Well once again I have proven to one and all that my photographs of food will never make the rotogravure section of the Sunday Chronicle. Whoa Nellie – that was a thought blast from the past!  Maybe I thought about the long gone rotogravure* section of Sunday papers because I have been going half mad all day trying to get Irving Berlin’s melody for the song Easter Parade out of my head. (There is a reference to the rotogravure in the song lyrics.) Whatever the reason, the truth of what I said remains. I am simply a lousy food picture taker (can’t even refer to myself as a photographer) and I want to take this opportunity to apologize for my ineptitude.

OK, I got that off my chest; on to better and tastier subjects.

I don’t know about you, but I love fajitas. What I don’t appreciate is when fajitas are so highly seasoned that you can’t taste the flavor of the meat. (Just my old hang-up of wanting a blend of flavors in whatever dish I eat or prepare!) I also don’t like buying seasoning packets when I can jolly well produce a better and less expensive product at home! Of course, my spice blends don’t have the likes of monopotassium glutamate, disodium guanylate, or disodium inosinate (not making these names up folks), but I don’t really feel I’m missing anything by their absence!

So the following recipe is my answer to a not overly spiced fajita that can be made with chicken, beef** (skirt steak works great), or shrimp**.  This mélange of herbs is perfect for Mr. C and me. For those who prefer spicier fajitas, I recommend using a hot salsa to ramp up the heat.

*According to the Free Dictionary website, rotogravure is an intaglio printing process in which letters and pictures are transferred from an etched copper cylinder to a web of paper, plastic, or similar material in a rotary press. i.e. printed material, such as a newspaper section, produced by this process.

  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. granulated garlic
  • ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
  • scant 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ c. water
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/3-inch strips
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced (or half green, half red pepper)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 T. fresh lime juice
  • 8 warm flour tortillas
  • shredded lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, salsa, thin avocado slices, and sour cream (preferably Mexican) for serving

Note: Remember – you don’t have to buy your spices in those darling little jars at the grocery store. Buy your spices in bulk and save yourself mucho dinero (well we are talking fajitas here you know!)

Combine the cornstarch, chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Place in an airtight container for storage. (I make about a triple batch at a time.)

When ready to prepare fajitas, whisk together the water, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the chili powder mixture together in a small bowl. (If you have made a larger amount of the spice mixture, use about 4 tablespoons for this recipe.) Add the chicken, and stir together until the chicken is evenly coated. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes. **

After the chicken has had a chance to marinate, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet until shimmering. Carefully empty the chicken into the skillet along with the green pepper and onion. Cook over medium high heat, stirring continually with a heavy spatula to remove browned bits off the bottom of the skillet, until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the chicken is just cooked through, about 4 minutes.


Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Serve in warmed tortillas, with lettuce, cheese, salsa, avocado slices, and sour cream.


** 15 minutes for shrimp and about 1 hour for skirt steak