a chip being dipped in salsa

Adios, stews and soups — it’s time for tacos and salsa

Now that it is warmer out, the winter foods that I like to make and bring to friends to celebrate a simcha, such as a new baby, are no longer appropriate. Who wants lasagna or stew when it’s 80 degrees out and you’re sweating all over your house trying to figure out that new baby balance?

Instead, I’ve been getting joy out of bringing the fiesta to the overly fatootsed: fresh tortillas and soft taco fillings. Super simple to slather a skirt steak with a hearty spice rub, and grill it along with some poblano peppers and onions. Dairy-free accompaniments are lime-dressed cabbage slaw and a simple avocado salsa.


Chile-Rubbed Skirt Steak

Serves 6-8

2 lb. skirt steak (½-inch-thick pieces)
1 Tbs. coarse sea salt
1 Tbs. chile powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. granulated garlic
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch ground clove
1 Tbs. oil

Pat steak dry. In a bowl, combine salt, chile powder, cumin, black pepper, garlic, cinnamon and clove. Mix in olive oil and slather on raw steak. You can refrigerate at this point for up to 24 hours. Prepare grill for cooking over direct heat. Grill steaks on lightly oiled grill rack, turning over once, 6 to 8 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain.


Grilled Poblanos and Onions

Serves 6-8

5 poblano peppers, cut in half, stemmed and de-seeded
2 red onions, cut thick in rings
1 to 2 Tbs. olive oil
Juice of one lime
2 Tbs. cilantro leaves (optional)

Preheat the grill to high. Grill peppers, skin side down, until skin bubbles and browns. Transfer to a bowl. Cover with tight fitting lid or plastic wrap. Let peppers steam 10 minutes. Remove skins and discard. Slice poblanos in strips and transfer to a bowl. Meanwhile, toss onion rings with olive oil. Grill onions 3 to 4 minutes per side until streaked by grill. Transfer rings to bowl with poblanos. Squeeze lime over peppers and onions and toss with cilantro.


Lime-Dressed Cabbage

Serves 6-8

1 very small head cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup red pepper, diced small
1 cup jicama, diced small
⅓ cup lime juice
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup cilantro, minced
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. sugar
2 pinches cayenne

Combine vegetables in a large bowl. In a jar, shake together the lime juice, oil, cilantro, garlic, salt, cumin, pepper to taste, sugar and cayenne. Dress vegetables with the vinaigrette. Serve.


Avocado Salsa

Serves 6

2 avocados, diced small
½ cup red onion, diced small
½ cup fresh grilled corn kernels, or frozen corn
1 tsp. minced garlic
3 Tbs. lime juice
½ tsp. salt
Plenty of fresh black pepper
2 Tbs. cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Josie A.G. Shapiro

Josie A.G. Shapiro won the 2013 Man-O-Manischewitz Cookoff and is the co-author of “The Lazy Gourmet.”