September 26, 2009

Beef Fajita Marinade Deliciousness and a Baking Revelation

I realize I haven't posted in a while but it is because of of my amazing work ethic I've been exhibiting on that other writing project. I finished a complete draft of one of my dissertation chapters! Only two more hard ones to go and I'm done! (Not to say I don't still have a lot of work) I feel so proud. In fact, this is somewhat inspired my baking revelation! I usually hate baking, hate may be a strong word, but I tend to not have the patience for it and baking makes me worry that I've messed it all up and I have to wait until it's done baking to see if I've done everything right. While I was baking this beautiful cake (that ended up being perfect) I realized that baking is a lot like scholarly writing. It takes advance preparation (read whole recipe/read other scholarship), the putting together of things in a certain order (dry ingredients, wet ingredients/several sections come together to make a whole) and some faith that it is all going to come out all right (rising dough and/or baking time in the oven/knowing that you will get the right combo together and have a finished product sometime). Yes it's hard work, but you have to have faith in the process, the more you work at it the better at it you'll be, the better prepared you are in advance then the more likely something better will come out of it! Like this deliciousness...

I made this cake to bring over to A's friend/co-worker, S' house for a dinner that we planned because she wanted to cook with me based on my prowess! This isn't my first invitation to someone else's kitchen but I am very excited that my blog has inspired the potential for cooking collaborations.

I decided to bring a marinated steak for fajitas. This is a really great and easy marinade, I made it the morning of our dinner and allowed the meat to soak it all up for about twelve hours. If you are marinating a meat, I would definitely suggest the longer the better. The flavor of the steak was absolutely tasty, grilling it outside on S' giant grill also enhanced the flavors. The pictures that I have of the process are of my time making fajitas a couple of weeks ago on my grill pan, not quite as awesome as the outside grill, but an amazing implement to have in my kitchen arsenal.

This marinade will be enough for one pretty large sized steak. Squeeze the juice from two limes. Add one tablespoon each of olive oil and red chile powder (or to taste). Cut up about half a jalapeño, two cloves of garlic (minced) and whatever else you think might add a tasty flavor, in the case of the other night I added in some chopped onions. Let your steak soak it all in, it will totally be worth it.

This was a really thick steak but I recommend seven to five minutes on each side and then you're good to go. Don't forget to quickly saute some onions and peppers to top your fajitas. I often throw the second half of the jalapeño in with my veggies to add some flavor, apparently I'm a sucker when it comes to jalapeño, I mean seriously, I might have a problem.

I like to make sure I don't have them too soggy, I like them with a little bite and crunch in my fajita, so literally they're only on the stove for a few minutes, I try not to stir too soon after they head in for their olive oil dip, so that the onions and peppers can be brown and deliciously caramelized.

Slice your meat into thin strips and pull your tortillas out of the oven. I like to warm them in foil for fajitas because to the soft tortilla juxtaposed to the crunchy veggies and chewy carne is heaven.

Assemble it all together and you have a really great meal that is relatively easy to do. Serve with sour cream of course and some salsa/pico if you feel like you need some tomato.

Here are my awesome fajitas along side some Mexican rice, I'll divulge those secrets on another post, but for now, I will just revel in the power of positive thinking, weekly writing action plans and persistence, because all of these things make it possible for me to survive. Thanks for letting me have this venue to talk out some things, it feels good to be in this informal voice instead of dissertation voice, it's a balance that I need to achieve to make all of my writing better. And make these fajitas, especially if you're in the mood for something fast and filling, and maybe try to bake a cake from scratch, you'll be surprised if you can accomplish baking a cake from scratch, you might just feel like you can do anything!

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