Vegan Tacos with Mashed Sweet Potato

On April 6, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Vegan Tacos with Mashed Sweet Potato
Serves 6

18 corn tortillas
canola oil for frying

1 large Japanese sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup almond milk
1 can black beans
2 carrots, cubed
1 green pepper, diced into small chunks
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
cilantro, finely chopped
green onion, cut into 2-inch long pieces

hot sauce, optional

Heat water to a boil and add cubed sweet potato and cook for about eight minutes until soft.  Remove from heat and drain. Add almond milk, salt and pepper to mash to a creamy consistency. Add more almond milk if necessary.

Meanwhile, heat the black beans in a small sauce pan on low heat.  In a separate saute pan on high heat add canola oil using enough oil to barely cover a tortilla.  When hot, add one tortilla at a time for just about 5 seconds turning once using tongs and then placing on paper towel to pat dry of any excess grease. Repeat until all tortillas are softened in oil.

In a small pan, add some olive oil and the cut carrots and green pepper. Add some salt, pepper and the cumin. Mix and heat over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes to soften and let flavors combine. Remove from heat when done.

When everything is done cooking turn off the heat of all burners and assemble tacos.  Serve placing carrot and green onion mixture and then add the black beans.  Place a spoon full of the sweet potato on top and then sprinkle with chopped cilantro and add a couple pieces of green onion on top.  Add your favorite hot sauce if desired.

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Coppa Street Tacos

On October 7, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Last weekend I had a chance to stop by my favorite LA butcher, Lindy & Grundy.  They carry a selection of local, pasture raised, and organic meats. Unlike most visits, I didn’t have a plan of what I wanted to buy and found a cut of boneless pork shoulder, coppa, next to my typical bone-in pork butt that I normally put into my smoker.

Coppa is a cut I wasn’t familiar with, or at least wasn’t used to seeing it at meat counter in its raw form.  That’s what is so great about visiting Lindy & Grundy, I learn about different cuts one usually doesn’t find; although, when I arrived at home with my Coppa in hand, I looked up the cut on Google and learned it most often used to make one of my favorite cuts of cured meat – Capocollo.

I had bought the meat to make some tacos so I decided to marinate the Coppa and smoke it the next day.

The tacos worked in the end. The smoked Coppa had a smoked, bacon-like, flavor that went well with the corn tortillas, onions, cilantro, squeezed lime and Tapatio hot sauce.

Coppa Street Tacos
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds of Coppa, boneless pork shoulder
2 oranges, juice only
1 bottle brown ale, such as New Castle
4 garlic cloves, sliced in half

12 corn tortillas
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 limes, quartered
hot sauce

The night before cooking marinate the Coppa in a bowl mixing the orange juice, ale and garlic cloves. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare a smoker. Discard the marinade. I used some Almond Wood and smoked the Coppa at 225 degrees for 7 hours letting it reach 160 degrees.

Once the Coppa is cooked in the smoker, it can be refrigerated and used the next day or diced into small chunks and served.

Heat the corn tortillas in a saute pan on medium-high with a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil.  Let the oil get hot and using tongs heat each side of the tortilla for about 10 seconds and then place on some paper towel to remove the grease. Repeat with each tortilla.

Add Coppa, onions and cilantro to each tortilla and serve with cut limes and hot sauce.

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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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Slow-Cooked Achiote-Marinated Pulled Pork Tacos

On March 7, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Every cook has shelves and shelves of cookbooks, but most of them ever get opened more than once or twice. Then there are the cookbooks you can’t live without. Roberto Santibanez, chef of the NYC restaurant Rosa Mexicano, wrote an excellent book Rosa’s New Mexican Table.

I’ve tried a few recipes before and wanted to get deeper into the book now that I’m in Texas where there are tons of local Mexican grocery stores and amazing made that day tortillas.

So I tried what is essentially Mexico’s version of pulled-pork. It’s the Slow-Cooked Anchiote-Marinated Pork on page 102 (I wanted to post the full recipe but that’s a copyright violation, so pardon my select ingredients that follow as they are more for me to remember what I need to buy at the grocery store in case I failed to check the book. One of the great side-effects of a food blog is that you can pull up the blog’s recipes on a smartphone.)

The recipe calls for a 3 1/2 pound pork butt, 10-ounce package of fresh banana leaves, a couple of limes, anchiote paste, and several spices. The pork is marinated for a couple hours or over night. Once marinated the pork is wrapped in the banana leaves in a casserole dish and cooked for 2 1/2 hours.


Above is what it looks like before entering the oven and below is what it looks like after being unwrapped and pulled. Keep all the liquid from the pan as this will be used to coat the pork. Simply pull the pork and place it in the pan with the marinade juices from the oven. Stir and serve the pork with some sliced onions, cilantro and tortillas.


You can also add some hot sauce, but the tacos do not need it and you’ll get more of the sour and hot flavor from the pork without adding more heat to the dish.

The shredded pork can also be used for burritos, quesadillas, or use it like BBQ pulled pork and make a sandwich. There should be plenty of leftovers to play around with.

A friend informed me this is also known as Cochinita Pibil.

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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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