Thursday, July 1, 2010

Double Take: Chicken and Beef Fajitas and TEX-MEX Cooking Night

This week's double take is sort of a dual purpose for me. I'm woefully behind on posting the monthly cooking nights I've been hosting. My goal is to slowly back up and catch up on the last few months. For now, June will have to do. In June, the monthly cooking night was Tex-Mex themed. Mel suggested making it "easier" by using some recipes from USL. The bonus is it allowed me to get a little ahead on information for our double takes posts.

Tex-Mex Menu

Flautas (aka taquitos)
Beef and Chicken Fajitas
Black Beans and Rice


The soppapillas recipe came from allrecipes. There were many that used baking soda so I went with it. It was a complete flop. I plan to try again with a yeast version and will report on that later. I talked to someone whose mom makes them in Mexico (they have a different name there) but are a similar item. He said his mom used yeast. Homesick Texan has a yeast recipe that I'll try in the future.

Flautas: I used homesick texan's recipe and it was fabulous. One note I would make is that you can save the broth to use as a soup. I learned this past weekend that soups are a big part of everyday Mexican meals. The broth was tasty with a fair amount of heat. At first I thought, this would really take a tough person to eat but the second spoonful made me want to save it. Miguel says its good with potatoes and a few veggies added to the broth. Anyway, for the flautas, the broth is used to flavor the meat. It takes a couple hours to cook the roast to become very tender and flavorful. It had a little spicy kick but even those that preferred spice least liked them. After cooking the meat, you pull it apart and place it into heated corn tortillas. I made the mistake of rolling them all up and letting them sit before frying..DON'T WAIT. As soon as you roll the tortilla, pan fry them in a little oil. It won't take more than 2 minutes for a set to be done. If you wait, the corn tortillas start to crumble. They remain tasty but not perfect. Feel free to toss in some pepper jack before frying or a little cheddar or pepper jack on top after completion. YUM. Many thumbs up here!

Ingredients for the flauta/taquito flavoring..onions, peppers, tomatillos, cilantro!

The broth with the meat..this was so tasty after 2 hours! Unbelievably good!

Perhaps the only Sopapilla that puffed to the left (the texture was still unexpected)...
Fabulous Taquito to the right!

Beef and Chicken Fajitas: These were stated to mix the marinade and split the marinade into two containers to separate beef and chicken. They were only to marinate 2 hours. I marinated longer. After looking at other recipes, its common to marinate the beef overnight. Anyway, I thought the flavor was ok but nothing special. I would choose a flavor that was more robust in the future and marinate longer. The meat that was called for was massively overestimated. The recipe claimed to serve 20 fajitas to feed 10 ppl. After eating we had over a 9 x 13 full of chicken and another container with beef. Holy cow. I would reduce this recipe's meat approximation by at least half (and I actually didn't use the full amount of beef stated). The recipe didn't mention peppers and onions which are typical fare for fajitas. We sliced a couple of onions and peppers to try to have a balanced amount of each. They were cooked 5 minutes on medium heat and served hot. Other toppings included grated cheddar, tomatoes, lettuce, and sour cream.

Jon is chopping veggies for the Fajitas

Black Beans and Rice: This also came from USL. However, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to comment on it yet. Since I am showing the picture, I'll just ask forgiveness. These were great but made a ton more than anticipated. We could've been happy with 1/4 of a recipe and there were 9 of us.

Andrea is cooking the Black Beans and Rice

Andrea gives the noisy camera person a look in the pot

Dessert Substitute: Since the soppapillas didn't work out, we enjoyed some homemade ice cream from the freezer. (More on that later.)

David's working on the sopapillas..why won't they puff?

Semi puffing sopapillas..we're definitely trying a yeast recipe next time.

Are we ready to eat yet?

Wait a sec! We need some grated cheese! Rebecca's on it!

The rest of dinner! Two tortillas (at top) and black beans and rice at the bottom.

Ratings: Sopapillas :try a yeast best recipe...the baking soda version was very disappointing
USL black beans and rice: These were great. Honestly the best I've ever had. They make enough for a small warned
USL Fajitas: The marinade was a bit bland. I'd try something different next time.
Homesick Texan's Fautas/Taquitos: FABULOUS! I highly recommend this.

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