Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fajita Fiesta! (9/25)

So, I cheated and did not cook last night; had dinner with a friend instead.  However, when I asked if there were any good Mexican restaurants in the area, she jumped on the idea to treat me to a great "hole in the wall" kind of place with awesome food!  Did I mention the meals are cheap and enough food to feed at least two or three?  Fantastic, I tell you!  That being said, I make fajitas at home quite often, so my "date night" inspired this post! 
I made these for my Virginia Beach family, and BOY were there they a hit!  Just so you can get the visual, Grandma B. takes a bite, closes her eyes, and very softly I hear, "Mmmmmmm..."  Clearly, she was a fan, and I found it very difficult to stifle the giggle.  :)    The memory that still makes me chuckle even now is the response from my father after he tasted my black bean salsa for the first time.  If you have ever met my dad you can appreciate this; if not, suffice to say Dad is not a talker - he is quiet (unless you get him on a topic that he is passionate about), resevered and pretty mellow.  The sheer number of times he said it was good was enough to make me smile, but he was just down-right EXCITED over the stuff, so much so he even told my grandfather about it the next day! 
Again, it's the little things that make you feel appreciated after you spend some time in the kitchen and the inspiration for my blog as a whole, so wanted to share that family moment.  Hopefully, your family will get the same enjoyment from this meal! 
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Sirloin steak
  • Onions (cut into thick, round slices and do not separate)
  • Peppers (cut into 4 pieces by running knife from top to bottom next to the stem to avoid the seeds)
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasoning of your choice (I do not recommend the packaged fajita/taco seasoning since it is overpowering and full of salt; instead try a good steak seasoning like Grill Mates Cowboy Rub, which has a little heat, or any of the rubs from Weber Grill.)
I forgot to mention last time, but be sure to preheat your grill!  Light, crank to high for a good 10 minutes, get all the gunk off of the grates, then reduce to medium for best results.  No grill or don't want to freeze your tootsies off during the winter?  No biggie, you can use a good preheated cast iron grill pain for this recipe, too! 
Drizzle meat, onions and peppers with olive oil.  Sprinkle the meat with seasoning (liberally), a bit of salt and pepper for the onions and peppers (or you can go crazy with the seasoning), and grill.  Chicken will take about 5-6 minutes per side, while steak (depending on the thickness of the cut) should take about 4 minutes per side.  Leaving the onions in slices makes it very easy to grill, you just flip them over like small burgers!  These can be on grill the same as the meat, just be sure they are not on the direct heat.  Once you remove the meat from the grill, LET IT REST for at least 5 minutes, otherwise all of those tasty juices will run away!  Leave the grill on, after 5 minutes do a test cut to ensure it's coooked to your preference; no big deal to throw it back on the grill for a few.  After you know everything is perfect, then turn off the grill.  After meat rests, slice meat and peppers into thin strips; fluff up the onions and they will simply fall apart into tasty goodness.  Serve with corn or flour tortillas, black bean salsa and your choice of toppings!  (Personally, the black bean salsa has so much flavor, I don't add anything else which also allows you to avoid some of those calorie / fat traps like cheese and sour cream!)

Black Bean Salsa:
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 ears of corn (you may substitute one can of corn, be sure to drain and rinse)
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 avocadoes, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, minced
  • 1 jalapeno (optional), deveined, seeded and chopped
  • Juice of 3 limes
I highly recommend using the fresh corn on this one!  Just rub down with a bit of olive oil and throw on the grill.  Perfection is when you get nice charred grill marks on all sides.  Note:  "nice charred grill marks" does not mean black corn!  Once it's done, allow to cool, stand on end inside of a bowl and run knife along cob to get all of the kernels.  Regardless of your corn decision, just combine everything in one bowl and toss with lime juice.  Tip:  be sure to roll your limes with some pressure on the counter to get all of the juice out.  Not only does this make a great fajita topping, I also just roll it up in tortillas for lunch or serve at parties with chips! 

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