Viva the Fajita

FajitasI will start by saying I am only a fan of flour tortillas in the following instances:

  • They have eggs, cheese, chorizo, and salsa in them
  • They are larger than a corn tortilla
  • They consist of meat, peppers, and guacamole

With that stated, Viva the Fajita.

My wife was impressed when I threw down the fajita the other day, only due to the fact that neither she nor I order fajitas off a menu. Ever. Now, I have been with co-workers and friends who can throw down the sizzling plate of fajitas, but I on the other hand stick to traditional tacos al pastor, or something other wicked.

Here is the scoop. When I open doors to my freezer, refrigerator, or while at the market, my brain starts kicking into gear. It comes natural; flavors, plating, satisfaction with smiles. Well, when I opened the door a few days ago, I saw the flank steak that I used for my beef jerky. I did not have to do much with the flank steak, but I did anyway. A little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili powder for the marinade.

Here we go, start making your fajita and yell ‘Viva Baby’:

  • Flank Steak
  • Olive oil, or whatever you like
  • Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder
  • Green Pepper
  • Onion
  • Flour Tortillas

Optional Ingredients:

  • Green Pepper(s)
  • White/Yellow Onions
  • Tomato
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Cheese

FajitasTo get started, marinate your steak, place in a bag, add salt, pepper, and chili powder to your liking. You know what you like. Add other stuff if you want (cumin, fresh herbs (marjoram, oregano, etc)), and let that sit overnight. Always overnight.
When you are ready to go, it could not be simpler.

Fire up the grill. Thinly slice the green pepper and onions and toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat a skillet, and get ready to cook these down to your liking. I like my peppers and onions with a slight crunch, and not too soggy. You know what I mean right? So medium to high heat at first, then bring it down to low as the meat will take a few minutes to cook. Back to the grill right? Cook the flank to your liking, I like mine medium-rare. Once done, take it off the grill, cover with foil, and let rest for a few minutes.

FajitasDuring this time, I sliced the avocado, chopped cilantro, garlic, and tomato and made the guacamole. A minute for two after this process, I took the meat out of the foil (keep the juices), placed on a cutting sheet, and cut against the grain, into thin slices (or the thickness you would want to put into your mouth).

Get ready to rock. Warm up your tortillas in your microwave, or oven (in foil) and place in a warmer if you have it, otherwise, keep them sealed somehow, someway. Flour tortillas have a way of getting hard around the edges if you keep them unwrapped.

When you are ready… You are ready right? Plate them up. You know how the tortilla works; flour tortilla, meat, cheese, toppings, fold, eat, drink, eat more. Be happy. Fajitas are delicious. Things are comparable and can beat the fajita, but it is a dish that is everlasting, especially with a great wife, and friends.

Finger Lickn’ Good – Fried Chicken

Allow me to begin this post by stating that my mom’s fried chicken is a hard one to beat. I think I am getting there, however. In the past, I have soaked chicken for a couple of hours in salted water, rinsed, and drained. I then would season, coat in flour, put it in an egg wash, then back in flour, then fry it. Trust me, that recipe is really good. This past weekend allowed me to experiment with a new recipe, and you should try this one.

Growing up, my mom always fried her chicken in a cast iron skillet. After researching the skillet, and recently purchasing one, I thought of my mom’s recipe, and I could not get it off my mind. I decided not to use her recipe, however I did attempt (and succeeded) to make my own. Overall, I think the cast iron is key, along with the following information:

Ingredients:

  • Whole Chicken, cut up (legs, thighs, wings, breast)
  • Buttermilk
  • Seasoning (I used garlic, kosher salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder)
  • Cooking Oil (I used corn oil, but would recommend lard or Crisco or something of that sort)

Add the chicken to a large ziplock bag, season with pepper, and add a quart of buttermilk. Seal it and put place in a bowl to prevent any leakage. Soak the chicken overnight, preferably 12 to 24 hours.

Let the games begin. When you are ready to go, heat enough oil, preferably 1/8 of the bottom of the meat and bring to about 350 degrees. During this time, drain the chicken in a colander. Mix your seasonings and moderately season. Dredge the seasoned chicken in flour (I shake the pieces in a ziplock bag full of about 2 cups of flour). I placed them on a wire rack and let them set for about 10 minutes. The oil will be ready by then.

Place the chicken pieces like this; skin side down, thighs in the middle, legs, wings, and breasts on the edges. Cook them for about 10 minutes, carefully not to burn, flip, and continue on the other side. I attempted to take the temperature of the meat, however that did not do much to me. Instead, I went with my instincts, took the chicken out, and drained on paper towel.

I served this dish with our favorites, mashed potatoes and corn. Overall, my wife said this was the best chicken she has ever had, one of my boys ate two legs (unheard of), and the other ate close to an entire breast (unheard of). Based on those facts, I think I will make this dish again.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Alfredo SauceLet me start by saying that I am not a big fan of pasta. Maybe it is simply the red sauce, not sure. Growing up, pasta was around the table, however I simply chose my pasta and sprinkled parmesan cheese on it, no red sauce. Never red sauce. My wife on the other hand, as she grew up easting pasta and parmesan cheese, loves the red sauce. I almost feel guilty that I do not cook pasta that often, even though I love my wife dearly, she doesn’t see the red sauce very often. There is one dish that we come to agreement on, and that is alfredo. So yesterday, I decided to make my own alfredo and enhance it to something out of this world.

Lets begin by saying how easy it is to make the sauce. Lets get going here because I know your mouth is probably watering.

Ingredients:

  • Heavy Cream
  • Butter
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Chopped Garlic
  • Fettuccine Noodles
  • Basil (optional)
  • Bacon or Pancetta (optional)
  • Peas

Fettuccine AlredoUsing a sauce pan on medium heat, add two tablespoons of butter and chopped garlic. Let melt, then add the heavy whipping cream. I added the entire container, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 cups. Lower the heat and bring to a simmer. The cream will begin to thicken, approximately 10 minutes or so. Keep stirring as it could burn on you. During this time, bring salted water to a boil and cook the noodles for approximately 10 minutes, or al dente. Once the pasta is cooked, drain, and add the pasta back to the pan and get ready to boogie. The sauce should be close to being done. Add 1 1/2 cups of parmesan cheese. Now the sauce is coming together. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss.

If you want to do what I did, here is the skinny. While the sauce was cooking, I added a cup of frozen peas. I precooked six slices of bacon, and roughly chopped. I topped the dish with the bacon and basil. TRUST ME…. This one is a keeper.

In Search of the Enchilada

EnchiladaI’ve been told over the course of the last two years that my enchiladas are really good. I’ve made these many times over for my wife, and have made them on family vacations. Ok, keyword, family vacations. I do not like to spend much time in the kitchen on vacations, (well, I actually do) so this dish has a few things to it; it is easy to make, it is diverse in what you want to add, and it is delicious.

Keep in mind, when you are at a restaurant where they serve enchiladas, you will most likely have your choice of chicken, beef, or pork. Seriously, this recipe will handle either meat product well, or heck, if you chose, lose the meat.

IngredientsLet’s discuss the simple ingredients. I should note that you could really do sauce, corn tortillas, and cheese, and I bet they would be really nice, however here is what I have used in the past, of which, have served up to 15 people.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, cooked and shredded
  • diced whole onion
  • fresh tomato, diced
  • monterrey jack cheese, lots
  • enchilada sauce
  • cooking oil
  • corn tortillas
  • whatever else you want to throw in

Here is the process, of which is super simple. Trust me, this meal is a throw together in less than 20 minutes.

Naked EnchiladaCook your meat however you want. In my case, I grilled the chicken breast. Let it cool, then shredded.
While the chicken is cooking, dice your onion and tomato and set aside. Also during this time, heat nearly 1/4 cup of oil in a pan, round enough to fit a corn tortilla. Please do this part, as the warmed, oil, tortilla really brings out texture and flavor of this dish. Once the oil is warmed, place a tortilla in the pan for nearly 20 seconds. Then with your tongs, pick up the tortilla and add once underneath. Continue this process, stacking the tortillas, depending on how many you are cooking. I cooked eight the other night, of which fed the family for two days. Ok, once tortillas cook for 30 seconds or so, take the stack and let them cool, covered with paper towel as to let the oil soak through a bit.

Enchilada SauceLets assume everything is ready. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. During this time, have your cheese, sauce, meat, and ingredients ready. Do the wrap. Grab your tortilla (get over the fact that it has some oil on it, you can wash your hands later), place some cheese, meat, sauce, onion, and whatever else inside it, BUT, keep in mind that you have to be able to fold this thing and place it in a pan. Continue this process with the rest of the tortillas. Once the pan is full, or the tortillas are gone, add the remaining sauce on top of the naked enchiladas. Cover with cheese, and bake for 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Get your enchilada on. P.S. I like mine spicy, so you can add chipolte sauce, hot sauce, or chili flake. 🙂