VANILLA LATTE is a blog dedicated to food & travel with occasional random stuff thrown in. It is managed and written by me, Maggie Ha.

{read more}



Carne Asada 1Nov09

Carne Asada

People have been saying you can’t really find great Mexican food in New York. Actually, let me rephrase, you can’t find cheap good Mexican food. There are a few taco trucks around and some Chipotle’s here and there but that’s not the same. So I decided to make carne asada!

Carne asada is usually skirt or flank steak. I usually ask the butcher to trim off the fat and cut into 6 inch sections. It’s basically marinated and then grilled. For a good carne asada, it is ALL about the marinade. In LA you can find grocery stores with your skirt steak already marinading. A little tougher to find here. But I have a blend of flavors that are so delicious you’ll want to drink it! You’ll want to marinade the meat for at least 6 hours (best overnight!) to make sure the flavors are all in there. Grill it and there you have it, carne asada. Enjoy!

1 cup of cilantro, leaves and stem
4 cloves of garlic
1 small yellow onion
1 jalapeño pepper
1 serrano pepper
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 orange
1 teaspoon of corriander seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of ground smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of ancho chili powder
1 dried red chili (use chipotle if you can find it)
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Step 1: Blitz blitz blitz!
In a food processor, combine the cilantro, garlic, jalapeño and serrano peppers. Pulse to make sure they are chopped up fine. Now add the onion and juices, chop until combined. Now add in everything else, corriander seeds, cumin seeds, paprika, chili powder, red chili, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Blitz until all combined! You can leave it a bit chunky if you want, but it should look like a salsa.

Step 2: Marinade!
In a large re-sealable plastic bag, toss in your steaks. Sprinkle a few pinches of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Rub it around a little. Now pour in the marinade and seal the plastic bag, try to squeeze out all the air. Not squish around the marinade to make sure it’s all over the steaks. Place in a tray to make sure it doesn’t drip and place in the fridge for 6 hours. If you can do this the day before, that’s even better!

Step 3: Grill!
If you have an outdoor grill, then go ahead and fire it up. If you don’t have a grill handy, you can use the broiler or pan fry on a cast iron. Anyway you want to cook it, first you want to take the meat out of the marinade and wipe off as much of the marinade as you can. Brush your grill or pan with a little olive oil and place the steaks on there. Grill the meat anywhere from 3-5 minutes each side depending on how thick it is. Time also depends on how well you want it done, some like it a little more pink than others. Let the meat rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into strips.

Now to serve… you can serve the meat on top of small corn tortillas with some fresh chopped onions and cilantro for some tacos. You can add the meat in a burrito with guacamole, Mexican rice, beans and cheese. You can add the strips on top of a big chop salad. You can use it to make enchiladas! You can serve it whole as a piece of steak with some Mexican rice and beans. OR you can make it into a sandwich! Honestly, possibilities are endless. Hope you like it!

PS. I apologize for the bad flash lighting, still trying to figure out the best way to shoot in the new apt!

Carne Asada



Latest Latte

Ground Support

My local favorite is currently Ground Support in SOHO. I go there almost every day for a smooth creamy soy cappuccino or if it’s hot out an iced soy latte. When I’m not in a hurry to run out, I try to take a few extra minutes to enjoy the coffee in the shop… you know, chat with the staff, catch up on some calls and best of all… people watch. Always some interesting characters in NYC!

{read more}

  • Inspiration

  • Yummy