Fajitas

Fajitas3-4 lbs. skirt steaks
¾ c. jalapeño juice (the vinegar drained from jars or cans of pickled jalapeños)
¼ c. water
Juice of 1 lime
1/3 c. oil
¾ t. garlic powder
½ t. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, sliced thin
1 lime cut in rounds

Place skirt steaks in glass baking dish. In separate bowl, combine jalapeño juice, water, lime juice, oil and spices to make marinade. Coat steaks well with marinade, and top with onion and lime slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Barbeque method: Sear steaks on grill 2-3 minutes on each side. Place in foil and baste with marinade. Seal foil and cook over low coals 1½-2 hours or until tender.

Baked method: Cover baking dish with foil and bake in 300-degree oven 1½-2 hours. Remove foil and let brown 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

Break out the flour tortillas, sauté some onion and bell pepper, grate some cheese and make some of the best tacos you’ll ever eat.

Pralines

Although, historically speaking, Pralines are French in origin and made with almonds, every Southern cuisine has adapted and made the recipe its own. Tex-Mex is no exception, so here are some of my favorites.

Pralines                                                                                                          Makes approx. 4 dozen
3 c. sugar
1½ c. buttermilk*
½ t. baking soda
2 T. butter
2 c. pecans
2 T. vanilla

Combine sugar, buttermilk and soda in large saucepan and stir once. Bring to a boil over low heat and boil gently without stirring until syrup is 238 degrees (soft ball stage) on candy thermometer, about 30-45 minutes. Remove from heat and add in butter. Beat with a wooden spoon until mixture begins to lose some of its shine and thickens slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Quickly stir in nuts and vanilla and drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper. Let stand until set (overnight if possible).

*If you are like me and don’t keep buttermilk in the house, make your own. Add 1 T. white vinegar to 1 scant cup milk, stir well and let sit 5-10 minutes.

San Antonio Pralines (pictured)

Makes 18
1 c. granulated sugar
½ c. brown sugar
¼ c. milk
1 T. butter
1 c. pecans
1 t. vanilla

Mix sugars, milk, butter and pecans in saucepan. Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla and beat until creamy. Drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper. Let stand until set (these set up almost immediately).

Peanut Pralines

Makes 24
1 lb. brown sugar
4 T. water
1 T. butter
1 lb. roasted peanuts
1 t. vanilla

Combine all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1-2 minutes, remove from heat and drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper. Let stand until set.

Nopalitos con Huevo

NopalitosNopalitos are commercially processed prickly pear cactus leaves. They are used mainly in egg dishes, sauces and salads, and are available in jars or cans.

Serves 2-3
3 T. oil, lard or shortening
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ c. chopped onion
2 minced jalapeños (seeds and membrane removed, if desired)
1 T. chili powder
6 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ c. chopped nopalitos, drained (approx. one 15 oz. jar)

Heat oil in skillet and sauté garlic and onion until translucent. Mix in jalapeños and chili powder. Beat eggs and add salt and pepper. Add eggs and nopalitos to skillet and scramble. Serve immediately. Makes a great taco.

Mexican Cornbread

Mexican cornbread1½ c. yellow cornmeal
1 c. milk or buttermilk
2 eggs
¾ t. salt
½ t. baking soda
1 (8 oz.) can cream style corn
½ lb. grated cheese (longhorn, cheddar or colby)
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 jalapeños, chopped
2 T. chopped red sweet pepper (optional)
1/3 c. oil or bacon drippings*

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased 9×13 pan and bake 45-60 minutes in 350-degree oven.

*For a main dish, brown ½ lb. ground beef, drain and add to batter.

Jalapeño Chicken Casserole

Jalapeno chickenServes 8-10
2½ c. cooked chicken, diced
1½ c. chicken broth
1 (10¾ oz.) can of cream of mushroom soup
1 (10¾ oz.) can of cream of chicken soup
½ c. pickled jalapeños, chopped (with juice)
½ c. chopped pimiento
6 c. crumbled tortilla chips or corn chips (approx. two 9.75 oz. bags)
1 lb. grated cheese (longhorn, cheddar, colby or monterrey jack)

Combine first 6 ingredients and mix well. Grease 13×9 pan and line bottom with 2 cups chips. Top with half the chicken mixture and a third of the cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining chips and cheese.

Refrigerate at least an hour (casserole will keep overnight). Bake 45 minutes in 350-degree oven and serve immediately.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancheros                                                                                                                                Serves 2
4 corn tortillas
4 eggs
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. Blender Salsa or Salsa Picante

Heat oil in skillet. Dip tortillas in oil to soften and warm. Put two tortillas on each plate. Cook eggs over easy and put each one on top of a tortilla. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour warm salsa over eggs and serve.

Reposteria

Reposteria are actually cookies, but the name comes from their flakiness.

Reposteria                                         Makes 6 dozen
2 large sticks cinnamon, crumbled*
1 c. boiling water
½ pkg. yeast (1 1/8 tsp.)
5 c. flour
½ lb. shortening
½ lb. butter, softened
Pink colored sugar
Colored nonpareils
Cinnamon sugar

Add cinnamon to water and let steep 5 minutes. Add yeast and let sit until warm. Strain liquid. Cut shortening and butter into flour and mix well. Knead in liquid and food color to form a smooth dough. Roll dough flat and cut with 2-inch round cookie cutter. Top with colored sugar, nonpareils or cinnamon sugar to create a colorful assortment (or drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet, butter the bottom of a glass and dip into sugar or cinnamon sugar and use to flatten dough out). Bake on cookie sheet in 425-degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

*For vanilla flavored Reposteria:
1 c. boiling water
½ pkg. yeast (1 1/8 tsp.)
2 t. vanilla

Add yeast to water and let sit until warm. Strain and stir in vanilla. Continue with remainder of above recipe.