My foray a week ago into the mysteries of Mexican cuisine fell a bit flat several days ago–the marinade for the flank steak was simply forgettable, and bearing in mind that my wife is not a big fan of cilantro or cumin (with regards to cilantro, there are only two servings she notes: none and too much), mastering or even making palatable Mexican dishes is a trick.

Even if one were to use those ingredients (at least the cumin), I tend toward minimal amounts. As for salsa fresca, I am alarmingly carefree in my portions and percentages, mostly going by how it looks: with tomato salsa, I begin with Roma tomatoes, onion, throw in a bowl and see how the red and white compare. Then I may put in a green onion for the verde aspect of color, then usually I start with a half teaspoon of salt. If it involves a jalapeño or habanero…well, I put aside perhaps a third of the base salsa once I’ve seasoned it to her taste, and then add my heat. Tonight I added some fresh mango to the salsa–tasted very nice.

Tonight I bought Mi Tierra’s prepared fajitas from the butcher–and at $4.99 a pound for flank steak, seasoned, and onions and peppers, it is a lot cheaper than the $9.99 for flank steak at Berkeley Bowl.

The guacamole I also tend to approach from its appearance. Avocado, diced onion, lime or lemon juice, and tonight a Roma tomato for some added sweetness. A dash of salt if necessary (hardly) and voila–two salsas for the fajitas. When I asked the butcher if the fajitas were spicy or not, he assured me that it was very mild. I told him ok, but if it wasn’t, I would have my wife return to read him the riot act on his notion of ‘mild’.

Final result? My wife and I disagreed about how much salt in the guacamole was enough–she added more and I thought it too much–slightly. The salsa was simply meh…nothing terrible but nothing striking. Wifey agreed that she was ‘used to’ the cumin and cilantro flavors in Mexican so I have now some latitude with flavoring my Mexican dishes. The fajitas mixture was…ok, though oddly slightly under seasoned, but not bad for the price.

My Mexican cuisine still needs work, and its too interesting a cuisine to pass on the effort to figure out.

No pictures, sorry.