Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Super Fast Summer Vegetable Fajitas

Remember my old fashioned gentleman/retired cowboy neighbor that dropped off all the garden and orchard treasures? This week's recipes are dedicated to summer-fresh produce, thanks to my generous gentleman cowboy.
Raise your hand if you've been to El Cholo in Los Angeles. All right, don't raise your hand, but at the very least, leave a comment. I can personally guarantee just about anything on El Cholo's menu, but their fajitas are truly exceptional.
In the late 80s, I went to El Cholo with a group of high school friends. Fajitas were the new "it" dish, and apparently not too well known. When the waiter came to our table with the loud sizzling dish, my brother's friend Matt Gourley, jumped out of his seat, sweating and shouting something about a fire. He was an extremely funny guy (professional actor now), but he was dead serious at the time. We've been giving him "heat" for years over his pan-panic attack. Every time I hear the flaming sizzle of fajitas, I think of Matt Gourley, scared out of his Cavaricci pants at El Cholo.
I'm confidant you'll love my veggie fajitas, since I've done my best to copy El Cholo. They're simple, nutritious, vibrant with color, delicious, and best of all-I can make it all in just one pan, so clean up is a snap. Whip up a batch of my 2 minute FRESH SALSA, and you've got dinner.
Summer Vegetable Fajitas
Estimated Cost: $5.00 for Four Servings
Notes: Sometimes I use homemade refried beans from the freezer, or canned pinto beans that I mash, or when very pressed for time, Rosarita Green Chile and Lime Refried Beans.
12 corn tortillas
2 teaspoons butter, optional
1-2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced, preferably different colors
1 zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 summer squash, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup corn (optional)
2 cups refried beans
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese, if desired
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 clove garlic, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
sour cream, guacamole, salsa, if desired for serving

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add tortillas, a few at a time and cook until softened. Brush tortillas lightly with butter, if desired, and wrap tightly in tin foil, then wrap in cloth towels to keep them warm and soft until serving time. To same pan, add oil. When sizzling hot, add onions and bell peppers. Cook stirring constantly for two minutes. Add zucchini, squash, tomatoes and corn and cook for one minute. Push vegetables to one side of pan. Place refried beans on other side. Sprinkle refried beans with cheese. To vegetables only, add chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper, and cook stirring vegetables only for one minute. Turn off the heat and immediately add lemon juice to vegetables only. Bring skillet and tortillas to the table. Make fajitas directly from the table. Serve with sour cream, guacamole and salsa.
Coming Tomorrow:
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread


Katherine Aucoin said...

I am a huge fajita fan and can't wait to try yours. I'm making my list so I can make this tomorrow night. Thanks for the inspiration Prudy!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE fajitas! Escpecially yours and El Cholo's! I remember the first time I made them (after you had given me the recipe) and thinking ,"Hey whada you know? I can cook!" It looks so good with all the fresh summer veggies! Thanks for sharing Prudy!

Mary Kate said...

Your fajitas look beautiful! This recipe looks great, easy to make , easy to clean up, and healthy. A winner all around!

Sophie said...

I'm from LA but I've never been to El Cholo -- must try...and I must also try out this recipe. What a great way to use the veggies! YUM! :)

Patsyk said...

Those fajitas look so good... and a huge bonus is using seasonal fresh veggies! Yum!

Lisa said...

Love fajiltas and love fresh veggies so these look wonderful! And I remember those cavariccis that guys wore in the 80's? Along with the parachute pants! :)

Sharon said...

**jumping up and down and raising my hand**

I LOVE El Cholo, especially the sonora enchiladas. Your fajitas look so delicious and fresh.

JJ said...

Serious? Did we never discuss El Cholo's the entire time we were roommates? I saw the words and immediately my mouth started to water! We went to the one on Western Ave (in the 70s and 80s) until they opened the one in Santa Monica! Oh, back in the day when they gave you fresh tortillas with butter and salt. I am sending this post to my family and friends pronto! These may have to be my weekend recipes! Why have we never discussed this?

Megan said...

Oh wow, El Cholo, the late eighties, Z. Cavaricci, high school! Yikes! It seems so long ago............. because it WAS!!!! Oh man, now I feel old!

Maya said...

I ma a huge fajita fan as well - my other half makes it when it is his turn to cook.

C. Lynne said...

I can't pass this up! I am Aunt Spicy's (JJ) mother - When I read
"EL-CHOLO'S" I went crazy. In 1966 a Taco Salad was .75 cents - That was in the "good old days". I don't think you, Aunt Spicy and your/her friends are old enough to have "good old days." We used to go at least once a month, for birthday parties, any celebration - Aunt Spicy was right - the corn tortillas with butter and salt rolled up - We don't think they are as good as they used to be. We lived in Westwood - El Cholo's is by the LDS Stake Center off of Western between Olympic and Pico. The Santa Monica El Cholo's is not as good. Honestly, there is NOTHING that compares - well maybe your recipe - we will have to try it! Thanks.

Prudy said...

C. Lyne:
I'm so glad you stopped by to leave a comment. I love the old El Cholo menus that they have on the walls with those good old prices. They do have such great mexican food and atmosphere. They have an el cholo in Whittier where I grew up, so that was our regular stomping ground. I don't think I've ever ever been as full in my life as some of those nights after an order of crab taquitos, fajitas, and of course those little pralines that they bring with the bill. Now we have Cafe Rio, right? I hope I get to meet you sometime soon. I know JJ is coming in Dec. so then at the very least!:)

Maggie said...

I'm raising my hand....I grew up going to El Cholo by the L.A. Stake Center.....along with our mutual friend Aunt Spicy. Thanks for the great recipes. Love your blog!

Shirley Peart said...

I am Maggie's mom, and a longtime friend of the Johnstons. When I lived in Los Angeles, we went to El Cholo all the time. Ron Salisbury, one of the owners, was a close friend of my now 75 year old brother, so we really had an "in" with the restaurant. The food was delicious - all of it, and I hope it isn't true that the quality has gone downhill. I agree that the Santa Monica location is not as good. Thanks for the wonderful blog. You do a great job.

Prudy said...

Maggie and Shirley:
Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. Any friend of Aunt Spicy is a friend of mine! Maggie-your family looks adorable. I hope you make it up to Yosemite to get out of that Visalia heat!
Shirley-my parents were friends of the Saulsburys too. I think their son managed the Whittier El cholo. I think there must have been some Saulsburys in the Whittier Stake.
Thanks so much for commenting about good old El Cholo. I haven't been in over ten years, but I love it all the same. When May comes I always think "If I went to El Cholo, I could have the green corn tamales."

Deborah said...

I've now got a craving for some Mexican food! Love fajitas, and these look so fresh and delicious!

C. Lynne said...

Hi Prudy, did you know that the El Cholo's in Whittier is the ORIGINAL El Cholo's. Lucky you - that you got to go there! We have never been to that one. Cafe Rio is ok too - but will never compare. At home in Agoura (Thousand Oaks area) it is Baja Fresh - which was bought out by Wendy's or vice versa. Life goes on - doesn't it! Aunt Spicy's mom - what a conincidence about St. George.

haydntaysmommy said...

LOVE El Cholo's! That just took me back! I'll have to give these a try :)