Skirt Steak Tacos


This last Saturday we had a sneak peak of Spring and it seemed like the whole of New York had come out from hibernation. Sidewalk cafés were packed and the streets and parks were filled with the buzz of hope that the long winter was over.


But as quickly as the sun came, it was gone again and replaced by freezing temperatures. My thoughts once again returned to my blissful holiday in Mexico and I was reminded that I had promised a few people the steak taco recipe that the twin chefs in Tulum kindly shared with me.


As chefs often do, they were very approximate with the method so I’ve played around with the recipe and my friend Andrew has been a willing taster of a few versions. I couldn’t quite believe the simplicity of their version of just frying up some steak and onions with a little salt and pepper. Ben and I had become slightly obsessed with the sauce that came with steak tacos and were shocked when they explained it was purely mayonnaise mixed with chili sauce. Mayonnaise with tacos? Seems odd, I know, but I’m a total convert from the sour cream based sauces.


Instead of flank steak, I substituted skirt steak which I think is the most underappreciated cut of meat. It’s reasonably priced and always tender which makes it my go-to for a quick meal. I have also been wanting to try Gustus Vitae’s Taste of the Southwest and it ended up being the perfect addition to this recipe adding just the right amount of smokiness and heat.


Skirt Steak Tacos
Serves 2 


1 lb of skirt steak
2 teaspoons of Taste of the Southwest rub
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion (halved and thinly sliced)
1 lime, halved
6 small corn tortillas

Cilantro leaves
1 radish, sliced paper thin (I use a potato peeler)


2 Haas avocados

1 lime, juiced

1 small jalapeño (finely diced)

1/3 cup cilantro (coarsely chopped)

Favorite hot sauce, to taste

Salt to taste


Chipotle Mayo:

1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise


1. Cover the skirt steak with plastic wrap and gently pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until it’s a 1/4″ thick.
2. Discard plastic wrap and season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper.
3. In a small bowl, mix the Taste of Southwest rub with a teaspoon of olive oil until you have a paste and then rub the paste all over one side of the steak.
4. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of the olive oil and fry the onions in a pan until soft and golden on a low heat (about 8-10 minutes).
5. Heat the remaining oil in a large pan and add the steak, uncoated side down (you may need to cut in half or thirds to make it fit).
6. Cook for 3 minutes on each side (for rare) and then transfer to a cutting board, squeeze the juice of half a lime on top and tent with some tin foil. Let rest for at least 3 minutes.
7. When ready to serve, slice in ¼ “ thick slices.
8. Heat the tortillas in a dry pan on a low heat and keep warm in a low oven.


1. Scoop out the flesh of the avocados into a large bowl.
2. Add lime juice, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce.
3. Mash everything together and season to taste.


Chipotle Mayonnaise:

1. In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce (from the can of chipotle peppers) with the mayonnaise.

2. Set to the side and serve alongside tacos.


To Assemble:
1. Add a spoonful of guacamole to the center of each tortilla.
2. Next, layer a spoonful of fried onions on top.
3. Top with a few slices of skirt steak.
4. Garnish with some cilantro leaves, radish, a squeeze of lime and a dollop of chipotle mayonnaise.


Retro Oscar Party: Make the Perfect Old Fashioned


Thanks to movies like Philomena, American Hustle, The Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street, there’s definitely a retro theme to this year’s Oscar nominations. To honor these nominees, I’ve decided to plan a retro Oscar party to celebrate.


I love pouring over cookbooks from the 70’s and 80’s and am astounded at how much the food trends and photography have changed. Gone are the garnishes of curly parsley and stuffed olives on every plate. Thankfully gone are all the aspic covered dishes in ring molds and also the mysterious dead birds that appear in far too many cookbooks from that era (see below – I wish I was exaggerating). But sadly also gone are the classic dishes that I grew up with and watched my parents serve at their dinner parties; Duck à l’Orange, Chicken Kiev, Fondues, Beef Stroganoff and so many more. I’m going to make a concerted effort this year to bring them back!



I’m also going to attempt to add a bit more glitz and glamour to my evenings and get out of my uniform of jeans. One look at the photo below of my parents at a dinner from that period is enough to inspire me to dig through the drawer of dresses that I’ve pilfered from my mother’s closet over the years but never worn. I can’t hope to look as glamorous as they did but by convincing my friends to play dress up along with me, I’ll at least have fun trying.



So for this year’s Oscar party, I’ve decided to journey back a few decades with an Old Fashioned cocktail to get the party started (recipe below) then some easy appetizers from 1970’s London like prawn cocktail, sausage rolls and devils on horseback along with a large vat of Pipcorn while we all cast our ballots. I know that the Old Fashioned isn’t technically from that era but add a cherry and it definitely looks like it could be!


I’d love to hear what your plans are for Oscar night and hope that whatever you decide on, it includes a little bit of old Hollywood glamor.



This ‘Old Fashioned’ recipe has been passed down through generations and kindly shared with me by my godmother.


Old Fashioned 

Makes 1 large batch


1 quart of Bourbon
2 oz of Cointreau

2 oz of Maraschino cherry juice
16 dashes of bitters

6 teaspoons of sugar

1 lemon peel
1 orange peel



1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher.

2. Let sit for at least a day and serve over ice.

3. Optional: garnish with a Maraschino cherry and a slice of orange.


Upside Down Orange and Blueberry Polenta Cake



The highlight of every February is the much anticipated arrival of a box of Honeybells (also called Tangelos) thanks to Tim and Lolly’s generous annual gift. For those who have never had one, they are a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit taking the best from each fruit; the juiciness of the grapefruit and the sweetness of the tangerine.  As corny as it sounds, they bring a touch of summer to this otherwise cold and depressing month. My box arrived last week and there are so many that I try to incorporate them into recipes as well as the obvious morning glass of OJ and the “occasional” evening cocktail.


For all my love of cooking, I have a primal fear of baking. One that I plan to overcome but that I’ve managed to hide for years by having this ONE amazing cake recipe. It is so easy and foolproof that it makes everyone who bakes it look like a domestic goddess. I even baked 4 of them at once when cooking for a friend’s large dinner that included the likes of Al Pacino and Sting! Thank god they went for my first suggestion of dessert as I didn’t actually have a second.


It comes from the self nominated domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson but was introduced to me by my fairy godmother, Eliot who first made it for me over 10 years ago. I thought I’d bake it for ValentinA’s day and get to use some of those juicy Honeybells – killing two birds with one stone.



Upside Down Orange and Blueberry Polenta Cake

Serves 6-8 people

Ingredients and Supplies: 

Parchment paper

1 1/3 cup of sugar

3 cups of blueberries

2 large eggs

The zest of 1 large orange (I just substituted a Honeybell wherever the recipe calls for an orange)

2/3 cup of freshly squeezed orange

2/3 cup of olive oil (not extra virgin)

1/2 cup of polenta

1 1/4 cup of all purpose white flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt



1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease and line the pan (I use an 8 x 8 inch pan) with the parchment paper hanging over the edges.

3. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of sugar over the base then cover with the blueberries.

4. In a large bowl, mix the eggs with 1 cup of sugar and the orange zest.

5. Whisk until mixed then add the orange juice and olive oil and continue mixing.

6. Add polenta, flour, baking powder and salt and mix until smooth.

7. Pour over the blueberries and bake in oven for approximately 45 minutes (insert a skewer and test – skewer should come out clean when cake is done).

8. It should be a nice golden brown on top and still springy to the touch.

9. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then invert over a plate and remove the pan and gently peel off the parchment paper.


Sautéed Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce


I use mustard a lot in my cooking so I was very excited to receive a sample from Seattle based Mustard and Co. I love that they had discovered us through another producer that we work with in the Pacific Northwest, Bunches & Bunches, Ltd. and that our network of producers is expanding across the country. It makes me want to get on a plane tomorrow and visit all 50 states to find all the culinary gems that I’ve yet to discover!


But back to that mustard. The minute it arrived and I had my first taste, I knew it would be perfect with my favorite chicken and cream recipe adapted from Nigel Slater. The flavors were so much bolder and more vibrant than mustard I normally keep on hand. I made the chicken for my friend Leigh this week and paired with spinach and butternut squash to soak up all the yummy mustard sauce. The result was something decidedly different- my same favorite flavors but a bolder taste.



Sautéed Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
4 large chicken thighs

Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh tarragon leaves (about 30)
1/2 cup of dry white wine

1/2 cup of heavy cream

1 tablespoon of mustard
Lemon juice, to taste



1. In a large skillet, melt the butter and the oil together on medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. When the butter starts to foam, add the chicken thighs (skin side down).
3. Let sit until the skin turns golden brown (about 6-8 minutes).
4. Flip the chicken, lower the heat and add half of the tarragon leaves.
5. Cover and cook for another 10 -15 minutes on low until the chicken is fully cooked. To test, prick a thigh with a skewer and make sure the juices run clear.
6. Remove the thighs to a warm plate and discard most of the fat, but don’t discard the tarragon leaves.
7. Return the pan with the tarragon leaves and browned chicken bits to medium-high heat and add the wine. Allow the wine to bubble while scraping up all the bits left in the pan, incorporating the browned bits as you would for a gravy.
8. Add the remaining tarragon, cream and mustard, stirring to mix.
9. Return the chicken to the pan and let the sauce bubble until it has reduced by half (this will happen very quickly).
10. Just before serving add a good squeeze of lemon and season to taste. Serve warm (I paired with roasted butternut squash and sautéed spinach).