The sizzle

That's the reason we eat fajitas, right? The sizzle? I think so. I love making fajitas, and tonight, I tried a new main ingredient: steak. Blame the Steak Fajita Throwdown. Father Leo, a Filipino Catholic priest who's also a triple black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has his own local cooking show in Maryland, handed Bobby Flay's butt to him on a sizzling skillet. It was awesome. You'd think Bobby could win a throwdown dealing with Southwestern food — much more likely than his victory over two sweet old ladies from New England in the Berry Pie Throwdown a couple of years ago. Anyway, Food Network's website didn't publish Father Leo's winning recipe, but I remembered enough of it from the show that I was able to wing it and happily devour the results a little while later.

I usually make portobello fajitas, or portobellos for Jack and shrimp or chicken for me. I don't buy a lot of beef, except for ground beef and the occasional bacon-wrapped filet when I'm feeling splurgy, so venturing into the meat section of the grocery store to find flank steak was a mini-adventure for someone who considers herself half a vegetarian. I ended up using about half a pound of what I bought and freezing the rest, and it was the perfect amount for me. Hush. I'm eating for two.

The marinade was unique and wonderful, and my favorite part of the whole thing. I marinated Jack's mushroom in the same stuff, and he loved it as well. As nearly as I can remember from the show, the marinade included white wine (which I subbed with O'Doul's, because that's what we had in the fridge), red wine vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, salt and pepper, and oil. I also threw in a pinch of cayenne for fun. I cooked the steak on a grill pan for 7 minutes on each side, then let it rest before slicing it really thin. I caramelized the onions and peppers in a big skillet, then cooked Jack's mushroom along with them in the same pan. Homemade guacamole, sour cream, and a little cheese were the only things we added, and they were perfect.

Kent ate about two bites of refried beans, a tiny piece of a tortilla chip, and one grape, then spent the rest of the meal squishing his hands through the beans. I offered him steak, which he's eaten in the past but didn't want to have anything to do with this time. Sometimes I wonder about him. However, he is being extremely cute right now and saying, "fatitos!" over and over.

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Erica, I think you should write a cookbook and 'Fatitos' should be the first entree entry. I love it!!!
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