All American Beef Taco
3/4 cup peanut oil
12 (6-inch) yellow corn tortillas
Kosher, for seasoning, plus 1 teaspoon for beef
1 medium onion, chopped
16 ounces ground sirloin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 recipe Taco Potion #19, recipe follows
2/3 cup low-sodium beef broth
6 ounces panela cheese, crumbled
12 pickled jalapeno slices
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce, optional
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped, optional
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, optional
Special equipment: heavy duty aluminum foil
Make a taco mold by rolling out aluminum foil and folding it over in 10-inch increments until you have a 4-sheet-thick piece of foil. Fold the large foil square in half horizontally, bringing the bottom to the top, and then turn 90 degrees. Crimp over the top and bottom edges by 1 inch, and then fold over the sides by 1 inch. Place the aluminum foil roll or a narrow rolling pin into the center of the foil square and bring the sides together to create a hollow, narrow tube to mold the taco, making sure it can stand up on the long side.
Heat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the peanut oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer, about 5 minutes. Adjust the heat to maintain the temperature.
Shape 1 tortilla around the aluminum foil mold, forming a taco shape. Use tongs to hold up the sides against the mold and put the bottom of the tortilla into the hot oil and fry for 20 seconds. Lay 1 side of the tortilla down in the hot oil and fry for 30 seconds. Flip the tortilla over and fry for an additional 30 seconds. Remove the taco shell to a cooling rack set over a newspaper lined half sheet pan and cool for 30 seconds before removing the mold. Sprinkle the hot tortillas with kosher salt, to taste. Repeat frying procedure with the remaining tortillas. Keep the taco shells warm in the heated oven while preparing the filling.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil from the skillet and return to medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned around the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground meat, 1 teaspoon salt, and garlic. Cook until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, to break up the meat. Add Taco Potion and beef broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until sauce is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Assemble each taco with meat mixture, panela, jalapeno slices, lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Taco Potion #19:
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Put all of the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Cheese-Stuffed Pork Chops
1/4 cup sugar
4 bone-in, thick-cut pork chops (6 to 8 ounces each)
1/2 medium head escarole
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Freshly ground pepper
4 slices provolone cheese (about 2 ounces)
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Dissolve 1/4 cup salt and the sugar in 3 cups warm water in a large bowl. Insert a paring knife into the curved side of each pork chop to make a deep pocket, about 2 inches wide. Soak the chops in the brine, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely chop the escarole and garlic. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry. Fold each cheese slice and tuck into the pocket of a pork chop, then stuff with the escarole mixture. Brush the pork with olive oil, sprinkle with the sage and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the pork in batches, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the beans and 1/3 cup water to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits; season with salt and pepper. Return the pork to the skillet, cover and cook over medium heat until no longer pink, 5 to 7 more minutes. Serve the pork with the beans.
Steak with Red Wine-Shallot Sauce
1 1-pound New York strip steak (about 1-inch thick)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large shallot, minced
3/4 cup boxed red wine
2 to 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the steak dry and season generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Place the steak, standing up on the strip of fat, in the pan and hold it with tongs until the fat renders and the pan is slick, about 2 minutes.
Place the steak flat in the pan and sear until deep brown on one side, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side until a thermometer inserted sideways into the thickest part registers 120 degrees for medium-rare, 3 to 4 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Reserve the drippings in the skillet.
Add the shallot to the drippings and cook over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half and slightly syrupy, about 7 minutes; remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, to make a glossy sauce. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper or season to taste. Slice the steak against the grain and serve with the sauce.
4 cups fresh lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1 bag frozen raspberries
Ice cubes, for serving
Squeeze the lemons and pour the juice into a pitcher. Mix together the sugar with 3 cups water and stir to dissolve to make a syrup. Add the syrup to the lemon juice and top it up with 8 cups water. Taste to make sure it's sweet enough for you, and then add the raspberries. Mix the lemonade together and let chill in the fridge. (Keep in mind that the raspberries are tart, so be sure to sweeten enough!)
Fill mason jars with ice cubes and top them off with the lemonade.
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