Cooking at the Cove: A Southwestern-style summer night

Cooking at the Cove: A Southwestern-style summer night

Grilled peaches simply served with a dab of enhanced whipped cream are a delightful summer dessert. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

These fajita makings have components that add sweetness, crunch and a bit of a surprise. The beef (or chicken if you prefer) and veggie/fruit combo can be scooped up into soft tortillas and eaten the traditional way, or simply serve with rice or another grain for a Tex-Mex meal in a bowl, or as a stir- fry on its own.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

As a starter or a side, this loaded guacamole is the thing to make and has everything in it but the kitchen sink. For the freshest-tasting, best guacamole, prepare it no more than an hour before serving. It doesn’t really hold all that well, but it is so worth making… and eating immediately with the fajitas, on tacos or piled on to your favorite chips.

Lastly, let’s not forget that this is the time of year for peaches – so fabulous when they’re just right! For this recipe, you can peel them if you prefer, but I do not.

Spike the whipped cream with your favorite liqueur ( I used Amaretto). If children will be dining, flavored extract such as vanilla or almond work nicely. Sprinkle with toasted slivered almonds, roasted pistachios, or cookie crumbles if you have chopped some on hand.

And while you’re at it, you may want to grill extra peaches to chop and add to your morning oatmeal, stir into pancake batter, or decorate your French toast. Grilling fruit to caramelize and soften is a game-changer! And if you make extra spiked whipped cream, I’m here to tell you that it’s absolutely delicious in your coffee. Enjoy!

Steak Fajitas

3 tablespoons olive oil

12 ounces beef skirt, rib-eye, tenderloin, or sirloin steak, thinly sliced

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 red or green bell peppers, cut into strips

2 hot chiles (1 tablespoon), seeded and minced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

8 ounces jicama, peeled and cut into sticks

2 large carrots, cut into sticks

1 cup fresh pineapple, diced

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup tequila and/or water

2 cups cooked rice or flour tortillas

Place a large skillet over high heat until it smokes, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil and heat then add steak. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring every 20 seconds or so for just a minute or two. Transfer to a plate.

Add one more tablespoon of oil to the skillet and reduce heat to medium-high. Add onion, bell peppers, chili and garlic. Sauté and stir until soft and browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the steak.

Increase the heat to high again and add the last tablespoon of oil, jicama and carrots. Sauté, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until vegetables soften and begin to char slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the serving plate with the steak.

Add pineapple, lime juice and tequila to the skillet. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring to scrape any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the glaze thickens. Return all the vegetables and meat to the pan and toss to coat with the glaze. Garnish with cilantro and serve with warm tortillas. Yield: 4 servings

Loaded Guacamole

3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced ​​in half

2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mash the avocados in a large bowl. Stir in all other ingredients. Yield: 4 servings

Grilled Peaches with Spiked Cream

3/4 cup heavy cream

3-4 tablespoons liqueur or flavored extract to taste

4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)

Beat cream until soft peaks form. Beat in liqueur and chill.

Brush the peaches all over with melted butter and sprinkle with brown sugar if using. Grill over medium-high heat and 4 inches away from the flame on all sides until softened, about 5 minutes on each side.

Serve warm peaches with cream and other garnishes. Yield: 4 servings

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