Jane's Blog | janebutelcooking.com

Tacos, Tacos,, Tacos

By Jane Butel  March 30, 2022

How long has it been since you ate a taco?  Americans love tacos.  Last year 4.5billion were sold.  There is a National Taco Day.  It is Octoer 4 every year.  When Taco Bell came into being, some of my Mexican foodie friends and I called it the Mexican  Long Distance Telephone Co.  And now, statistically, half of Americans buy a taco or two at Taco Bell every 11 days.  Some of my close Mexican friends think you can enjoy tacos any time of day for any meal.  I agree.   

A Mexican taco is quite different  and in my mind much tastier than the standard American taco which is usually beef in a crisply fried corn tortilla with lettuce, onion , cheese  topped with a salsa of choice.

A Mexican taco is generally in a freshly made soft corn tortilla and the fillings are quite various.  Some are total ingenious, but always attractively plated and thee salsas are never as spicy hot as American made ones.  

I am teaching a Mexican style Taco Party this Thursday evening and we still have a few openings.  Here's the menu--I know you would enjoy it--

MENU

PERFECT GUACAMOLE

ROAST PORK TACO PARTY PLATTER

GRILLED CHICKEN and ROASTED RED BELL PEPPER TACOS

FISH TACOS with NINE DAY COLE SLAW

CARNE ASADA SOFT TACOS, MEXICAN STYLE

SALSAS GALORE--

SALSA VERDE

MANGO AND ROASTED CORN SALSA

SALSA ROJO

PERFECT MARGARITAS

Next Thursday,  April 7, we are having "A Good Old Fashioned  Southern Barbecue that starts at 2 PM and we have a few openings for that class also.

We are taking reservation s for our Oaxaca Culinary Tour which  is full of tons of memorable culinary delights--three hands on classes of different styles of Oaxacan specialties, historic tours and topped off with a very special Chef's Dinner with the Chef demonstrating each of the courses and pairing it with complimentary  local wines and spirits.  Our tours  are very carefully organized with courteous drivers, knowledgeable teachers and lots of fun activities, including plenty of free time for shopping and pursing your own pleasures.  Book now before we are sold out! 

Our next weekend class is April 30 - May 1 and just has a very few openings.  Our next week long is July 11 - 15.

One of my favorite rice recipes I created while consulting with a chain of restaurants  is the following.  I keep it frozen in meal quantities to serve with almost any fish or chicken  recipe.   I usually double or triple the recipe so I don't have to make it very often.

LIME RICE

This refreshing, simply prepared rice is oh-so good with most any Southwestern dish. Any leftovers make the basis for a cold rice salad just by adding your favorite vegetables and perhaps any leftover meats, such as Fajita Chicken.

Yield: 2 cups rice 

1 ½ cups water*

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 Tablespoon chicken boullion base, such as Better Than Boullion*

1 Tablespoon butter

1 cup long grain rice

¼ cup Tomatillo based Salsa Verde

1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

  1. Bring the water, lime juice, chicken base and butter to a boil. Then add the rice and stir and cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender and fluffy. When done, stir in the salsa and the cilantro and cover to fluff for a few minutes before serving or storing.

*If desired, you may use chicken stock instead of the water and bouillion.

NEW MEXICO STYLE BEEF TACOS

 Yield: 4 servings or 12 tacos

12 corn tortillas

Cooking oil

1 pound very lean ground beef

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons ground mild red chile

1 Tablespoon ground hot red chile

1 Tablespoon red wine or apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

½ teaspoon ground comino (cumin)

1 teaspoon salt

1 small onion, chopped

1 fresh tomato, coarsely chopped

2 cups shredded lettuce

1 cup grated cheddar cheese or to taste

1. Fry tortillas on both sides in ½ inch or more of hot oil. Fry each tortilla on one side until slightly crisp, but still pliable, then turn and fold in half. Allow one side to become crisp, then turn and fry the last side. You may want to fry several taco shells at a time and freeze the extras. For soft tacos, wrap tortillas in foil and warm in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes.

2. Lightly sauté the ground beef in a large skillet, then add the seasonings and cook and stir until well blended and the ground beef has lost its pink color. Drain off excess fat.

3. Place meat in the taco shells. Add the chopped onion, tomato, lettuce and cheese in layers. Heat briefly in a 450 F oven to melt cheese. Serve nested with extra lettuce and a side dish of salsa.

SALSA FRESCA

This refreshing sauce can be as mild or as hot as you like, depending on the chiles used. Any leftovers of this sauce can be added to guacamole, made into salad dressing or chile con queso, and can be frozen for up to 4 months for later use in cooked dishes. This salsa is the original salsa developed in Mexico and reputed to “save lives” after one of the Revolutions. The salsa has equal parts of red, green and white—just as the Mexican flag does and is reputed that those who had it on their dinner tables at meal time were saved—when the Federales came around to check on their loyalty.

Yield: 1-1/2 to 2 cups

1 large fresh tomato, finely chopped

½ cup finely chopped onion, or 2 scallions with tops included

4 green chiles, parched, peeled and chopped, or 4 ounces of canned chopped

green chiles (or 2 to 4 fresh jalapenos, finely minced)

1 clove garlic, finely minced

½ teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients; allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Sauce keeps for 1 week when refrigerated.

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