Happy Monday Fellow Foodies!

Today I am making Fajitas for dinner. Fajitas were my introduction to Mexican Cuisine many years ago, well before it became a popular Americanized staple. Most true Mexican foods are high on flavor and low on fat. Sadly, the American appetite for cheesy, greasy, fried foods has given an entire genre of great food a bad reputation.

Today I am going to bunk a little of that thinking with a quick Fajitas recipe that is as easy and delicious as it is low on guilt and calories.

In Spanish "faja" means belt or girdle; "fajita" is the diminutive form. In original Tex-Mex culinary parlance, fajitas are a dish with roots in the Rio Grande Region of Texas made from a specific cut of meat: skirt steak. Considering the appearance of the meat -– a strip about 18 inches long and about one inch thick -– and its placement in the beef carcass beneath the heart and lungs, fajita (little belt) is a particularly apt nickname. There are only four skirts per beef carcass, yielding about 8 lbs. of meat. The two outside skirts are the diaphragm muscle from the forequarter and the two inside skirts are the secondary flank muscle from the hindquarter. The word fajita is not known to have appeared in print until 1971, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The exact time in which the dish was named fajita is unclear.

So, as you can see Fajitas are traditionally made from Beef. These days though you can get a version of Fajitas with nearly any main ingredient: fish, shrimp, veggies, or tofu, etc... Today I made the traditional beef variety.

Crush with a mortal and pestle:
2 large clove garlic
1 Tbs. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. chili powder (or cayenne)
1 tsp. annato powder

Place the spice paste into a bowl and whisk in:
2-3Tbs. Lime juice
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. sugar
Mix well and pour over:
2 Lbs. sliced skirt (or flank) steak
1/2 julienned onion
1 Tbs. chopped oregano
1 Tbs. chopped mint

Place in the fridge for 2-8 hours to marinate. Cook in a cast iron skillet or on  a flat topped grill. If you would like to use your outdoor grill simply leave the steak whole and marinate 24 hours to insure the meat is flavorful and tender once cooked. Once cooked serve sizzling hot with toasted tortillas, salas, cheese, sour cream (I use low fat), lettuce, and guacamole if you like. Give each of your family members and guests a tortilla or two and allow them to fill their tortillas up any way they like!

I occasionally add bell pepper and mushrooms to the mix, as I really like the taste and texture. Try adding different veggies and see where your taste buds take you!

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