I have been dying to post about my specialty tacos -- YUM! Growing up here in SoCAl, especially in San Diego, Mexican food is just our food. Regardless of our family heritage, it's just our food. (As this blog continues, you will see how it's influence seeps into all my cooking, e.g. jalapeno avocado hummus.) My love of taco shop food has to be curtailed at this point, and as a result I have found creative ways of incorporating fresh ingredients into my taco shop favorites.
Step 1: Taco Meat - sans the taco seasoning packet. Brown 1 lb of ground beef in a large pan, then add:
1 diced onion
2 cloves garlic
1 grated zucchini
1 grated carrot
cumin, salt, and pepper to taste
I saute over medium heat just until the meat is cooked through, then remove one child-size portion of meat for Abby's dinner. She is definitely NOT a fan of spicy. Then add:
1 whole jalapeno, chopped (including seeds)
Continue to saute until all veggies are tender and the aroma of the jalapeno has developed. When it's all done, you'll have almost as many veggies as meat and waaaaaay more flavor than those salty taco seasoning packets.
Step 2: Cook the beans.
2 T olive oil
15 oz can black beans, mostly drained
plenty of onion and garlic powder
I heat the olive oil in a pot until it starts to smoke, then add black beans. (Make sure it's a deep pot or you will have major splatter mess when you dump in the beans -- I know this firsthand!) Cover with lots of onion/garlic powder and add enough water to barely cover the beans. Let them heat up, then start smashing until the consistency is to your liking. Add a pinch or two of salt, then heat covered medium high heat. Check in about 5 minutes when the water evaporates, add more water if necessary and turn down to low to keep warm.
Step 3: Char the tortillas. As my dear friend Anna taught me, always over the open flame of a gas grill . . or on a bbq. Keep warm between two towels.
Step 4: Prep your toppings
Crumble a large chink of cotija cheese
Shred romaine (or whichever lettuce is your fave)
Cut lime wedges
Step 5: Assemble!
(Note: please forgive the poor quality of the photos and know that the food tasted infinitely better than the photos look! The light in my dinner room at dinner time is not working for me lately . . . )
And the beauty of these tacos . . . they are so flavorful, with enough spice from the jalapeno, that I didn't even need salsa. Who'd thought that was possible?!
Don't be afraid to add veggies in the most unlikely of places. We all happily devoured ours that night!