Jackfruit Fajitas

On March 21, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I first became aware of jackfruit after ordering vegan “carnitas” tacos at one of my favorite vegan restaurants in California – Hip Vegan Cafe in Ojai. What amazed me is how a fruit had a shredded meat texture to it which makes it really useful as a substitute to meat without being the typical “fake meat” in vegetarian cooking.

So what is jackfruit? It is a rather large tree grown fruit that is part of the mulberry and fig family. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh! Thank you Wikipedia.

It’s a fibrous, starchy fruit that doesn’t have that much flavor by itself. The stringy texture gives it the meaty texture that works great for vegetarian cooking. It is a really odd fruit and one you won’t typically find at a grocery store.

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I found some at Whole Foods from a company that sells packaged jackfruit with various marinades.

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The Jackfruit Company sells a Tex-Mex version I decided to try out for my first at-home jackfruit dish. There are curry, teriyaki and BBQ options too.

The packets contain enough for two. You would have to be pretty skimpy to get enough for 3 or 4 people out of one pouch of The Jackfruit Company’s product. The company says each pouch serves 2.5 per container which is what I pretty much found.

Jackfruit Fajitas
Serves 2

1 package of The Jackfruit Company Tex-Mex jackfuit
1/2 yellow pepper, thin sliced sticks
1/2 red onion, thin half moons
4 large corn tortillas
Oil for tortillas

Heat the jackfruit packet in a saute pan for about 2 minutes and then add the pepper and onions.  Mix and heat on medium heat for 5 minutes.

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While jackfruit is cooking, in a separate saute pan heat a thin layer of oil on high heat. When hot, add a tortilla and then flip in a 10 seconds.  Cook the other side for 5 seconds then transfer to a plate with paper towels.  Remove oil from tortilla by drying off with paper towel.  Repeat 3 more times.

Serve by adding jackfruit mixture to tortillas. If you want, you can add cotija crumbled cheese and some fresh chopped cilantro if you want. Some guacamole or sliced avocado would be good too.

 

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Sous-vide Carne Asada Street Tacos

On June 24, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I make a lot of vegetarian dishes during the week, mostly because anything with meat takes too long to cook from the time I get home from work. One of the ways to make using meat easier and ready when I walk through the door is to use a style of cooking called sous-vide. It is a French style of cooking a vacuum-packed meat or vegetable slowly in a water bath.

Unlike a crockpot where you don’t want to overcook too much, sous-vide allows for a wide range of time for when the meat is ready. In the case of this recipe, the meat can be removed from the water bath anytime between 7 to 24 hours. That means if I’m running late or early from work, it doesn’t really matter.

The green tortillas in the photo are cactus corn tortillas I bought at Super A Foods. You can use any tortilla you like.

I use a Sous-vide Supreme, but there are other sous-vide products on the market.

Sous-vide Carne Asada Street Tacos
Makes 12-16 tacos

1 lb flank steak
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 red onion, diced
corn tortillas
vegetable oil
2 limes, quartered
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
hot sauce

Season the flank steak with cumin, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro. Reserve remaining cilantro. Place seasoned flank steak in a vacuum sealed bag. Seal bag and place in sous-vide water bath. Cook at 145 degree temperature for 7 to 24 hours.

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Heat outdoor grill on high. After you have cooked the flank steak, remove from vacuum sealed bag and dispose of any liquid marinade.  Place steak on grill and grill for 5 minutes on each side (300 degree temperature.)

Meanwhile, heat oil in saute pan. When hot add a corn tortilla and heat for a few seconds on each side flipping using tongs.  Place finished tortillas on paper towel.  Pad off excess grease with paper towel. Continue until finished heating all tortillas.

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Chop onions and cilantro and mix together. Slice flank steak and rough chop into small chunks. Assemble tacos adding meat, onions, and cilantro to each tortilla.  Serve with a sliced limes and hot sauce.

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Korean BBQ Tacos using a SousVide Supreme

On May 27, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I’m a very lucky person. There are many reasons: a wonderful family, a loving wife, and once a week the Kogi Korean BBQ taco truck makes a stop right behind the building I work. An order of three short rib tacos makes any day better. It makes life better.

Now I love traditional Mexican street tacos, so much so I have written a ton of reviews on a particular kind of taco – the gas station taco. This passion has led me to appreciate what makes a great taco. The perfect taco combines the elements of a slightly oily handmade corn tortilla, perfectly cooked meat, and the right amount of spices with just enough cilantro and chopped onions to compliment, not overpower the meat, then topped with a smooth, spicy hot sauce. That’s the perfect Mexican street taco.

The Korean taco is an entirely different beast.

Fusion cooking is the mixing of various cultures and is something that can go massively wrong or massively right. The Korean BBQ Taco is fusion and Chef Roy who owns Kogi does it massively right.

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Fresh made corn tortillas

If you’re unfamiliar with the Korean BBQ taco, you’re missing out. It’s sweet, spicy and crunchy. The meat is sauced with a good wet marinade that caramelizes the meat complimented by cilantro-onion-lime relish, topped with lightly pickled cabbage and hot sauce. It’s pure fusion. Combining the elements of Korea’s most famous food this decade – Korean BBQ – with Mexico’s most famous dish – tacos.

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A stack of tortillas after they’ve being heated.

I have been meaning to attempt the Korean BBQ taco at home.  Not copying Kogi, but rather making my own version that’s inspired by the Kogi truck.

This recipe is just that. It’s my own creation of the Korean BBQ taco and to make the meat as tender and flavorful as possible I decided I’d try a new style of cooking while I’m at it. I was contacted by SousVide Supreme who wanted to see what I could do using the sous-vide method (translates to “under vacuum”.) This looked like an excellent opportunity to make a tough meat, I used flat iron steak instead of short ribs, into something tender and juicy. Plus how more fusion can you get then a Mexican taco + Korean BBQ + French cooking method.

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SousVide Supreme with vacuum pouch sealer

Sous-vide involves cooking a vacuum sealed bag of meat or vegetables submerged in water at a consistent temperature. The method produces food that is cooked on the outside and inside at the same “doneness” without overcooking, while keeping the food juicy.  The consistent temperature of the water allows you to have the food ready in a large window of time. For example, the flat iron steak I made is ready anytime between 8 to 24 hours great for a long Memorial Day weekend when our family is running around having fun not knowing exactly when we’ll be home for dinner.

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Marinated flat iron steak submerged in SousVide Supreme

We spent the afternoon at Santa Monica Beach enjoying the warm California sun and flying our kites.

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When we came home and removed the flat iron steak from the SousVide Supreme I sliced off a small piece to try it. It was perfect.  It really was juicy and full of flavor. I placed it out on the grill to give it some grill marks and crunch.

Cooked flat iron steak in Korean BBQ marinade

Cooked flat iron steak in Korean BBQ marinade

Look how nicely cooked it was after cooking in the water at 140 degrees for 9 hours.

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A perfect medium

I did make my own tortillas for this recipe, but you don’t have to go that extra step. Just be sure to find some good quality corn tortillas and revitalize them in a saute pan with a little oil.  Heat the oil on medium-high heat and place a tortilla in for 10 seconds and then flip for another 5 seconds remove and place on some paper towels, patting off the excess oil. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Later this month, I’m competing with several other BBQ bloggers at http://www.sousvidesupreme.com/sousvidebbq.htm. Check back after June 25 to see what recipe I decide to enter and send me a vote if you want. As a bonus, each person who casts a vote for their fan favorite will be entered to win a $200 gift certificate to www.sousvidesupreme.com.

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the SousVide Supreme to try as part of a blogger outreach program from the company.  The opinions are my own.

Sous-Vide Korean BBQ Tacos

Prep Time: 20 Mins Cooking Time: 8 Hours Total Time: 8 Hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. flat iron steak

Marinade

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Pickled Cabbage

  • 1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Cilantro relish

  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • juice from 1 lime

Directions:

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients and whisk together. Place the meat in the marinade and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, remove the flat iron steak and place into a vacuum pouch pour in about 2 tablespoons of the marinade into the vacuum pouch. Seal the steak using a vacuum food sealer.
  2. Fill up a SousVide Supreme with water and place the rack and sealed meat into the cooker. Set the heat to 140 degrees for medium doneness and let it cook for 8 hour or up to 24 hours. After 8 hours the meat is ready, the remaining time is just flex time that will keep the meat at the final cooked heat without over cooking.
  3. Meanwhile before the meat is ready to be removed from the SousVide Supreme, make the pickled cabbage and cilantro relish.
  4. For the cabbage, combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl and cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours for the flavors to combine.
  5. The cilantro relish is made by simply combining the ingredients in a bowl and setting aside. This can be made right before taking the meat out.
  6. When the meat is ready, remove from the water and cut the vacuum pouch open. Remove the flat iron steak and place on a hot grill for a few minutes to give it some char. Remove and slice into small cubes for the taco.
  7. On each tortilla, place some meat followed by the cilantro relish and then the cabbage on top. Pour on some hot sauce too if you desire and serve.
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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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Chorizo Tacos

On February 13, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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These easy to make tacos are full of flavor and require very little preparation and cooking time.

The Chorizo I bought came from a local ranch called Rehoboth Ranch that sells at the Coppell Farmers Market.  The ingredients are simple including only pork, salt, paprika, ground pepper, garlic, and oregano.

I also used some locally made corn tortillas from Two Chefs, sold at the same market. I highly recommend their corn tortillas as they are the best I have found around Dallas.

Chorizo Tacos
Serves 3-4

1 lb Chorizo Sausage, remove casing and crumble
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, rough chop
10 corn tortillas
1 lime
hot sauce (optional)
oil

Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a saute pan and heat on medium-high.  Place crumbled chorizo into pan and add cumin and fresh pepper.  Let this cook, watching it and stirring it often. Keep cutting the chorizo into smaller bits and let the sausage get a bit burt in places.  This will add to the flavor and should take about 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile heat some oil in a pan high enough to barely cover a tortilla.  Let it get hot enough, about 3 minutes.  Dip each tortilla in the oil separately and turning over quickly. This should only take about 5 seconds per tortilla and move the tortilla to a plate with paper towels and remove any excess oil.  Repeat with remaining corn tortillas.

Place a few tortillas on a plate and add about a 1/3 cup of meat and a small handful of cilantro and red onions.  Cut up a lime adding a couple wedges to each plate.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce for added flavor, like Valentina.

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For those who do not know, I also write a blog reviewing taco stands located at gas stations – gasstationtacos.com.  To support the blog, I also maintain the @GasStationTacos Twitter account where I get a few new followers each week. One follower I noticed had competed on American Idol Season 10 and also does a food blog.  I checked out the blog and noticed a few recipes worth trying.  This is the first recipe.

The original recipe is for Rotisserie Chicken Tostadas with Black Bean Corn Salsa from the blog Sarah’s Musical Kitchen. I modified it a bit since I prefer tacos to tostadas and skipped the layer of salsa for a few drops of hot sauce. The hot sauce I used is Swat Sauce I picked up last December in Ferndale, Michigan at The Fly Trap restaurant.

Saturday morning I went to Coppell’s Farmers Market and bought some corn and flour tortillas from Two Chefs. This recipe put the fresh corn tortillas to good use, plus the easy avocado sauce (1 avocado, 1/2 cup sour cream and a dash of garlic powder) is such a brilliant idea I’m sure I’ll use for other recipes and would be amazing on a hamburger.

So go ahead and give this simple recipe a try.  My wife really enjoyed it and said it was better than anything she’s ever had at Urban Taco.

For the full recipe: Rotisserie Chicken Tostadas with Black Bean Corn Salsa

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Baja Chicken Tacos from The Savvy Spoon Blog

On September 8, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I’m discovering several types of food snobs in Texas.

There is the Tex-Mex snob who will tell you where to go for the best Tex-Mex, usually in some Texas town you’ve never heard of or one that is at least a 4 hour drive from wherever you are currently.

Then there is the BBQ snob.  This type of Texas food snob will inform you about the best place ever somewhere not listed in the Yellow Pages. No you will find it on the side of the road, isolated from every form of civilization, except someone decided to plop down a double-wide and hang a sign out advertising BBQ ribs and chicken.  Wooden picnic tables come standard.

I’m quickly becoming the other kind of snob – the dreaded taco snob. If the taco has lettuce in it, the restaurant will be forever known as Taco Bell-ish or Chi-Chi’s-like. Then there is the tortilla, is it too doughy or too dry or too greasy?  Is the meat properly seasoned? Is there enough cilantro or did they forget the cilantro?  If you haven’t read my Gas Station Tacos blog, you are missing the sad, pathetic monster I am becoming…

So, when it comes to tacos — I am unbearable, which brings me to my making some Baja Tacos from The Savvy Spoon blog.  In full disclosure, I know the blogger as we have some common friends and both attended a Social Media Club event where we met. Cayla is a fellow California native who is also now here in Dallas.

I noticed the Baja Taco recipe while reading her blog last weekend and decided it looked like a good option after work. It’s simple. I could make the chicken before I left for work and I had all the ingredients without a stop at the grocery store.

One of the ingredients did make me hesitate: the use of packet McCormick’s Hot Taco Seasoning. I actually had some in my spice cabinet since I used to use it for ground beef hard shell tacos in my B.T.I.T..S. (Before Turning Into a Taco Snob) phase. Yes I know it reads “Be Tits”. Oh well, it just came out that way by accident. I swear.

If I had to do this recipe again, I’d remove the packet.  It’s far too salty. Instead, I’d substitute the following:

1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Ground Cayenne
ground pepper to taste
and reduce the water from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup

I think that would improve the flavor and take away the excessive salt from the McCormick’s product. Other than that change, I think the tacos are a good option for a simple after work dinner.

Thanks Cayla. I hope you’ll understand my change as I am a taco snob.

For the recipe and other great recipes and food finds checkout The Savvy Spoon Blog.

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