fusion night: chicken fajitas and all the good stuff

Summer is waning.  Heavy sigh.  By the end of the month everyone will be back at school.  High time then to cross off the list things we promised to do.  This week we finally made good on our promise to have two of Sara's favorite HiLite (Carmel High School's award-winning student newspaper and website) staffers over for dinner.  David and Andy really wanted to assist in the preparation and since I had a full day at work even I, the original control freak in my family thought a little help might be fun.  

You can't have company, even if they just want to be part of the family for an evening, and not serve dessert so I quickly made a batch of Ghirardelli brownies.  The rest of the meal was Mexican in origin, so I added a half teaspoon of good cinnamon to the batter like Mexican hot chocolate.  I think maybe not so subconsciously, I bake all the time just so I can have a little of the batter.  Brownie batter is way up there on the batter deliciousness scale by the way.  Best part of the brownie experience last night:  Andy asking, "may I" as the brownies cooled right in front of him on the island.  It's always a good evening when you eat dessert first. 

Next up:  chicken fajitas from the grill and pinto beans on the stove.  Fun fact, I posted this recipe after attending the school board meeting where they recognized the HiLite staff for all around general excellence (actually, for some specific awards but really it's just an amazingly accomplished organization).  Greg helped grill the chicken, peppers and onions while the boys lent a hand sauteeing the pinto beans closely supervised by Sara who just loves the pinto beans and is always willing to help if it means dinner is on the table faster.  

And the final dish, my reason for being, the namesake of my blog (this post is my 125th since that post got it all started 16 months ago), the first recipe I ever posted and the reason the boys wanted to come over for dinner: guacamole.  Here's where the participation happened in earnest.  Everyone should learn how to negotiate an avocado.  First you cut them through to the pit from axis to axis.  Then split them open.  I usually pop out the big pit with my fingers, but it's pretty fun to use a good chef's knife and put some umph into it and cleave the pit to pull it out with the knife blade.  Both young men took a turn and no one was injured (most likely it would have been me since I'm fighting a cold and I'm super tired, but even I avoided disaster).  Right, back to avocado prep:  you then need to scoop out the flesh with a spoon, running it along the inside of the skin.  If you're going to be slicing the avocado for a salad slice the halved avocado while it's intact and in the skin and then just scoop it out in one piece and you'll have your slices ready to go.  

I started the guacamole in my serving bowl and it was almost full of chopped onions, tomatoes and cilantro so we mashed the avocados in a separate bowl with a potato masher.  Usually I just blend it all together in a bowl with a fork or my hands.  Just be sure to leave some chunky bits.  Next I demonstrated how to use a lemon juicer to juice the limes and everyone took a turn using some serious muscle to extract all the juice from the limes.  We seasoned the avocados with salt and then folded in all the chopped ingredients.  Folding is a great way to mix something to preserve texture.  We used a nice silicone spatula and lifted the mixture from the bottom.  Then the chips came out for the tasting.  More salt?  More lime?  Quality control is a very important (and delicious) step.  

The chicken and vegetables came off the grill and the tortillas quickly went on for a little warming.  We served sour cream, shredded lettuce, grated Mexican blend cheeses and hot sauce to complete the fajita dinner.  It was a great night!  The whole Rogers family wishes David all the best at Princeton this year and Andy the best of luck with his senior year at CHS and his college admissions.  Some time when Sara's home from Duke, we may need to dine together again.  Especially if they'll help with the dishes.  I really do not enjoy doing dishes.  

Enjoy the photos!

Andy scooping out avocado.  Guest photographer:  my husband!

David cleaving the pit.  Thought about having them sign waivers, but all digits
survived.  Both young men have serious potential to change the world through science and or
medicine and I certainly did not want any negligence on my part to interfere with their potential.

David putting his biceps into lime squeezing.

Andy's turn.

Sara's turn.
Andy expertly mashing the avocados.  He can mash potatoes with chopsticks.
Seriously, what does that look like?  Mad chopstick skills, I'm guessing.
Now you can see why Sara thought this should be titled "fusion night".  

My claim to fame, ably assisted by my dinner guests.

Dinner time!

Yes, they even do dishes!  Completely awesome.  


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