We had our own personal Mexican fiesta last night with beef fajitas and blackened tomato jalapeno salsa as well as some guacamole. Can't forget the guacamole!
The big guy was home early last night which was a real treat. Accompanied by the fact that it's starting to cool down in this man's country it meant we actually sat outside and watched the mountains turn pink while we enjoyed a libation. It was a lovely evening - a cool 80 degrees with a light breeze. Perfect for cooking fajitas in the outside kitchen.
The big guy lit a propane fire under the flat top and cooked up sliced red pepper, anaheims and onion, then slapped a lovely little hanger steak in the grill pan and 4 minutes later it was done. Now I know that "done" is a relative term since it was blue rare which is how he likes 'em but personally it kind of gives me the shivers. However, loaded with enough salsa and guacamole I had no problem tucking this one away.
Both the salsa and guacamole are from John Conley's book Salsa Brava Cocina. If you recall, Guy Fieri visited Salsa Brava in Flagstaff during one of the Diner's Drive-ins and Dives episodes and we followed up with a personal visit this past March. I have to admit there's not much that isn't great in his cookbook as he proves with minimal ingredients, you can put out some fine Mexican flavors from your home kitchen.
About 2 pounds of roma tomatoes went on a sheet pan for the salsa, along with garlic, sweet onion, and jalapenos. Everything was caramelized under the broiler for about 15 minutes until nicely blackened and full of flavor. Of course the flavor would be much better if this was accomplished on the charcoal grill, but I wanted to get it all done before the man of the house came home so we could enjoy some down time together. Once the vegetables cooled slightly, into the food processor they went along with fresh cilantro, lime juice and a little salt. A quick pulse and the salsa's ready.
Unfortunately last night's effort required a little additional hot sauce to make it hot - yup those jalapeno's were really, really mild and this salsa had absolutely no kick at all; however, I have made it before and it's been a brain burner, which proves that buying jalapenos can be a real crap shoot.
The guacamole was also very quick to put together with avocado, minced red onion, fresh cilantro, lime juice, salt, a roasted anaheim and some of the same jalapeno's...yes, with the same results. Delicious but not spicy in the least. Oh well - what can I say. Next time I'll be complaining that it's too hot to handle.
Regardless, our joint effort dinner was quick, easy and clean up was a breeze - at least for me. The big guy did it!
Blackened Tomato Salsa (adapted from the John Conley’s Salsa Brava Cochina))
2 pounds Roma tomatoes
4 fresh jalapenos remove stem but leave seeds and membranes
1/2 sweet onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Coarse salt to taste
Water as required
Heat broiler to high. Place whole tomatoes, jalapenos, onion slices and garlic on a sheet pan and place under broiler until vegetables are blackened. Turn as required – takes about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Place all ingredients including any accumulated juices into food processor along with cilantro and lime juice. Pulse until of desired consistency adding water as required. Season with coarse salt. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Download Blackened Tomato Salsa
Guacamole (adapted from the John Conley’s Salsa Brava Cochina)
2 ripe avocados
1/2 minced red onion
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime (1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Black pepper to taste
1 large Anaheim chile, fire roasted, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, minced (or more to taste)
1/2 ripe tomato (optional)
Cut avocados in half, remove seeds and scoop into a small bowl. Add lime juice and using a fork, mash avocado to desired consistency. Add remaining ingredients except for tomato which should be added just before serving. Cover guacamole surface with plastic wrap to prevent browning and store in refrigerator until serving. Download Guacamole
Hint - if you're REALLY watching those carbs, leave out the tortilla and serve the beef mixture on salad or even coleslaw. Believe me, it's delicious that way!