Growing up in South Florida, the opportunities to try awesome Latino food were endless. However, when I attended college in the Deep South and then relocated to Boston, it truly became difficult to find authentic restaurants among the casual chain cuisine we’ve reluctantly come to accept as “Mexican food.” If you’re tired of the same old gooey “queso” sauce, or green mush that looks like Dr. Suess’s Oobleck (think Nickelodeon slime, if you’re a 90’s kid) being served with your burritos, tacos, and fajitas, then look no further to fulfill your craving for a quick, healthy, and do-able dish. These fajitas, the Transformers of Mexican menus, have definitely been the Optimus Prime of my mother’s offerings over the years – if you enjoy the filling, feel free to create quesadillas, burritos, or enchiladas with the same ingredients. Buena suerte, y buen provecho.
Note: These fajitas rock vegetarian-style, as well – don’t be afraid to spice up Meatless Monday!
1 package of strip steak or chicken cutlets/strips (if desired, can be replaced with tofu, tempeh, or more beans!)
1 can of black beans
1 canister of Adobo all-spice seasoning
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper (optional)
1 vidalia (sweet) onion
1 large tomato
1 16 ounce package of shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses
1 package of sour cream
1 package of flour (or whole-wheat) tortillas
1 bottle of olive oil
Finely slice the peppers and onions to form thin strips, and place them in a large pan coated with olive oil to sauté until soft. As the vegetables are cooking, add in the diced tomato, preferably without the seeds or much of the pulp, so that your fajita mixture won’t become too liquidy.
As the onions and peppers gradually become carmelized, prepare the meat (or meat substitute) by cutting into long, thin strips and coating with Adobo or another all-purpose seasoning. You may also marinate the meat ahead of time. Add the meat to the pan, and sear until full cooked. Separately strain the can of black beans and add them to the mixture during the last few minutes of cooking, just enough to make them soft.
As you prepare to serve this dish, warm up the tortillas by coating them with a little bit of olive oil and either placing them in the oven for a few minutes or quickly heating them up on the stove. With a dollop of sour cream, some cheese, and a scoop – nay, a small mountain – of guacamole on the side, treat your stomach to a flavorful fiesta.
Mamá Maria’s Homemade Guac
2-3 fully ripened avocados
1 teaspoon mashed garlic
1/2 of a finely chopped vidalia (sweet) onion
1 green lime
1 diced tomato
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro (about 1 handful)
1/2 teaspoon salt
After peeling the avocados, mash them with a fork in a large bowl or dish. Fold in the garlic, onion, tomato, and salt, and blend completely. Mix in juice from the lime, along with the cilantro. It’s that simple! Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Post, Photos, and Recipe by Stephanie Cohen.