I took a trip south of the border at the end of this week. The sweet man I sometimes cook for in exchange for whatever drink he decides to concoct for us loves Mexican food. Being from Texas, Tex/Mex was a staple. My mother compulsively buys refried beans, for fear we will someday run out (we always have at least 10 cans in the pantry). My father's measure of a good meal is how much that meal makes him sweat. Chips and salsa were present always. So how lucky am I that I found a Yankee that loves Mexican food as much as I do? Very, very lucky, Amigos.
I usually don't make fajitas at home. For one, restaurants have those nifty skillets that they serve your food in, making the whole room swoon with jealousy over what you're about to eat. I don't have one of those. Secondly, fajitas have a lot of components, which can be expensive and time consuming, or so I thought. It was quite the opposite actually. I made the chicken, peppers and onions, and rice ahead of time and reheated before serving. The only thing I had to make right before, whilst sipping on a Margarita with lots of salt, was the guacamole!
First, I cooked the chicken.
I marinated strips of chicken breasts in olive oil, lime juice, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper for 30 minutes. I then cooked the chicken in a screaming hot skillet until they had that nice charred fajita look to them. Oh. And that screaming hot skillet, when combined with oil and chicken, will make SMOKE. Turn on a vent or open a window (or both, if you live in a tiny apartment like I do). My smoke alarm was angry with me.
Then, I sauteed green, yellow, and red bell peppers and 1 1/2 onion (the other half was used for the guacamole later), until the onion was almost caramelized and the peppers were tender.
I made Spanish style rice that was delicious and easy. White rice was made according to the package instructions. AND! I didn't burn the bottom layer of rice! Score! Once the rice was cooked, I melted a couple of tablespoons of melted butter and to that, added about half a package of taco seasoning, stirring to combine. When added to the rice, the seasonings were perfect and gave the rice that nice color that Spanish rice usually has.
I served these along side warm flour tortillas, sour cream, shredded cheese, and guacamole. We assembled the fajitas at the table, as you do, while drinking Margaritas and dreaming of warmer weather. It was a lovely Friday night.
Here's a quick and simple recipe for homemade Guacamole:
1 Can of Rotel Stewed Tomatoes with Green Chiles, drained (or you can use fresh tomatoes)
1 Tbsp of lime juice
1 tsp of cumin
Pickled jalapenos, chopped
1/2 chopped onion
Slice peeled and pitted avocados into a bowl. I don't mush them up yet, because while you add the rest of the ingredients, they become smooth without becoming baby-food. Add the rest of the ingredients, combining. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper and lime juice as needed. Serve right away. Avocados turn brown when left out too long, which doesn't alter their taste, but looks a bit iffy. Enjoy!
What's your favorite Mexican dish to cook at home?