Friday, September 4, 2009

Quick Vegetable Fajitas

Ever since I spent a summer in Tucson, Arizona, I've been in love with Mexican food. Living in the heat of 90 plus degree days made me understand the evolution of food from the southeast of the U.S. and Central America; flat breads are the way to go because it's just too damn hot to eat leavened breads, they slow down your digestive system and make you feel even more like a slug. Additionally, the natural electrolytes found in lemons and limes help your body cope with the dry heat and spicy peppers make you sweat just in case your body forgot that it needed to cool off. It makes me appreciate the beautiful efficiency of the human body and its ability adapt to a climate.

All of this is to say that I intuitively understand basic Mexican cooking just by following my body's desires. Yesterday, with Ojai at 103 (or 104 degrees, I don't really keep track) I was craving fajitas and whipped up this batch in less than 15 minutes. Nothing fancy but oh so tasty. I would deem this a great lunch or quick dinner no matter the season, but particularly refreshing in the summer heat. It's also a way to showcase multi-colored bell peppers and look fancy without much effort, which is always a plus in my book!

Vegetable Fajitas

2 cups bell peppers cut in strips (red, green, yellow, whatever you have)
1/2 onion cut in strips
4-5 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 - 1/4 jalapeno, sliced in strips (deseeded for less spice)
1 lime, juiced
olive oil for cooking
2-4 flour tortillas

Heat a skillet or cast iron pan on high heat for a minute; add oil and allow to heat for 1/2 minute. Add onions, garlic and cook 1 minute. Add peppers and cook additional 2-3 minutes until still crisp but beginning to soften. Add salt and pour lime juice over all and cook another minute. Remove from heat and portion onto tortillas. Serve with salsa or slices of avocado.

P.S. This is a citrus press, and once I discovered this I understood how people who cook with so much lime juice weren't losing their minds. The interior of limes are not structured the same as lemons, so they do not release as much juice as lemons do when hand juiced with a reamer. This handy gadget presses all of the juice out of a lime with such little effort. Make sure to place the lime cut side down, since the press will basically invert it in pressing out all of the juice. They're invaluable not only for cooking but for making fresh Mojitos or Margaritas, my favs!


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