From the Too Hot Tamales, Mary Sue Miliken and Susan Feniger, this recipe for Grilled Skirt Steak with Corn relish is typical of the dynamic cooking duo, using southwestern flavours, easy prep techniques and simple ingredients to create dishes that taste fabulous and is very kind on the budget.

This one is an especially healthful version of the fajita, and is a good one to serve during get-togethers. Give this one a go at one of yours this holiday season.

Grilled Skirt Steak

Ingredients:

* 3/4 cup cumin seeds
* 6 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, cut in half and seeded
* 4 garlic cloves, peeled
* 2 Tbsps. cracked black pepper
* 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
* 3 bunches cilantro, stems and leaves
* 1 1/2 cups of olive oil
* 2 tsp. salt
* 3 pounds skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 6 serving pieces
* Avocado Corn Relish, see recipe
* warm flour tortillas for serving

Method:

* Lightly toast cumin seeds in a dry medium skillet for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender. Add jalapeños, garlic, black pepper, salt and lime and puree until the cumin seeds are finely ground. Then add cilantro, olive oil and salt and puree until smooth.

* Cut steak into 6 servings. Generously brush with marinade and roll into cylinder. Arrange steaks in shallow pan and pour the remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate 24 to 48 hours before cooking. Cook steaks 3-4 minutes per side.

Avocado Corn Relish

Ingredients:

* 3/4 cup olive oil
* 4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 5 ears)
* 1 tsp. salt
* 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
* 2 California avocados, peeled and seeded
* 1 large red bell pepper, cored and seeded
* 4 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
* 4 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal
* 1/2 cup red wine

Method:

Heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté corn with salt and pepper, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

Cut avocados, bell pepper and roasted poblanos into 1/4-inch dices. Add to corn along with scallions, red wine vinegar and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Mix well and let sit 20 to 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

Yields 6 Servings

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Being a chef has now officially been catapulted to the “glamour jobs” category with the upcoming film “No Reservations” . Not to be confused with Tony Bourdain’s gritty tv series, this Hollywood flick is a remake of the film “Mostly Martha” and stars Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones as guess what? A celeb chef , of course.

Also in the cast as Catharine’s love interest is Aaron Eckhart, who you may have seen in a few episodes of Frasier, Any Given Sunday and The Core; and Patricia Clarkson, one of my favourite Indie actresses, who also appeared in HBO’s Six Feet Under.

In case you were curious, here’s how Jason Buchanan from All Movie Guide describes the film (to be released in Summer 2007):
Carol Fuchs adapts writer/director Sandra Nettlebeck’s screenplay for the 2001 romantic drama Mostly Martha for this Scott Hicks directed re-make starring Catherine Zeta Jones, Aaron Eckhart, and Patricia Clarkson. When emotionally fragile chef Kate (Zeta Jones) is unexpectedly named the guardian of her young niece, her blossoming relationship with sous chef Nick (Eckhart) helps to put her newfound responsibility into perspective.

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Here’s another fantastic turkey recipe that is simplicity in itself, much like its creator, Ina Garten. Unlike Alton Brown’s, Ina’s recipe uses a fresh turkey (Alton’s was frozen) and its method varies, making it much less time-consuming.

If you can get youir hands on a good fresh bird from a reputable poultry supplier or farm, this is THE recipe to try. Get it right, and it could become a family treasure.
1 (12 pound) fresh turkey
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
3 Spanish onions
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
8 carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch chunks
10 red new potatoes, quartered
3 heads fennel, fronds removed, and cut in wedges through the core

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, lemon, 1 onion, quartered, and the garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey. Peel and slice the remaining onions, toss them with olive oil, and scatter them around the turkey.

Roast the turkey for 1 hour. Toss the carrots, potatoes, and fennel with the olive oil and add to the roasting pan. Return the pan to the oven and continue to roast for about 1 1/2 hours more, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with foil for 20 minutes. Stir the vegetables and return the pan to the oven. Continue to cook the vegetables while the turkey rests. Slice the turkey and serve on a platter with the roasted vegetables.

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Its hard not to notice Ainsley Harriott. His huge grin, infectuous laughter, fast talking and larger-than-life persona make him stick out of the somewhat drab line-up of British celeb chefs.

Think of Ainsley as the Emeril of Britain – wildly annoying, but entertaining to watch, and yes, he can cook too. A Londoner through-and-through, Ainsley was born in Balham, South London, and is best known for his show, Ready Steady Cook, a mainstay of British daytime television for the past twelve years.

Although he started his cooking career as apprentice in an East End restaurant, Ainsley’s obvious passion was for comedy and music, clearly seen in his cooking style today. Still climbing the ladder through London’s kitchens, his career advanced as he was given the position as Chef Tournnant at the Strand Palace Hotel, and later at other famous establishments including the The Dorchester, Brown’s, The Hilton, The Westbury, Quaglino’s, and the Long Room at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Ainsley also opened his own catering business, where his stellar clients included Princess Margaret and Elton John.

Ainsley was also part of a band in the early 90’s, the Calypso Twins and even released a record during that time. In 1993 he delved into the world of sci-fi comedy in the television show Red Dwarf, where he landed a small role.

To date, Ainsley is one of Britain’s most famous and beloved chefs, has made numerous appearances on television, as well as written several best-selling cookbooks.

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