Yesterday was the 5th of May, and we celebrated Cinco de Mayo here at home like many do all over the country, whether your state shares a common border with Mexico or not. Being a Californian means that Cinco de Mayo is an opportunity not only to enjoy some of the delicious and spicy food that we have adopted from our neighbors that has become a regular feature on many of our menus at home, but also a chance for me to honor in my own small way the amazing friends I have made from all over Latin America as a result of working in the hospitality and retail businesses for so many years.
Anyone who has worked in commercial kitchens in California (or most of the rest of the USA), knows that the backbone of the industry is supported by these kind and hard-working folks who never complain about the long hours and back-breaking work. I am proud to call them my friends.
Mexican cuisine is ubiquitous in California, and our home is no exception. The refrigerator always has a dish of homemade Salsa Fresca, some avocados on the counter and some Jalapeno and Pasilla chiles hanging out in the vegetable crisper. The spice cabinet is full of dried chiles of all kinds and cans of Chipotles in Adobo Sauce are always on the shelf in the cupboard beside Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce and jars of Mole Negro.
Yesterday was also an opportunity to reflect upon the sad state of affairs concerning the recent legislation in the state of Arizona. It makes me sad and angry that the state has made this choice. I think the law is indeed "misguided" as Steve Nash of "Los Suns" was quoted as saying recently.
Last night's menu included Beef Fajitas, homemade guacamole, hot corn tortillas and our requisite Margaritas. We often have fajitas, chicken or beef, because they are so darn easy and quick to make, and the flavors are simply delicioso!
When making beef fajitas, recipes usually call for flank or skirt steak. I don't know if you have seen the prices on flank steak recently, but at my butcher counter that sells the highest quality all-natural beef, flank steak is selling for around $15.99 per pound, making it not an economical choice for our budget. I recently discovered a cut called Flat iron steak, and it sells more in the $7.00 per pound range. It is very tender, and juicy.
If you are lucky enough to have a full-service butcher counter at your market, just ask your butcher to cut it into strips for fajitas. Most recipes recommend marinating time for the meat, which I rarely have time to plan ahead for. I find that the fajitas do not suffer a bit skipping this step. Simply season your meat as you cook, and add lime juice at the very end.I hate to sound like Rachael Ray, but truly you will have an amazing dinner on the table in about 30 minutes with some help from your friendly meat guys. Fajitas can also be a great vegetarian dish. Just sauté the peppers and onions and pile high on those corn tortillas with lots of guacamole on the top. Lacto/ovo vegetarians will also enjoy cheese and sour cream.
1 large jalapeno, roasted, skinned and chopped
1 large anaheim chile , roasted, skinned and cut into long, thin strips
1-1/2 pounds Flat iron steak
1 tsp chile seasoning mix
1 tsp minced garlic
1 large red bell pepper seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 large orange bell pepper seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 large yellow bell pepper seeded and cut into thin strips
1 large yellow onion, peeled, cut in half, and sliced into half moons
2 limes, freshly squeezed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 package corn tortillas
1 package corn tortillas
1. Sauté beef on high heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add teaspoon of chili mix. Add one teaspoon garlic and when meat is browned, transfer to bowl along with juices.
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