SUMMER FUN DINING
With Spring time vegetables in full swing now is the time to take advantage of the many varieties that are available. I prefer to grill vegetables because as they begin to caramelize under the intense heat it brings out full flavor and natural sweetness. I grill some type of vegetable every day all year long. When weather forces me inside I pull out my trusty indoor grill pan and don’t miss a beat. Not only are these Fajitas great the traditional way with peppers and onions but I also include seasonal veggies such as grilled zucchini, asparagus right now for spring.
Grilling vegetables are a healthy choice, easy to prepare and are super low in calories. Here are a few suggestions on how to serve them up.
- Chopped Vegetable Salad with crumbled Greek Feta, fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon juice. You can even toss in chopped grilled chicken or shrimp.
- Tossed in your favorite pasta with freshly grated Romano cheese, chopped Italian parsley and basil.
- Pizza, with Buffalo, Goat or Feta cheese, fresh basil & thyme. You can also grill the pizza dough, just brush olive oil on both sides and place on hot grill.
- In an omelet with goat cheese and favorite fresh herbs
- Fajitas with marinated grilled flank steak. My personal favorite!
Set the out door table for dining. It’s fun to gather around the table while everyone is making their own personal fajitas. It opens up conversation with one another and everyone gets to be their own chef. I over stuff mine with plenty of grilled onions, peppers and juicy marinated thin slices of flank steak. Top with guacamole and salsa and you have a smokin Fajita! All you need is some cool mint lemonade and slushy Margaritas!
FAJITAS WITH MARINATED GRILLED FLANK STEAK, GUACAMOLE, SALSA, AND WARM TORTILLAS
1 (1 to 1 ½ pound) flank steak
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
1-teaspoon cumin1 teaspoon coriander
1-teaspoon chili oil
Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
10 corn tortillas or 10 (8-inch) whole-wheat tortillas wrapped in aluminum foil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced thin
1 large green pepper, cut into strips
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
Place the steak in a glass pan large enough to hold it flat.
In a glass bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the soy sauce, cumin, coriander, chili oil, and lime juice. Add the garlic cloves and pour over the steak. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
When ready to grill, remove the steak from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Place the tortillas in the oven.
Remove the beef from the marinade, and pat dry. Discard the marinade.
Place the onions and peppers in a bowl, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the kosher salt, mix with your hands, and set aside.
Heat an indoor grill pan for 3 minutes on high heat.
Brush the grill pan with 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the beef, and grill for 4 minutes on each side, then an additional 1-minute on each side. Remove the beef to a carving board and let it rest while you grill the vegetables.
Wipe off the surface of the grill, and then brush on 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the onions and peppers, and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until they begin to soften and caramelize a bit. Remove from the grill, place in a bowl, and set aside.
Slice the beef thin. On a serving platter, place the vegetables on one side and the beef on the other. Serve with the warmed tortillas, jalapeño, cilantro, Guacamole Tomato Salsa and some low-fat sour cream.
4 TO 5 CUPS
4 ripe avocados
½ medium white onion, finely chopped
½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 jalapeños, 1 finely chopped, and 1 sliced thin, for garnish (optional)
1 lime, sliced thin, for garnish
Split the avocados along the sides and divide in half. Remove the pit, and scoop the avocado into a ceramic bowl. Mash with a potato masher (not a ricer) until smooth. Add the onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and chopped jalapeño, and continue to mash until the guacamole looks whipped and fluffy. Adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Place an avocado pit in the middle of the guacamole to help keep it from turning dark. Garnish with sliced lime and jalapeño. Serve immediately with warm tortilla chips, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.
This versatile salsa can be used as a topping over eggs, grilled meats, or fish or as a dip with tostada chips.
8 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced into small chunks (about 2 cups)
½ cup red onion, chopped small
¼ cup cilantro loosely packed, then finely chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1-teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon jalapeño, finely diced with the seeds (optional)
1-tablespoon olive oil
Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Lop off the top portions of the tomatoes and place them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, lift the tomatoes from the boiling water and into a bowl. Immediately run them under cool water to peel the skins.
The skins should come off easily. If not, place back into the water for another 15 to 20 seconds.
Cut the skinned tomatoes in half lengthwise, and remove the core and seeds using a paring knife.
Discard the skins, cores, and seeds.
Dice the seeded tomatoes into small pieces.
Place the tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, scallions, lime juice, salt, jalapeño, and olive oil in a glass bowl, and mix well. Cover in an airtight glass container and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 to 4 hours before serving. This salsa can be made the day before and will last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Photo’s by Diane Cu & Todd Porter www.whiteonricecouple.com
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