Cilantro-Parsley Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes and Feta

On October 2, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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A few fresh ingredients make this no basil pesto pasta enjoyable

There is always cilantro in the house now that we live in Texas. It’s mostly used for tacos or on the occasional vegetarian dish chopped up to enhance flavor to a dish. With an Italian heritage, it’s hard to imagine a pesto without basil. After trying this dish that I found on the food blog Blue Kitchen, I have to admit my pro-Basil pesto stance has changed forever.

Proving Pesto Does Not Require Basil

Making pesto is easy and making it fresh is far more flavorful than buying a ready-made store bought pesto that has half the flavor richness of a just-made pesto. I used walnuts for this version (you can use pecans or pinenuts.) There is no Parmesan cheese in this pesto so it’s also quite affordable to make.

Sweet 100s require more slicing, but they are worth it

For the tomatoes in the recipe, I went with some Sweet 100s; though, any grape tomato will work fine. I’ve become a big fan of the Sweet 100s since we started seeing these “tiny grape tomatoes” at the market. They are sweet, hence the name, and add a nice flavor to this dish.

Whole Foods is carrying more local products and for the feta cheese I opted for the local choice. The one I bought here in Dallas is from Brazos Valley. Brazos Valley is in the central region of Texas. I did some Googling and found out more about this local cheese maker. You can learn more on their website.

The cheese is a bit mild so if you like a stronger flavored Feta I’d recommend a Greek feta for this dish.

You can use any pasta that you like and I had every intent of making fresh linguine for this dish but forgot I ran out of eggs. The dried penne noodles worked better than I thought and are a good substitution.

Note: I only used half of the pesto in the recipe below. The other half I froze to use another time.

For the recipe: Give Basil the Night Off Cilantro-Parsley Pesto Takes Pasta in a Lively New Direction.

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Adobo Grilled Steak Tacos

On March 29, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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You can buy Adobo from any market, but making your own isn’t that difficult and more than worth doing. There is such a richness of flavor and it is a rather simple process.

Here is a taco recipe using a homemade Adobo and grilled skirt steak.

Adobo Grilled Steak Tacos
Serves 4

1 1/2 lb skirt steak
8 flour tortillas
1 large red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, thinly sliced
2 lemons, cut into quarters

Adobo
3 cascabel chiles
2 guajillo chiles
2 pasilla chiles
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 allspice berries
2 cloves
5 garlic cloves
1 inch stick cinnamon
8 black peppercorns

Prepare Adobo by wiping the chiles clean and seeding then roasting chiles for 7 minutes on each side in a toaster oven (or at 350 degree oven.) Place all Adobo ingredients into a blend and blend slowly into a paste. Add a 1 tsp of water at a time to get the right consistency if the 1/2 cup of water does not make it smooth enough.

Rub Adobo into skirt steak and let it marinate for 1 hour or overnight. Cook marinated skirt steak over high heat on a grill. About 10 minutes per side to desired doneness. Remove from grill and slice into small 1/2 inch pieces.

Fill flour tortillas with steak, onion, cilantro, and thin slices of avocado. Plate 2 tacos and include a quarter slice of lemon.

 

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Taco Truck Tacos… Simple and Great

On March 3, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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When I lived in South Pasadena, California I used to stop by a taco truck in Pasadena along Fair Oaks Boulevard. It was a big yellow truck parked in an empty parking lot that sat there in the late hours of the night. We would usually get some tacos there around midnight, or later, after having some fun. The tacos were simple. They were like no taco I had ever had before. There was no shredded cheese. No shredded lettuce. No sour cream. All it was were small corn tortillas with diced onions, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, a slice of lime, and chopped beef (though you could order brains or intestines if you wanted, I was never so daring.)

I created a very similar taco at home. Here is the recipe. Hope you enjoy it. It’s not exactly taco truck, but it is pretty damn close. Also, if you like a nice economical meal, it is a cheap dinner for the family that is quick and easy to make. Let me know what you think!

Taco Truck Tacos
Serves 4
Makes 12 tacos

1 1/4 lb ground beef
1 tablespoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 red onion, finely diced
1 cilantro bunch, chopped
corn tortillas
vegetable oil for frying

3 limes
your favorite hot sauce

Heat the ground beef in a medium high pan. Add cumin and salt and pepper to taste the ground beef, continue to brown for about 5-8 minutes. Once cooked all the way turn heat down to lowest setting to keep warm. While the beef is cooking, chop the red onion and cilantro and mix the two together. Set aside.

Heat oil on medium-high in saute pan. Add enough oil, about a 1/2 inch, to dip corn tortillas into turning each side to cook 5 seconds on each side. Remove each tortilla quickly and set on paper towels. Continue until all tortillas are cooked (should be soft after cooking in oil, you don’t want them crispy.)

Assemble tacos by placing spoonful of beef atop tortillas then spoon cilantro and red onion mixture over beef. Add some hot sauce and serve with sliced limes. Squeeze lime slices over tacos and enjoy.

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