Steak Fajitas

March 7, 2011

Steak Fajitas

Steak fajitas came before any other type of fajita.  Mexican laborers created this dish out of necessity while working along the Texas & Mexico border.  Laborers were partially paid with the less desirable cuts of beef and eventually came up with a good way to use their “non-cash wages.” 

Originally, and still today, the beef used for a fajita is usually, cut into strips and placed into a wrap with a selection of vegetables.  Bell peppers and jalapeno are very popular.  The secret to tender fajitas is marinating the meat, especially if you are using skirt steak.  The meat should be no more than ¾ inch thick and should be cooked on a high heat for a short cooking time.


1 ½ Pounds Flank or Sirloin Steak – Sliced Into Thin Strips

1 Sliced Red Onion

1 Green Bell Pepper – Sliced Into Strips

1 Red Bell Pepper – Sliced Into Strips

1 Yellow Bell Pepper – Sliced Into Strips

2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder

1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

½ Teaspoon Sea Salt

¼ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

1 Small Can Diced Green Chilies

½ Cup Chopped Cilantro

12 Flour Tortillas

Sour Cream

Guacamole or Sliced Avocado

Shredded Cheddar Cheese


In a large skillet, sauté red, green & yellow bell peppers along with red onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil until crisp and tender.  Remove and set aside.  In the same skillet, sauté the steak, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper in the remaining oil for 4 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness.  Return the vegetable to the pan, add the diced green chiles and the cilantro and heat through. 

Heat flour tortillas in a preheated oven (350° F) wrapped in foil for about 10 minutes.  You can also heat in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds, but I prefer heating in the oven.  Remove tortillas from the oven and place in a tortilla warmer to keep them warm.  If you don’t have a tortilla warmer then leave them in the foil to keep them warm.  To assemble the tortillas spread some of the guacamole on a tortilla, top it with the steak and vegetable mixture and then top it with salsa, cheddar cheese and a little sour cream.  Roll up the tortilla to enclose the filling and enjoy!  Serves 12

Steak Fajita Marinade

1 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

½ Cup Tequila

1/3 Cup Olive Oil

1/3 Cup Fresh Lime Juice

5 Large Crushed Garlic Cloves

3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

4 Fresh Jalapenos (Minced – Stems & Seeds Removed)

1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Cilantro

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

3 Teaspoons Ground Cumin

1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1 Teaspoon Lemon Pepper

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Pour marinade over meat in a shallow glass bowl or a large zip lock bag.  I love marinating meats in these 1 gallon plastic zip lock bags!  Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.  Makes enough to marinate 3 pounds of steak.

Creamy Potato Gratin

March 5, 2011

Creamy Potato Gratin


3 Garlic Cloves Cut In Half

4 Tablespoons Butter

3 Pounds (Peeled & Scrubbed) Yukon Gold Potatoes

3 Cups Milk

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1 Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

Preheat the oven to 425° F.  Rub half of 1 garlic clove all over the inside of a 3 quart shallow glass or ceramic baking dish.  Throw away the garlic piece.  Rub ½ tablespoon of the butter all over the dish and cut the remaining butter into small pieces and reserve. 

With a sharp knife, cut potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices.  In a 12 inch skillet, combine potatoes, milk and remaining garlic.  Heat to boiling on medium heat and stir occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Remove and throw away garlic cloves.  Carefully transfer potato mixture to prepared baking dish and spread evenly.  Top with the reserved butter pieces. 

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Potatoes should be tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.  Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 12

Beer Can Chicken

March 4, 2011

Beer Can Chicken


½ Cup Chopped Onion

5 Garlic Cloves

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Chili Powder

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Large Roasting Chicken (Approx 4 ½ Pounds)

1 Can Of Your Favorite Beer (14 Ounce Can)

Preheat the oven to 400° F and move the rack to the bottom of the oven. 

Combine the onion, garlic, oil, chili powder, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender.  Remove any innards or other items from inside the chicken.  Rinse the chicken inside and out in cold, running water.  Rub the chicken inside and out with the combined mixture.  Make sure to get the mixture under the skin as well. 

Open your can of beer and either drink or pour out ¼ of it.  This prevents bubbling over during cooking.  Punch a few extra holes in the can.  Holding the can upright, place the chicken on top of the can, inserting the can as far as it will go into the cavity of the chicken.  Position the chicken legs in front of the chicken to help steady the chicken.  Place chicken into the oven proof pan and tent the chicken with foil for the first hour to prevent over browning.  Put chicken on the bottom oven rack.  Reduce oven to 350° F after ½ hour.  Cook 1 ½ to 2 hours (depending on the size of your chicken).  Rotate chicken at about 45 minutes. 

Remove from the oven when chicken is done, use tongs and an oven mitt to separate the chicken and the beer can.  Carefully remove to a separate platter and allow to stand for 10 minutes. 

Pour any remaining beer into the dripping to make a sauce if you wish. 

Cut up the chicken and serve.  Serves 4

Recommended Cooking Times (at 350°):

2 ½ to 3 Pounds  – Cook 1 to 1 ¾ Hours

3 ½ to 4 Pounds  – Cook 1 ½ to 1 ¾ Hours

4 ½ to 5 Pounds  – Cook 1 ½ to 2 Hours

5 to 6 Pounds      – Cook 1 ¾ to 2 ½ Hours

Broccoli Rabe With Garlic

March 3, 2011

Broccoli Rabe With Garlic


4 Large Thinly Sliced Garlic Cloves

¼ Cup Olive Oil

2 Bunches (about two pounds) Broccoli Rabe – Trimmed & Cut Into 2 Inch Pieces

Salt & Pepper To Taste

In a large skillet, cook the garlic in olive oil over medium heat until the garlic is golden (about 2 minutes).  Add the broccoli rabe, ¼ cup water, salt and pepper to taste.  Cover the pan and cook until the broccoli rabe is tender (about 5 minutes).  If the pan becomes too dry add a little more water.  Remove from skillet and plate.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  This is also good tossed with hot cooked pasta.  Serves 8

Greek Salad

March 1, 2011

Greek Salad


1 Pound Ripe Tomatoes

1 Thinly Sliced Small Red Onion

1 Seeded & Sliced Green Bell Peppers

1 Sliced Small Cucumber

5 Ounces Cubed Feta Cheese

8 Black Olives

6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pinch of Dried Oregano

Salt & Pepper to Taste

Cut the tomatoes into quarters lengthways and cut out the stalk pieces.  Cut the quarters into bite sized wedges and put in a medium sized bowl.  Add the onion, bell pepper, cucumber, feta cheese, olives, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat with the olive oil and infuse with the oregano.  Keep at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Serves 6

Crunchy Baked Chicken

February 28, 2011

Crunchy Baked Chicken


2 Large Eggs

1 Tablespoon Water

2 Large Minced Garlic Cloves

½ Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1 Teaspoon Salt

¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

2 Cups Plain Dry Bread Crumbs (I Like To Use Homemade From Italian Bread)

½ Cup Freshly Grated Pecorino Romano

¼ Cup Olive Oil

3 ½ Pounds Chicken Cut Into 8 Pieces With Skin Removed

You Can Use Skinless Chicken Parts If You Wish

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  In a shallow dish, beat together eggs, water, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.  Next, on a piece of wax paper, mix the crumbs with the cheese.  Drizzle with the oil and stir until blended.  Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then roll the pieces in the crumb mixture, patting it so that it will stick. Place the chicken on a rack with the skin side up and let the coating dry for about 15 minutes. 

Oil a baking sheet and arrange the chicken pieces on it.  Bake for 20 minutes.  With tongs, carefully turn the chicken pieces, so as not to disturb the coating.  Bake another 20 minutes or until the chicken is browned and cooked through when cut into at the thickest part.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  Serves 4

New England Clam Chowder

February 26, 2011

New England Clam Chowder

In the 16th and 17th centuries, fish chowder was enjoyed by the French as well as by the Native Americans.  In America, by 1751, recipes for fish chowder began to appear in newspapers.  Many were prepared by “layering chowder ingredients.”  Each ingredient was placed in a pot in a layer of uniform thickness, then slowly cooked.  By the mid-18th century, chowder was a mainstay throughout the Northeast.  Clams and other shellfish were added to chowders largely because of their great availability, as all one had to do along the shore was to dig them up.  When the 1896 edition of the Boston Cooking School Cookbook contained three recipes for chowder, it was clear that chowder was here to stay.


2 Tablespoons Butter

1 ½ Cups Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock

4 Pounds Scrubbed Litleneck Clams (About 1 ½ Dozen Large Clams)

3 Slices Chopped Bacon

1 Finely Chopped Medium Onion

1 Tablespoon Unbleached Flour

¼ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

1 Pound Peeled & Chopped Potatoes (About 3 Medium Potatoes)

2 Cups Half & Half

1 Cup Milk

¾ Teaspoon Salt

In a medium saucepan, heat water to boiling over high heat.  Add clams and heat to boiling.  Reduce heat slightly.  Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until clams open up.  Transfer clams to a bowl as they open.  THROW away any clams that have not opened.  When the clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and coarsely chop.  Throw away the shells.  Strain clam broth through a sieve lined with paper towels into a measuring cup.  If necessary add enough water to equal 2 cups. 

In a medium stockpot cook bacon over medium high heat until lightly browned.  Remove bacon to paper towels.  Add onion to bacon drippings and cook until tender – stirring occasionally.  Stir in flour, pepper and salt until blended and cook for about a minute.  Gradually stir in the clam broth until smooth.  Add potatoes and heat to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (for about 20 minutes).  Stir in half & half, butter, milk, bacon and chopped clams.  Heat through, but do not boil.  Serves 6

Classic Marinara Sauce

February 21, 2011

Classic Marinara Sauce


3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 Cloves Grated Garlic

16 Ounces of Crushed Tomatoes

½ Cup Red Wine

½ Cup Water

1 Teaspoon Water

1 Teaspoon Salt

6 Torn Fresh Basil Leaves

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over low heat and sauté grated garlic for about 2 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.  Just as the garlic begins to turn brown, remove the skillet from the heat.  Allow pan to cool and add the tomatoes, wine, water and salt.  Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in basil.  Serves 4

**You Can Use Canned Tomatoes If You Wish

Chicken Caesar Salad

February 9, 2011

The Original Caesar Salad

During Prohibition, a popular spot for a night out was Caesar’s Palace in Tijuana, Mexico.  On the evening of July 24, 1924, Caesar Cardini had just about run out of food.  He improvised by putting together a salad with what was on hand: romaine lettuce, olive oil, some cheese and eggs.  He then prepared the salad tableside, creating an immediate sensation.







Chicken Caesar Salad


12 Ounces Boneless Chicken Breast

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/4Teaspoon Salt

Caesar Dressing

10 Cups Torn Romaine Lettuce

2 Cups Garlic Parmesan Croutons

14 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1/8 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Heat skillet over medium-high heat until very hot.  In a medium bowl toss chicken with oil and salt until evenly coated.  Add chicken to pan and cook, turning once, just until chicken loses its pink color throughout (4 to 5 minutes). 

In a large bowl toss lettuce, dressing, croutons and Parmesan.  Add cooked chicken to salad and toss again.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Serves 4

Caesar Dressing

3 Garlic Cloves

3 Anchovy Fillets

3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1/2 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 Hard Cooked Egg Yolk

In a blender (or food processor) combine the three garlic cloves, the anchovy fillets and lemon juice.  Cover and blend until mixture is nearly smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.  Add oil, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and cooked egg yolk.  Cover and blend until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 to 24 hours. 

Parmesan Croutons

Cut four 1/2 inch thick slices of French bread into 3/4 inch cubes and set aside.  In a large skillet melt 1/4 cup butter.  Remove from heat.  Stir in 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese and 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder.  Add bread cubes, stirring until cubes are coated with butter mixture.  Spread bread crumbs in a single layer in a shallow baking pan.  Bake in a 300° F oven for 10 minutes and stir.  Bake about 10 minutes more or until bread cubes are crisp and golden.  Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.  Makes 2 cups

French Onion Soup

February 6, 2011

French Onion Soup


2 Large Thinly Sliced Yellow Onions

3 Tablespoons Butter

4 Cups Beef Broth

2 Tablespoons Sherry

1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Fresh Ground Pepper to Taste

6 Slices Toasted French Bread

1 Cup Shredded Swiss Cheese

In a large saucepan cook onion in hot butter over medium-low heat for 8 minutes or until tender and golden.  Stir occasionally.  Stir in broth, sherry, Worcestershire sauce and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Arrange toasted bread slices on a baking sheet.  Evenly divide cheese among slices.  Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat for 3 minutes or until cheese is light brown and bubbly.  Top each serving with a bread slice.  Serves 6

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