Inspired by Inner Child Food’s Kids’ Culinary Passport, we have added international cooking lessons to our 5th grade homeschool lessons. Read about our first country, Italy, here. Today’s post is about Mexico. Like Italy, Mexico cooking day fell during that last week of the pay period: suck-it-up-I’m-not-going-to-the-store week, so we used a recipe as a guide, but worked with what we had on hand. I have been making my own tortillas this Summer using this recipe from Taste of Home and they are so easy! Ben made the dough and rolled out and cooked the 1st tortilla, but after that he was done. At least he tried it! I finished the rest of the batch. But he did make the fajita filling. We used The Pioneer Woman’s Beef Fajitas recipe. I love her! Scouring the fridge and freezer for ingredients I found a quarter of an orange pepper and half a yellow pepper, a tomato from the farmers market that was on the use-or-lose threshold, half a mason jar of homemade salsa and a frozen sirloin steak. The rest of the ingredients, minus the sour cream, are alway present in my kitchen so B got to work.
First he made the marinade and then he chopped the peppers and onions. Although the hubs has supervised B at the cutting board many times, I’ve only done it once or twice and I’m such a Nervous Nelly! I have been cooking for 33 years and I cut myself at least a few times a year. Plus the hubs was at work and he is designated first aider in this house. However, I need to get over it and B needs to get more practice, so I let him at it. His favorite part was smashing to garlic cloves to make peeling the skin off a breeze. He wasn’t strong enough to work a traditional garlic press and, since I refused his request to “…chop it up really fast like the professionals on Iron Chef!”, I had him use The Garlic Zoom. He loved it! Put a clove or two inside, close it up and run it back and forth like a Hot Wheels car. He did great slicing the onion, peppers and chopping the tomato but I was a wreck. (I chopped cilantro right before dinner was ready.) Thank goodness the steak marinated as a whole because I was not ready for him to cut raw meat!
The meat and veggies were put in their separate marinade bags in the fridge right after lunch and at dinner time B cooked the veggies and steak. I sliced the steak after it had rested and we made our fajitas. The picture, above, is of mine. Since the tomato had to be used, I put that on my fajita and kept the salsa on the side with some chips. I didn’t even add cheese and these were muy bueno!
B pointed out Mexico on our world map and we talked about the origin of the fajita along the Mexican/Texas border. Some of the Mexican cowboys were provided with “leftover” or less desirable pieces of beef, including the skirt steak, as part of their pay so they made fajitas. “Faja” is Spanish for girdle (or belt or strip) and adding “ito” or “ita” to the end of a word in Spanish indicated affection or smallness. We have not covered Mexico at all in our History studies, but we will later this year as we progress through American History.
Stay tuned for the country of our next cooking adventure, Japan…