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Food, Fun … and Fire

April 8, 2009 | Technique, Vegetables

I had quite the day yesterday – after a quick trip to my parents in the mountains in the morning, I came home to cook for the final dinner of the year that I would be providing to the Whiz Kids tutoring program at Confluence, to discover that the grill I didn’t know I had left on the night before had started a fire.
Yes, folks, that’s what a heavy duty gas grill can do set at low for 15 hours! After turning it off and seeing that it was smoking from inside the structure, I opted to call 911 and the fire department (all 15 of those calendar ready young men) showed up quickly and promptly determined they needed to destroy the grill structure with an ax (“sorry, ma’am…”) to put out the fire that was smoldering in the wood frame that housed it. Thankfully, although the wall of the house was warm, there was no fire damage to the house itself, and needless to say, we’re rebuilding with a concrete frame. The firemen put it out just in time for my helpers to arrive to cook for Whiz Kids so we got right to cooking (after a little surveying of the damage).

Sammy and Allie volunteered, along with their mom Audrey, to help make steak fajitas. I was supposed to grill the flank steak, but went to plan B and roasted them all in the oven after putting a dry rub of cumin, coriander, garlic, onion, chipotle, salt and pepper on them. Truth is, I liked the result better than grilling as the outside of the beef remained more supple (not charred like that wood above) and it was easier to slice it thinly for the fajitas. Sammy produced this incredible pan full of caramelized onions…

…while her twin sister Allie did a fabulous job of sauteing the peppers for the fajitas. We served the fajitas with cheese and a store bought salsa that we doctored up with some tomatoes, red onion and fresh cilantro alongside a cumin scented rice and black bean dish. Thanks again to my volunteers – you girls were great! Tip for everyone: don’t leave your grill on to burn off any excess stuff!

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