more cooked) and remove from heat.
Squeeze ½ a lemon over the steak and divide the remaining ingredients to make your tacos.
Chunky Monkey Avocado Dip
by Colleen Reilly
What you need:
- 4 ripe avocados
- ½ red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic (finely diced)
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1/4 cup cilantro (finely chopped)
- 1 lime
- 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
What to do:
In a small mixing bowl, add diced onion and garlic. Slice roma tomatoes in half. Over a trash can, squeeze out their guts. Do this for each half. Dice what is left of the tomato into very small pieces and add to the bowl. With a sharp knife, slice each avocado in half long ways. Hold the avocado in both hands and turn each half away from the other to separate the halves. Run your knife around the pit to loosen. Using a spoon, gently scoop out the pit. If the avocado is ripe, the pit will pop right out. Slicing between the skin and the avocado’s insides with your knife, plop the insides into the bowl.
Using your (washed!) fingers or the back of a spoon or a potato masher, mash up the avocado mixture carefully so you don’t crush up the tomatoes. Because you aren’t using a food processor, this dip will be chunky. Once the dip is to the desired consistency, grind or sprinkle on pepper and add a tiny dash of salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Slice the lime in half and squeeze one half over the mixture, seed side up so the deeds don’t fall into the bowl. Mix all ingredients with a spoon until they are evenly distributed and you’re ready to go!
This will make about 2 cups of dip. Easily doubled or tripled—just add more of everything!
by stephania stanley
What you need:
- 2 balloons (one big and one small, size will depend on how big you want your bird)
- 8x10” sheet of card stock
- At least 4 large sheets of tissue paper (3 colors for beak, body, and wings)
- Newspaper (at least 5 sheets)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup flour
- Paintbrush for glue
- Scotch tape
- Exacto knife
- Strong needle
What to do:
Blow up both balloons and secure with knot. Tape the smaller balloon to the top end of the large balloon. This will be the head and the body of the bird. Now its time for the paper mache! In a small mixing bowl, combine flour and water. Stir until well blended and set aside. Tear newspaper sheets into 2x 5” strips. Submerge one strip into the flour mixture. Wipe off the excess flour mixture between your index and middle finger; this will prevent a longer drying time. Lay strip flat over balloon and repeat until you have covered the entire bird two times. If you want the piñata to be a bit more challenging to break open, we suggest making three to four layers of newspaper strips. Set bird on a plastic surface and let it dry over night.
Cut the colored tissue paper that you have chosen for the body into 2x 2” squares. Once the paper mache is dry, dab a thin strip of glue with the paintbrush at the back end of the bird. We suggest working from the back to the front so that the tissue paper pieces layer nicely. Repeat with glue and tissue paper around the bird in a circular motion. Begin a second row of tissue paper gluing just ¼” above the first row so that the tissue paper pieces layer (this will prevent the newspaper from showing through). Repeat until the bird’s body and head are completely covered with tissue paper.
For the wings, cut slightly longer strips of tissue paper of the body and wing colors you have picked out. We cut ours to be about 2 x 4” long. We find it easier to establish the shape of the wing by starting at the top of the bird this time. The rows that you make for the wings can be made slightly further apart (about ½”) than the rows of tissue paper for the body. Make sure to glue each row underneath the previous row while you work towards the bottom of the body. Use the colors in a 4:1 ratio so that the primary color used is the one you have chosen for the wings. It’s helpful to look at a photo of a bird to get the shape of the wings correct.
Next, it’s time to make the beak. Draw a curved triangle shape that is about 2” long on the cardstock. Cut out the triangle with your scissors and then trace and cut a second triangle so that that you have two rounded triangles cut. Using the cardstock as a template, trace and cut two rounded triangles from the tissue paper you’ve put aside for the beak. Apply a thin layer of glue to one side of each cardstock triangle and glue down the tissue paper. Cut and trace another two rounded triangles from the tissue paper you used for the body and glue those pieces to the other sides of the cardstock triangles. At this point you should have two triangles with one side the beak color and the other side the body color. Layer triangles together so that the body color is on the inside and the beak color is on the outside. Use your hands to curve the triangles, forming a beak shape. While holding the beak shape with one hand, hold it up to the bird where you want the beak to go and trace each side with a pencil. Use an exacto knife and cut a thin slit on each line you traced and fit the beak snuggly into the slits.
For the eyes, trace a quarter and cut two circles from the cardstock and two circles from the tissue paper used for the body. Using your paintbrush, apply a thin layer of glue and affix one circle of tissue paper to each cardstock circle. Dab two small circles of glue where the eyes should be on the piñata and glue down the cardstock.Using your exacto knife again, cut a three-sided opening on the top of the body, which will be the opening for the candy. Don’t be surprised if you pop the balloon here. Going through the candy opening, thread one long loop of thread through the top of the body so that you can hang our piñata. Secure thread tying a knot; hang that bird up, and smack away!