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!