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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nicaraguan Fajita with rice

Hi guys!

I wanted to share a quick recipe I made this weekend. This recipe is uber easy, full of flavor, and is surprisingly low in fat. The meat used is very lean and the red peppers used are packed with vitamins. Red peppers are among the highest sources of vitamin C and actually have three times the vitamin C of their green counterparts. It is not at all a bad habit to choose your foods based on color. Foods that are orange, yellow, or red, tend to be higher in vitamin C and beta carotene, while dark leafy greens, for example, are rich in fiber, folic acid, potassium, and magnesium, and are surprisingly high in vitamin C. Folic acid and potassium are especially important in the diets of women. Women who have adequate amounts of folic acid in their diets both before and during pregnancy significantly decrease the risk of birth defects. Potassium also plays a key role in cardiovascular and bone health, as well as muscle contraction.

Pregnant women often experience an increase in the frequency of charlie horses because of an increased need for potassium. If you find yourself getting charlie horses often, it is typically due to potassium deficiency. Try to eat a banana for the moment to help it. Also, try to increase your overall consumption of foods such as leafy greens and bananas, as well as beans, which are all good sources of potassium, as a permanent solution to frequent muscle cramping. So whether you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, or frequent muscle cramps, being intentional about incorporating more of these foods into your diet may be just what the doctor ordered.

Below you will find some useful websites for further reading on the topic of potassium and folic acid and their roles in the health of our body's systems.

Here are some regarding the relationship of fruit and vegetable color to vitamin and mineral content:!&id=5165572

I hope you enjoy this deliciously tasty recipe that I've adapted from Nicaragua en mi Sazon with Maria Esther.

Fajita Nicaraguense (Nicaraguan Fajita)

1 lb of top round steak, sliced into strips and marinated for 1 hour - overnight

Meat marinade
2 cloves, smashed into a paste or grated
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
Salt (maybe a teaspoon or so)

½ onion, julienned
bell pepper*, julienned (use what you like. I used green and red (red is among the best sources of vit. C)
Celery, ½ cup*
2 cloves of garlic, minced

*the measurements for the celery and bell pepper really don’t matter. Simply go by your own preference. I just provided approximate measurements for any novice cooks out there.

! TB of vinegar (any type you like, I used white)
3 TB water

In a very lightly greased pan (either with non-stick spray or by spreading the oil over the pan with a napkin) sautee the onion over medium heat until softened. This will not take but a few minutes. Since there Is very little oil, it will not become transparent. At this point, add in the other vegetables, including the garlic, toss, and cook until they start to soften. Once the vegetables are slightly softened, add in the vinegar, water, and salt to taste, lower the heat to low and cook until desired doneness.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan over medium heat, greased in the same manner, cook the beef. Be sure to cook the meat in a single layer so that all of the meat cooks properly. This means that, depending on the size of the pan, you may do two or three panfuls of meat. With this in mind, start cooking the meat when you start the veggies off.
Once everything is done. Toss the veggies and meat together and enjoy!

I had mine with Nicaraguan-style white rice, which I tried for the first time. There really was a significant difference in flavor that I very much enjoyed. The rice was very flavorful and had that slight tanginess that I always enjoy in Nicaraguan food. What makes it Nicaraguan style is that it is toasted first, but not everyone seasons it with garlic and green pepper.  The recipe is below.

Nicaraguan-style White Rice

1-1/2 cups of long grain white rice, rinsed (swish it around in a pot of cool water with your hand then drain the water. Repeat one to three times until the water is almost but not all the way clear.
2-1/2 cups of water (I don’t like the 1:2 ratio of rice to water. It is too wet for me.)
1 slice of green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 slice of onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 TB butter, olive oil, or half a TB of each (this usually turns out nicely)
Juice of ½ lime
A pinch of salt

Gently stir all of the ingredients together in a medium-sized pot. Bring the rice to a boil, stirring. Once it boils, cover it and take the heat down to low. Let the rice steam on low for 20 minutes. Do not open the pot during this time. Remove from heat and let steam for another 10 minutes. Again, do not open the pot. Once the 10 minutes are up, fluff and enjoy!

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