Saturday, February 19, 2011


My baby turned 1!  And for her big day, we had steak fajitas and a big, fat chocolate ganache cake.  It was so ridiculously rich that I felt a little weird the rest of the day, but boy was it worth it!  It was so fun to have just a few of our dear friends (some of whom traveled all the way from Northern Indiana for the occasion!!!--Thank you!!!) with us to celebrate such a special day for our family.

Steak Fajitas + the fixins
yes, I like my steak fairly rare ... so cook it to your desired doneness when you make it.
I usually make salsa that my Mexican roommate back in college taught me, which includes avocados.  But just in case, I separated them.  I should have known everyone would love it either way, though.  I had a very non-picky eater crowd.
the steak:
1 flank steak (whatever size you think will feed your guests best, I used a pretty big one)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh limes (lots of them so you can make fresh salsa)
canola oil
  1. Let the steak rest at room temperature to take the chill off of the meat.  Pat the steak dry and season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Get a large skillet (preferably cast iron), heat a tablespoon of canola oil on nigh heat.  Place the steak on the hot skillet and let the meat sear on one side for 3~4 minutes.  Don't move the meat around.  You want a good sear.  Flip the steak over and cook on the second side for 3~5 minutes, depending on your desired doneness.
  3. Place the steak on a platter, drizzle with the juice of 1 lime.  Tent with foil and let rest.  Slice the steak very thin across the grain.
the peppers: (I was serving 6 adults and 8 kids, so I made a lot, adjust to your number of people)
5 red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, trimmed and sliced thin
2 large yellow onions, ends cut off, sliced in half pole to pole, then sliced thin pole to pole.
salt to taste
canola oil
  1.  In a large skillet, add a little canola oil and heat on medium high heat.  Add peppers and onions and season with salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and slightly caramelized.
the salsa: (*I added a trick I learned in San Antonio at the best Tex Mex restaurant I've ever been to ... but if it offends you to be so non-authentic, leave it out.  It's good, though!)
2 lbs good tomatoes (I used red and gold cherry tomatoes this time, but in the Summer I'd probably use Megan's garden tomatoes:) ), cut as small or coarse as you like.  With cherries, I keep them halved, I like the texture.
1/2 ~ 1 vidalia onion (or any other onion, but make sure you soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes, changing the water at least once), diced small
juice of 1 lime (or to taste)
juice of 1/2 orange*, optional
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped very fine (about 1/4 C)
2 avocados, diced, optional
salt to taste

the avocados: (if you're not adding avocados to the salsa
2 avocadoes, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped very fine
juice of 1/2 lime (or to taste)
salt to taste

serve with warm small flour tortillas and sour cream.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

another old favorite

I've been really craving eggs lately.  And since it was Saturday morning, I decided it was time for a big, hearty, rustic frittata.  I love these things.  You can pretty much do whatever the heck you want with them.  This time I used orange bell peppers, purple fingerling potatoes, onions, manchego and ricotta cheeses, and spinach.  With salted yellow and red cherry tomatoes and fresh parsley leaves for garnish.

5~6 purple fingerling potatoes, cleaned and sliced thin
1 Spanish onion, cut in half and sliced thin (pole-to-pole)
1 orange bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced small
handful of fresh baby spinach, chopped
6 eggs
2 egg whites
splash of milk
1/2 freshly grated Manchego cheese
1/4 c (ish) ricotta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
  1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, oven-safe (preferably nonstick) skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and potatoes, and cook until almost tender, 5~8 minutes.  Add peppers, and cook until tender.
  3. Once peppers, potatoes, and onions are tender and starting to caramelize a little, add another 1/2 tablespoon of oil to prevent sticking, and add spinach and eggs.  Drop heat to medium-low, and periodically pull the sides into the middle as they cook.  Once the eggs are about halfway cooked, turn on the broiler.  Dollop a few spoonfuls for ricotta on top of the eggs and evenly sprinkle the manchego.  Place skillet under the broiler until eggs are set and the cheese is golden and bubbly.  The time will depend on your broiler.
  4. Pull out from under the broiler and let cool for a few minutes.  Serve warm, cut into wedges.