Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In Which I Make Tacos

Believe me, I am nobody's idea of a cook. I look at all the amazing recipes Jay Solo prepares, and I am astonished. It's all I can do to make a ham and cheese sandwich. So it was as if I had taken leave of my senses when I was shopping at the supermarket yesterday, and suddenly the idea struck me: "Why don't I make tacos for supper tonight?"

I knew I already had at home some hamburger and a head of lettuce. So I got some tortillas. Packet of taco seasoning mix. Can of diced tomatoes and green chilies [sic, that's how it's spelled on the can]. Can of sliced black olives. Shredded cheese, half mild cheddar and half Monterey jack.

Got home. Heated up a few tortillas between damp paper towels in the microwave. Heated up the old cast iron frying pan, and cooked up two thirds of a pound of hamburger. Mixed in some water and the seasoning mix with the hamburger, cooked until it thickened up. Then laid out tortillas— oops, aren't taco shells smaller? These were like 11 inches across— added hamburger, diced tomatoes and green chilies [sic], shredded fresh lettuce, sliced black olives, and shredded cheese.

Popped finished tacos into the microwave for 20 or 30 seconds, they were so full I had to hold them shut with wooden toothpicks.

Now. Like I say. Aren't taco shells smaller? I'd guess these two tacos weighed a full pound each. I ate one taco, amazingly delicious. Put the other taco in the refrigerator, I will probably have it for lunch today.

Seems I forgot the sour cream. Oh well. For me, this was an amazing culinary accomplishment, as is any recipe which calls for more than two ingredients.

5 Comments:

Anonymous TJIC said...

Tacos are one of the mainstays of my existence.

Try dicing an onion and a green pepper into the meat.

Mmmm.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 8:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Lucy said...

You try to decieve us, but I'm not fooled. I know for a fact that you're aware there are different pie plate sizes. AND you add lemon juice to stew. AND you picked the "pretty" cheese for tacos.

I tell you, you're a natural-born chef! Now, if only you liked to cook ...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 8:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Jay said...

Heh. Sounds good! Except for the olives.

I used to use the premade taco seasoning all the time, generally the Taco Bell brand, which doesn't taste the same as at the restaurants but is good. It's perfectly good, and you'd be amazed at how good it is done with ground turkey, at least as long as you use a little butter or oil and cook it so it's really browned in places.

I always used hard shells, which if I buy tacos out is what I prefer. Deb got me eating the tortillas for tacos or burritos. Her homemade ones are the best. Otherwise we prefer Manny's brand, and they come in three sizes, so you can do actual taco sized ones.

The difference these days is having an idea what goes into the packaged taco seasoning, I just use my own spices and come up with something close enough. The other stuff is easier, though, if you're not using the individual spices regularly.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 9:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Lucy said...

Hmmm. Wonder just what Jay DOES put in his taco seasoning?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Jay said...

It varies, but always includes red pepper, cumin, black pepper, and garlic powder. I put a little powdered ginger into almost everything I make. I don't use onion powder in much, but this is one thing it tends to go into. It is not out of line to use chili powder, which is essentially a mix of red pepper, garlic and cumin (maybe something else I'm forgetting), but you want to balance it out so the end result tastes like taco mix rather than chili. I might also use a little cilantro or oregano.

If you get a taco at Taco Bell, cumin is the predominent flavor in the beef filling. A little goes a long way though.

If I think what I'm making needs mellowing, I've been known to add a tiny bit of cinnamon (as is traditional to de-bitter spaghetti sauce), or even more ginger, nutmeg, pumkin pie spice, or allspice, but some of those are strong and can add bite in their own right. I've also been known to add a bit of sugar (or brown sugar, especially in red sauce), from little more than a pinch to a spoonful or two.

I also like the idea of onion, pepper, or real garlic right in with the meat, for burrito or taco filling. When it's burritos, we're often making refried beans too, and if they're homemade they have that stuff in them. If we're using burger filling for the burritos, it might get mixed right into the refried beans to make a thick meat and bean filling. Mmmm...

Tacos, though, it's mainly pepper, pepper, garlic, and especially cumin.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 9:22:00 AM  

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