Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Foody Friday: Fajito Bandito

I had a hankering for fajitas (or quesadillas, I don't really know what separates one from the other) on Sunday, so I planned ahead to have them this week. I got a couple of red bell peppers, a sweet yellow onion and some tortillas at the store. I have had this "fajita seasoning" sitting in the cupboard since I got it on special about three months ago. I just had to figure out the meat.

Well, I decided that today was the day. However, after I picked QueenJaymz up from work, I realized that I had completely forgotten to set any out to thaw or purchased any at the store.

As I burned from within over the hope-deferred I'd be forced into for yet another day concerning my fajita jones, I remembered the nearly inedible pork that sat in the fridge. I roasted up a couple of small picnic roasts about a week ago, but I left them in the oven just a bit too long and they'd come out quite dry and (thanks to the sucky sauce I used) nearly flavorless.

However, I remembered this Taco Bell commercial I'd seen once. It had some meat simmering in a spiced liquid in a pot. I put two and two together and figured what the hell. If it turned out bad, I'd just throw it all out and chalk it up to a learning experience, and if it turned out good...baby, we had fajitas.

I cut the pork into small cubes (various sizes, but roughly a 1/3 to 1/2" cubed). I put them in a pot with just enough water to cover. Add to that about a tablespoon of salt and about three tablespoons of some sort of fajita seasonings. It doesn't really matter if it's cooked or not. Simmer it on the stove top for about 90 minutes. This long simmering process completely reinvigorated the pork and made it moist again. If you ever end up with some dry chicken breast meat or, if you're daring, dry, dense white fish meat, I'd recommend you try this to use it up. This worked out very nice.

When you're getting down to about the end of that time, put about 2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil in a skillet. Put in about a teaspoon of salt and about 2 teaspoons of the fajita seasoning. Chop up the bell peppers and half the onion. Turn on the skillet to medium-high heat and let it warm up for a couple minutes (only if you have electric {damn electric}). Saute until the onions caramelize and get soft...or not. You know how fresh or sauteed you like your stuff. Remove from the stove to a hot pad on the counter and set the heat back down to medium.

Put a 10 to 12" skillet on that burner. Don't bother putting any oil or cooking spray on it. Toss an open tortilla onto it. Using a slotted spoon, remove some of the meat (be it chicken or pork) and lay it on half of the tortilla. Then some of the peppers/onions. If you want to put down a little taco sauce, now would be the time. Then some shredded cheese of your choosing. A mild cheddar or colbyjack would be great for this. Gently fold the empty half of the tortilla over the top of the other half. Hold that tight with your spatula for about ten seconds.

Remove from the heat and serve. I recommend pico de gallo and sour cream. Feast your eyes on the shot below for a good look at the finished product. I'd say this amount serves four.

For color, you could go with a yellow, orange, red and green bell pepper and a whole onion (you'd need it for so many bell peppers).

And don't forget to pair it up with a good cerveza. Zesty Mexican cuisine just begs for the right beer (and Corona is never the right beer for any situation, nor are any of the cheap light Mexican lagers). I paired this up with a Henry Weinhard's Blonde Lager. That worked out well. A white ale would go nicely, too. If you're thinking wine, I'd go white and crisp or oakey. You need a strong snap to the flavor to cut the spice. So, maybe a Californian chardonnay. Liebfraumilch would be a nice pairing, too. Personally, I don't go for oakey wines, so I'd probably go for something crisper. An Australian chardonnay would probably work very nicely, too (they tend to be less oakey).

Blessings (and cheers)


Chelf said...

Traditionally, at least at the restaurants, Fajitas is when you get the meat and onions and peppers grilled for you, but you put the stuff together in a soft tortilla. Cheese, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo and lettuce usually are the fillers you get to choose from.

Quesadillas happen when they put the stuff together in the tortilla, and melt it in the pan as you did. These are more crisp, and generally have more cheese, to glue it all together. Often the same sides are offered, with the exception of the lettuce (guac ususally comes on the bed of lettuce, but it is not something you want to add, because its cold crispness will wilt with the warm cheese).

You had a special spice blend. I would have added a little of my dried Hot Green Chile, or can of my favorite Hatch Green Chiles. Flavor without so much heat. And I recommend a good cold fountain or bottle Coca Cola. That burn in the back of your throat is such a neat feeling. If you get it too spicy, I suggest milk to ease your pain.

I love "fridge cleaner" recipes. Mine usually turn out to be a stew or a chili. This was awesome! Keep 'em coming, J.

Niki said...

I'd like to hire you both! ;) It looks good J. Bring on the guac and the sour cream! And I noticed the Redbox DVD hiding behind the bottle. Don't forget to check out www.insideredbox.com

Have a great weekend!