Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tequila Flank Steak Fajitas with Baked Beans and Collard Greens by Tom

Tequila Flank Steak Fajitas with Baked Beans and Collard Greens

Barbara was downtown at her "temporary storefront shop and satellite studio" for the afternoon, and she asked me to make dinner for the evening.  We had a flank steak in the freezer, so I thought "maybe I can find a recipe that is different from the ones I had made in the past." 

I was in the mood for some Mexican flavors, so that became the subject of my recipe search.  Also, we had some leftover collard greens that were begging to be used or tossed.  I chose to use.  Finally, I needed a starch, so a spicy version of beans sounded good to me. 

The result was my fajita, collard greens and baked beans creation.  I used the basis for the fajitas from the "Best of Cooking Lite" cookbook, and the side dishes from my favorite cookbook "Dinosaur Bar B Que".   

You never know how three distinctly different dishes will mesh until you try it.  I am very glad I tried this combination because they turned out to be surprisingly good together.    
          ---Tom



Tequila-Marinated Beef and Pepper Fajitas
The Best of Cooking Lite Everyday Favorites

Ingredients
  1 1/2 - 2# flank steak
  1/2 cup tequila
  4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  2 teaspoons ground cumin
  1 teaspoon canola oil
  1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  4 garlic cloves minced
  1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  1/2 Mayan sweet onion slices
  salt to taste
  pepper to taste
 
Combine the tequila, cilantro, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, canola oil, red pepper, and garlic in a gallon size zip-lock bag.  Shake it up good to get all of the ingredients combined.  Slice the flank steak into strips of about 2" long by 1/2" wide.  Remember to slice against the grain.  Throw the sliced meat into the bag of marinade and seal the bag, shake it up again to make sure the meat is well coated, and put into the refrigerator for at least an hour.  I marinated this one about four hours.
Heat a large skillet with some oil or cooking spray, and saute the peppers and onions until they are soft.
Next throw the bag of flank steak into the skillet along with some of the marinade, and cook for about 12-14 minutes.  Let the marinade and other juices mostly boil away.  Turn the heat off and plate.

Now on to the sides.  For the next two recipes I adapted recipes from the "Dinosaur Bar B Que" cookbook.  But first, the story...

During the summer we had taken our niece to visit Syracuse University.  To round out what had been a good visit to the university on a very rainy Syracuse kind of day, we took her to Dinosaur Bar B Que, a Syracuse landmark.  I decided for my two sides, along with ribs and pulled brisket, to try the greens and beans.  Not my normal selection, but the waitress said they were truly delicious.  Being brave, I ordered them.  They were delicious!  So I thought I would take a stab at making something like them to complement my fajita recipe.
Dinosaur-Style BBQ Beans
Dinosaur Bar B Que Cookbook adaptation

Ingredients
  1 tablespoon olive oil
  1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  Salt & pepper to taste
  1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  4 ounces breakfast sausage
  1 28 ounce can Bush's vegetarian style baked beans
  2 tablespoons Dinosaur BBQ Slathering Sauce
  1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  1/2 teaspoon oregano
  1/2 teaspoon thyme
  1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1 tablespoon molasses

This works best when made a few hours ahead of time to let the flavors all marry.

Over medium-high heat, saute the pepper and onions sprinkled with a dash of pepper and salt in a little oil until they are soft.  I did this right in the final pan for cooking the dish.  Once soft add the chopped garlic and saute for one more minute.  Add the sausage to the vegetables and saute until it loses its pinkness.  Now add the can of beans, but first pouring off a little of the excess liquid from the can.  Mix this all up.   Turn the heat down to low, and add all of the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer this mixture for another five minutes or so, and then remove from the heat.  You can serve it immediately, or let it rest while you are preparing other items. 

For my Saturday dinner, I made this about two hours ahead of time.  This is a very decadent way to make baked beans!

Collard Greens the Dinosaur BBQ way
Dinosaur Bar B Que Cookbook adaptation
Ingredients
  ~1pound collard greens, stems removed
  1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1 red bell pepper cut into 2" strips by 1/2" wide
  1/2 Mayan sweet onion, chopped
  Pinch of salt and pepper
  4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  Couple sprinkles of Tabasco sauce
  2 tablespoons honey

Wash the collard greens in cold water.  Slice off the stems of the collard greens, and boil for 5 minutes in salted water.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Be sure to get all of the grit and dirt off the greens.  Next cut up the greens into strips.   The best way to do that is to grab all of the leaves and just roll them together.  Start slicing along the rolled leaves, and then slice again in the opposite direction.  The greens will shrink when sauting, so don't worry about some longer pieces.

Over medium-high heat, saute the onions and pepper until they are soft. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper.  Next add the garlic and saute for an additional minute.
Now throw in the collard greens and the remaining ingredients.  Stir it all up and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  This will bring the flavors together.  The Tabasco adds a little bite.   The vinegar a little sour, and the honey a little sweet.  This simple dish has some surprising taste complexity.
Put it all on the table with some gently heated flour tortillas, quacamole, and chopped cilantro, and the meal is ready!
I enjoyed making this dinner for Barbara and myself, and I think you will enjoy it too.
                 
           ---Tom

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