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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Grilled Steak Fajitas for the Birthday Boy


Most of you probably already know that this past Tuesday was Cinco de Mayo, a day observed around the world as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. What you may not know is that it was also Mr. SGCC's birthday. As luck would have it, Mr. SGCC is a huge fan of Mexican food. So, I was able to kill two birds with one stone that night by preparing him a delicious Mexican-style birthday dinner.

Since Mr. SGCC is also a carnivorous caveman, I decided to make something with beef - skirt steak to be exact. The most obvious choice was Fajitas. "Fajita" is actually a generic term used in Tex-Mex cuisine, referring to grilled meat rolled in a flour or corn tortilla. Originally, traditional fajitas were made using skirt steak, but these days one can find them made with all kinds of different proteins, including chicken, pork, shrimp and even beans. I decided to go the traditional route and used skirt steak.


Skirt steak is a cut of beef from the plate, or belly, of the cow. It is actually the diaphragm muscle. It's a long, flat, and fibrous cut that is very flavorful, but can be tougher than many other steak cuts. For this reason, it is usually marinated and grilled. When sliced thinly against the grain, the result is some intensely beefy, juicy and tender steak.

I marinated my skirt steak for several hours in a mixture of orange and lime juices, olive oil, garlic, jalapeno and cumin. I believe that the acid in the citrus helps to break down the fibres in the meat, thus making it more tender.

I also sauteed a heap of red onions, red bell pepper and mushrooms to serve along with the meat. And, I made a big batch of cool and creamy guacamole to finish off the dish. To round out the meal, I paired my fajitas with a zippy little Black Bean and Corn Salad.


It was an awesome Cinco de Mayo/Happy Birthday dinner! Mr. SGCC was very happy. And, when he's happy, I'm happy! ¡Olé!

Grilled Steak Fajitas
adapted from Tyler Florence
(Printable Recipe)


1 orange, juiced
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 small handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed of fat
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 pint button mushrooms, cut into chunks
Guacamole (recipe follows)
12 warm flour tortillas (I cover them with a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.)
Shredded cheese for topping (I use a pre-shredded Mexican blend from the market. My favorite is Sargento Artisan Authentic Mexican.)


In a small bowl, whisk together the first 8 ingredients for the marinade. Place skirt steak in a shallow container, and pour marinade over it. Poke a few holes in the meat with a fork so that it absorbs the marinade better. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Drain the marinade from the meat. Grill the steak on the grill or in a grill pan over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes each side for medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest.

In the same pan, add the bell peppers, onions and mushrooms. Add a little olive oil, if needed. Saute the mixture for 3-5 minutes over medium-high heat, until the vegetables are tender, but not mushy.

Slice the steak thinly against the grain on a diagonal and toss with the vegetables.

Spread some guacamole on a tortilla and top with some of the steak mixture. Sprinkle some cheese on top. is desired. Roll up the tortilla around the filling and enjoy!

Serves 4-6


2 large or 3 small ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1 cup red onion diced
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
1 small handful of cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of one lime
Tabasco sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Mash the avocado in a bowl. Leave it a little chunky. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Here are some more recipes from the SGCC archives to satisfy the caveman at your house!

Ribeye Steaks with a Spicy, Smoky, Cacao Nibs Rub

Bistec a lo Pobre

Churrasco with Chimichurri Sauce

Pan Roasted Veal Chops with Chipotle-Lime Butter


Meg said...

Yum! Happy Birthday to Mr. SGCC!

joanne at frutto della passione said...

Hey, my birthday is June, will you make those for me!! They look soooo good, I might just have to make some myself this weekend.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Happy Birthday Mr. SGCC! What a lovely meal! I am totally addicted to mexican-style food!



MyLastBite said...

Gorgeous photos. I LOVE fajitas... so comforting and they remind me of first dates in high school.

noble pig said...

Mexican is my favorite.

The fajitas are boo-ti-ful.

Happy B-day Mr. SGCC.

The guac. OMG.

Cristine said...

That guacamole picture is FANTASTIC! Now I'm hungry! Everything looks amazing. YUM!

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Susan you totally rock! I just printed off several recipes for fajitas and here you go posting recipes for them. Your fajitas look wonderful. I'm so using this recipe. Thanks for the recipe and helpful info! I needed it.

Question: I'm going to marinade the skirt steak I have tonight for tomorrow. Can I do the shrimp and chicken tonight as well? Or wait until tomorrow? THX!

Coleens Recipes said...

I would LOVE todays post for my birthday on Sunday please?? HOLY COW, that looks delicous. The guacamole looks scrumptious!! Mr. SGCC is truly a lucky birthday boy!

Ariana said...

Fantastic post! Thanks for pointing me to Tyler's recipe, always wanted to make fajitas! Guac looks great. I have made Pioneer Woman's guac (with her pico de gallo) and it is soooo yummy. I think I will make this whole menu soon! Love your blog.

hmills96 said...

Happy birthday Mr. SGCC! May 5th is my Dad's birthday too, and he is a HUGE fan of Mexican food. We would always go to the one Mexican joint in town, as Mom doesn't like to cook. Now it is inevitable that I crave those authentic flavors on that day! These look good, they are getting added to my "to be made" binder.

Unknown said...

Fantastic looking fajitas. I agree re: using citrus in the marinade for skirt steak - makes a huge difference :) Thanks so much for stopping by my blog :)

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Those photos just jump right off the page. So delicious looking.

Kathy - Cooking On the Side said...

Oh wow, that guacamole photo in particular is a sight to behold - I could just dip a chip right now! We enjoyed steak fajitas for Cinco de Mayo too - love 'em!

The Food Hunter said...

happy Birthday Mr. SGCC!

Proud Italian Cook said...

I'm stopping by to say happy Mothers Day to you Susan, Happy Birthday to Mr.SGCC, and I wish I had some chips and your gauc in front of me!

Tangled Noodle said...

Happy Birthday, Mr. SGCC! This is the way I'd like to celebrate my own b-day, especially the guac. Awesome!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Happy Birthday Mr. C.I know you had an amazing meal:D

Snooky doodle said...

Happy Birthday to Mr SGCC . This delicious mexican food is amazing. I m hungry for it now! :)

Unknown said...

Well happy birthday to the hubby! All this food looks wonderful. It's all so fresh and simple. I especially love the tomatoes in the guacamole.

Hanneke said...

congratulations! it looks sooo delicious. Out here (The Netherlands) it is still very early in the morning but I'm already hungry!!!!

pam said...

What a great birthday dinner! Your steak is cooked perfectly!

SteamyKitchen said...

Happy Bday! Hey your photography and food styling skills are fantastic! Guac pic and last pic look like they came out of mag!

Debbie said...

Happy birthday to your birthday boy! What a lovely dinner. That guacamole looks fantasic...

Fearless Kitchen said...

I want a birthday dinner like this! Seriously, this looks amazing.

Memória said...

I will have to make this (sans the juices and bell peppers). I don't like the stuff in my savory dishes (re: oranges and limes) for some reason. Everything else looks great!!!! Wow!

Manggy said...

Happy birthday Mr. SGCC!! (Heh, and now I'm thinking, I wonder if he just grew into liking Mexican food because it's the food he's associated with his birthday since his childhood? Ha ha ha :) The fajitas look fanTAStic-- I'm sure a great time was had by all!

Jescel said...

happy bday (belated) to Mr SGCC! Wow, what a darling wife you are. And that feast was delish! I'm sure there was one happy hubby that day :o)

pigpigscorner said...

The beef looks perfectly cooked! Happy Birthday to Mr. SGCC!

Cynthia said...

The first time I had a meal such as the one you prepared here, I fell in love and wished I could have it everyday.

I was visiting a friend and her in-laws were in town visiting from Mexico and what a feast it was!

GG Merkel said...

I am wondering what camera you use for these textured and sumptuous pictures?

Susan @ SGCC said...

Thanks, everyone! I'm so glad you liked the Fajitas. I'd never made them without an Old El Paso kit before and I was thrilled with the way they turned out. (Sorry, Old El Paso, but I'm done with you!) The guacamole is my standard recipe, but it really does rock!

Oh, and Mr. SGCC says to thank you all for the birthday wishes!

Ingrid- I've already emailed you with the answer to your question. Let me know how they turn out!

Steamy- Thanks! You're making me blush!

GG Merkel- Thanks for the compliment! :)
I used a Canon Rebel XTi with a 100mm macro lens for these shots.

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

Happy Birthay to Mr. SGCC!

What a great meal. Great pictures.

Anonymous said...

That guacamole photo is the bomb! Your birthday man is so lucky. Hope he knows that! (Your one lucky dude, birthday boy! LOL)
Hugs to ya, Susan!

Christie @ Fig & Cherry said...

Great shots! And perfectly cooked steak, so pink and yummy :)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Hmmmm. Now I'm wishing that my birthday was on Cinco de Mayo -- that looks like a perfect birthday meal.

Maris said...

My mouth is literally watering over your guacamole! And steak fajitas couldn't be a better birthday dinner. One year I did a fajita bar for my birthday dinner with friends - big hit!

Mermaid Sews said...

Happy birthday to SGCC - looks sooo delicious.

Jamie said...

Mmmm love the sound of that steak marinade. I'll bet the meat came out luscious (I can see that it came out juicy and tender!). That guacamole looks the killer!

Stacey said...

Wow, your fajitas look amazing! Especially in that beautiful dish! Is that William Sonoma?

Tessa said...

These look absolutely delicious!

Peter M said...

I have no doubt that the fajitas and fixins' were delish but these photos...OH MY!

Again, Happy B-day.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Mmm I would SO eat that guac with a spoon!

Dianne said...

Oh wow those fajitas look fabulous! And that guacamole makes me want to go whip up a batch now! Very fabulous birthday dinner!

Unknown said...

What an amazing looking meal!