Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Cajun Shrimp

In my travels I've been to a lot of interesting places and done a lot of stupid things that probably should have landed me as the opening credits victim on one of the Law & Orders. But I've never been down south to Louisiana. I've always wanted to go, as it seems like it would be right up my alley - jazz, booze, art and history are some of my favourite things, after all. And I would love the food most of all.

In honour of the trip I've yet to take, I decided to craft a Cajun-inspired taco. I found some recipes that gave me a sense of what spices I'd need, but I also discovered the key to most Cajun cooking - mirepoix. It's a simple mix of carrots, celery and onion that forms the flavour base for many dishes. So I gave it a Mexican twist, subbing out carrots for jalapenos. It gives these tacos a great depth to offset the heat, because these tacos are HOT. If you can't handle food that will literally make you sweat, than stay away from these tacos. They made me cry, and my insides are basically cast iron at this point.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Rajas Con Queso

Guys. GUYS. If you're one of those people who relishes an scorching sunburn for the sweet satisfaction you get peeling it - have I got a recipe for you. I went into the process of making this dish not knowing too much about it, other than the fact that it was structured around the poblano pepper. I'd seen poblano peppers at the specialty grocery store in town, so I did a little research and found a recipe that would make them sing: Raja Con Queso (aka veggie strips in a boatload of dairy).

To prep the peppers for this dish, you need to broil them until the skin gets black and bubbly (pro tip: brush them with vegetable oil to get the skin extra bubbly). Right before you throw them in the sauce, you've got to peel away the blackened skin - which was so much like peeling a sunburn I got a weird shudder of satisfaction and there's no need to judge I get how weird that is.

The dish itself was good, but here in Canada we don't often have queso fresco, so I subbed in goat cheese which was a little too tart. I'd recommend cutting it with something milder like mozzarella or ricotta. With these warnings in place, let's get cooking!

Friday, 18 January 2013


Sorry for skipping Taco Tuesday this week, but I had a pretty big first happen - I tried out a new recipe and it failed miserably. But with a few tweaks, I'm sure you'll see it back here again (perhaps even for a theme week of sorts!). In the meantime, pull up a chair and let me tell you the tales of my Christmas vacation - where I went to more Mexican restaurants in two weeks than most people go to in a year. First up was Milagro on Queen Street in Toronto.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Chimichurri Beef

Welcome to a new year and a whole new chance to sample delicious tacos courtesy of Tee's Taqueria!

Over the holidays I spent almost two weeks visiting my hometown, hanging out with my mother and her big screen TV with cable. In my current abode I don't actually have a TV, so the chance to go full couch potato was embraced wholeheartedly. Shockingly, my favourite channel is the Food Network - especially Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. About 5 hours into a Triple D marathon, I caught an episode about Camille's on Wheels. This food truck serves up "global tacos" - including chimichurri beef. 

Intrigued, I did a little research into this method and found it is a traditional Argentinian pesto-type sauce. It tastes better the longer it marinates and pairs well with a fattier cut of beef, like short ribs. After a little testing (and some improvised butchering), I came up with my own taco take...then went back to watch at least 10 more hours of cooking shows.