Tomorrow is the First Monday of September. Wow – September already! The first Monday means tomorrow is Labor Day. And Labor Day signals the unofficial end to summer. A summer that never was in the first place.
I’ll be honest, as the Pandemic and Rioting and Election BS continue it’s getting harder and harder to give life that positive spin. Labor Day – the celebration of all our hard work – won’t be measured in Parades and backyard gatherings. First Easter was canceled. Then Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Cinco de Mayo all fell victim to the domino cancelation. No picnics in the park for the 4th of July while watching the Rockets Red Glare. Community gatherings and Church Socials all banned. And if all of that is not enough, there is craziness in the streets.
I say enough! I’m taking back all the things we’ve missed this year. And I’m going to start with Hubby’s favorite – Cinco de Mayo. Okay, so it’s really the first Monday of September, (Labor Day) but with that same great Mexican Flavor we’ve missed. Consider this two awesome celebrations rolled into one.
First Monday of September Menu
Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs
Grilled Flank Steak with Scallion Salsa Verde
Avocado Bacon Dogs
Spicy Pinto Frijoles
Caramel Leche Flan with Meringue
2 (8 oz) packages Cream Cheese
6 slices chopped cooked bacon
1-1/2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon Ranch Seasoning Mix
1/2 teaspoon Roasted Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons fresh Chives
5 (8-inch) Flour Tortillas
Let cream cheese soften and come to room temperature.
Meanwhile, chop bacon and fry in a skillet until cooked, stirring as needed to cook evenly and prevent burning. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Place softened cream cheese in a large bowl. Grate Cheddar Cheese using the smaller wholes in a cheese grater, add to the bowl. Stir in ranch dressing mix, roasted garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Whip cheese mixture with a hand-held electric mixer until smooth. Set aside. Snip chives, add to the cheese mixture. Stir in crumbled bacon. Beat with mixer to fully combine.
Divide mixture evenly among tortillas, spreading evenly. Tightly roll up tortillas one at a time. Wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Working with one tortilla roll at a time, remove the plastic wrap. Cut roll into 1/2-inch slices, arrange on a platter. Repeat with remaining rolls. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Bacon Jalapeño Deviled Eggs
12 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
6 pieces bacon, cooked, crisp, and crumbled
4 Jalapeno Peppers, divided
1 cup Mayonnaise
1-1/2 teaspoons Rice Vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Ground Mustard
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
Place eggs in a pot, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boil has been reached, remove from heat and cover. Let eggs steep for 15 minutes undisturbed.
Plunge eggs into an ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Crack shells gently, let sit in bath for 20 minutes to cool. By cracking the eggs, then letting sit in water the water will seep between the egg and the shell, making the eggs easier to peel.
While the eggs steep and cool, dice bacon. Fry until golden and crisp. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside. In a small food processor, finely chop 2 jalapeño peppers and set minces peppers aside. Thinly slice remaining 2 Jalapeño peppers, set aside.
Carefully peel eggs. Slice the eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place them in the mixing bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse egg yolks until finely chopped, almost smooth.
Add half the crumbled bacon, mayonnaise, rice vinegar, ground mustard, minced jalapeño peppers and sugar to the mashed egg yolks. Pulse mixture until well combined. Transfer yolk filling into a zip-lock bag. Seal bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Snip a small corner of the bag just large enough to pipe out the mixture. Fill each egg white with the yolk mixture.
Garnish with remaining crumbled bacon and fresh jalapeño slices. Chill until ready to serve.
Grilled Flank Steak with Scallion Salsa Verde
6 Garlic Cloves
3/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
3 lb Flank Steak
1 tablespoon Sugar
Olive OIl for grill
2 large bunches Scallions
2 Fresno Chiles
1-1/4 cups Olive Oil
3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
2 teaspoons Sugar
6 Warm Tortillas
2 Limes, cut into wedges
To Marinate the Steaks: Peel and grate garlic cloves into a large bowl. Whisk in the vinegar, set aside.
Season steak well with salt and sugar. Transfer steaks to the garlic-vinegar marinade. Let sit, turning occasionally, 10–15 minutes. While the meat marinates, make the Scallion Salsa
To Grill Meat: Once the salsa is made, remove steaks from the marinade. Grill steaks until charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120 degrees, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to cutting board, cover to retain heat and let rest 10 minutes.
To Make the Salsa: Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; oil grate. Place scallions on the grill perpendicular to the grate and grill, turning occasionally, until charred and softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, leaving grill hot for the steaks. Let the scallions cool slightly.
Trim roots from scallions and thinly slice. Transfer to a medium bow. Stem chillies, chop and add to the scallions. And olive oil, vinegar, salt and sugar. Mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Set aside.
To Serve: Slice steak against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Arrange on a platter and spoon some scallion salsa verde over. Serve with warm tortillas, lime wedges and additional salsa verde.
Avocado Bacon Dogs
3 slices Bacon
1/2 medium ripe Avocado
1 tablespoon Lime Juice
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
6 All-Beef Hot Dogs
6 Hot Dog Buns
1 small Tomato
1/4 Red Onion
Hot Sauce as desired
Chop bacon, fry in a small cast iron skillet until crisp, stirring as needed for even cooking. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
In a small bowl, mash avocado with a fork, stirring in lime juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Chop tomatoes and onions, set aside.
Grill hot dogs, covered, over medium heat until heated through, 7-9 minutes, turning occasionally.
Spread avocado mixture inside the buns. Top with grilled hot dogs, tomato, onion and bacon. Sprinkle with hot sauce for a little heat if desired.
Spicy Pinto Frijoles
1 lb dried Pinto Beans
12 oz Bacon
1 medium Yellow Onion
1 Serrano Chili
1 Jalapeño Pepper
3 medium Garlic Cloves
2 (10 oz) cans Ro-Tel Tomatoes with Chilies
6 cups Chicken Stock
2 fresh Bay Leaves
Large handful Fresh Cilantro
Place beans in a large bowl and cover completely with water. Add a tablespoon or so of Kosher Salt, stir to dissolve. Let beans soak on the counter overnight. Drain and rinse well.
Dice bacon strips, set aside. Peel and dice onion, set aside. Stem and mince Serrano and Jalapeno, removing some but not all of the seeds. Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside.
Fry bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until fat is rendered and bacon is just starting to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add onion and chilies, cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to blister brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add Ro-Tel Tomatoes, Stir, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the mixture begins to sizzle, about 3 minutes.
Add beans, chicken stock, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, cover, and cook until beans are just tender, about 45 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until beans are completely creamy and liquid has thickened into a rich, broth. Discard bay leaves, adjust seasoning as desired.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Tear cilantro, garnish beans and desired just before serving.
Maria Luisa’s Leche Flan
1 cup Sugar
3 tablespoons Water
Melt 1 cup of sugar over medium-high heat while stirring constantly to prevent sugar from burning. Continue to cook until all the sugar has melted and is a nice golden-amber color. Pour caramel sauce into the bottom of a large baking tin. Allow sugar to cool slightly before proceeding.
Note: You will need a flan pan OR large Tin from a canned ham. The thin walls of the ham tin are ideal for making flans. I have had mine for over 30 years. My family knows not to mess with or toss out that old ham tin!
20 Egg Yolks
1 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 large cans Evaporated Milk
1 Cup Half and Half
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Fill a large casserole pan about a quarter of the way with water to create a bath. Set aside.
Beat Egg yolks slightly with a fork in a medium size bowl. Add vanilla and sugar, set aside. Scald evaporated milk and half and half in a large, heavy bottomed pan. Pour in egg mixture. Mix slowly while stirring constantly. Once mixed; remove from heat. Mixture should only remain on heat for about 1-1/2 minutes – DO NOT allow eggs to cook.
For the ultimate smoothness of the flan, CAREFULLY ladle the mix through a sieve into caramel-glazed baking pan. Cover with foil and bake in a bath for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes or until firmly set and done in the middle.
Let custard cool in the pan for 1 hour. Invert onto oven-proof oval rimmed serving dish. Pour any remaining caramel from pan onto custard.
4 Egg Whites
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
Beat together the egg whites, sugar and Cream of Tartar with an electric mixer until firm peaks form. Top custard with meringue and lightly brown under broiler before serving.
May be served at room temperature or cold. If not serving right away, it’s best to refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving.