April 6, 2012

Foodie Friday! Taco Night

                      By Resident Chef James Wood

Taco Night



If there is something I love, its fresh tortillas.  Living in Seattle makes it a little harder to find these tasty tidbits than my days spent in Tucson.  So today I will share a few recipes and not so classical techniques to recreate a childhood favorite that always brings back some sweet memories.

On today's agenda:

* TORTILLA DOUGH AND PRESSING TECHNIQUE
* SOY LIME MARINATE
* CARNE ASADA SEASONING AND GRILLING TECHNIQUES


Let's start with the tortilla dough.  Here is what you will need to make about a dozen tortillas...

1 3/4 cups of masa harina
1 1/8 cups of water
Juice of 1/2 lime


Step 1
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until liquid has been absorbed



Step 2
Mash the mix by squeezing with your hand and form a giant ball



Step 3
Cover with plastic wrap or place in a gallon size zip lock bag and place into refrigerator for at least 20 minutes although 24 hours is ideal.

Step 4
After the dough is rested and chilled, make 12 even size dough balls by rolling them in the palm of your hand. (if they are crumbling, they are too dry. If they are sticking to your hands then they are too wet.) I have personally made this recipe about 100 times and it seems to work out perfect.


Step 5
Using some masking tape, secure a 18 inch piece of wax paper to your counter top. Tear another equally sized piece off and get a nice heavy book. (Since I dont like to read, I have a lot of these just sitting around.)


Step 6
Place the ball in between the 2 pieces of wax paper and PRESS. If all works out well, you should be able to easily remove it with a metal spatula. If not, just roll it into a ball and try again. If your fancy, just use a tortilla press (but you will still need the wax paper, just not as much)



Step 7
Place in a heated non-stick pan or cast iron griddle, no oil is necessary. Cook for about 30 seconds per side and place into a tortilla box or a glass pyrex dish with a cloth towel over the top. Set aside until ready to use.



Now for the Marinate and Carne Asada Seasoning...

In a blender or a glass measuring cup, measure out and blend until a creamy consistency has been achieved.

1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 cup soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime


For the Seasoning:

In a small bowl, evenly mix together
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon black pepper.



Now take your meat and season both sides evenly, then pour the marinate on it cover with plastic wrap and gently press down and place in refrigerator for about a hour.




Now for the grilling.
Many people are intimidated by the grill but this is a very primitive and simple device if you follow these rules...

1. Make sure its clean and seasoned.
2. Make sure it is extremely hot (when you flick water on it, it should sizzle and steam.

should be instantly noticed.
3. Have the right tools, tongs for meat and metal spatulas for fish.

Thats it.


You can see in my picture there is a notable steam coming from the meat.


I cook for about 4 minutes per side on this 1/2 inch thick piece of meat then place it in a pan with foil on top and let it rest for about 8-10 minutes.

During the rest is when I gather all my ingredients for my tacos and place them into bowls for people to choose from.
After the rest I dice up the perfectly medium rare steaks into bite size cubes and place them in a bowl for serving.


I know this week has gotten a little involved but sometimes you have to take time to recreate the food that brings back the sweetest memories. All in all this took me about 90 minutes total. But I think even a novice can pull this off in under two hours if you keep a positive attitude.


Update:  On these tacos I have shaved radishes, pickled red onion, cilantro and scallions, sour cream and salsa rojo and salsa verde.

For the pickled red onion...
Slice one medium red onion
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar

Place into a Microwavable container and nuke for 2 minutes then cool, these last for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator and are great on salads, in fresh salsas or whatever you might like them on.

As for the marinate, it works on anything, even as salad dressing. For the dry rub its great in ground beef tacos or fajita spice. The sky is the limit.

Thanks for checking it out and I hope you have a great experience with these recipes.

James


Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!!!!

4 comments:

Tiffany said...

Um, HELLO! This looks INCREDIBLE! I'm soooo going to make my own this weekend!
What toppings do you include for the tacos? I think I see cilantro, sauteed onion, and radish...
Also, would this marinade work ok for pollo asado?
Thanks much!

James Wood said...

On these tacos I have shaved radishes, pickled red onion, cilantro and scallions, sour cream and salsa rojo and salsa verde.

For the pickled red onion...
Slice one medium red onion
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar

Place into a Microwavable container and nuke for 2 minutes then cool, these last for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator and are great on salads, in fresh salsas or whatever you might like them on.

As for the marinate, it works on anything, even as salad dressing. For the dry rub its great in ground beef tacos or fajita spice. The sky is the limit.

Thanks for checking it out and I hope you have a great experience with these recipes.

James

Lina - Fancy Frugal Life said...

Yummy! We love fresh tortillas around here!
Looks great.
thanks for visiting my blog today with such great comments :-)
Lina @fancy frugal life

the Sweetest Memory said...

Lina, I am so glad you stopped by! You have a beautiful blog!

Kari