Summer is Upon Us
Flanken Style Short Ribs, Two Ways
Fried Rice
Pickled Vegetables

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 ounces of meat (bacon, pork, chicken, shrimp)
1 cup vegetables (peas, carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts)
2 eggs
4 cups cooked and cooled rice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 scallions, sliced
2 red chiles, garnish
lime wedges. garnish
2 cups of sliced vegetables
(carrot, onion, bell pepper, daikon, cucumber)
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Simply mix the vinegar, sugar, and pepper and add to the vegetables in a bowl or Ziploc.  Marinate refrigerated for at least an hour, stirring or turning the bag occasionally to keep the pickle well distributed.  Remove from the pickling liquid, and serve.

*If using cucumber, peel, slice, and salt it.  Place it in a colander and allow to sit for 30 minutes.  This will draw out some of the excess moisture and tighten the texture a little.  Rinse it well, drain it, and add it to the pickle.  Do not salt the cucumber pickle, it won't need it.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, a wok works best of course if you have one.  The heat should be high enough to keep moisture from accumulating in the pan as the ingredients release water, but not so hot that it burns everything.  Add the onions and using a wide spatula or chuan, cook, stirring constantly, until turning translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds more, just to cook off the raw flavor, but not long enough to brown it.  Add the meat and continue to stir fry until it is cooked through, then add the vegetables and cook to near doneness.  Move this mixture to the outside margin of the pan/wok, add another tablespoon of oil if the pan is dry, and add the eggs to the center.  Fry the eggs, breaking them up only slightly, don't scramble, there should be distinct bits of white and yolk.  Add the rice and bring everything together.  Do not use warm rice and don't mix too aggressively or the rice will disintegrate.  Cooling the rice gives the starches time to retrograde, that is they retighten after the cooking, which helps the grains hold their shape.  Mix the sauces with the sugar and pour over the rice and mix in. 

Serve topped with the scallions, with chile and lime on the side to be added to taste by the diner.

A flanken style rib is cut from the short rib, but instead of being cut between the bones, and then into short, braisable chunks, it is sliced thin, across the bones.
I have paid as much as nine to twelve dollars a pound for this cut, but was surprised recently to find it in a local carniceria for a third that price.  According to the owner, in Mexico they are called agujitos, and are cooked on what is left of the fire after the main meat course is grilled.  Like many things food related, value is subjective can vary from one culture to the next.  That which one culture considers a delicacy, others consider... less so, and the prices in ethnic grocery stores often reflect that.  Yet another good reason to shop locally, and explore specialty markets in your area.  My favorite example of this is coarse ground corn meal.  Simmered in liquid, with butter and cheese added, in a southern diner they are called grits.  In a fine dining restaurant it is called polenta.  They are in fact the same thing, except for the price.

Mexican Asada Marinade
1 package achiote paste
3 (canned) chipotle peppers
3 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
Juice of 1 lime

Asian BBQ Marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1 tablespoon scallion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon orange zest

Choose your preferred marinade, each one is good for ~2 pounds of meat.  Combine the ingredients in a blender, and puree until smooth.  The asada will require a little more work for the blender, and you will have to brush each side of the strips with it.  In the case of the Asian marinade, you can just pour it on.  Place the meat in a ziploc bag and marinate at least 60 minutes.  Grill over high heat until cooked through and nicely charred.  Serve the Asian ribs with fried rice and pickled vegetables.  Serve the asada with grilled corn and warm corn tortillas.

3/4 cup pecans
4 tablespoons butter
6 egg yolks
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Place the pecans in a dry frying pan and toast over medium heat, tossing constantly until lightly browned and aromatic.  Remove pan from heat and add butter.  Toss pecans in butter as it melts and when they are well coated, set aside.  Whip the yolks with the sugar and set aside.  Place the cream and milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, DO NOT BOIL.  Add the salt and stir.  Add the milk mixture to the yolk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, while stirring.  When both are combined, transfer back to the saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough to leave a clear trail when you draw your finger across the back of the spoon.  This is called "nappe."  Cover the custard with plastic wrap, so that the wrap is in contact with the surface of the custard to prevent exposure to air and formation of a "skin."  Chill thoroughly.  Transfer to ice cream maker tub, add the vanilla, and freeze according to the machine manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer to a storage container and place in the freezer to harden for a few hours before serving.
Ordinarily, I don't post recipes that require special equipment, but in this case, I'm making a worthy exception.  Everyone should own an ice cream maker.  They are inexpensive, easy to use, and because you control the ingredients, deliver such remarkable results, it may just move you to swear off store-bought ice cream forever.

This is a quick and easy side that takes little time and almost no effort, and is a cooling, sweet-tart foil to smoky grilled meat.  Julienne or slice the vegetables thinly and evenly, so they "pickle" at the same rate.  A mandoline, or "V" slicer works great for this.  Feel free to put together a combination that suits your tastes, or the meal it's being served with.  I do cucumbers and onions for instance with Korean BBQ, and carrots and daikon when the theme is Japanese.