a little bit of taco night

And The Taco Rule is in full effect.


Do you not know The Taco Rule? You should. We often invoke it around these parts, even when no tacos are involved. The Taco Rule says that when tacos are eaten for dinner, you have to keep eating until all the taco meat is gone. Brian is the originator of the rule, which seems sensible enough, so we follow it.

Usually, the rule applies to the ground beef/Old El Paso variety of taco meat – which is full of delicious nostalgia – but tonight we applied it to some cumin, lime and garlic marinated skirt steak with avocado and fresh pico de gallo.

Like you need a rule to convince you to keep eating that.

Above: jalape├▒os growing in my garden, which I picked tonight for the pico, making me feel decidedly Suzy Homemaker-esque.


Above: Looks like dog puke.

It’s not dog puke, I swear. It’s skirt steak in the cumin-lime-garlic paste I threw together to flavor the meat. I would tell you more about it, but that’s pretty much all that’s in it, so it would be useless padding. Because you know how I’m a stickler for staying on-topic.

Okay, there’s some salt in it too. Which was kind of a wild card, because I ran out of kosher salt and had to use regular table salt. I’m so used to measuring kosher salt with my fingers that I no longer have any concept of table salt, which is saltier than kosher, so there was a strong chance that I could have accidentally salt-preserved my beef.

Look, now you’ve made me ramble.

love applespre-picopre-picopico!

While the beef sat in its potentially desiccating salt bath, I chopped the veggies for the pico. Above, photos of pico in-process with wildly varying levels of white balance despite being taken in the same location with the same camera on the same settings.

Damn fluctuating natural light. Thou art so lovely, but so fickle.

Fresh pico stays in my fridge pretty much all summer. If I manage not to scarf it all down with a bag of tortilla chips, it’s great with almost any grilled meat. Unfortunately, I rarely manage to avoid housing that shit.


Above is an avocado. Did you think I could make it through an entire post without using the macro lens? Foolish grasshopper.


Brian got home too late to grill – yes, there is such a thing, although those who know Brian may doubt it – so I seared off the meat in a smoking hot cast iron skillet. A few minutes on each side created a nice crust while keeping the inside perfectly medium rare. I let it rest for a few minutes before slicing carefully across the grain.

This might have been a tight-ass meal except that I stopped at Citarella, the fancy-pants grocery store, to pick up the food. And Citarella, of course, only had prime skirt steak, so these actually ended up being the most expensive tacos I’ve ever had.

taco night

I piled meat and veg into a warm tortilla and got started applying The Rule.

For a taco, this is pretty refreshing. The bite of the onion, heat of the fresh chile, the acid of the tomatoes and the brightness of the lime keep things light. Aside from all the chopping for the pico, it’s quick to throw together; perfect for a warm summer night, especially since you’re only in front of the stove for a few minutes.

As was required, we saw The Taco Rule through to its inevitable conclusion.

Cumin and Lime Crusted Skirt Steak
1 lb. skirt steak
3 limes
1 tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. chile powder
4 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. veg oil

Cut the steak into 4-inch lengths. Put the meat in a shallow dish.

Juice the limes. Put the garlic through a press (or grate with a microplane) into the lime juice; whisk in the chile powder, cumin, olive oil and salt.

Pour the lime mixture over the steak and toss to coat. Let the steak sit in the marinade at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat a heavy skillet/cast iron pan over high heat; add the veg oil. When the oil is just smoking, add the steak. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side; more time if you like things more well done, less if you like it rare.

Remove the meat from the pan and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Slice across the grain into thin slices.