All month long, I’ve been promising to myself make the fusion fajitas that Father Leo Patalinghug beat Food TV Chef Bobby Flay on the “Throwdown” show. We have watched the episode plenty of times at our house, especially after Father Leo appeared at our parish in May. What an exciting time we had meeting him in person.
The fusion fajitas appear in Father Leo’s new edition of Grace Before Meals, his cookbook that encourages families to eat and talk together. Here’s my review from The Catholic Post of Father Leo’s book Grace Before Meals.
The fajitas are thinly sliced flank steak along with sautéed onions & peppers, and served with “Holy Guacamole” and “Screamin’ Sour Cream” dip, and tortillas.
But it’s been a busy month, and I kept making “the usuals.” Finally, last week I bought the ingredients (many perishable) so I would be sure to make them. Flank steak was the hardest to obtain; I finally had to settle for skirt steak from a local specialty grocery store, Lindy’s, in a nearby town. The helpful staff assured me it would substitute nicely.
So finally, last Wednesday I decided was “the day.”
I assembled the ingredients on the kitchen table. I thought that would be easier than taking things out one by one, and also I am prone to sometimes famously forget a critical ingredient when I cook (oops! That hummus doesn’t have any lemon juice! Not so great, trust me).
Next, I mixed up the marinade for the steak and poured it over the steak, reserving some of the marinade to cook the onions & peppers in.
My youngest helped “tenderize” the meat with a fork. He is saying here, a direct and favorite quote from Father Leo from the “Throwdown” episode, “I don’t want to make it too holy–that’s God’s job.”
Now the steak gets to sit in the marinade while I make the rest of the items. I was surprised at how much brown sugar (1 cup) was in the marinade, but I don’t often marinade so what would I know?
Next, onto the “Holy Guacamole.” I started by juicing one lime:
Next, I chopped up two avocados (I’m not sure if I’m spelling the word right, but adding an “e” triggered spellcheck), and immediately poured the lime juice over them to prevent browning:
Next, finely chopped red onion:
Now, some parsley, cilantro and salt is added to the mix and it is all smashed together.
Now it’s time to make the Screaming Sour Cream: basically sour cream mixed with hot sauce, garlic and a few other ingredients. Here it is before mixing:
Now, the reason I am a book blogger and not a food blogger should be evident by the fact that I lost steam around here and needed to get “dinner on the table,” and so did not take photos of lighting the charcoal for the grill, grilling the steak and letting it rest, sautéing the vegetables (though the chopped ones are visible in the last photo), etc., etc.
But I did finish the fusion fajitas, and we did have them for dinner. They were very yummy:
Not everyone tried all of the fajitas as prepared, as I might have predicted. The skirt steak was a big hit, as were some of the other items. I filled out the table with refried beans (popular at our house scooped up with tortilla chips), a couple of cheese quesadillas, and some tortilla chips. Everyone ate well and we had a relatively placid dinner and fun talking about Father Leo.
What I have to confess here is that I ended up making the “fusion fajitas” was towards the end of a day I felt convinced I am a failure as a wife and mother. Ever have a day like that? Last Wednesday was one of those for me. Everyone, just everyone, in our house, yelled and was in tears for goodly portions of that day. The only reason my husband escaped this fate is he had the great good fortune to go to work, but since he still was available via phone and email he did learn about our exploits at various points.
It was one of those truly horrible days that instead of loving the lifestyle of educating our children at home and being with my children all.the.time, I start researching boarding schools in New Zealand. That is my big, laughing joke when chatting about homeschooling, “Yes, I love it, except on days when I want to send my children to a boarding school in New Zealand!” And yet, there are days when that is not a joke.
Anyway, I wish I could say that making the fusion fajitas and eating them together as a family made everything terrific for the ending of that day, but it didn’t exactly do that.
However, it did make it a little bit better. I didn’t feel quite so much of a complete failure because I tried a new recipe, had fun taking photos of it (until I ran out of time and needed to get dinner finished), and had more of a fun story to tell my husband at the table than a re-hash of the horrible day.
Maybe that’s what family meals together are supposed to do: make things a little better, make us connect just a little bit more so we don’t despair about the inevitable bad days and bickering that goes on in families.
I think I might try to try one new complete meal recipe, along the lines of Father Leo’s Fusion Fajitas, once a month or so. But next time, I’m going to do it on a good day.
Do you have any full-meal recipes I should try? Or, better yet, any good New Zealand boarding schools to recommend?