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August 2, 2001

August 02, 2001

QUESTION: Who selects members of the Imperial County grand jury? How does one get appointed? If you have a complaint, how do you get it before the grand jury? — Ready-to-serve, El Centro

If you have an issue you want examined, write a letter to grand jury forewoman Debbie Abatti, 939 Main St., El Centro, CA 92243.

Forming the grand jury starts with a random selection from the jury pool. Letters are sent to nominees. There is no penalty for tossing the letter in the trash, said Lyla Corfman, county joint court coordinator.

Finally, nominees attend an orientation meeting where a judge will explain what will be expected — and learn they don't have to serve if they don't want to. After the meeting, about 90 percent of the candidates walk out, Corfman said.


It's OK. The county needs only 19 grand jurors anyway. After the exodus, there are usually 35 or 40 people left. The names will be thrown in a hat and 19 names, if needed, will be drawn. Up to 10 grand jurors may be held over from the old jury. The judge may appoint other people.

QUESTION: Now that the barbecue sauce hunt is over, how about dredging up an authentic carne asada recipe? Here on the coast, they palm off round steak with some chemical marinade as carne asada. We may not have water but we do have some smarts. Give us flap meat with that real IV taste, even if its authentically tough! — Country Boy, San Marino

If you have a couple pounds of thinly sliced flap meat, you're halfway to carne asada. Skirt steak is even better. Whatever you use, it must be sliced so thin you can almost read a newspaper through it.

Common to all carne asada recipes are garlic, onion, a pinch of oregano and monosodium glutamate, salt and black pepper. After that, you can add chili powder and cominos. A teaspoon to a pound is about right but go lighter on the oregano.

You don't have to drown the meat in marinade. Butchers sprinkle a mixture of equal parts lemon juice and water on the meat. Use one of those sprinklers Mama used to use to sprinkle clothes for ironing.

Before you sprinkle the meat with lemon juice, rub or sprinkle it with your spices. One butcher we know used only a teaspoon of Lawrey's Seasoning Salt to a pound of meat. There's always hint of black pepper and oregano in the carne at Kennedy's Market in Heber. Bobby's Market in Brawley is closed but Bobby Gallegos' customers used to drive 500 miles to get con carne para asar (that's carne asada before it's grilled). Bobby used cominos and red chile powder in his secret recipe.

Finally, layer the meat with sliced onions in a glass or enameled pan. It will make its own marinade. To get the authentic taste you want, you may have to tinker with the recipe.

QUESTION: I am the secretary for the El Centro Lions Club. The club voted to give a check to the Martinez family, whose house burned last week. How do I get the check to the family? — Benefactor, El Centro

Send the check to the American Red Cross, 781 Broadway, El Centro, CA 92243. We've been hoping to hear from the Martinez family so we have a better idea of what they need and how to get it to them directly.

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