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Making street tacos with citrus-marinated carne asada at home
Carne Asada ready to serve. Shown: 1 1/2 pounds of slow cooked Carne Asada in citrus marinade. - photo by Shannon M. Smurthwaite
Street tacos are popping up everywhere. Street vendors introduced the concept of tasty tacos just a short walk away, but as local grocery chains now carry small flour and corn tortillas as a staple, you no longer need to make a trip to a street vendor to eat up this fare. You can easily bring street tacos' appealing flavor straight to your kitchen table. The challenge is selecting just one or two ways to serve them as you meal plan.

Carne asada (roasted or grilled beef) citrus marinade is a recipe that uses the juice and zest of fresh lime, lemon and orange. From there, you decide how mild or spicy you want to serve it. Less-expensive cuts of beef are ideal; skirt, flank or packaged carne asada, making it easy on the budget. My fruity marinade can be refrigerated with beef overnight in an air-tight container or bag, or all ingredients can be simply tossed into a slow cooker for several hours without additional prep.

Grilled, slow-cooked or oven-roasted the possibilities are almost limitless when dishing up the tacos. The fun starts as you top the shredded beef with fresh or grilled vegetables, cheeses, and condiments. While avocado, cilantro and lime wedges typically come to mind, don't forget thinly sliced radishes, cucumbers, jicama, shredded cabbage, kale, olives (black or green), bell peppers and pickled garden vegetables. Don't limit your cheese choices, either. Top street tacos with Parmesan, Jack, colby, Swiss or mozzarella. Get creative by incorporating what you have on hand and what you know picky eaters in your family will devour.

Just in time for summer, you can bring the flavors of a popular street taco home.



1-2 pounds carne asada, flank or skirt steak

1 large orange, washed, cut in half

1 small lime, washed and cut in half

1 small lemon, washed cut in half

1 teaspoon oregano

1-2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

teaspoon sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 generous teaspoon garlic, minced

1 small shallot, diced

cup oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Optional: pepper flakes, to taste

Squeeze/juice one half of the orange, whole lime and whole lemon. Put their juices in a small bowl, set aside. Cut the remaining half of orange into slices, set aside. Zest the entire lime and a small amount of the lemon. Add zest to the juices. Stir.

Measure all spices and mix them into citrus juice. Add in garlic, sugar and shallot. Blend.

In medium bowl, whisk well the oil and vinegar. Add to the oil and vinegar all ingredients (except the sliced oranges) to complete your marinade.

Place your meat in slow cooker, pour in marinade to top. Turn the meat a few times to coat. Place the sliced oranges in between beef pieces or place on top of beef. Cover slow cooker with lid and set at 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 on low setting. If possible, turn the beef a few times during the cooking cycle. Beef will tenderize and break apart. Before serving, remove and discard the orange slices. Use a meat fork or a shredding kitchen tool to prepare the beef for serving.

Serve thoroughly cooked carne asada for street tacos, using warm corn or flour tortillas, or serve over rice. Feeds 4-6 people.