Cooking for Kat – Husband Mike Adams Makes Cooking a Charm not a Chore
by Mike Adams
When Kat Mykals and I started dating she was living on fast food, frozen pizza, and a small variety of modern day TV dinners. I wasn’t eating any better. Even though I enjoy cooking, I had no way of doing it at the time. I was living in a small Downtown apartment where the kitchen consisted of a dorm room style mini-fridge and a pink microwave! Because of this I was living on the five-dollar Pizza-Pizza from Little Caesars, The Five Buck Box from Taco Bell, and any case of cold beer I could get for under twelve-dollars. Needless to say, neither of us were eating like we should.
Eventually Kat and I pulled together our collective resources and began to do things a little different. One thing she and I started doing early in our relationship was cooking together. From the start it was more than just about cooking something to eat. It was more about hanging out and spending time with each other, having drinks, talking about everything and laughing at everything else… and when it was all said and done we had an amazing meal in front of us to feast on like king and queen. I remember Kat telling me one night that before I came along she never really took any interest in being in the kitchen, or cooking for herself for that matter. She had always planned to eventually hire someone to do it for her. I distinctly remember laughing when she told me that, and now, one year later it looks like I got the job!
As the husband, food and beverage director, paterfamilias, and resident comedian of the household my job not only consists of being awesome all of the time, but also planning the meals, making wine lists and beer runs, and maybe most importantly, try to keep everyone laughing as much as possible. All of this is relatively easy to keep up with most of the time. But with two pre-teen girls, a six-year old boy, an extremely busy morning radio show personality, and myself sharing the same space, things have a way of going from crazy to borderline institutional really fast. So it’s absolutely imperative for us to not take things too seriously and try to have fun in everything we do…even if that isn’t much at all.
Yesterday, Kat had the brilliant idea of doing Fajitas for dinner. So while she did some of the things that Kat Mykals does, I went to our local grocer and picked up the following ingredients to make Steak Fajitas:
1lb Sirloin Tip
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Orange Bell Pepper
2 Jalapeno Peppers
1 Package Flour Tortillas
1 Package Taco Seasoning Mix
1 Can Refried Beans
1 Package Spanish Rice
1 Package of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Package of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
A Steak Fajita night begins with me tossing back a few beers and Kat opening a bottle of wine. Cocktail hour around here can start anywhere between 4:00-6:00 pm. Personally I encourage an early cocktail hour so that the atmosphere is more social and fun before we eat. This might seem like a minute detail in the grand scheme of things, but I believe it to be one of the most crucial elements in ensuring the success of a steak fajita night.
Another extremely important element of steak fajita night is the music. It must be something that everyone in the house can agree upon. Kat and I have found Adele’s 21 record to be excellent cocktail hour and dinner music. Some nights we like to incorporate Carole King’s Tapestry record. Typically we seem to enjoy more of a classic sound in the music we drink and cook to, but feel free to listen to anything you like.
Now that the drinks have been served and the music is playing at top volume, it is now time to cut some vegetables. Cut all of your bell peppers in half, putting the other half of each pepper back in the refrigerator to be used another time. Slice your bell peppers into thin strips. Then cut your onion in half and slice it into strips just like you did with the bell pepper. You will want to use both of your jalapeno peppers, but first you will need to cut them in half and take out all of the seeds. After you have done this, cut the jalapenos into thin strips as well. Once all of your vegetables are cut you can work on slicing up you sirloin. I cut my sirloin into quarter inch wide strips. This allows the fajita mixture to go further. Those of you with four or more people living in your household will appreciate that. If it’s just two of you cut the sirloin thicker if you like. The most important aspect of this process to remember is to have fun while you do it. The rest of it will come together.
Place a large skillet on medium heat and toss in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Brown your sirloin, but do not over cook it. Once the meat is brown, pull it off the heat. In another large skillet on medium heat you will need to toss in a tablespoon of olive oil and then add your sliced onions followed by all of your bell peppers and your jalapeno peppers. Stir the mixture thoroughly.
Once your pepper and onion mixture starts cooking down and getting tender, add your sirloin, your taco seasoning mix, and ¾ cup of water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer until the mixture thickens up. Do not allow your vegetables to get pale in color. You want your vegetables to be soft, but also try to keep as much color in them as possible. Basically if your mixture starts looking like it’s all one color you are over cooking it.
While your waiting for your fajita mixture to boil you’ll want to make sure to get another drink! Then open your can of refried beans and put them in a small saucepan turned to low heat on the stove. Add about 2 tablespoons of butter, a little salt and pepper, and just under ¼ cup of milk. Stir occasionally until the butter melts and is thoroughly mixed in. Then add a punch (ever seen Donnie Brasco?) of shredded cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese. Stir it in until melted. At the same time you are doing all of this boil 2 cups of water in a medium sauce pan and toss in your Spanish rice. Follow the instructions on the package.
Now, while you’re waiting for everything to come together, go ahead and get some plates out, grab you and whoever else another drink, and get ready to eat some of the most amazing steak fajitas I’ve ever tasted. Seriously, they are absolutely amazing and the above recipe will easily feed 5 people with no left overs or 2 people with enough left over for a late night snack or lunch the next day.
Serve and enjoy it kids!
As you can see, cooking for Kat and our family isn’t a job at all. We have a lot of fun with it, and honestly it’s more of a family activity than it is a chore. Cooking together is something we started in the beginning of this crazy little world of ours, and we feel it makes us a stronger family. That might sound a little hokey, but it’s true. No matter if it’s just the two of us, or the five of us, everyone seems to get involved in one way or another. At bare minimum everyone has a good time, and there is nothing wrong with that.
I encourage you and your family to start cooking together a little more. It’s the simple things that are most important and often times overlooked. I hope you like the steak fajitas, and until next time, like a filmmaker friend of mine used to say, “Be well…eat well.”