Monday, November 23, 2015

Fajitas! And a really sharp #Giveaway

A while back, I read a quote from a chef who commented that cooking is fun because you get to play with knives and fire.

I can't disagree. There's something incredibly satisfying about cutting meats and vegetables and fruits with good knives. It's a pleasure rather than a chore. So when my buddies at Virtual Potluck teamed up with WÜSTHOF, I was pretty excited about the new kitchen weapons.

We each received the CLASSIC 5-inch Serrated Slicing Knife and the CLASSIC 2-Piece Extra Wide Chef Set that includes a 4-inch paring knife and a 6-inch cook’s knife. AND I have the same knives that I'll be giving to one of my readers.

The first time I used the serrated knife to slice a tomato, I nearly swooned. I like using serrated knives to cut tomatoes, but this one is so much better than other knives I have. So much. Much like the serrated bread knife that I received as a gift to celebrate my book contract, this was a knife I didn't know I needed until I used it. Now I'm in love with it.


And the other two knives are pretty darned nice, too. The wide cook's knife is great for slicing, and the width makes it wonderful for smashing garlic or scooping up what's been cut.

The paring knife is sweet, too. It make peeling things much more fun, and it's also great for cutting small things, like when I'm slicing limes for cocktails.

The first thing I thought of cooking that would show of the knives was fajitas. First, I love Mexican food. And Mexican-inspired food.  And second, fajitas require a lot of slicing. And different kinds of slicing.

I opted for steak fajitas. But what kind of steak? The usual suspects for fajitas are skirt steak, flank steak, or flap meat. But the secret is that you can pretty much use any kind of steak you like, as long as you slice the meat into small, thin pieces. I decided to use a boneless ribeye.

I also decided to use a LOT of vegetables. Because I like them.

The one thing I didn't do (that I usually do) is that I didn't go crazy with toppings. I usually end up with way too many toppings whenever I serve something in a tortilla. This time, I limited it to an avocado crema, fresh tomatoes, and cilantro.

Steak Fajitas
with Avocado Crema

For the fajita filling:
1 steak (your choice)
Salsa (home made or store-bought) for marinating
Olive oil
1 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 poblano (or similar) pepper
1 onion
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the crema:
2 avocados
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

For assembly:
Corn tortillas

Marinate the meat:
A few hours before cooking, place the steak in a plastic zip-top bag and add just enough salsa to coat the meat. Seal the bag and let the steak rest at room temperature while you prep everything else. You can also marinate the steak overnight and remove it from the refrigerator an hour before cooking.

Prepare the vegetables:
Slice the zucchini into matchsticks about 2 or 3 inches long. Core and seed the red pepper and poblano pepper and slice into similar-sized pieces. Peel the onion, cut it in half from root to stem, and slice into half-moons so the strips are about the same size as the zucchini and peppers. Set aside.

Make the crema:
Put the avocado flesh, sour cream, lime juice, and salt into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Prep the garnishes:
Slice the tomatoes into thin wedges and chop the cilantro roughly.

Cook the steak:
Heat a skillet on high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry. Rub the steak with the olive oil and place in the hot pan. Cook until nicely browned on one side, flip, and cook on the second side. Continue cooking until the steak is done to your liking. Remove it from the pan and let it rest while you cook the vegetables.

Cook the vegetables and tortillas:
Add the vegetables to the pan where you cooked the steak. You can wipe out the pan, if you like, or just let the meat flavor season the vegetables. Add a little olive oil, if necessary and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the vegetables to you liking - crisp-tender is fine, and fully cooked and caramelized is just as good. It's your dinner, so make it the way you like it.

Meanwhile, warm the tortillas in a dry pan, flipping them over as the heat up, until they're soft and have a few brown spots.

Slice the steak and assemble:
By the time the vegetables are cooked, the steak should be rested well enough to slice into small, thin pieces. If you're using skirt or flank steak or flap meat, make sure you're cutting against the grain of the meat.

Assemble the fajitas with vegetables, steak, and garnishes as desired - or serve the individual components in bowls and let people make their own.

Serve hot.

If you're looking for a knife for a holiday present, check these out! And they're easy to wrap, since they come in boxes. Or, enter below and see if you might win!

Thanks to WÜSTHOF for sponsoring this post and providing knives for the giveaway (US residents only). If you want to know more, check out their website, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.