Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicken Fajitas

Nothing better than a sizzling platter of goodies to make the Tex Mex build your own "sandwich" known as a fajita! The creative possibilities are endless and they can please the vegetarian as well as the meat lover. For the vegetarians, just make sure to have plenty of portabello mushrooms.

Ordinarily I marinate flank steak in a big freezer bag with a liberal amount of balsamic vinegar and most of a little jar of chopped garlic and do likewise with portabello mushrooms in a separate bag. For a variation, I sometimes add a bit of that Instant Smoke stuff, but not always. Marinade at least an hour, turn frequently and bring to room temperature before grilling. When the coals are ready, grill both til done, slice, and fight off the *neighbors who are now all standing by your fence, plates in hand, asking what on earth that heavenly smell is and when should they come over. Don't recommend this marinade if you use chicken. It "colors" the meat unattractively, just rub with spices and grill.

*true story, well, true except for the plates.

Recently made chicken fajitas without the usual and most excellent addition of that outdoor grilled over coals flavor because I did not decide until the last minute what I wanted to eat. Sure, it's better if you can do the meal over coals, but this did just fine in a pinch and since chicken can be done without a marinade that was the meat of choice.


Ingredients and Directions All Mixed Up With Variations:

Whole wheat flour tortillas (warmed in the microwave)

3 thin chicken breasts coated liberally with your favorite fajita seasoning or other southwestern combination of seasonings. I used Emeril's this time. Pan fry til browned and just done with a little olive oil over medium heat, allow to sit a bit covered with foil to keep warm and slice before serving.

1 portabello mushroom given the same treatment of liberal seasoning, sliced, and sauteed in the chicken pan til softened and add to covered plate of chicken.

On another and much prettier plate, arrange sections with a pile of quartered cherry tomatoes or the tomato of your choice cut small, slices of sweet yellow onion, sliced jalapeno peppers, and torn lettuce of your preference (I used red leaf lettuce as you can see by the darkened lettuce edge to the right hand side of the "fixings" pile on the tortilla, but the type of lettuce is totally up to you).

In a bowl, squish the juice of 1/2 a lime. Then slice a not overly soft Haas avocado in half and pull apart. Use a spoon to scoop out the seed. The use the spoon to scoop bite sized lumps of avocado and add it to the bowl of lime juice and stir to coat. Scoop out the brown bits if needed - always good to have a spare avocado or two!

The lime juice will keep the avocado from turning an ugly brown. If you like the taste of lime, squish in the other half too! You could make guacamole if you prefer, and that's best kept simple: scoop the avocado(s) into a bowl with the squishings of lime juice, add a little minced garlic and mash all together, taste and add a pinch of salt if you like (I used to use celery salt and it was very good that way too). That's really all you need to do, however if you want to get fancy, add tiny bits of tomato and jalapeno as that is also very good. I don't suggest using picante sauce or Tabasco as that tends to "color" the guac and it's prettiest nice and green! For me, the more you "do" to the guacamole, the less guacamole-like it is. I've seen people make a horrid pale green mess by adding things like sour cream or some such abomination. *shudders*. Do not ever do that.

Set all this on the table with some grated sharp cheddar and your favorite salsa and get creative, or even competitive, as you build your sandwich!

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