The wild chiles called chiltepins in Mexico and the Southwest are known as chilipiquins in Texas. We always have some of the berry-like pods available because we grow them as perennials, but they’re difficult to find in markets. So substitute any pequin or small, extremely hot chile. This is a finishing sauce for grilled or smoked beef, chicken, or pork to be applied before serving or served on the side.
There is no such thing as chicken or tofu fajitas because the word refers specifically to skirt steak that is marinated and grilled. This is actually a simple recipe to prepare, and it works best when grilled over mesquite wood, or natural charcoal with mesquite chips. The technique known as smoke-grilling is perfect for this meat, and flank steak can be substituted for the skirt steak. Tradition holds that fajitas were first perfected in south Texas in the 1960s and quickly became a staple for Mexican restaurants–and others–north of the border. It is a classic example of combining several methods to make tough meat more palatable: marinate it, grill it, and slice it thinly against the grain. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
When you order "green sauce" in Texas, this is what you will be served. It differs from New Mexico's green sauce in that the color is derived from tomatillos rather than from green chiles. This sauce can be used as a dipping sauce, with enchiladas, or as a topping for grilled poultry or fish.
This unusual combination of ingredients makes a salad that is hearty enough to be served as an entree as well as a side dish. I always prepare this salad a day before I plan to serve it to ensure the flavors are combined. A word of caution though, the salad seems to increase in heat the longer it sits. So make the dressing a little on the mild side or the salad may become too hot to enjoy.
Pork is a preferred meat in China and Southeast Asia, so it is not surprising to find it combined with chiles and traditional Asian seasonings. The marinade is also excellent with chicken and fish. Serve the grilled pork steaks with jasmine rice, sweet and sour vegetables, and a green papaya salad.
Lemon grass makes a nice houseplant and a continuous supplier of lemony stalks–simply root a stalk in water and then plant it in a pot. Put it in partial sun and it will grow and separate. This marinade is excellent with chicken and fish. Warning: the marinade tastes so good your will want to drink it. Go ahead, call it lemon grass tea. Use this marinade for poultry, fish, or pork, or as a dressing for a salad. Dave serves it over noodles and calls it a pseudo-curry.
Like most stews, this one takes a while to cook, about 4 hours. It is interesting because it contains a number of pre-Columbian ingredients, namely Chiltepins, corn, squash, potatoes, and tepary beans. The spicy heat can be adjusted by adding or subtracting Chiltepins.