Monday, March 03, 2008
Tacos...Sí, se puede!
Tacos...Yes We Can!
Tacos are my favorite pig-out food. When I want a single entree that has as many of the seven vital food groups as possible and can be held in one hand my choice is a taco. On my list the taco is up against a slice of pizza, the big cheesy quesadilla, a 1” thick grilled cheeseburger and maybe my famous world-class burrito as big as my forearm. But usually I choose the taco first.
I don’t necessarily need a generous shot or five top shelf tequilas to get into the taco mood but it can't hurt. =)
Let’s see…this perfect handful of food has those vital food groups covered alright. It's got meat, vegetable, dairy, starch, spices & herbs and….ummm…fat. Mmmmm…fat…it's essential for a true pig-out meal.
There's something very interesting about the taco. It's the blend of flavors, the bite of the spice, the hot accompanied by the cold, the greasy against the fresh, the crunchy textures of shell and lettuce against the softness of the meat and cheese make it so different compared to a cheeseburger or pizza. It's a textural flavorful gob of wow and I can eat at least a half dozen in one meal. Burp.
Nothing wrong with chicken or pork tacos, I just prefer the flavor of beef. I AM a meatetarian, you know.
As a sidebar, I make a few vegetarian dishes too. Not because of some healthy ideological or ecological statement at all, they just taste good to me. In my food religion flavor is the Icon I worship. One is a chile relleno recipe that contains no meat at all but has an outstanding flavor. Hey! I can reach out to the other side too, but on my terms. Would a rigid vegan do that? Hmmm? The chile relleno recipe will be published at a later date.
The following is my favorite scratch taco recipe. I made it last weekend. There is no packet of spice ingredients available that will get you from there to here and taste as good as this.
Sure it's easy to buy a packet of premixed spices. I tried them all and usually ended up with a salty, greasy orange colored filling that ain't that bad in a pinch. But this scratch-made meat filling is..Much more better than good™.
There’s not much you can do to improve the lettuce and cheese part unless it suits you to try an exotic leaf, hot pepper jack or other type of cheeses. Stay away from the Limburger. Buy the freshest you can your hands on. Slice the lettuce as thin as you can and grate the cheese thinly too. That way the tiny shell can be packed full of goodies. I like to slice up some fresh jalapeno, onion and cilantro and toss that in too. Cilantro is a flavor you won't get at most taco joints but it makes a huge difference.
I sure wish they made bigger shells to fit as much extras in as possible.
Finally, frying fresh corn tortilla shells beats the hell out of those packaged ones. Just heat up some oil in a skillet. Hold the raw shell with tongs while ½ of the shell fries. Keep the raw half of the shell bent and then fry the other side. The shells shown were fried fresh. They make special utensils for this purpose but my cabinets are full as it is.
FOR THE BEST TACO MEAT:
1lb of the leanest ground beef available, or grind your own, I do
½ c canned tomato sauce
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
2T chili powder
1t ground cumin
1t ground coriander
½ t dried oregano1/2t ground cayenne
1/2c chicken broth
1t brown sugar
2t cider vinegar
cracked black pepper to taste.
1T cooking oil
Heat 1T oil in skillet over medium heat and stir in onions until clear.
Add garlic and spices and ¼ t salt stirring about one minute. Add beef and cook, stir and chop with a wooden spatula to keep the met crumbly. After 5 min add tomato sauce, broth, brown sugar and vinegar. Cook until liquid has been reduced, stirring often, about ten minutes.
Stuff your shell with this meat filling and your favorite taco tidbits for a most excellent pig-out feast.
I’m Gerry From Valpo and I approve this message.