Monday, February 27, 2017

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

I published this post a few years ago, and I am republishing it because I have had many requests from friends who got frustrated trying to locate it all the way back in 2014.  So, here it is again. Let me know how it comes out   --  (Lucy and Natalie)!

Move over chicken cutlets!  My family has a new favorite chicken dish -- Grilled Chicken Fajitas. And this time of year, who can disagree.  The secret ingredient: Grapefruit!

If done correctly, Chicken Fajitas are an easy-to-make crowd-pleaser.  And if you follow this recipe, they are low in cholesterol and fat, and are gluten free!

Here is what you will need:

2 Lemons
3 Limes
2 Grapefruits
Chicken Breasts
1 Red Pepper
2 Onions
Pepper Jack Cheese
Corn Tortillas
Hot pepper paste, chipotle chili flakes or fresh Jalapeno
Olive Oil

Clean and dry the cilantro, then chop (or puree) it finely. 
Tip: Once cleaned and dried, cilantro (and parsley) leaves can last many weeks if refrigerated in a sealed container. 

Prepare the marinade by juicing lemons, limes, and grapefruit in a large bowl.  Add in 3-4 cloves of finely chopped garlic, a large handful of chopped cilantro, a diced onion, a tablespoon of cumin and a tablespoon of cinnamon. Season with salt, pepper and a little hot pepper paste or chipotle chili seeds. 

Rinse the chicken and add it to the marinate. Let the chicken marinate for 45 minutes to an hour. This citrus marinade works well for a few reasons.  First, it tenderizes the meat and cooks it a bit.  For packaged chicken, the citrus also breaks down the slippery coating on the chicken.  Finally, and most importantly, it adds unbelievable flavor!

  While the chicken is marinating, slice the 2nd onion and red pepper into strips.  If using Jalapeno, chop it into small pieces. 

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a grill pan and saute peppers and onions until soft and slightly charred.   I added hot pepper paste/Jalapeno to this mixture as well as some salt and pepper. 
Take onions and peppers out of saute pan and set aside. 

Add the marinated chicken to the seasoned grill pan.  For thin sliced chicken, grill each side for about 3 minutes.  For thicker cuts, grill for 4-5 minutes on each side.  Keep the marinade...

...and add it to a small grill pan with some olive oil.  Cook it down.

Heat the tortillas in the small grill pan.  Add marinade and olive oil, as needed. 

Slice the cooked chicken. 

Layer the tortillas with chicken, onions, peppers, jack cheese, avocado (you can use guacamole too) cilantro and maybe a little salsa! Fold and savor! 

For larger groups, all of the ingredients can be laid out on the table and guests can make their own! 

Poultry Tips:

If you have a whole chicken and need to take off the breast meat, here are some simple instructions:

Always start by cutting into the legs, where they are attached to the body.  Cut through the bone of both legs and then do the same for both wings, and set them aside.  Then turn chicken over (onto its back) and cut along center bone and slice out breast filets.  Put the bones into the freezer and use later for preparing chicken stocks. 

If your chicken breasts are too thick, do not start by pounding as this can weaken the muscle fibers and release juices. Lay the breasts on a cutting board and carefully (very carefully) slice horizontally/ lengthwise.  Then lightly pound.

To test whether the chicken is cooked, pierce a small hole in the thickest meat.  If juices run clear, it is done.  If there is still some pink, it needs a bit more time.  Thermometers also work well!

When cooking chicken and other meats, it is always best to heat the plates before serving.  This can be done by placing them on a rack above the stove while cooking; or into the oven for a few minutes at 200 degrees (or less). Even a slightly warmed plate will help maintain food temperature.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Food & Film

Taste What You See!

When you live in New York City, the film world seems ubiquitous.  Actors are everywhere, production crews and trucks seemingly inhabit all the streets (often to the chagrin of the neighborhood locals), there is always an industry insider, without exception, at every dinner party, and you can ostensibly explore every genre of film at the thousands of movie theaters peppered throughout this sweeping metropolis.  For movie enthusiasts, like myself, it is one of the many reasons New York is an exciting place to live. 

There are a bunch of film festivals that make themselves at home in New York City;  some are quite famous -- like De Niro's Tribeca Film Festival or the New York Independent Film Festival.  But, my favorite, somewhat lesser-known festival, is happening this week  -- The Food Film Fest. This four-day event showcases short films solely dedicated to stories about food and its preparation. Interesting, right? But, what makes it a real night out is that a sample of the food being presented in the film is served to the audience while the film is being screened. Ingenious! And so much fun! 

What's more is the Food Film Fest helps to support The Billion Oyster Project, an ecosystem restoration and education program. The project is working to restore one billion live oysters back into the New York Harbor, through the help of New York City school children. You may not have known that oysters are a valuable natural water filter -- they help to keep water clean, and the New York Harbor needs cleaning.  But, sadly, oysters are near extinct in these waters. The Billion Oyster Project hopes to reverse that trend, to bring back the ecosystem that existed for thousands of years prior to the development of our city.  

So, The Food Film Festival is more than just a publicity show for newly released films.  It's an all-ecompassing night out, complete with entertainment, food, beverages and a deserving nod to a respectable charitable organization. 

If you are in New York this week and want to check out the Festival, tickets are on sale now for the 10th Festival: 

Always preparing for my own little food