My mother, although multi-talented, had an aversion to the kitchen and has often said that I learned to cook at an early age “out of self-defense.” When she made chicken à l'orange by smearing a chicken with powdered Tang, I quickly developed a necessary passion for creating tasty things to eat. Somewhere in the family photograph album is a picture of me at the stove, age ten, happily stirring marinara sauce.

I developed a lifelong fascination with food; good food. There was even a foray of working as a chef’s assistant at a French restaurant during my mid twenties, just for fun. I had always loved watching Julia Child and knew that Mastering the Art of French Cooking was to be revered. It wasn’t until I read her biography (long before the Julie & Julia movie) that I really became fascinated with her work. From that book, I decided to prepare her recipe for mayonnaise.

Upon tasting it, I wept. . . .

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Monday, September 7, 2015

The Best Fajitas in the World – And They’re Vegan!!

Several years ago, my uncle retired from ranching and took up catering for rodeos in Texas (I know – not the best narrative for a vegan recipe!) His recipe won awards and was even featured in the San Antonio Express News. During my meat-eating days, I prepared this recipe for folks in New York, Toronto, Seattle, and Chicago and every time, it garnered praises. Here's the original recipe if you want to refer to it. The secret is that the fajitas are grilled first, and THEN placed in a hot, spicy marinade from which they’re served; sort of “backward”. The result is that the fajitas emerge super-juicy and bursting with big bold flavors. Perfect for the veggies we love.
I’ve done some tinkering and I’m happy to give you these award-winning fajitas – veganized!
This will feed 8-10 hungry folks

First, prepare the hot marinade:

MARINADE (Secret Sauce)
1 cup water
½ cup organic sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
1 Tbs. Annie’s Worcester sauce
2 tsp Tabasco
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp liquid smoke (the original recipe called for bacon fat)
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Combine and simmer for 15 min. or while you grill the veggies. (Hint: You can easily make this the day before and refrigerate it. But don’t try freezing it for later use. It loses all its flavor. I’ve learned this the hard way.)

GRILLED VEGGIES (Use what veggies you like. Here’s what I use)
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
2 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
2 red pepper, quartered
3 red onions, cut into six wedges, root left in
4 portabella mushrooms, sliced into thirds
6 jalapenos, left whole.

Slightly oil the veggies and grill on a really hot outdoor grill until well-charred. Slice into fajita-sized strips. (Remove the seeds and pith from the jalapenos) Pour hot marinade over veggies and set aside.

FILLING (couldn’t be easier)
1 12-oz vegan chorizo, removed from casing (I like Trader Joe’s)
1 14-oz can of refried beans (Again, TJ’s)

Combine and warm through.


2 large ripe avocados
1 cup frozen corn, thawed (use raw corn if you have it – yum!)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt
Smoosh everything together, except the corn, with a fork. Then fold in the corn.


Spread a spoonful of chorizo-bean filling on a large flour tortilla, top with grilled veggies, add guacamole and fresh cilantro.