I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

How to Make a Fajita Meal

I am on nightfloat right now. What that means is that I work 7AM Sunday until 7AM Monday. All other days I work from 6:00 PM until 6:30 AM. I have Friday and Saturday off.

I have to say I kind of like working at night. I have done a lot of trauma and I occasionally pick up a couple of elective cases. It is a big change to go from doing 30 to 35 cases a week to doing half a dozen though.

I think I have the secret to nightfloat. You absolutely have to stay up all night so that you can sleep during the day and make the transition. I usually stay up until 4:30 AM and then catch a couple winks until signout. If you stay up all night and plan on becoming a vampire, nightfloat is no problem.

The only thing that is a little wired is the weekends. This Friday I had to take my car to the shop because an EPC light kept coming on. It turns out my catalytic converter went bad. The good news is it is covered by my warranty. Anyway I only got about 5 hours during the day on Friday. I went to bed at 9:30 but I woke up at midnight and stayed up until 4. I slept Saturday until 11AM, which was a little weird for my wife. I absolutely NEVER sleep past 7 under normal circumstances. I have to get up and get some coffee. I hate wasting the morning.

So I mowed the lawn on Saturday. 3:00 rolls around and my friend wants to have a BBQ. The only problem was I wasn't hungry for burgers and brats. So I decided to have a fajita meal on the grill.

History of Fajitas

Way back in Olden Times, Texas ranchers used to hire lots of cowboys. Some of those cowboys were from Mexico. Mostly the cowboys just road their horses around, sang songs and shot their pistols into the air. It was a pretty good time. The ranchers knew that being a cowboy was a lot of fun so they didn't really want to pay the cowboys very much. One thing they would do was give each cowboy a calf now and again so that they could start their own herds. Another thing the ranchers would do is pay the cowboys in beef. The ranchers didn't want to give away filet mignons. In fact, they didn't even want to give away sirloin. So the cowboys got pretty crappy cuts of meat.

Probably the worst cut of meat on a cow is the flank steak. It is tough and full of connective tissue. What cut do you think the ranchers gave the cowboys?

Cowboys rapidly got sick of eating grilled flank steak and beans. One day a Mexican had a couple of limes. He marinated his flank steak with lime juice for an hour or so while he was cutting up his onions and peppers. He also had a couple tortilla shells on hand. He grilled the marinated flank steak over mesquite wood along with the onions and peppers. When combined with the tortillas, fajitas were born.

What this means to you and me is that flank steak is now extremely expensive relative to other cuts of meat. The same thing happened to chicken wings when Buffalo wings took off. To be frank, I can't afford the crappiest cut of meat on a cow anymore.

Here is how I make fajitas.

Fajita Recipe

1 pound sirloin, pounded flat
juice of 2 limes
a few dashes of salt
fresh ground pepper
a little garlic salt

Marinate the meat in the above ingredients for about an hour. Don't cut the meat into strips yet. It will be too hard to handle on the grill. Just keep it in a nice flat steak. Grill for a minute or two on a charcoal grill. Flip once. Just before you throw the meat on, add some mesquite chips. Remove from grill and wrap in aluminum foil while the vegies are cooking.

Grill up some onions, green pepper (seeded and sliced in half), red pepper (seeded and sliced in half), and green onions. Before you throw them on the grill brush them with olive oil. When the vegies finish cover them with aluminum foil while you finish setting up the rest of the meal.

I would highly recommend throwing your tortillas on the grill for a few seconds on each side to heat them up. I have a cheap plastic tortilla warmer that I put them into after I grill them. The warmer will keep the tortillas nice and warm and moist until they are eaten.

To serve your fajita feast, slice the peppers and meat into strips. I layed mine out on a platter. You should serve it with lots of fixings. I included my recipes below.

My Pico de Gayo Recipe

2 tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small serano chili, seeded and diced
a little bit of salt
a little bit of pepper
some fresh cilantro
juice of 1 lime

Combine everything and refrigerate until ready to use.

Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa

1 32 oz can tomatillos
1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobe sauce)
1 onion
fresh cilantro
a little salt
a little pepper

Combine all of the above in a blender and blend until smooth.

You can find my wife's guacamole recipe elsewhere on this blog.