Another true story: My Grandpas name was John. If you asked him, he'd say he was named after his father (the legitimately Spanish one). Naturally, I concluded my great grandpas name must have been John. Wrong again. His name was Juan! I know, it translates, but still... Hysterical, I tell you. Why was this such a secret?
For the record, I am a quarter Italian, Danish and Irish and one eighth each Mexican and Spanish. So no, I am not really from Chihuahua, Mexico. It's just fun to say.
In an attempt to honor my new found roots, I made vegetarian fajitas the other night. I correct myself, ahem, real vegetarian fajitas. Making your own seasoning blend is so easy and works like a charm. It even thickens up all the pan juices after adding a little water to the skillet like you would with a packet, except you control the salt and sugar content with no preservatives! Hooray!
Fajita Seasoning (and a recipe for vegetarian fajitas to follow)
adapted from Linda Larsen, About.com
makes enough for 3 batches of fajitas (about 3 tablespoons each)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons chicken or vegetable bouillon
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Pour into a small plastic or resealable container, seal tightly and store in a cool, dry place. To use, saute your onions and bell pepper strips (or whatever vegetables and/or meat you are using) until done and sprinkle with three tablespoons of the seasoning and 1/3 cup of water. Cook and stir over medium heat until combined and thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve. Recipe can be halved easily if you do not want to make extra seasoning.
For my vegetarian fajitas, I cut 6 bell peppers (2 yellow, 2 red, and 2 green) and 1 1/2 medium yellow onions into thin strips. I sauté the peppers and onions in two or three batches at a time over medium-high to medium heat in a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil until browned and soft, removing each batch from the skillet and setting aside on a plate until all batches are done. When everything has been cooked, I put it all back into the skillet and add 3 tablespoons seasoning and 1/3 water, and stir and cook over medium heat until thickened, about 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if desired. Serve in flour tortillas that have been toasted on a open gas flame with pinto beans, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and cheese.
Hola, como te llamas? Donde esta la biblioteca? That is the extent of my Spanish. Guess I need to brush up if I am going to be claiming Chihuahua the rest of my life. Besides, everyone can speak Spanish. Everyone. It's a little embarrassing that I can't, and furthermore, took Spanish 1 twice (twice!) and this is all I remember. And Kel, dammit, this paragraph is not racist! My Friend loves to call anyone that, anytime they mention another culture. Seriously, the slightest mention. Doesn't even matter what it is.
The other day I said I was talking like a black woman from the south because I am reading the book The Help. My dog had jumped up on my bed and I told her how I yelled "Oh, law! Child, you best get out the bed fore I pull yo ears off!" Never mind what I said. I wouldn't really pull his ears off so no one needs to get their panties in a bunch. Anyway, I told her that the dog obeys my Jackson, Mississippi accent from 1962 about as good as my normal American one (translation: he didn't listen). She quickly called me a racist (standard) and pointed out that a Jackson, Mississippi accent IS American...Whatev- she knew what I meant and so do you, right?