We love to cook, probably a direct result of loving to eat. We have lots of friends who share our passion, several are professional chefs, and a few are cookbook authors. We have collected cookbooks as far back as we  can remember.  Many a Saturday afternoon spent looking through cookbooks old and new.

Whenever the opportunity arises to meet a chef we admire or who’s cookbook we have we jump at the chance.

Cat Cora was no exception. Celebrating her Greek heritage the afternoon began with a troupe of Greek dancers followed by a sampling of dishes from her cookbook, Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist, which features Fresh Takes on Favorite Dishes.

We tried the grilled chili-lime flank steak with pineapple salsa and were not disappointed. The steak was tender & flavorful and the salsa refreshing. The recipe is simple, clean eating with a twist.

Part of cat’s charm is that she is engaging and entertaining. She told us an interesting story about meeting Julia Child in Mississippi at a book signing. Cat waited until everyone else had finished, got on the end off the line so that she could spend more time with Julia. It worked and they spent 45 minutes talking about where cat would go to culinary school.

Following Cat’s “Recipe for Success” we waited until everyone else had their turn chatting it up with Cat and just like Cat said, we were the last in line.  With the  anticipation building our “Julia Child Moment” had arrived only to find Celebrity Chef  and Cookbook Author Cat Cora rushing off to catch a flight that she was already late for.  Sometimes even when you follow a recipe the “dish”  doesn’t turn out exactly as planned. A 45 minute conversation was not in the cards that day for us, we don’t think she even made eye contact, but meeting her ‘for real’ has been added to our “Bucket List.”

Grilled Chile-Lime Flank Steak Soft Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Serves 6

 

Chile powder and lime give an inexpensive cut of meat a lot of flavor.  Then, when you spoon up a tangy, colorful pineapple salsa next to these soft tacos, you have a delicious dinner with style and flair.  Every part of this meal can be done on the grill, but I’ve give you a stovetop/oven option as well.

 

You can brown the pineapple slabs on the grill or leave the fruit on the grill until one side of the pineapple is truly black, 4 to 5 minutes.  I prefer the charred look and love how it tastes in the salsa, but taste and see what you like.  The pineapple needs a few minutes to cool when you take it off the grill, so you might want to grill the fruit first and use the time while it’s cooling to cut up the remaining vegetables for the salsa.  This recipe makes a lot of salsa, but it’s good to have on hand in your fridge for a few days, ready to liven up simple quesadillas.

 

Marinade

1 teaspoon pure chile powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ pounds flank steak, trimmed of fat

For the marinade: In a small bowl, mix the spices, salt, pepper, lime juice and oil to make a paste.  Place the steak in a shallow dish and rub the paste evenly over both sides.  Cover and let marinate for 1 to 4 hours.

Pineapple Salsa

1 small pineapple (3-3 ½ pounds)

1 small red onion, diced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ fresh jalapeno or Serrano chile, seeded and minced

16 6-inch corn tortillas

For the salsa: Light a charcoal grill about 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

Slice off the leafy top of the pineapple and just enough of the bottom so the fruit rests flat on a cutting board. Slice off the skin with a  sharp knife, cutting from top to bottom and taking off as little of the flesh as possible, rotating the pineapple as you go.  Discard the skin.  Cut out any “eyes” with a paring knife and discard.  Slice the fruit away from the core in 4 or 5 slabs.

Place the pineapple slabs on the hot grill and grill until the fruit is just beginning to show some browning, 2 minutes per side, 4 to 5 minutes per side if you want it charred (see previous page).

Let the pineapple cool for a few minutes, then dice.  In a medium bowl, mix the diced pineapple, onion, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and chile, and blend well.

To cook the steak: Grill the steak for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or slightly longer for well-done meat.  Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, place the tortillas on the hot grill and grill for 10 seconds on each side, then wrap in a cloth napkin to keep them warm.

Slice the steak across the grain into ½-inch thick slices and arrange on a serving platter.  Place the tortillas and the bowl of salsa on the table and serve family-style.

Cat’s note: The steak and pineapple can be cooked in an oiled ridged grill pan on top of the stove and the tortillas can be wrapped in foil and heated in a 350 F oven.

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