Welcome Home & Happy Birthday!

Yes, the hubby finally came home...early & on his birthday no less!!! We rounded up a pretty darn fine meal...if I must say so myself! ;o) The meal made up for, I hope, the lack of cleaning I intended to do for his birthday gift. Hahahaha. One day we will have a clean house. Usually it's when we get stationed somewhere else. HAHAHAHAHA.

Anyhoo...here's the menu we had planned for LT Muscles:

Gung-gung's Cabbage Salad
Garlicky Steamed Cauliflower
Brown/White rice

Special Dark Chocolate Cake w/Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

Now, who the heck is Gung-gung? Well, he is my 98-year old maternal grandfather who, up until his debilitating stroke about 12 years ago, was an amazing cook! He studied the chefs in Hong Kong and cooking really was his passion. Not only could he cook, but the man could bake too!! Goodness!! Anyway, as this blog continues, I'll probably continue to post recipes from my grandfather that were passed on to my mom who is now teaching us. This way, my kids (and cousins/family) can have something of my grandfathers to always hold on to. Anyway, he is an amazing, amazing man who, long story short, was an orphan when he was still a single-digit age, immigrated to Mexico, then to Honduras, married my amazing grandmother (Lord, Lord, Lord is this woman amazing), raised nine children, owned & ran a store in Honduras, immigrated w/the whole fam to Miami, and just is plain awesome. Now...take an orphan in China (at 6, I believe and raised by his older sisters until his teens) who moves to Mexico & Honduras...has to learn another language, starts business & family, takes care of a slew of extended family back in China, moves to the US, learns another language, and takes care of everyone still. My grandmother...well, she's definitely another paragraph and I will save that for her 5-Spice Garlic Pork...mmmmmmmmmm. My paternal grandparents are equally as amazing too!! But, since this is a food blog, I digress.

My grandfather's cabbage salad is simple: thinly shredded cabbage, thinly sliced tomatoes, olive oil, oregano, salt, & lime. Simply. Here are the steps though...;o)

After slicing up the cabbage, toss it with salt (a good amount) in a colander & let it sit for a good 15-30 minutes. Then rinsed that bad boy. Toss it in with lime juice, olive oil, & good amount of oregano. Toss in the tomatoes. My mom used to top it with chopped fried bacon...and that was GOOD! I haven't made it like that in years though. But, just FYI.

For the churrasco I used flank steak. Traditionally, skirt steak is used. Flank is one of the leanest cuts of meat with barely any fat, so we cook/grill a lot with it. I say "we" but mean me. Hahaha. Anyhoo, I marinated the flank in my cousin Luis' chimichurri recipe. I let that bad boy marinate for a good 6 hours in the fridge. I typically like to marinate my meat for a looooong time.

Here's Luis' recipe w/my tweaks in red:

Luis' Chimichurri

1 cup stemmed parsley (I use more)
1 cup stemmed cilantro (I used the whole shabang since there's tons o' flavor in the stem too...I also use more than 1 cup)
6 cloves of garlic, chopped (only if you're weak do you use 6 cloves...I use MORE...mu-hahahaha)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/3 cup white vinegar (Luis uses more)
1 1/3 cup water (you can completely omit this or use less for a thicker consistency)
1.5 tsp. salt (Luis also uses more on this one)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Combine parsley, cilantro, & garlic in a food processor; pulse to chop. Add salt and both peppers & pulse to combine. With processor running, add oil in a thin stream. Finally, add vinegar & water.

What I've started doing lately...even though it is completely anti-green is marinating my meat in Ziploc bags. I use less marinade and it completely surrounds my meat with goodness. This way, with the chimichurri, I have leftover sauce to drizzle on top of the meat. YUM! The photo below is Sean's birthday meal. The pic is deceiving since 1/2 of the plate were veggies and the rice was flattened out to look like there was more.

Now, the cake. When I first started becoming addicted to, errrr, reading The Repressed Pastry Chef's blog, I was reading about her mint chocolate cupcakes. I mean, really, after being greeted with that photo, how could you not be sucked in??? Plus, I *heart* mint chocolate. So, I used my usual chocolate cake recipe (I love you, Ina Garten!) and my usual buttercream recipe (you're my hero, Em!). Add less vanilla & WAY more peppermint to the buttercream...along with blue & green food coloring, and I was GOOD to go. Sean normally doesn't eat frosting but devoured the whole slice of cake with a huge icy glass of milk. This was RIGHT AFTER two plates of the above meal (of course his had way more meat & rice). Yup. It was that good. My kids helped decorate it. You'll be quick to notice my 3YO son's decorating skills in the center of the cake. ;o)


1 comment:

Em said...

Awwww Sweetie, what a heartwarming blog entry. I'm so glad the Hubs is home and thanks for letting me be a part of your celebration. You really touched me.

Have a delicious day :)