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August 10, 2007 / Tony

Fajitas and Fresh Garden Salsa

I had an uneven dinner last night.  On the positive side, I had some absolutely stellar salsa that was primarily made from fresh vegetables from my garden.  On the negative side, I find that I still don’t know how to cook skirt steak and had some interesting flavors in my fajita.  On to the recipes:

Fajitas

1 lb skirt steak

1 T olive oil

1 tsp. salt

juice from 1/2 lime

1 red onion, julienne

1 avocado, halved and sliced

sour cream

tortilla shells

Fresh garden salsa, recipe below

Place skirt steak, olive oil, salt, and lime juice in a resealable plastic bag and marinate for about an hour in the fridge.  Light a grill, preferably with lump charcoal.  (Note, this recipe absolutely will not work with a gas grill as directed.)  Saute onions in a bit of olive oil until just tender. 

Dump the coals in one area of the grill.  Let any fire on the coals die down and then, using a hair dryer, blow any excess or loose ash off the coals.  Now, take the skirt steak out of the marinade and place it directly on the coals.  Cook it for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side.  When done, take it off the grill and let it rest under some aluminum foil for a few minutes.  Then, cut it with the grain into 4 inch chunks and then slice it against the grain into 1/4 pieces.  Place meat, sour cream, avocado, and salsa onto a heated tortilla shell and serve immediately.

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Fresh Garden Salsa

2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, preferably from different varieties

juice of 1/2 lime

3 T cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 jalepeño, minced

1/2 tsp chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients.  Taste and adjust any seasonings.  Serve.

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A few notes about the food:  One, the salsa recipe is more of a guideline than a recipe where accurate measuring is critical to success.  Really, once you’re working with really good tomatoes, then there’s no way you can screw this recipe up.  Just start mixing ingredients together using less than the amounts specified in the recipe, taste it and add whatever you think is missing.  Maybe you want it hotter.  Then add more jalepeño or add some cayenne pepper.  Not enough citrus flavor?  Add more lime juice.  Or vary what’s in it.  Fresh corn would certainly be a welcome addition as would be sweet peppers or black beans.  There is no limit to the creativy when making salsa.  And it is delicious.  The salsa last night was had a perfect tomato taste that was heightened by the lime juice and salt while complemented by the heat of the jalepeño, the sharpness of the red onion, and the bite of the garlic. 

The skirt steak was another story.  I do not have a hair dryer.  I thought my sister had one but she didn’t.  So, I had no way to get any ash off the coals in my grill.  I probably should have tried another method of cooking but I did it anyway.  Here’s what it looked like:

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You can see the ash on the meat as well as some large dark spots which are also mostly ash.  The meat turned out medium rare and with good flavor but with a gritty taste from the ash stuck to it.  I’ll need to work on my technique here.  Also, take some care cutting the meat, otherwise I can see it being a little chewy when eating. 

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