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Old 07-18-2019, 06:43 PM   #1
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Fajita from scratch


My wife wanted fajita's (both chicken and steak) the other day. So, we went shopping. I usually like skirt steak for fajitas but it is hard to find or it is overpriced. So I go for flank steak.

And, I went for chicken tenders as she wanted white meat.

In the past, I have used the old bottle of Italian Dressing and a few extra things tossed in. OR I have used specialty bottled fajita marinades. Frontera grill had one that I have used in the past, but it was almost $6!!! I looked at the ingredients and I had 4 of the 5 first ingredients. I just didn't have the type of soy sauce specified. So I picked some of that up, plus some spices I knew I wanted.

I looked online for a fajita dry rub and I came up with one that looked really good. Plus, I had ALL the right herbs and spices. Here is what it calls for:
1 tbsp chili powder (I used half again as much)
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp paprika (I used smoked paprika)
1 tsp granulated sugar (I used raw sugar)
1 tsp garlic powder (I used Granulated)
1 tsp onion powder (I used Granulated)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin

I put it all in a mortar and pestle and gave it a good mashing and set it aside.

Then I made a marinade similar to the Frontera's one.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
(I added about 3-4 T of Balsamic Vinegar. I love the adidy sweetness it provides)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic , crushed (No fresh garlic, so I used granulated, it worked great)
1 teaspoon brown sugar, (I used a bit more, to help with browning)
teaspoon red chilli flakes (adjust to your preference of spice)
teaspoon ground Cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Now for the rest of the prep:

I rubbed the seasoning mix on the steak and chicken


I put them in their own bag and then I poured in the marinade.

Since I have a vacuum bagger, I used that to pull a slight vacuum and left them on the counter to let the mojo do its stuff.

After I cleaned the counter, I started slicing up the peppers and onions. I am working on doing a better job of carmelizing my onions. And I am getting there. I also used some of the fajita seasoning in the veg to bring the flavors together.

Once the onions and peppers are prepped and cooking, now would be the time I would make the tomatoes, (which we didn't have) guacamole (which we ate earlier in the week), and open the shredded lettuce bag (which was too expensive so we got a head of iceberg).

I took my chinese cleaver and started slicing it into thin ribbons. After my wife started tearing off the leaves. (I really need to teach her how to cook again, she used to be a good cook!!)

Since everything but the tortillas were ready, I took the meet and chicken out the to grill which I had cleaned already. I wiped the steak across the grill to remove most of the marinade and sprinkled some of the seasoning on it again. The chicken I just put on the grill and sprinkled the seasoning on it.

It didn't take long for the chicken or the steak to cook as it was a hot fire. I pulled the chicken first and about 5 minutes later, the steak.

As I was slicing the steak, I forgot a cardinal rule, I sliced with the grain. D'oh!!! It was like I had swallowed one of my crowns. Chewy, no flavor, hard to eat..

I quickly corrected my error, and sliced it the right way. Oh so tender, flavorful, and delicious.

After the steak was sliced, I took a piece of lime and squeezed it over the steak. What a nice burst of acid to brighten up the meal.

We ate too much, but, oh, what a meal. Next time, I will remember to let the steak marinade longer than 20 minutes and see what happens. And take pictures. And remember the avocado's, fresh cilantro, tomatoes, etc..



**********************************************
First things first, when it comes to handling ANYTHING in my kitchen, food safety is of my utmost concern. I have had food poisoning. It is not fun, and it is easily avoided. So, I am constantly washing my hands, not just rinsing, but using soap, and hot water. I use different cutting boards for different items. What I cut peppers and onions with, I don't use to but lettuce with.

Steak, Fish, Chicken and other forms of protein are all handled individually on their own, freshly washed and sanitized cutting boards and knives.

I use gloves when it makes sense. (Transferring food to the grill or to and from marinades or using rubs.)
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:53 AM   #2
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Re: Fajita from scratch


I haven't made fajitas since the early 80's when they were just getting popular and skirt steak was cheap.

I would slice the meat thinly across the grain and marinate in lime juice and granulated garlic and granulated onion. Time to cook the meat was so thin it took very little more than dragging it over a fire on both sides. I'd lay down 8 or 10 strips and immediately go back and start turning them over then go back and pick them up. Repeat until all are cooked. Go to cutting board, stack a few and slice on the bias.

Of course skirt steak is outrageously priced now even flank steak so I don't do fajitas any more.
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:28 AM   #3
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Re: Fajita from scratch


Quote:
Originally Posted by ktownskier View Post
My wife wanted fajita's (both chicken and steak) the other day. So, we went shopping. I usually like skirt steak for fajitas but it is hard to find or it is overpriced. So I go for flank steak.

Mostly you have the right ingredients. I use this recipe, about half on the veggies and half on the 1 # of meat, chicken or beef. I use a half size batch to 1 # of meat for taco or nacho meat.


Quote:
Ingredients

2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon corn starch (optional thickener)

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes the equivalent of one pre-made packet.

http://thepeacefulmom.com/2011/07/07...seasoning-mix/

Why people will pay a dollar for a seasoning packet when this is so easy to make I don't understand.
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:53 AM   #4
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Re: Fajita from scratch


Quote:
Originally Posted by Colbyt View Post
Mostly you have the right ingredients. I use this recipe, about half on the veggies and half on the 1 # of meat, chicken or beef. I use a half size batch to 1 # of meat for taco or nacho meat.

Why people will pay a dollar for a seasoning packet when this is so easy to make I don't understand.
@Colbyt

You have the same ingredients as I do, except for the sugar and corn starch, just in different proportions.

I don't plan on thickening it into a sauce so I didn't add the corn starch.

The sugar aids in browning, so I kept that in.

I looked at a couple of different dry mixes to get an idea of what they had in them. And I searched google for fajita dry rubs. And I found the one above.

And I adjusted to suit my tastes.

BTW, below is what someone came up with to mimic Old El Paso's seasoning mix:

2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano (preferably the Mexican variety)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried onion powder
1 tsp dried garlic powder
1 tsp chipotle chilli powder
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:06 AM   #5
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Re: Fajita from scratch


I know. That is what I was saying.


I don't use the CS for fajita and do sometimes for taco meat.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:27 AM   #6
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Re: Fajita from scratch


I have never tried to make Fajitas but my wife and I love them. Thanks for the recipes I appreciate them.

How do you vacuum pack something with liquid? Maybe put the liquid in a baggie then a vacuum bag?

By the way, I found a fantastic deal on food saver bags in the rolls if anyone is interested, I will see if I can find where I bought them.
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Last edited by BigJim; 07-19-2019 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:34 AM   #7
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Re: Fajita from scratch


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim View Post

How do you vacuum pack something with liquid? Maybe put the liquid in a baggie then a vacuum bag?

Does your sealer not have a wet mode? Admittedly wet and and liquid are radically different.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:55 AM   #8
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Re: Fajita from scratch


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
I have never tried to make Fajitas but my wife and I love them. Thanks for the recipes I appreciate them.

How do you vacuum pack something with liquid? Maybe put the liquid in a baggie then a vacuum bag?

By the way, I found a fantastic deal on food saver bags in the rolls if anyone is interested, I will see if I can find where I bought them.
I have a foodsaver vacuum sealer. I just watch and when the liquid gets close, I push the seal button. It takes a little practice but you get the hang of it.

I already have a bunch of bags, Costco deal. But, when you find your deal, I wouldn't mind a link.

The reason for pulling a vacuum when marinating, is that it pulls the marinade into the meat better, especially when the vacuum is released.

Two things to remember when dealing with protein:

First, dry it off, even if you are putting seasoning on it. You want it to cook and not steam in its own moisture.

and

Two
Let it rest for as long as you can. Hopefully 5 minutes. This will let the muscle fibers relax from the heat and allow the meat juices to redistribute.
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