Carne Asada Tacos with Homemade Guacamole

To me, summer in the South means lots of grilling. {That’s barbecuing for y’all Kiwis.} The last thing you want to do on a day that’s 99° and 100% humidity is to fire up the oven, so we take the heat outdoors where it can feel at home. I think the hardest part of cooking this summer has been our lack of a grill. Our kitchen is teeny tiny and heats up fast when you turn the oven on. Aye yi yi. Add that to the lack of air conditioning and its just downright unpleasant. Makes me want my church fan.

My solution to this problem {besides opening every single window to try and encourage a cross breeze to cool this Küche down} has been to focus on cooking stuff that requires very little time on the heat. This is only really a challenge for meat, but these tacos super fast! 4-5 minutes tops.

I suppose {if you want to get technical} I can’t really call these carne asada as that literally means grilled meat and we aren’t grilling it. I’m ignoring this fact and doing it anyway. One of these days I will make these on the grill and they will be perfection.

Kiwi+Peach: Carne Asada Tacos with Homemade Guacamole

Carne Asada Tacos with Homemade Guacamole

The Marinade
½ of a lemon
½ of a lime
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 of a green chili pepper {or jalapeño}, diced
¼ of a red onion, diced
1 small clove of garlic, minced
2 flank steaks

The Taco
6 small flour tortillas {soft taco size}
6 red cabbage leaves, washed and dried
1/2 cup of grated cheese {monterrey jack, gouda, or cheddar could all be delicious}
as much salsa as you’d like
a batch of fresh, chunky guacamole {see recipe below}

Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade together in a tupperware container {or a medium sized bowl} and then add the steaks. Pop it in the fridge and let it marinate for an hour or two.

When you’re ready to make the tacos, start heating a pan on medium high heat. While that is getting hot, go ahead and prep everything else. Get out your tortillas, wash and dry your cabbage, grate the cheese, and knock out a fabulous batch of homemade guac.


Homemade Guacamole

1 avocado, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 of a red onion, diced
1/2 of a green chili pepper {or jalapeño}, diced
zest from 1/2 of a lime
juice from 1/2 of a lime
splash of tequila {completely optional}
salt and pepper to taste

For chunky guacamole, just add all of the ingredients to a bowl and give it a stir. For traditional guacamole, put it all in a food processor and process until its your desired consistency. {I am more of a chunky guac girl.}


Anyway. Once the pan is hot, drop your steaks in and pour the marinade over the top of them. Cook for 2 minutes undisturbed and then flip. Do the same on the other side. Remove the steaks from the heat and slice them into strips. {They should be medium rare, but if you like your animal well dead to shoe leather, cook for about a minute longer.}

Now you can get to assembling your tacos. Start with the tortilla {obvs}, then the red cabbage, and finally a few strips of steak. Top with cheese, guacamole, and salsa and dig in!

It’s especially great with this warm corn, zucchini, and black bean salad from The Little Red House. {Aren’t her pictures phenomenal?!} I wouldn’t say no to some strawberry margarita cupcakes for dessert either.

Kiwi+Peach: Carne Asada Tacos with Homemade Guacamole

Summer Berry Spritz with Rosemary Simple Syrup

As a rule, the Kiwi and I are not big house drinkers. I’m not saying we never have the occasional beer or glass of wine at home, but we are more likely to imbibe if we’re out at a restaurant or on vacation. {Which kind of goes hand in hand with eating out…but I digress.}

The exception to this is when we have company. Much like a starter or a dessert, I think that the beverage selection you offer can really make an impact on the meal. Don’t worry, water and sweet tea are almost always on tap too, but what I really love is trying out new cocktails on our unsuspecting guests. I’m sure our friends think we’re lushes. Last week, I whipped up this sucker when we were having a friend over for dinner before a concert. The weather has been beautiful and our herb garden {especially the rosemary} was getting unruly, so I thought I’d throw some in. It was perfect with our black bean burgers and fruit salad dessert with coconut whipped cream.

Kiwi+Peach: Summer Berry Spritz with Rosemary Simple Syrupphoto by the Kiwi

Summer Berry Spritz with Rosemary Simple Syrup

The Syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
5 sprigs of rosemary

The Fruit
1/2 of a lemon
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries

The Booze
1/2 a bottle of a dry white wine {I used a dry Riesling because I’m in Germany.}
1/2 cup of clear rum {I used Bacardi}
2 cans of San Pelligrino Limonata {Really any lemon lime soda is fine. I’m just being pretentious. }

Boil your jug and start heating a medium size pot on medium heat. Measure your sugar and add it to the pot along with the water and the rosemary. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Bring it to a boil, then take it off the heat and remove the rosemary.

Next, get to prepping the fruit. Thinly slice your lemon. Wash and core your strawberries, slicing them in half {or quarters depending on some} when finished. Wash your blueberries. Add all the fruit to a pitcher, and then add the simple syrup.

Now you’re ready for the good stuff, the booze. Pour half the bottle of wine in your pitcher and add the rum. Give it all a stir and then put it in the fridge for a couple of hours or until it’s nice and cold. Just before you’re ready to serve, add the Limonata and stir well.

I find the easiest way to pour it up is to spoon some fruit in the glass first and then to pour in the liquid, but it’s completely up to you. Garnish with some rosemary, a wedge or lemon, maybe a strawberry. The possibilities are endless.

Mama’s Chicken Burritos

My mom will be the first to tell you that she doesn’t enjoy cooking. That’s not to say she’s not good at it–quite the contrary, but she doesn’t enjoy trying out new recipes and coming up with new combos in the kitchen. Being the working mom she was, she tended to go for the tried and true recipes that she knew we loved. This is one of those recipes.

Whenever I’d come home from college this would always be my first request. No one can make it quite like Mama, right? So, in honor of their visit, I’m sharing her famous chicken burrito recipe. It’s been altered slightly to eliminate some of the processed ingredients {like taco seasoning}. I usually make my own refried beans and salsa too, but the stuff from the jar is just as good. Promise.

Kiwi+Peach: Mama's Chicken Burritos

Mama’s Chicken Burritos

The Chicken
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp chili flakes
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 chicken breast, cubed

The Goods
½ of a red pepper, sliced
½ of an onion, sliced
1 tsp chili powder
½ can of refried beans
¼ cup sour cream

The Wrap
2 whole wheat tortillas
1 ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella
2 tbsp{ish} salsa

To make a marinade for the chicken, mix the spices together with the oil. Add the chicken and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Begin heating a sauté pan. Slice the pepper and the onion and add to the pan. Dust with a bit of chili powder and give it a stir. Cover and let them cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes or until the onion is translucent and soft.

Add the chicken (marinade and all) to the pan and cook until the chicken is done {5-7 minutes}.

While the chicken is cooking, warm the tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Then give the refried beans a hit for about 45 seconds. Spread the beans on the tortillas and then top with sour cream. When the peppers, onions, and chicken are finished, layer them on and wrap it up.

Slice the mozzarella and lay the cheese on top. Pop it in the micro to melt the cheese. It takes me about a minute and 45 seconds. Spoon some salsa on top and dig in!

{JAM} Mumford and Sons: I Will Wait

Well hello there Monday. I hope you all have fabulous weekends. We spent ours cooking, hanging out with some wonderful friends that are about to leave Munich {sob}, hitting up the huge summer festival that just happens to be right around the corner, and preparing the house for the arrival of some very special guests… my parents!

I’m so excited for both them to be here at the same time! I haven’t seen my Daddy since he was here is September and he hasn’t seen our new apartment yet. {We moved the week after he left.} And maybe, if we ask really nicely, he will share his bread recipe with y’all. While there is no lack of tasty, tasty bread here in Deutschland, the selection in the States can be lacking, so a couple of years ago my dad started making his own honey whole wheat bread. Oh my stars, y’all. It’s good.

In the meantime though here’s a great jam to get your week rolling.

Friday Links

Happy Friday friends. We made it! Isn’t the first week back after vacation always the hardest? I’m looking forward to a weekend spent with great friends, good food and preparing the apartment for some special guests.

What are you doing this weekend?

Kiwi+Peach: Friday Linksphoto by the Kiwi of our Summer Berry Spritz with Rosemary Simple Syrup

Clever dinner party dessert tip.

Interesting look at the economics of quinoa.

Can’t wait to try this summery drink.

Whoa!

Thoughtful article about our choices at the grocery store and in the voting booth.

Some great summer hair tips.

Handy.

How to cut a mango. {Am I the only one who butchers them every time?}

Precious {free} recipe cards.

Trying my hand at making this for dinner tonight. Fingers crossed.

Chicken and Spinach Baked Taquitos

When I was a kid, I almost always took my lunch to school. Except, that is, on Taquito Thursday. Sure, some folks might have gotten excited about ‘Pizza Fridays’ but ‘Taquito Thursdays’ what really where it was at. In retrospect, these could not have been worse for us–deep fried corn tortillas stuffed with ground mystery meat beef and cheese. Oh, but they were good.

One day, not long ago, I went on the hunt for a healthier way to make these suckers. There had been this recipe floating around on Pinterest that I thought that I could adapt to make into just the perfect thing. Really though, it had me at the secret ingredient…beer.

Kiwi+Peach: Drunk Chicken and Spinach Taquitos

Chicken and Spinach Baked Taquitos

{adapted for two from Healthy. Delicious.}

The Chicken
10 ounces {300 mL} beer
2 chicken breasts
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

The Stuffin’
1 green pepper {or jalapeño for those of y’all that live in a sane country}
a handful of spinach

The Wraps
4 corn tortillas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of a cheese that melts well {monterrey jack would be my preference}

Preheat your oven to 450°F/225°C.

In a medium sized pot on medium high heat, bring the beer to a boil and add your chicken breasts. Crank it down to medium and cook for about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a medium sized bowl when it’s finished. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Add all of  the yummy seasoning and mix well.

While the chicken is cooking, remove the seeds from your pepper and dice it up. After the chicken has been removed from the pot, add the pepper and your spinach to the beer and simmer on low for about 5 minutes. When the spinach is a bit wilted, remove from the heat and drain the beer.

Go ahead and grate your cheese so its ready for the assembly process. Cut each wrap in half, and, using a pastry brush, give it a light coat of olive oil. On the longest bit of the wrap, pile your chicken, spinach/pepper combo, and cheese. Roll it up and place seam side down on a lined baking sheet. Repeat for the rest of the wraps and then give the tops a brush of olive oil.

Pop it in the oven for about 8 minutes. Take the pan out and {carefully} flip them. Give the tops a brush of olive oil and return to the oven for about 8 more minutes or until they look appropriately crispy for your liking.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and, if your feeling particularly hungry/ambitious, maybe some spanish rice or refried beans.

Greek CousCous with Zucchini

What are your feelings about meatless meals?

I love them. In fact, some of my favorites {see Lauren’s Summer Favourite and Avocado Pasta} contain no meat at all. Give me a plate of veggies and grains over a slab of pork any day.

However, I live with a carnivore. While he has adjusted to only having meat with his dinner a few times a week, I am careful, when planning a meatless meal, to make sure that what I’m making will have the same staying power as meat.

While deceptively light, this incredibly versatile Greek CousCous packs a punch with its feta and walnuts in terms of staying power, and it’s a great week night meal because you can knock it out in less than 20 minutes. It’s also yummy cold, so it can be perfect for lunch the next day. If you absolutely must have meat, I bet it would be absolutely delicious with a side of lamb!

Kiwi+Peach: Greek CousCous with Zucchini

Greek CousCous with Zucchini

{adapted for two from The Fit Cook}

The Veg
1 tsp olive oil
½ of a zucchini, sliced and quartered
½ tsp cumin

The Grain
½ cup boiling water
½ cup cous cous
½ tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic salt
black pepper
2 tsp olive oil

The Goodies
¼ cup freshly shelled walnuts, chopped
2 ounces {50 grams} feta cheese, cubed
1/2 of a lemon

Heat the olive oil in small skillet. While that’s heating up, slice and quarter your zucchini. When the pan is nice and hot, throw the zucchini in there, sprinkle some cumin over it, and give it a stir.

Boil your jug {or for us Americans, bring your water to a boil in a small pot}. In a small pot, combine cous cous, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Make sure the olive oil it mixed in well and add your boiling water. {If you’re boiling your water in said pot, then mix your cous cous and spices in a separate bowl and add it to the boiling water. OR you could go buy a jug. Trust me—they make like so much easier!} Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

Give the zucchini another stir and then get to cracking your walnuts. {insert “that’s what she said” joke here} By the time you get finished shelling the nuts, the cous cous should be finished. Take a fork and fluff the cous cous.

The zucchini will need about 10 minutes to get appropriately soft. When it’s finished, add it, the walnuts, and feta to the cous cous and squeeze a bit of lemon juice on the top. Toss well and serve it up!

We’re Back

We could not have asked for a better vacation! The weather was beautiful. The food and wine were amazing. {We even managed to find some Italian craft beer!} I think we can confidently check Italy off the list and put this trip in the ‘W’ column.

Tomorrow I’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming, but since I have a mountain of laundry to do, groceries to buy, and a dinner party to throw together before we go to a concert tonight, today I thought I’d share just a bit of eye candy to feed your wanderlust.

Kiwi+Peach: swiss alps {wanderlust}

Kiwi+Peach: swiss alps {wanderlust}

Kiwi+Peach: lake como {wanderlust}

Kiwi+Peach: milan {wanderlust}

Kiwi+Peach: {wanderlust}

Kiwi+Peach: cinque terre {wanderlust}

Kiwi+Peach: cinque terre {wanderlust}

Kiwi+Peach: pisa {wanderlust}

Kiwi+Peach: florence {wanderlust}

Kiwi+Peach: florence {wanderlust}

Kiwi+Peach: rome {wanderlust}

Kiwi+Peach: pompeii {wanderlust}

Chicken Salad Croissants

A few weeks ago the news came out that one of my favorite brunch spots in Athens {Georgia, not Greece} had closed. Heartbreaking. Five Star Day and I had some great times together. At least the Kiwi got to eat there a couple times before it closed so that he could be indoctrinated on my absolute favorite thing of theirs–the Poppy Seed Chicken Salad. Oh my yum. It was so good! However, since we will never be able to have Five Star Day’s again {sob}, I thought that I should figure out how to make an acceptable version of it myself.

If you want this to be a super quick recipe, just buy a rotisserie chicken instead of roasting the chicken yourself. You’ll only need about half of the meat though, so make sure you have a use for the extra!

Kiwi+Peach: Chicken Salad Croissants

Chicken Salad Croissants

The Chicken
2 bone-in chicken thighs and legs {2 chicken breasts work too}
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper

The Goodies
2 tbsp ricotta cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
10-15 grapes
2 Tbsp pecans {these spiced pecans would be delicious}
2 tbsp poppy seeds

The Sandwich
2 croissants
2 leaves of romaine lettuce

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Then wash the chicken and pat dry. Put the chicken in the pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the herbs, salt, and pepper, and then rub everything into the chicken really well. Pop it in the oven for about 60 minutes.

{If you are using chicken breasts, do the same thing the prepare the chicken, but before you pop it in the oven, wrap it in tin foil so it doesn’t dry out. You should also reduce the cooking time to 45 minutes.}

When the chicken is finished, let it cool for a quick minute and then get to shredding. Using two forks, pull the bits of meat off the bone, and then put your shredded chicken in a medium sized bowl. Toss in all of the yummy goodies and mix well.

Cut your croissants in half lengthwise and put your romaine on the bottom piece of the croissant. Load it up with the chicken salad and close her up. Enjoy!

The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Southern Biscuits

The Kiwi is here again today to wrap up America Week by sharing his tried and true biscuit recipe. A while back he declared that he was on a mission to make the most perfect biscuit possible and has made biscuits pretty much every Sunday since in an effort to get them just right. These are, without a doubt, the best biscuits I’ve ever had.


When I first met Lauren we were both recently departed from the southeastern U.S., and both experiencing withdrawal of the staples of Southern cooking. It went without saying, then, that we would be attempting to make biscuits.

For non–American-speaking readers, I must mention that the term ‘biscuit’ does not refer to a harder version of an American cookie, as it does in English. An American biscuit, for the uninitiated, is most closely comparable to a scone, although it’s lighter and fluffier. The secret is that they’re made with buttermilk.

Buttermilk itself is a term with two meanings. It’s sometimes used to refer to the milk that is left over after you make butter—which is watery, and reportedly not very good. The stuff we want is the milk from which you might choose to make butter—which is to say, milk that has already started to go off. It’s sour, and also not very good. Despite this, Germans of all ages drink it neat, and apparently can’t get enough of it. I once saw an old lady in the supermarket scull a pint of it before bringing the empty pottle to the checkout. You can also make your own by adding lemon juice to otherwise perfectly good milk. Don’t. Anyhow, the acid in the buttermilk reacts with baking soda to form carbon dioxide, which makes your biscuits fluffy.

At least in theory. Our first attempt at making them yielded results that had exactly the size, shape, colour, consistency and, indeed, flavour of hockey pucks. We changed recipes and tried again. The result was better but still not good. In the end I baked about 20 batches, experimenting constantly, before I hit on the formula for perfect fluffy biscuits.

This recipe is borrowed from the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook, which you should buy immediately unless you are lucky enough to live near a Tupelo Honey Cafe, in which case you should go there immediately, and then buy the book. Not only because the food is delicious but also because it’s that rarest of things among restaurant cookbooks: one we actually cook out of almost every week. You can probably use any recipe you like, however. I am here to tell you how to make your biscuits maximally fluffy on the first attempt, and that’s something you won’t learn from any cookbook.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can substitute in half a cup of wholemeal flour for a slightly healthier version {pictured below}. Most people don’t make wholemeal biscuits because they tend to be less fluffy, but I have had equally good results even with up to 1 cup of the plain flour substituted for wholemeal.

Kiwi+Peach: The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Southern Biscuits

The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Southern Biscuits

{inspired by Tupelo Honey Cafe‘s ginormous biscuits}

150g {about 1¼ sticks} unsalted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp sour cream
½ cup buttermilk

The first key to fluffy biscuits is cold butter. Extremely cold. Place your butter in a flat glass dish and then put the dish in the freezer for at least a couple of hours before you start {overnight is even better}. Unsalted butter is preferred, because you want your biscuits to have exactly the right amount of saltiness and that’s very difficult to control with salted butter.

Preheat the oven to 225°C/450°F. Working as far away as you can from the oven, use a cheese grater to grate the butter into your cold glass dish. Finally, return the dish of cold, grated butter to the freezer while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Next, begin cutting in the butter. To ensure it remains cold, I usually add it in 3 batches, returning the remainder to the freezer each time. To stop it from sticking together and forming lumps, coat the butter gratings in flour as you pull them apart. The correct tool for cutting in the butter is a pastry cutter—I love mine and would recommend you get one, but a fork should also work. When you’re done, the mixture should look like a coarse flour.

Kiwi+Peach: The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Biscuits

Add the sour cream and mix it through. Next, start adding the buttermilk, a little at a time, stirring in between. Remember, the chemical reaction between the buttermilk and the baking soda starts now, so it’s important to keep the amount of stirring to an absolute minimum—just enough to get all of the dry ingredients stuck to some buttermilk. Keep adding buttermilk until you get there, it can often take a little more than half a cup.

This is the point where most recipes would tell you to roll out the mixture with a rolling pin, cut out the biscuits with a 3 inch biscuit cutter, and place them on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. This is a sucker’s game. Fluffiness means height, and therefore the last remaining enemy of fluffiness to be vanquished is lateral spreadage. Biscuit cutters are round, and therefore your biscuits will spread into the gaps between them and cost you some of your fluffiness.

Instead, drop the biscuit dough onto a lined baking sheet and prod it gently with your fingers into the shape of a giant megabiscuit about 3cm {1in} thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the megabiscuit into 6, but don’t bother to separate the segments {they’ll separate fairly easily after baking}. Finally, place whatever obstacles you can to prevent the biscuits from spreading. I place them in the corner of a relatively deep baking tray and butt a loaf tin up against the other long side. Use whatever you have.

Place the baking tray in the oven as far from the heat as possible. In the Land of the Free all ovens heat from the bottom and you like it, so place the biscuits at the top. In most other countries you get a choice. Our oven heats only from the top, so I place the biscuits at the bottom and that has worked fine for me.

Bake for 20 minutes. Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a small bowl in the microwave {10-15 seconds should do it, depending on your microwave’s power}. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush the butter over the top with a pastry brush. {Since spreading is no longer a risk, you can move the biscuits away from anything touching them at this point, to help stop the edges getting too much crispier.} Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.

Give them 10 minutes to cool, then eat them warm with butter and honey or jam.

{This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. That means that if you head over to Amazon from the link and choose to buy the book, a tiny bit of the money you spent on the book will come back to me for the referral.}