Christy Howell, Zach Howell’s adorable wife had an outdoor graduation party to celebrate Zach’s graduation from East Tennessee State University. Zach graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He is employed by Power Tool Company and is a volunteer fireman with the Carter County Fire Department. Christy is an accountant for Fleenor Security.
Although Zach and Christy have only been married for 7 months they enjoy cooking together. Zach and Christy told me they cook together at least five nights a week. When they eat out they love to try new foods and often recreate the foods they enjoy at home. Last week Zach was in Mobile, Alabama. He ate at a Cajun restaurant there and as soon as he got home he made a steaming pot of Jambalaya full of juicy shrimp for Christy and his parents to enjoy. He is very creative cook and uses only fresh fruits and vegetables. At work, they have discovered his passion for cooking and he often cooks there.
His approach to life is similar to his approach to cooking. He is also passionate about people. His genuine personality helps him make friends easily and he loves giving back to his community as a volunteer fireman. Zach and Christy have a lot to give to their friends, their family and their community. Watch for them to do great things as they pursue their dreams!
I felt honored when they served one of my recipes at their party. I think you will enjoy it as much as his family and friends did.
Margarita Flank Steak Tacos with Grilled Corn and Tomatillo Salsa
1/4 cup lime juice and zest
1/3 cup clear tequila
1 tablespoon triple sec or other orange flavored liquor
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup canola oil
2 pound flank steak (ask the butcher- some meats labeled flank steak are really not flank steak!)
In a one gallon zip top bag, mix the lime juice through the canola oil. Remove 2 tablespoons of marinade and reserve. Score the flank steak at 1 and ½ inch intervals on both sides. Add the flank steak to the zip top bag. Press the air out and seal. Refrigerate for 2 to 12 hours, turning half way through the time. 25 minutes before you plan to cook the steak, remove steak from refrigerator.
Grill Flank Steak: Heat grill to 400 degrees F. Oil grill grate. Twenty five minutes before you plan to grill remove flank steak from refrigerator and set on the kitchen counter. Remove steak from bag and dry with paper towels (to promote browning when grilling). Throw away zip top bag and marinade. Grill over high heat (400 degrees) for 3 to 4 minutes per side with the lid down. Test for doneness with a thermometer. 130ºF. for medium rare. Remove meat from grill and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice meat thinly across the grain. Drizzle reserved 2 tablespoons of marinade on top. Serve with grilled corn tomatillo salsa and soft flour taco shells.
Grilled Corn and Tomatillo Salsa– (Can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead)
1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional oil for grill grate
1 pound tomatillos, papery skins removed and washed
2 ears corn, shucked and silks removed
1 large red pepper
1 lime, juice and zest
Kosher salt and to taste
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion, soaked in water for 30 minutes then drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus whole leaves for garnish.
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 jalapeño pepper- seeds, stem and ribs removed, minced
1 avocado- skin and pit removed, diced
Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium high heat. Oil grill grate with olive oil. Brush tomatillos, corn and red pepper with olive oil. Place corn and tomatillos on grill grate. Grill corn and tomatillos for 6 minutes; turning to get grill marks on all sides. Corn will be brown in spots. Tomatillos will be just starting to collapse. (If you overcook the tomatillos they will turn to mush). Remove from grill and cool slightly. Dice tomatillos and cut corn kernels from cob. Grill red pepper for 8 to 10 minutes to char the skin on all sides. Remove pepper to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes to steam the skin from the pepper. Remove charred skin from red pepper with a pepper towel and dice. In a large bowl, place tomatillos, corn and red pepper with remaining ingredients except avocado. Stir to combine. Add avocado. Garnish with additional cilantro leaves. Serve with margarita flank steak tacos.
Published in The News and Neighbor on May 24, 2014