Anytime I served my mother any kind of ethnic food, her standard response, in Yiddish, was, “we never ate this in Mogielnice.” I was raised on a strict diet of Eastern European Jewish fare: good, solid, hearty meals. My mother never made Pad Thai or tacos or stir fry, and just trying to conjure up an image of her standing in the kitchen with a wok makes me smile. Truth be told, when she did try a new recipe that she was given by a friend or neighbor, my sister and I were typically unhappy about it. We never wanted to experiment, not in my mother’s kitchen.
Somewhere along the way I discovered that I am drawn to exotic flavors, spices, and aromas more than to burgers, steaks, mac n’ cheese and kugels! Going to Artesia for vegetarian Indian food is almost as good as reading a book that transports you to Bombay. It is an adventure that you can experience with little effort. After having lived in Los Angeles for over thirty years, Mexican food is at the top of my list of favorite ethnic foods, simple but incredibly flavorful. I love the beans, guacamole, salsas and the heat of chiles.
I tend to shy away from cooking ethnic dishes at home. They are often too labor intensive and I don’t usually have the time or the ingredients on hand. Chicken fajitas are easy. They are fast and healthy and don’t require anything complicated in terms of preparation. Served with guacamole, salsa and warm corn tortillas, it’s perfect for a light summer meal and a nice break from roast chicken and potatoes.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients for marinade, pour over chicken breasts and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Discard marinade.
2 red peppers or 1 red and 1 yellow, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
Heat olive oil in pan ( I prefer a cast iron pan) till hot. Add onions and sliced peppers and cook over medium high heat until peppers start to caramelize. Take chicken breasts and slice them into 3/4 inch strips. Add to peppers and onions and saute, stirring constantly until chicken is cooked. About ten minutes. Serve with corn tortillas, salsa, and guacamole.