Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hot or Not . . . .

Grandma was wandering through Amazon the other day looking at this, peeking at that, getting a glimpse of what's new, when she happened to notice a whole treasure trove of books that should have been on the $3.99 or Less list, but somehow never made the page.  Some of those books are even from Guru of the Grill, Steven Raichlen.  If you've never seen Steven in action, here's an easy dish you won't even need the recipe for:

Here's the recipe for that Chipotle Sauce Steven serves up with this Cheesesteak -

Chipotle Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise (preferably Hellmanns) 
1 to 2 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced 
1 to 2 tablespoons of canned adobo sauce 

To make the sauce, combine the mayonaise, chile and adobe in a small bowl and stir to mix.  Keep refrigerated until serving time.

Grandma loves to cook outdoors.  Her collection contains several of Raichlen's books, so she was delighted to find a few Kindle bargains . .  move fast though.  The prices can change very quickly.  Grandma just missed out on
Barbecue! Bible Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades, Bastes, Butters, and Glazes for $3.99!

The cuisine of South Florida is unique, loaded with Latin, Cuban and Caribbean influences, flavors that Grandma adores.  Grandma moved Raichlen's Miami Spice: The New Florida Cuisine right up to the top of her Wishlist!

Nothing is better on the grill that a burger.  Raichlen features 25 scrumptious burger recipes in this short, Raichlen's Burgers

Unfortunately, Grandma's new apartment does not have space for a grill, so she was delighted to come across Indoor! Grilling (Hmmm!  Wonder how much is left on the gift card?)


One recipe that Grandma particularly likes on the grill is fajitas.  This is one that is as easily done indoors as out, so Grandma whipped up a batch of  last night for dinner - and took pictures.  Here's how:

Grandma's Surf & Turf Fajitas

Dinner:  Grandma's Surf & Turf Fajitas!
Many fajita recipes call for skirt steak.  Once upon a time, skirt steak was very inexpensive - and then fajitas became popular.  (You know what that did to the price of skirt steak, right?)  

Grandma most often uses steak labeled "London Broil" for fajitas.  Indoors: Cut the steak into pieces that are about 2 inches wide, then slice across the grain into paper thin slices.  The sharper your knife, the thinner you will be able to slice the meat.  It also helps if the meat is partially frozen.   Grandma often brings home the steak, slices it into several serving portions for the freezer and turns a couple of those into steak strips for fajitas and stir frys that she can thaw very quickly.  On the Grill:  Cook the steak as one piece, rest for 10 minutes and then slice as thinly as possible across the grain.

Ingredients for 4 very generous fajitas.  Will serve 2 as the entire meal or 4 if you are adding sides to the meal.

  • 1 or 2 large bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips - Grandma likes to use a mix of colors
  • 1 large onion or two medium, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons olive or other cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon very finely chopped garlic
  • about 8 ounces of meat - Indoors: Grandma used a dozen or so peeled shrimp and about 4 ounces of steak strips, but you can use all one kind of meat or use thinly sliced chicken strips instead of the steak  On The Grill:  cook a single larger piece of steak or boneless chicken breast instead of using the strips of meat
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce - Grandma likes the version intended for chicken for this dish but regular will do
  • about 1/4 teaspoon of Adobo Powder
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, optional

To serve

  • warmed flour tortillas
  • grated cheese - Grandma uses cheddar but you could use a crumbly Mexican Queso Fresco or even feta
  • extra chopped cilantro
  • diced avocado tossed with the juice of half a lime
  • diced tomato
  • sour cream
  • salsa or picante sauce

To Warm Tortillas:  

Indoors:  Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them in a 200F oven or follow the instructions on the bag to warm them in the microwave at the last minute

On the Grill:  Just as you are about to serve lay the tortillas out on the grill, turning once after about 10 seconds for a total cooking time of about 20 seconds.  The tortillas will puff a bit and perhaps acquire a prized char spot or two


On The Grill:  Cook your meat directly on the grill in one piece, then set it aside to rest for 10 minutes while you cook the peppers.  After the meat has rested, slice it as thinly as possible across the grain into strips about 3/4-1 inch X 3 inches.

Peppers and onions added to the hot pan

Heat a heavy pan over high heat.  When the pan is hot enough that you can feel the heat when you hold your hand about 3 inches above the bottom, add 1 tablespoon of oil, the quickly add the pepper and onion strips.  Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.

Onions are starting to caramelize - time to set this aside.

When the peppers have softened and the onions start to caramelize -  Indoors:  remove the peppers and onions from the pan and set aside. On The Grill:  remove the pan to an area of the grill where it will just stay warm without further cooking.

Cooking the meat strips and shrimp.  Outdoors cook the meat in one piece instead of strips.

Indoors:  Add another 1/2-1 tablespoon of oil to the pan if necessary, then add the shrimp and beef strips.  Cook, stirring, a minute or two until the shrimp just start to turn pink.  NOTE:  If you are using chicken strips instead of beef, the chicken must be thoroughly cooked.  Saute it for several minutes until nearly done before adding the shrimp.

Meat, peppers and onions combined and simmered a minute with seasonings.

Indoors and On the Grill:  Add the peppers & onions or meat strips to the skillet and place the skillet back over the heat.  Add 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce,  a sprinkling of Adobo powder, and the juice of half a lime. Stir and simmer a minute or two until the liquid is mostly evaporated to blend the flavors.  Add the chopped cilantro.

Grandma's Surf & Turf Fajita, ready to garnish and enjoy!

Place a warmed flour tortilla on a plate and top with the meat mixture.  Sprinkle with a dab of extra cilantro.  Each diner adds whatever other toppings they might prefer.  Yum!

These are great served with soupy Cowboy Beans or Refried Beans.  Grandma's gang particularly likes a dessert of Key Lime Pie with these.


If you like cooking outdoors, you'll love Dutch Oven cooking!  Grandma found the most wonderful little handbook of Dutch Oven cooking the other day, chock full of everything you need to know about choosing, seasoning and using a Dutch Oven.  The Complete Book Of Dutch Oven Cooking  includes a generous four chapters of recipes and an extensive resource list too.

More Summer Grilling and Outdoor Entertaining

Down Memory Lane:

Grandma was surprised yesterday to find that her very first cookbook, Betty Crocker's Cookbook For Boys & Girls, is now available online to download as a free pdf from the Internet Public Library.  (There are epub and Kindle versions.  Grandma checked them both and they do not display correctly.)

If you would like a printed copy, perhaps for a grandchild, a facsimile edition is available here:

Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls: Facsimile Edition

Here's a little bit of Steven Raichlen's Barbecue University - this is a 10 video playlist.

Enjoy!  Stay Cool!  


  1. We ate at a local restaurant in Park City, UT this month that added pineapple to their fajitas and it was delicious. It was cooked with the peppers and onions. maleta

    1. That sounds luscious. I make a pineapple salsa I sometimes serve. I'll put the recipe up one of these days.


Grandma loves to hear from her visitors. Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.