When Hurricanes Strike, Neighbors Come a Callin’ - Jorj Morgan
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When Hurricanes Strike, Neighbors Come a Callin’

It was 12 years ago that Hurricane Wilma hit us in South Florida. We lost power for several weeks, and it took about that long for the grocery store shelves to re-stock. What happened during the days after the storm was truly amazing. With the power out, an eerie silence took up residence. The weather finally broke and cool, fresh breezes and sunny days followed. People left their homes to look at the neighborhoods and assess the damage. We were in good shape, structurally; but it became obvious pretty quick that our power would take a while to be restored.

One by one you heard small, gas-fueled generators crank up. You saw a few lights in windows at night, but mostly there was quiet.

And then it happened. We began to leave our homes and wander the streets. Neighbors who only said hi in passing were now caring on whole conversations. Food sharing became standard. With no electricity, freezers and fridges held food that must be cooked. Propane and coal fueled grills lit up, and meals were shared. It was truly amazing to see people cook so many different foods on a grill. We’re quite an industrious breed when we must be!

With Hurricane Irma looming in the near future, I wish all of you a safe harbor while she passes. And, when it’s time to clean up after she leaves, I hope you take a moment to look around, and share a meal with your neighbors. It’s as easy as firing up the grill and knocking on someone’s door.

Godspeed!

Grilled Flank Steak Fajitas with Peppers and Onions

Serves 6

30 Minute Cuisine

When grilling is the way to go, grillers need to be armed and ready. This recipe works for anything you have defrosting, and out of your freezer. Substitute with pork tenderloin or chicken; likewise, grill any veggie you have on hand, like mushrooms, onions, carrots – anything works!

For Steak:

1 (1-pound) beef flank steak

2 cups tomato juice

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Juice of 1 medium lime, about 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon coarse ground pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

For Veggies:

3 large bell peppers (any color), seeded, veins removed, cut into strips, about 3 cups

1 large red onion, peeled and sliced, about 1 cup

2 tablespoons olive oil

For Fajitas:

6 (10-inch diameter) tortillas

Fresh chopped cilantro

Salsa

Sour cream

Place the flank steak into a sealable plastic bag.  Add the tomato juice, vinegar, lime juice, Worcestershire and garlic.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Seal the bag and massage to combine the ingredients.  Marinate for 30 minutes on the counter top or longer in the fridge.

Place the veggies into a bowl.  Sprinkle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.

Stoke up the grill.  Remove the flank steak from the bag and season with salt.  Grill until browned on one side, about 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of your steak.  Turn and cook on the second side, about 4 to 6 minutes more.  Transfer the steak to a platter, cover with aluminum foil and let rest while you grill the veggies.

Place the vegetables in the grill basket. (If you don’t have one of these, you can lay the veggies on a sheet of aluminum foil and roll up the edges to create a baking sheet.) Grill soft and golden, about 10 minutes.

Place the vegetables onto one side of a platter.  Cut the steak across the grain into thin pieces.  Lay the slices next to the vegetables.  Garnish with cilantro.

Assemble the fajitas by laying a tortilla on a plate.  Spoon a column of veggies down the center.  Top with slices of steak.  Add a spoonful of fresh salsa and a dollop of sour cream.  Fold the bottom ¼ of the tortilla over the filling.  Fold one side over and then the second side over top.  Take a big bite and dig in! Remember to share these with your friends and neighbors!

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