Friday, February 29, 2008

Fajita Friday

Well, to be technical it was fajita Thursday, but Fajita Friday just sounds better.


So after my nice walk with the dog last night it was time for dinner. DaNece was still out shopping so I was on my own. I had some defrosted chicken breasts and a belly screaming for sustenance. A situation like this requires something that can be thrown together quickly and efficiently. It also requires having some other stuff on hand like bell pepper and onion, which I thankfully did have hidden away.


The big trick to fajitas is to get some nice carmelization while still keeping it moist enough to enjoy. Sometimes this can be tricky but thankfully last night it came through perfectly.


To start: Preheat 2 pans on MEDIUM heat - this is important. One for chicken and one for all the veggies:




Slice all your veggies and chicken into the size chunks you want to eat and season them. Tonight I happened to have onion, orange bell pepper, green bell pepper, and mushrooms. I kept the onions separate since they need to cook first to soften up. The remaineder of the veggies get: Fresh garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, a touch of cumin, and a healthy pinch of sugar. Generally I go pretty light on the spices for the veggies since I really like to taste them in the final product.


My (3) Chicken (breasts) receives what we call 'the Devil Spice'. We call it this because whenever you stick your nose into the bag to get a whiff you end up getting something in your sinuses and coughing and sneezing for the next ten minutes. The devil spice includes the following (but may not be limited to): Lots of Cumin, rosemary, garlic salt, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne. In addition to the devil spice, I added about 2 teaspoons of sugar (helps mellow out the spice, and punches up the flavor a bit) and some onion powder. Toss the meat and veggies with their respective spices. to coat.


Once you finish slicing and spicing your pans should be nice and warm, so toss your onions into the veggie pan with a little olive oil, and let them go until they start to go translucent. Then add the rest of your veggies. At about the same time you can add your chicken to it's pan with a small amount of oil as well:



If either of the pans starts looking too dry (nobody likes dry fajitas) put a lid on it for a few minutes until there is some water in the bottom of the pan when you take the lid off. Repeat as necessary. Keep cooking both over medium (or medium high if you one starts lagging behind) until the chicken is done. Cut a piece in half and, if it is done, shove it in your mouth (don't worry about those silly tastebuds getting burned to a crisp). You don't actually have to do this, but I do because it is fun. :)



Then throw it all into a heated tortilla with some sour cream and cheese, and you got yourself a darn good meal pretty quick!

Now, I did mention that I was hungry right? Good, because as soon as food hit tortilla it went directly into my oral cavity and promptly disappeared. About halfway through my third one I realized that I hadn't taken any pictures, so here is a tasty, half-eaten fajita. I'm sorry, I'm weak and easily distracted:




And on a (mostly) totally un-related subject: My roomate showed me a magical tool for cleaning pans. I am the type of guy who calls all that black death that builds up on the bottom of a pan 'character' so that I don't have to spend hours with steel wool getting my pans back to that shiny steel color, so I wasn't buying his 'gotta keep your kitchen spotless' attitude. But he has convinced me. And what did it take? 3M Scotchbrite Scour Pads. They seriously work miracles. I not only cleaned my stove of all the grease burns and stains that have made it ugly, but managed to work a little magic on my fajita pan.


Here is a pan that had fajita AND black death built up from a year of cooking.







And with no more than a few minutes of elbow grease! Simply amazing. Go and get some and make your clean-up life WAY easier! Of course, if you have Teflon pans then you don't want to use these, as they will probably scour most of your Teflon caoting off as well. :)

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