Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Tacomas

All I want for Christmas is this dude...and for you to have a sweet holiday! I'll even let you take a break from tacos to enjoy turkey, cranberries, stuffing and potatoes...but I'll be back in the New Year with new recipes and reviews!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Slow Cooked Korean Beef

This is a really hard dish to make - in that it's basically impossible to stop yourself from eating it all in one sitting. Korean Beef is the whole package - sweet and sour, with crunchy and spicy toppings. My mouth is watering, and I just finished eating a couple. The best part about this recipe is how totally easy it is. Just whisk together the ingredients, throw it into a slow cooker and you're all set! Traditionally, Korean Beef is made with short ribs but I can never seem to find them at my local grocery store - so I substitute with beef chunk roast for a similarly delicious alternative.

I must give mad props to Confections of a Foodie Bride for the recipe inspiration. I made some alternations to my version, but the genius idea to make this dish happen in a slow cooker is all them. So throw it on, go watch the Star Wars trilogy (the only three Star Wars movies I will recognize) and you'll have a meal ready before you can say "Hayden Christiensen is the worst."

Friday, 7 December 2012

Elote (Mexican Corn on the Cob)

What a week. I've been sick as a dog, but luckily I got in this little treat before illness sneaked up and hit me like a sack of potatoes (or a sack of limes?). I know, I know - this isn't a taco. But sometimes, like your surrogate blog mother, I think it's important for you to eat your vegetables. Though I do advocate smearing cheesy goodness all over them before consumption. So alongside your daily taco, please enjoy elote - or Mexican corn on the cob. This is a great snack to serve at picnics or as a different sort of appetizer. The best way to cook it is in the husk - that way you have a natural handle when it comes time to chow down. But since it's not exactly corn season, I had to settle for half a husk (aka how corn comes packaged in plastic). So enjoy a little street food and get your daily serving of vegetables OR I WILL TURN THIS CAR AROUND (I'm basically your mother now).  

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Lime Crema

This is a quick post and a bit of a choose your own adventure: for the delicious topping Lime Crema. This is a fresh alternative to just plain sour cream, which you can make the hard way or the easy way. I'm not going to lie to you, I always go easy - you get the delicious zippy taste without having to wait 24 hours. Because ain't nobody got time for that.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Indochine Banh Mi

Mmm Bulgogi Beef

When you're known around town as "that crazy girl that only eats tacos," people are always eager to talk shop. Mostly I field questions, but every once in a while I get a recommendation. Before she left us for the Great Ontario Way, my dear friend Kim gave me quite possibly the best heads up I've ever received: the best tacos in Halifax are at a Vietnamese takeout joint called Indochine Banh Mi. I'm not sure what that says about Halifax, but I can assure you that Kim was 100% correct. So come along with me as I rhapsodize on the amazingness that is the Bulgogi Beef Taco.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Carne Guisada

This one is going out to all my American friends (and foes). I know Thanksgiving is coming up for you guys sometime soon-ish, so I made these comfort food tacos just for you. No, they're not made of turkey - this is a traditional beef stew with potatoes added in for maximum starch enjoyment. It could easily be made in a slow cooker, but I expedited the process and cooked it in a pot for about 2 hours. You can cook it for longer - your beef will get nice and soft - but I think you get the same great taste with this method. So be thankful for tacos (and your family or whatever)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


Maybe this should have been a campaign promise? Anyway, Tee's will be back next week with a recipe, so enjoy your week!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Taco Al Pastor

This is hands down my favourite kind of taco. The taco al pastor I had at El Trompo in Toronto is the meal that made me a taco fan all those years ago. I love the spicy taste and the way it plays off the pineapple topping. But I was super scared to post a recipe, because even though I've spent boatloads of time perfecting it there are still a couple problems.

The first problem is the obvious: taco al pastor is traditional cooked on a spit and then shaved off (much like shawarma or gyro meat, if you've ever sampled non-Mexican cuisines), but I do not have a spit handy. So alternatively, I try my best to cut the pork loin thin for marinating and cooking, then chopped the pieces small for serving. 

The second problem is how to cook it. Ideally, I would do this on a BBQ. But being that my "balcony" is more of a thin awkward ledge, I don't have the space to make this happen. Instead, you can do it a couple of ways. I've broiled the meat (as seen in the picture above) and I've used my cast iron skillet. The taste is preferable on the skillet, but good lord does it get smokey. So you decide how to proceed. Either way, I think you'll enjoy it.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Beef Barbacoa

When I'm on vacation, I try not to be "that tourist" - you know the guy. Camera around the neck, sensible running shoes, shopping at souvenir stands and eating at McDonalds. I'm being a snob, but when I'm in a new place, I want to try new things. I do have one shameful exception though...I love Chipotle. We don't really have them in Canada (save for a few in Toronto) so I will hit them when I visit the US. But I'll also go to cool places and act like I'm above tourist traps, I swear! 

Anyway, my favourite dish at Chipotle is the beef barbacoa in a burrito - so I decided to see if I could make it work in a taco. Barbacoa is a beef that's simmered for hours, so naturally I took out my trusty slow cooker and put it to work. The results were pretty close to Chipotle, but I did find that the meat tastes better when it's PILED with toppings. So go nuts - cover it with guacamole, rice, beans, salsa, cheese and hot sauce. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Chipotle Asian Chicken

When I started this blog, I promised you both traditional and non-traditional taco recipes. But since I was just getting started, I tried to focus on more "real" Mexican tacos. Trying to build my street cred and whatnot. Then just the other day, I ended up with a couple leftover chicken breast filets (after making a delicious chicken parmesan - see, I do eat other things). So I decided to take a look in my cupboards and whip up something based on what I found. 

I had many Asian-inspired sauces left over from a former adventure in Vietnamese cooking, so I decided to combine them into a marinade. Then I threw in some chipotle peppers, because my personal motto is "give me spicy food or give me death (possibly from spicy food)." 

So behold: Chipotle Asian Chicken. The toppings are also based on what I had in the fridge, but I would definitely recommend them. 

Friday, 12 October 2012

La Esquina

L-R Tinga, Carnitas, Guisado, Pibil

A couple months back, I decided to sell my car. This was mighty inconvenient, as the car I was driving was registered in Ontario, and I'm living in Halifax. Because I'm too lazy to do messy paperwork, it was road trip time. 

So my gentleman and I set out from Halifax through Boston and New York City, en route to my hometown in Ontario. He thought he was going on a nice vacation, but really the goal was to eat ALL THE TACOS. In the end he was more correct. We had a lovely trip and only ate tacos once - but they were doozies. Behold the magic of La Esquina in NYC!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Crispy Avocado

After my previous misadventure with deep frying, I thought I'd give it another go and strike while the pot was still charred, so to speak. But what was I going to deep fry? A friend of mine was telling me all about La Carnita, a fairly new taco joint in Toronto that does a mean fried avocado. This sounded pretty perfect to me - the deliciously fatty avocado would taste great rolling in crispy batter. I decided to change it up and go for more of a tempura-inspired batter, with a little more spice in the mix. I meant to throw some sugar into the batter, but forgot. Definitely something I'll try next time.

For toppings I whipped up a quick chipotle sauce and paired it with my Pico de Gallo. You've got your fried, you've got your spicy, you've got your fresh and there you have the facts of life.

Friday, 5 October 2012

On Ingredients

In my shameless whoring for page views, I've shared my blog on Facebook several times. And I often get asked where to find some of the ingredients I use. Up here in Canada, some of the stuff is pretty uncommon. Some should be obvious - chili powder, cilantro, tomatoes - but others are a little harder to find. So I thought I'd put together a quick post about where to find all the stuff you need to make your taco dreams come true.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Pico De Gallo

We've known each other for a few posts now - we've laughed and eaten and made lots of pop culture references that probably have no place in a cooking blog. And as you've gotten to know me, I feel like it's become abundantly clear I love spicy foods. I won't deny it - if I could enter the Simpsons universe, I would waste no time trying the Guatemalan Insanity Pepper and spend all my days hang out with Coyote Johnny Cash. Who wouldn't? But I am a woman of depth. I also like a simple taste once in a while - like the Pico de Gallo.

Pico de Gallo is a tomato-based salsa that isn't hot at all, so it's a great topping to try with spice-adverse friends. It pairs well with fish and vegetarian tacos, but you can put it on anything if you want to your taco to read "bright and fresh" rather than "mouth destroying-ly hot." Best of all, it's hella easy to make, so let's try it!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Baja Fish

Let me start out by saying my first time cooking these was a disaster. Like Twister, Towering Inferno, Poseidon Adventure and From Justin to Kelly all rolled into one. It was mostly not my fault - I just forgot that I'd cooked potatoes in my pot and neglected to wash it. So when I tried to heat the oil for deep frying the fish, the pot was not pleased. Nor was my nose, after smelling burnt starch (hint: it's the worst thing ever). After destroying my pot, I had to improvise. I used a frying pan with about 1/2 inch of oil, making sure to turn the fish after about 1.5 minutes. It worked out so well, I think I'll stick with this method. And avoid burning starch PTSD.

But back to the fish. This is a very simple recipe for a beer battered white fish. You can serve it with anything fresh and crispy - think cabbage, apple, white sauce. I did add a little Sriracha because I was missing the mouth destroying heat of my usual tacos. I think it worked out pretty well.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Nomad Gourmet

I'm interrupting my regularly scheduled recipe posts/insights into my madness with a special bulletin: someone else in Halifax finally made some honest to goodness tacos. At mid-day on Tuesday I got a frantic text from Katie Tower, followed by a phone call 2 seconds later. The local food truck, that regularly offers delicious sandwich options, was serving up tacos instead. I hung a sign on my office door that said "Gone Taco-ing" and booted it downstairs to visit Nomad Gourmet. So how did they do? 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Fun fact (which is substantially less fun for people actually familiar with Mexican cooking): the red, cured Chorizo you've seen in your local deli is actually Spanish Chorizo. Mexican Chorizo is a much softer sausage that can be served out of the casing - essentially a spicy ground pork. Both are delicious, but let's stick with the blog theme here and learn how to make Mexican Chorizo into the perfect taco filling. Now traditionally this calls for grinding your own pork, but after attending a recent showing of Sweeney Todd it's really hard to think about meat grinding the same way ever again. So let's use ground pork and try to scrub away some terrible mental images.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas

I'm going to catch mucho flack for this recipe, because Pork Carnitas absolutely should not be made in a slow cooker. The one true way to make this dish is to go easy on the seasoning and cook it in lard. Unfortunately, I don't yet have the confidence to proudly carry a bucket of lard home from the grocery store. Plus, this blog is all about being inauthentic but tasty! I promise I'll do another post one day featuring authentic Pork Carnitas, but until then enjoy this easy, deliciously blasphemous alternative.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Salsa Verde

Photo creds to Katie Tower

Watch out for the Salsa Verde - it may look innocent with its unassuming green colour and smooth texture, but it will slap you so hard in the mouth you'll grow a beard. Especially the way I make it. While most recipes call for serrano or jalapeƱo peppers, I like to go full crazy and make this with a habanero pepper. You can substitute in a less intense choice if you'd prefer, but know that I will be judging you. Hard.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Slow Cooked Cochinita Pibil

Alright, it's confession time: I'm a working girl, complete with shoulder pads, massive hair and the desire to make sweet love to Harrison Ford. I'm out of the house all day, so I've come to rely pretty heavily on my slow cooker. You can make some pretty great taco fillings this way - like Cochinita Pibil. Traditionally this pork dish is made by wrapping the meat in a banana leaf and baking it, but this is a pretty delicious alternative. So give it a shot or go watch Working Girl. Those are your options.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas are the Ringo of the taco world. They're not showy, but if they're not in the mix the meal just doesn't seem quite right (they also do a pretty mean rendition of "Octopus's Garden"). So to get the right base for your tacos, you're going to need to either buy or make some corn tortillas.

If you buy them pre-made, make sure to throw them on a non-stick skillet for about a minute per side to warm them. But to tell you the truth, I'm not a huge fan of this option. Making corn tortillas is so simple and much more delicious.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Chicken Tinga

Real photos courtesy of Katie Tower

Of all my taco recipes, this one is probably the biggest crowd pleaser. The tomato-y taste and chicken base are familiar to taco newbies but the spices let you know what good Mexican cooking is all about. This one has a nice zip to it and leaves a nice warm heat in your belly. It's important to use chicken thighs rather than breasts, simply (and grossly) because thighs are fattier and will be much more flavourful. Trust me, Chicken Tinga will convert you to the Church of Tacos. You've got Tee's guarantee* 

*guarantee void in Tennessee 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Carne Asada

Choosing which taco would grace my first post was hard - it was basically like Sophie's Choice in that it resulted in one of my children being murdered (real talk: does it bother anyone else when people throw that term around?). So in the end, I decided to go with a pretty simple recipe for grilled steak made with my special paste-y spice rub. It's a great summer option on the BBQ, but you can also make it in a cast iron skillet - I've got one with grill lines that I think was made for camping use, but I don't let Canadian Tire tell me how to live my life.

Once you grill and slice it for taco filling, this Carne Asada has a nice heat without being too overpowering. You can mellow it out even more by serving it with guacamole.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Bienvenido to Tacoland

I have no business writing a blog about tacos. 

In fact, the only food I probably have any business writing about is white bread.