San Antonio Puffy Tacos for #SundaySupper

On January 5, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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One of my favorite things about being part of the SundaySupper bloggers is how the weekly themes make me think beyond what I might normally do as a home cook.  This week was definitely one of those times as I had to consider what would I make from my Recipe Bucket List. Problem was I don’t have a Recipe Bucket List. So, I thought what to do? I’ve made fresh ravioli, homemade oxtail gnocchi, stuffed chicken, and a few other things came to mind, but all things I’ve done. Then it hit me.  Puffy Tacos.

When I was in San Antonio doing training for a potential wireline union strike at the phone company I had a chance to stop at Los Barrios, a well-known Mexican restaurant famous for their puffy tacos. At first, I wasn’t impressed with the place. It looked like a local Chi-Chi’s with tile tabletops, typical Mexican-American menu combo plates, and a focus on margaritas.  I was ready to be unimpressed and back to my true South of the Border love – street tacos (I have another blog where I review ‘street tacos’ found at Gas Stations.)

I ordered what I came for: Puffy Tacos.  They were great and the margarita was pretty good too.  They’re definitely different from the typical street taco I love and still prefer over a puffy taco, but the tacos at Los Barrios were pretty darn good and I left pleased with my evening out in San Antonio.

With a Recipe Bucket List decision to be made and my now living in Los Angeles, not Dallas, it was going to be some time before I returned to San Antonio so why not try doing this dish at home. Well that is just what I did and while they were not as perfect as Los Barrios; they were pretty good and a solid 4 out of 5 rating from this taco reviewer.

What might of helped is having a deep fryer and some additional experimentation. Plus I had trouble finding fresh masa corn flour. There was some at a local natural food market last week, but when I returned this week they said they only carried it during the holidays.  Too bad. So I went to the market and found some masa harina from Bob’s Red Mill that worked nicely, better than I thought it would.  So if you can’t find fresh masa, don’t worry just use a good quality masa harina and carry-on.

Puffy Taco Tortillas
Makes 6-10 shells

2 cups fresh masa or good quality masa harina
1 cup warm water (if using masa harina)
1 tablespoon lard or butter
2 Tablespoons baking powder
Vegetable oil for frying

You’ll need a tortilla press to make this recipe. I recommend finding an authentic Mexican market and find a press that is entirely flat, no lip or shallow cutout as some have. Also the heavier feeling the press the better – cast iron is preferred.

Mix the masa and baking powder together if using masa harina. If using fresh masa, just put into a bowl.  Slowly add the warm water to your flour constantly combining with your hands and finally add the lard or butter (I microwaved butter for 5 seconds, soft not melted.)

Continue kneading together and add a little more water if it is too dry and crumbly.  Add a little more masa if it is too wet. You want it to feel smooth and not sticky.

Combine into a large ball and put into a Ziploc bag for 20 minutes.

Open the tortilla press and place a sheet of parchment paper on each side of the press.  Take out about 1 ½” inches of tortilla dough and roll into a smooth ball.  Press in the center of the press.

Put the tortilla on a hot griddle or heavy non-stick pan.  Let it cook for 20-30 seconds on each side.  With a spatula remove it and place it into another pan with about a 1” of hot oil.

Let the tortilla fry for about 20 seconds it will begin to puff. With a spatula and some tongs navigate the frying tortilla to give it a center, “V” like form. Continue frying for about 1 minute working to maximize the puffiness of the tortilla. Remove from oil and place on a plate lined with paper towel.

Continue with remaining dough then fill with your favorite filling.

 

Puffy Taco Filling
Makes 6-8 tacos

1 lb ground beef
½ small red onion, minced
½ green pepper, minced
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp tomato paste
1 ripe tomato, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped lettuce

Mix beef with cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Heat ground beef in a pan over medium-high heat.  Break up the meat and cook for about 6-8 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and tomato paste.  Mix in pan and cook for about another 2-3 minutes.

Put cooked beef mixture into a puffy taco then top with tomato, cheese and lettuce.  Serve with some hot sauce like Tapatio and a couple cut limes.

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For more Recipe Bucket List adventures checkout the other #SundaySupper bloggers and join the chat on Twitter Sunday at 7pm EST.

This Week’s Sunday Supper Recipes:

Sunday Supper Specialty Breads:

Sunday Supper Main Dishes:

Sunday Supper Desserts and Snacks:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Don’t forget to also check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

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#SundaySupper Louisiana Sloppy Joe’s

On September 9, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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It’s officially football season with the start of the NFL this past week and college football last weekend.  Whether you are hosting a tailgate, barbecue or just hanging out at home with family watching the game, food is an important part of football season.

One of my favorites is sloppy joe’s. However, I’m not a fan of the traditional ketchup and water flavored sloppy joe’s served by most places and found in just about every 1970’s cookbook. I prefer a bit more flavor and use tomato paste and dijon mustard along with with several spices.

For the meat, I went with J&J Grassfed beef that is sold here in California. They have a vendor at the South Pasadena Farmers’ Market I frequent most weeks.  The rest of the vegetables also came from the same Farmers’ Market.

Louisiana Sloppy Joe’sServes 4

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups water
6 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the ground beef, onion, garlic and bell pepper over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until the meat is cooked.  Add everything else besides the water and bay leaf. Stir and cook together for about 2 minutes.  Add the water combining everything and then bringing to a gentle boil. Finally add the bay leaf then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Serve with hamburger buns, potato chips and some fruit.

Enjoy the game!

For more #SundaySupper Recipes this football season:

The Football Tailgating Menu Lineup

Pre Game Warm-ups:

On the Sidelines:

Main Events:

Overtime:

From the Cooler:

Wine Pairings by Wine Everyday

Please be sure you join us on Twitter all day for this special football season Sunday Supper Event. We’ll be chatting it up at 7:00 p.m. EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll share our Football Tailgating Menu!

All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us throughTweetChat!

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Pappardelle in Red Wine Beef Ragu

On August 20, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Sunday night is always a special evening when it comes to cooking.  Not only is it the last evening before the work week where I can spend more time preparing and cooking a meal.  It is also a time to enjoy some twitter chat with fellow foodies on #SundaySupper chat. Tonight they were doing recipes made or paired with wines.  I had been planning on making a Korean beef dish with rice, but switched after seeing a Pappardelle dish my friend Chuck Hemann posted to his Facebook page yesterday and after noticing it was a wine theme on #SundaySupper.

Today’s Studio City Farmers’ Market had the pasta vendor there selling some freshly made Pappardelle noodles. There were also some amazingly beautiful organic local carrots too. In case you haven’t seen what a real carrot looks like; instead of all the perfectly colored and shaped carrots at the typical grocery store, here you go.

I modified a couple Pappardelle ragu recipes.  Most called for a combo or some version with beef, pork, veal and even ground boar.  I would’ve loved making something with all four, but I only had some grass-fed ground beef.  I also went with a California Red Wine blend that added a nice rich flavor to the ragu.

Pappardelle in Red Wine Beef Ragu
Serves 4

1 lb Pappardelle noodles
1 lb ground beef
2 cups red wine
1 cup vegetable broth
28 oz can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 carrot, diced small
1 medium onion, diced small
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly slided
4 Sage leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large stockpot add the olive oil and heat on medium-high until hot then add the ground beef.  Add the dried oregano, basil and some salt and pepper to taste mixing it into the ground beef in the pan.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes stirring often to evenly cook and get some browning of the meat. Set cooked beef aside in a separate dish.

Do not clean the stockpot and return to the heat adding the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and chopped sage. Cook on medium-high heat for a minute then cover and cook on low heat for another 7 minutes.  After vegetables have cooked return ground beef to pot.

Crush the canned tomatoes in a bowl with your hands.  Pour tomatoes into pot with vegetables. Add the red wine and vegetable stock. Heat the pot to a boil and then cover reducing heat to a simmer cooking for 1 1/2 hours.

In the final 20 minutes of cooking the ragu, start the water for your noodles.  When ready, add the Pappardelle noodles to the boiling water and cook accordingly. About 5 minutes for fresh and follow the directions on the package for dried noodles.

Serve with large shavings of Parmesan Reggiano cheese.

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Mario Batali’s Mint Love Letters

On April 21, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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If you are ever in New York City, I highly recommend Babbo.  It’s an Italian restaurant from celebrity chef Mario Batali.  It’s amazing.  I say Mario is a “celebrity chef” but he is the real deal and is by far my favorite chef. His approach to Italian food that used to be featured in his Food TV Network show Molto Mario, back when Food TV had good shows instead of all of this competitive reality crap.

My favorite two dishes of Babbo’s are the oxtail gnocchi and mint love letters.  I’ve tried making both but have been more successful with my attempts at the latter than the former.  Nothing I’ve made is equal or better to what I’ve had a Babbo’s.  That said this is a very impressive dish and it is definitely worth your time and effort, especially considering how Babbo’s isn’t around the corner from my home.

This dish took about a hour and half to make, so do it on a weekend, not after work.

First thing you’ll want to do is make the Basic Red Sauce. I did this the day before.. The recipe is simple and uses these few ingredients.

First start with making your pasta dough, I use a basic recipe that requires 30 minutes after the dough is made making sure it is not sticky and wrap it in plastic. Let it sit and make your filling.

For the Mint Love Letters, ie the Ravioli, you’ll want to start with the filling.  Blend peas, mint, Parmigiano Reggiano, heavy cream and salt and pepper using a food processor. I’d advise adding the heavy cream separately until you develop a thick paste that will hold as the filling in the pasta sheets.

Now work with your pasta creating two sheets of similar size and shape that you’ll use to create about 3 to 4 raviolis.  I run the pasta through the rollers starting at thickness 1 working down to thickness 5. You can go as low as 6, but you will have some rip. I recommend thinning the sheets to size 5 thickness.

Prepare each ravioli using two thin sheets of pasta dough and small dollop of filing making sure it’s not too large as you don’t want it bursting later when boiling.

Continue making your raviolis and dust with flour so they will not stick to each other. Also start heating your water to bring to a boil, lightly salt.

Start your sauce by lightly browning your spicy ground lamb. If you do not like lamb, use ground beef and add a 1 teaspoon of each of basil and oregano and add a few flakes of dried red pepper.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes, being careful not to overcook or undercook.

While the ravioli is boiling and the meat is lightly browned, add the red sauce and about 5 chiffon leaves of fresh mint before serving. Cook the red sauce and meat for about 3 minutes.

Add several raviolis to each plate and complete with the meat sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve.


Recipes:

Basic Red Sauce

Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage 

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