A personal twist on bistec y arroz

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When the Hispanic population got large enough in our area to support markets, my town started getting grocery stores which cater to them and carry many foods that are impossible to find in regulation American supermarkets.

I was thrilled.

All of the wonderful, delicious ingredients that I remembered from my time in Puerto Rico were there, the sort of ingredients that make one’s dishes smell and taste like my memories of my time on that amazing island.

I was able to introduce all of those flavors and aromas to The Kid. Much to my delight, my child was as passionate about the new foods as I have always been.

Maybe it was genetics, or maybe it was just the fact that Puerto Rican food has the best ethnic food on the globe (Cuba’s a close second, but those black beans of theirs don’t come close to the red beans, or habichuelas rosadas that are eaten in Puerto Rico).

So, I shopped in these stores.

The spices, the canned goods, the marinades, and the glorious produce.

The fruit and vegetables were as gorgeous, ripe, and tasty as gourmet grocers, but about half the price.

And, their meat departments are manned with real butchers, which means all the meats are cut fresh and not cut, pre-packaged, frozen, and shipped in.

I discovered one of the greatest cuts of meat for a quick, delicious dinner.

It’s called flap steak.

From Wikipedia: “Flap steak, or flap meat is a beef steak cut from the obliquus internus abdominis muscle of the bottom sirloin. It is generally very thin, fibrous, and chewy, but flavorful, and often confused with both skirt steak and hanger steak.”

It’s also known as bottom sirloin butt.

You must cook it quick and hot, then slice it against the grain or you will be faced with the toughest, chewiest piece of beef you’ve ever unhappily placed into your gob. The dog might eat it, but even he’ll have a time chewing it.

It makes delicious sandwiches and it’s wonderful for soups and tacos.

The only bad part about the steak is when I first discovered it, it ran about $1.99/pound. And then, folks discovered this wonderful cut of meat and it became popular.

All of this popularity came at a price; it runs about five bucks a pound now.

So, not only am I giving you a great tip, I’m also risking the price going up some more.

This great personal sacrifice is all for you, my Gentle Reader.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at dm@bullcity.com.

Brown Rice Patties

1 ½ cups traditional brown rice

3 cups water

2 teaspoons salt pinch pepper

2 tablespoons butter

Place rice, water, salt, and 1 tablespoon of butter into a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook on medium high. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and all the water has cooked in (approximately 35-45 minutes).

Leave pot covered and let it sit off the heat until the rice has cooled.

At this point, you can refrigerate up to overnight. Just microwave for a minute or so until the rice is no longer hard and can be worked with.

Heat a skillet on medium and add the other tablespoon of butter. Once the butter has melted, add the rice and spread out into a thin, even cake about ¾ inch thick.

Cook on low until the first side is browned (around 30-45 minutes).

Flip and cook the other side until browned.

Slide onto a large plate and slice for service.

 

Peas

1 1/2 cup frozen baby peas

1 tablespoon fresh dill or thyme, chopped finely

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup water

Add everything except fresh herbs to a lidded saucepan and cook on medium low until the peas are hot.

Remove lid and let water cook off.

Take off heat and stir in fresh herbs.

 

Flap Meat

1 pound flap meat, cut into very thin slices

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper

Right before service, get a large skillet crazy, smoking, screaming hot. Also, place a plate in the oven which is just turned to warm.

Season the beef. Melt 1 tablespoon in the skillet and place slices in to pan, don’t crowd them or they will steam instead of brown. Cook for about 15 seconds and flip, cooking the other side.

Remove from skillet and put on plate in oven. Cook the rest of the slices in the same way.

Place a slice of the rice cake on the bottom of the plate. Pile wiw th slices of steak. Add peas in an attractive manner. Optional, place a piece of the fresh herbs on top for decoration.

Serves 4.

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