March 4, 2014
We love tacos around here. Really really love them. Especially since it’s become my son’s favorite food, and, well, if you have a toddler, you know how important that is. Since Desi turned 3.5, he went from eating everything we gave him to becoming vegetarian and not eating much of anything at all. We’ve come a long way from there, and luckily we have a kid that has never disliked vegetables, even through the tough eating times. But he’s still pretty picky now, and won’t eat much of what I make anymore. So we have back-ups in our fridge for nights that he won’t eat what I make for the rest of us: veggie dogs, taco and quesadilla fixings, cooked noodles and tomato sauce…you get the idea. Kid stuff. In the meantime, we have tacos as a family pretty often. Almost once a week. And when we saw The Lego Movie, we thought “Taco Tuesday” sounded pretty awesome. Because, you know, “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME.”
I’ve been making my own taco seasoning ever since I discovered the recipe in my Joy of Cooking that Aunt Suzy gave me back in 2001. I never loved the super salty McCormick packets that we always used before, and was super excited in my early cooking years to discover how easy it is to make yourself. I almost always have taco seasoning stuff on hand, and it takes less time to make the meat and/or beans part of the tacos than it takes to prepare everything else. Now that we have a vegetarian in the family, I make meat for us and season a can of black beans in almost the same way for him, basing it on this fabulous recipe that we posted about last summer. I also almost always make homemade guacamole, because Desi decided he only likes avocados in that form anymore (we used to just put chopped up avocados on our tacos). I use this recipe because it keeps longer and tastes better with all the lime juice in it. I also make pico de gallo (recipe below) instead of just plain chopped up tomatoes. It’s better that way, and then we can eat the leftovers the next day on tortilla chips for an after-school snack. Our other fixings are shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, taco sauce (not really needed, if you ask me…but hubby and son love the stuff), and black olives. I know, it’s weird, but it’s what I grew up putting on my tacos, and one of the reasons Desi loves tacos so much.
We have a few other taco recipes here, because I think Aunt Suzy loves tacos, too. Maybe not as much as Desi, though. 🙂
Aunt Suzy says . . .
YES, we love tacos up here in the Northland also! A few comments: We often do veggie tacos with seasoned beans, but Randy also makes the taco filling with Tempeh as a substitute for the meat. He breaks it up into small chunks and toasts it in a skillet with a little oil and whole cumin seeds to get it crispy. This helps it keep its shape and texture when added to the sauce with seasonings and onions. We also like diced zucchini and shredded carrot with these traditional style tacos. We often serve doctored up refried beans as a side. So Margaux . . . does your family like soft tortillas or crispy taco shells? For us, corn is a must – no flour tortillas for these – and we go back and forth on soft or crispy!
We like soft tacos…corn and flour. I always buy both, and we all have a couple of each. I almost never buy hard shells, mainly because I never think of it! I’m sure Desi would love them. I’ll have to remember next Tuesday! 🙂
Ground Beef, Chicken or Turkey for Tacos
adapted from Joy of Cooking
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 medium red onion, minced
1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
Pinch of anise seeds, slightly crushed
salt to taste
1 cup tomato sauce (one small can)
minced fresh jalapenos, other fresh chili peppers, or chipotle peppers in adobo
1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, and cook, stirring often, about 4-5 minutes.
2. Increase heat to medium-high and add the meat. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes.
3. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, anise and salt. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until fully incorporated and fragrant.
4. Add tomato sauce and minced peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for 10 minutes.
Pico de Gallo
Seed and chop 2-3 Roma tomatoes, 1/4 red onion, and cilantro. Seed and mince half an jalepeno. Mix all in a small bowl together, with a squeeze of lime juice.