Food n’ Flix: Practical Magic~

30 04 2013

This April, Food n’ Flix watched Practical Magic. You might think it’s a better movie for Halloween, but there’s a lot of focus on various herbs and other plants, and it is, after all, a story of love…the love shared between two partners, two sisters, family, parental love…and the lengths we will go to over love.  I truly enjoy this movie, even with it’s darker moments.  There seem to be a few highly memorable details from this movie…one being the Midnight Margarita dance, another being chocolate…  I confess.  I used tequila too.  Just not as a libation.  I used it to cook.

PracticalMagicCover

I discovered that tequila is absolutely fabulous in fajitas quite by accident one night.  My pan cooked pretty dry while I was cooking fajitas one night…lots of yummy caramelized juices on the bottom of the pan…but what to deglaze with??  I looked at the sake….no.  Too sweet.  White wine?  Better, but still no… Then it hit me… Hit the pan with a shot of tequila and cook off the alcohol and then add clean Mojo back to the pan.  That ought to work!!  And it did…

mojo-criollo

Now I’m pouring a shot of tequila to a pound of beef or chicken while it’s marinating and pouring Mojo Criollo to cover the meat.  After cooking all the veggies and the meat, I  deglaze the pan with another shot (1-1/2 ounces) of tequila and cook until the pan is almost dry, but not quite…and add in fresh Mojo…just enough to moisten all the goodies.  I like El Mexicano brand, but it’s what my local carniceria (Mexican butcher and grocery) carries.   I’ll learn to duplicate it in time…it’s seasonings and citrus juices…but for now, I’m cheating!  This is the standard commercial image for this product, but it’s much lighter in color.  As for tequila, whatever you’re drinking!  I prefer gold over white or silver.

4-30-13_cbwa1

I use 8 oz. of carne asada “steaks” for the 2 of us.  That’s about the same as “a quarter pounder” only much healthier!  Marinate before cooking, as described above, but don’t bother slicing the meat into strips.  Cook the marinated thin steaks in a hot cast iron skillet.  Nothing else holds the heat well enough and you’ll end up simmering your meat at some point.   Cook the beef just long enough to get a nice caramel color on both sides, and hold the slices in a warm place for a few minutes.  This helps keep the juices inside the meat.  When all the meat has been cooked, cook the veggies while the meat sets.  I use thinly sliced onion and peppers usually.  I don’t care for green bell pepper too much, so I usually cook red, yellow or orange peppers.  You can add any hot chiles you like, I let folks add their own at the table.  A lot of folks add tomato to their fajita mixture.  I may during the summer, but it’s only worth it when tomatoes are summer ripe, otherwise a good salsa fresca is fine.  When the veggies are nicely browned, but not necessarily cooked through, remove them from the pan, and put them in a dish (I use the serving dish I’m going to use).  Slice the beef across the grain into thin strips and add back to the pan along with any accumulated juices.  Cook until the juices are mostly gone.  Now it’s time to add that shot of tequila, then the veggies and follow it with a bit more fresh mojo (There are meat proteins and juices in the mojo you used to marinate the beef.  You won’t be cooking this more than just enough to bring it to a boil, so the leftover marinade isn’t safe to use).   Not much, a quarter to a third cup, just enough to add a bit of sauciness to the meat and veggies.  Toss everything together.  There should be very little liquid in the pan.  Remove to the serving dish.

This dish is great served with shredded lettuce mixed with chopped fresh cilantro, sliced tomatoes or salsa fresca, grated cheese and hot tortillas.   Rice and-or beans on the side rounds out the plate, but isn’t required.  A bit of Mexican Crema or sour cream doesn’t hurt either.  The tequila and the citrus does a fabulous job of breaking down the meat and making even stubborn beef nice and tender.  Because this goes together relatively quickly, this has become a standard in our house…the tequila is the newest twist though!

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2 responses

1 05 2013
girlichef (@girlichef)

I would devour one or two of these-Yum!

30 04 2013
Food -n- Flix Round-Up: Practical Magic~ | Can't Believe We Ate...

[…] tequila was flowing as well!!  I poured mine into a marinade for “Practically Magic” Beef Fajitas.  This recipe takes longer to explain than to […]

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