This summer, in an effort to use up some of the herbs from the garden, I started making homemade vinegars. They are nice to use for gifts, and make some different salad dressings and marinades. I started with a blueberry basil vinegar, which makes an excellent blueberry vinaigrette. Next was a fennel, thyme and peppercorn vinegar, to use up some extra fennel.
I wanted something to marinade meat for fajitas. I made a cilantro, garlic and jalapeno vinegar for this purpose. Since I am always looking for new ways to cook all of the venison we have, I decided to marinate venison steak with a mixture of my cilantro vinegar, some canola oil, grill seasoning and cumin. I let it marinate for 24 hours, so the flavors would infuse the meat. Because of the vinegar in the marinade, it also starts to "cook" the outside of the steaks.
From there, fajitas are simple. I sauteed onion and red peppers. I removed the meat from the marinade and pan seared it for approximately 4 minutes per side, so they were medium rare. Served with some steamed tortillas, homemade salsa (canned this summer), cheese and sour cream, they were as good as anything I have eaten in a restaurant. Ray must have agreed, he had four ! And we had the leftovers for lunch, during a break from the cookie baking extravaganza.
And, I have beautiful, handcrafted vinegars to send as Christmas gifts.