Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mexican Monday by Tom

Mexican Monday by Tom

Driving home from exercising, I was thinking about what to make for dinner, as I was given that assignment today.  At first I thought that maybe tacos would taste good.  But then I thought further and determined my theme would be "Mexican Monday." 

I started with the taco idea and then expanded on it to a complete meal, and instead of tacos, I was torn between making fajitas and burritos.  So I have compromised and have made a "burr-ita" or perhaps a "faj-rito".  A combination of both.  To this I added black beans and a Mexican rice.  You won't find these recipes in any cookbooks.  I made them up as I went along.

My able sous chef David assisted me throughout the process.  And of course, he stayed for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed our joint concoctions.  "Mexican Monday" was a success, with comments like "why don't we do this more often!"  Perhaps we will.

                ---Tom

Burr-itas/Faj-ritos
11/2 pound flank steak, cut into 1/4" strips and then cut again into bite-size pieces
1 red pepper, julienned
1 yellow pepper, julienned
1 orange pepper, julienned
1 jalapeno pepper, julienned
11/2 sweet onions, cut into strips
1 lime, juice squeezed
1 fajita prepackaged seasoning mix
3/4 cup tequila
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1-2 tablespoons olive oil


Black Beans
1 can black beans
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
Juice from a lime
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mexican Rice
1 package Mexican rice mix
1 bunch of scallions, sliced including most of the green stems
1 tablespoon olive oil

Accoutrements
salsa
guacamole
shredded lettuce
cilantro
shredded cheddar cheese
tomatoes, diced
flour tortillas

Three to four hours prior to cooking, slice the flank steak into 1/4" pieces.  Slice against the grain with a very sharp knife.  Once the strips are sliced, cut them into bite size pieces about 1-2" long.
Use any tequila that you have lying around the house.

Into a 1-quart Ziploc bag, add the fajita pre-packaged mix, the tequila, the juice from a lime along with the rinds, the garlic, and the flank steak.  Mix this up well so that all of the meat gets coated with the marinade.  Put into the refrigerator, turning every 45 minutes or so.

Julienne the peppers. Slice up the onions as well.

Over medium-high heat, add the olive oil to a large skillet.  Once the oil is hot, start sautéing the peppers and sweet onions.  Do this until they are soft, about 10-12 minutes, stirring constantly so that they do not burn.
Next add the flank steak while reserving as much of the liquid marinade as possible in the Ziploc bag.  Brown the meat for about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Now add the marinade from the Ziploc bag and simmer the mixture while you are making the black beans and the Mexican rice.

Time to make the black beans.  In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, sauté the onion, garlic and the jalapeno pepper until it is soft.  Again, stir often to insure no burning.
Add the black beans, squeeze in the lime juice, and bring to a low boil.  Cover and simmer over a very low flame for 20 minutes or so.

Time to make the Mexican rice.  In a separate pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, sauté the green onions for just a few minutes.  These will cook quickly, so keep stirring.

Add the packaged Mexican rice to the pan and brown the rice for a minute or two, again stirring constantly.  Now add the required water and cook per the package directions.  Usually this will take about 25 minutes.
Everything should be done about the same time if you follow the above steps.  It also was convenient to have my very able sous chef David assisting me.

The black beans.

The Mexican rice.

The accoutrements.

Using the flour tortillas slightly heated in the microwave, assemble your "burr-ita/faj-rito" with as much of everything as you want.  If you really pack it with everything, it will be best to eat with a knife and fork, making it more burrito like.  If you pack it lightly, you might be able to pick it up with you hands and eat it like a fajita.  Eaters choice.

So there you have it, "Mexican Monday".  A treat for us.

                   --- Tom

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