Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beef Fajitas

What are the true origins of fajitas? Did they evolve from the cooking of Mexican vaqueros who were sometimes paid with cheap cuts of beef? Were they conjured up in Texas?

I have not a clue and frankly I don't worry about it much. I like them and that is enough. These may or may not be authentic. I'm not wracking my brain cells about something as simple as fajitas.

The stuff:
1 flank steak
1 yellow or white onion, axial slices rather than like onion rings
1 red & 1 green bell pepper, cut into long strips
2 jalapenos cut into long strips
salt and pepper

1/4 cup olive oil
the juice of 2 limes
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp. Worcestershire
1 jalapeno sliced
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. ancho chile powder
chopped cilantro
Mix the ingredients and marinate flank steak overnight in a nonreactive container.
To cook these I prefer to grill the meat over a super hot charcoal fire. For this cook I used lump charcoal, piled onto one side of my Weber kettle. Mesquite chips were also sprinkled throughout the coals.
Onions, the green and red bell peppers and jalapenos were tossed in a big cast iron skillet with some olive oil and cooked on the cool side of the grill. I use a 12 inch Lodge 10SK for this and it works great. Start cooking the vegetables 10 minutes before adding the meat.
The meat doesn't take very long. I let it go for three and a half minutes per side and then let it rest loosely covered with foil. You can slide the skillet over the hot part of the fire to finish the vegetables. Remove the skillet from the grill and set near the resting steak.
You might as well heat the tortillas over the coals as the cast iron will keep the vegetables hot for quite a while.
Serve over warm tortillas (slightly crisp is the way I like these) with guacamole, sliced limes and salsa. Most of the time that I make guacamole I'm also making salsa so I just add salsa to mashed avocados and call it good.

If you'd like to take a stab at cooking these this way you might need these:
Weber 751001 22 1/2-Inch One-Touch Gold Charcoal Grill, Black

Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet

Any purchases made from links on this site will help support the improvements I hope to make to BID in the near future.

For more cast iron on the grill action see this post at White on Rice Couple.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Small Skillets - good things do come in small sizes

Wagner Pie Logo ~ 1915 -1934
It is probably safe to bet that the 10.25" skillet would be the most commonly found size in people's kitchens. Number 8s are certainly a useful size when cooking for two. 12" (and larger) skillets are impressive in their size, weight and capacity. I wouldn't want to be without either size (or drop them on my foot) but I've grown to appreciate the smaller skillets.

A number 3 is usually 6.5" and these are perfect for cooking a single burger or egg. They also work very well as a baking dish when heating up leftovers.

The pictured #3 skillet is a Wagner Ware "Pie Logo".

A number 5 skillet is usually 8" and I find these to be a great size for cooking breakfast sausage or sauteing some carrots.
This skillet is a Favorite #5 and it is unusually deep.
Favorite "smile" logo - 1916 -1934
Both of the picture skillets are at least 74 years old and get regular use.

These smaller skillets are often found in excellent condition because they received less use and therefore have fewer utensil marks. The prices on the smaller skillets are usually lower than the larger frying pans. This is not always true as Griswold #4s and Wapak Indian Head #4s can fetch very high prices.

If you are considering purchasing an old skillet to see why goofballs like me make a fuss over them consider a small one.

Do you have a favorite skillet size?