Vegetarian Street Tacos

Vegetarian Street Tacos
  1. 1 ripe peeled avocado
  2. 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  3. 1/2 cup mexican cream (crema), greek yogurt or sour cream
  4. 3 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  5. 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
  6. 1 lime
  7. 1 teaspoon honey
  8. 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotle chiles)
  9. 1 ear of corn
  10. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  11. 1 cup sliced portabella mushrooms
  12. 1 cup black beans
  13. 1 package small “street” style corn tortillas
  14. 6 tablespoons crumbled Cotija or feta cheese
  15. Fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. Place avocados in a blender; add crema, chopped cilantro, lime juice from 1/2 lime, salt and pepper, to taste, blend until smooth and creamy, set aside.
  2. Combine red onion, shredded cabbage, lime juice from 1/2 lime, and honey, salt and pepper, to taste. Toss together and set aside.
  3. Char corn on open flame of the stovetop, turning with tongs. Cool and cut off the cob, set aside.
  4. Heat heavy pan to medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes, or until most of liquid evaporates. Add in corn and black beans; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in adobo sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Place warm tortilla on plate. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons avocado mixture in center of each tortilla. Top with slaw, 1/4 cup mushroom mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese and cilantro leaves, if desired.
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Delicata Squash & Black Bean Tacos

Delicata Squash & Black Bean Tacos
  1. 1 Delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed and cut into 1/4” slices (skin can stay on)
  2. olive oil
  3. kosher salt
  4. freshly ground black pepper
  5. ground cumin
  6. 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  7. 4 ounces fresh ricotta
  8. cilantro, chopped
  9. 8 street taco sized tortillas (4”)
  10. pico de gallo (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Use convection heat.
  2. Toss squash slices with olive oil, a generous sprinkle of kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper and cumin to taste (1/2 teaspoon is a good place to start). Spread onto a baking sheet - do not overlap pieces. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until starting to caramelize.
  3. Toss black beans with a touch of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and cumin to taste.
  4. Mix fresh ricotta in a small bowl with kosher salt, pepper and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.
  5. Heat tortillas for a few minutes in oven until warm.
  6. Spread each tortilla with the ricotta mixture, top with black beans, squash and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with pico de gallo if desired.
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Chipotle Chicken and Corn Tostadas

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Tostadas
  1. 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced, plus 2-1/2 Tbs. sauce (from one can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
  2. 1 T. vegetable oil
  3. 2 t. finely grated lime zest
  4. 1/2 t. dried oregano
  5. Kosher salt
  6. 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  7. 3 ears corn, husked
  8. 1/2 cup sour cream
  9. 2 t. fresh lime juice
  10. 8 tostada shells
  11. 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  12. Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
  13. cherry tomatoes, quartered (optional)
  14. scallions, chopped (optional)
  1. Prepare a grill to medium-high heat (400°F to 475°F).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the minced chipotle and 2 Tbs. of the adobo sauce with the oil, lime zest, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat.
  3. Brush the corn lightly with oil and season generously with salt. Grill the chicken and corn, turning the chicken once and the corn a few times, until the chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes, and the corn is charred in spots, about 12 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for a few minutes, and then cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and cut the corn off the cob.
  5. Mix the sour cream with the lime juice, the remaining 1/2 Tablespoon Adobo sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread evenly onto the tostada shells. Top with the corn, chicken, and cilantro. If using, scatter tomatoes and scallions on top and serve with the lime wedges on the side.
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Adapted from Fine Cooking
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Pork Lettuce Wraps with Pineapple Salsa

Pork Lettuce Wraps with Pineapple Salsa
  1. 4-pound pork shoulder with fat, cut into 1 1/2" cubes
  2. 2 T. dark soy sauce
  3. 2 T. light soy sauce
  4. 1 1/2 t. five spice powder
  5. 1 yellow onion
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  8. 1 cinnamon stick
  9. 2 pods star anise
  10. zest of one orange
  11. 2 T. sweetened condensed milk
  12. 1 T. brown sugar
  13. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  14. 2 1/2 cups water
  1. 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and diced
  2. 1 cup daikon radish, coarsely grated
  3. 1/2 red onion, diced small
  4. 1/2 Thai red chili, seeded and minced
  5. 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  6. juice of one lime
  7. juice of one orange
For serving
  1. 2 heads bibb or green leaf lettuce
  1. Toss pork with soy sauces and five spice powder. Cover and chill 30 minutes while prepping remaining ingredients.
  2. Slice one small slit on the outside of each onion half. Insert a bay leave into each slit, then stud each onion with two garlic cloves. Add onion and remaining ingredients to a 5 1/2 qt. Dutch oven, along with the pork. Bring to a boil and skim the surface of any foam. Reduce the heat to a rapid simmer and cook, uncovered, for 2 hours, or until all the liquid is evaporated and the pork is cooking in melted fat. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature*.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  4. Lift the pork out of the Dutch oven with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Discard the onion, spices and any other solids from the pot. Reserve 2 or 3 tablespoons of fat. Wipe out the pot.
  5. Loosely shred the pork into large chunks. Return it, along with the reserved fat, to the Dutch oven. Cook 20 minutes or until well-browned. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  1. Combine all ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed. Cover and chill.
For serving
  1. Separate large leaves from the lettuce, then rinse and dry thoroughly.
  2. Assemble the wraps by topping lettuce leaves with the pork and salsa.
  1. * If making this recipe ahead of time, the pork can be refrigerated overnight at this stage.
Adapted from Le Creuset
Adapted from Le Creuset
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Cheese-Stuffed and Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Jalapenos

Cheese-Stuffed and Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Jalapenos
Serves 8
  1. 24 medium jalapeño chiles
  2. 8 ounces shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  3. 12 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
  1. Using a small paring knife, make a slit in each jalapeño from the stem end to the tip, being careful to not cut the jalapeños completely in half. Spread the jalapeños open and scrape out the seeds. Stuff each jalapeño with some of the shredded cheese, wrap with a half slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
  2. Preheat a ribbed stovetop grill pan over medium heat. Grill the jalapeños, turning frequently, until the bacon is crisp, brown and cooked through.
  3. Transfer the jalapeños to a serving platter. Remove the toothpicks and serve.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili with Cilantro-Lime Finish

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili with Cilantro-Lime Finish
Serves 6
  1. 1 T. olive oil
  2. 1 large green pepper, seeded, large dice
  3. 1 poblano pepper, seeded, large dice
  4. 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  5. 1 medium onion, large dice
  6. 1 T. minced garlic
  7. 1 1/2 T. ground cumin, divided
  8. 1 1/2 t. ground coriander, divided
  9. 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  10. 2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  11. 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  12. 1 T. lime juice
  13. 1/2 t. salt
  14. 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt or non-fat sour cream (optional)
  15. 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (optional)
  1. Using the “sauté” function* on the slow cooker, heat oil until shimmering. Add peppers, onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon cumin and 1 teaspoon coriander. Cover and cook for 6 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add chicken, beans and broth to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on “high” for 4-6 hours or “low” for 8-10 hours.
  3. Shred chicken with a fork and stir in the reserved cumin and coriander, the lime juice and salt.
  4. Serve in individual bowls garnished with cilantro and yogurt.
  1. *If your slow cooker lacks a sauté function, cook as directed in a skillet over medium heat. Then add the contents to the slow cooker.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Taco Truck by Jamie Bordoshuk

The last Saturday in August is a big day in my neighborhood. At 3 p.m. sharp, the street is closed off, the  bounce house is inflated and the tables and chairs start lining the driveways. It’s our annual block party, and for the past 15 years it’s been our way of saying hello to each other and goodbye to summer.

We’ve kept some traditions from year to year: Musical Chairs for the grown-ups, the bike parade for the kids and the family vs. family water balloon fight. The DJ keeps us going late into the night until we cap the party off with an impressive fireworks display that lights up the sky with sprays of gold, red, blue, green and white glimmering sparks.

But everyone knows that a block party is only as good as the food. And ours is no exception. If you live on the north side of the street, you bring an appetizer to share. The southsiders bring dessert. It’s common to find homemade Chinese egg rolls, Indian samosas with green curry dipping sauce and Italian tiramisu sitting next to each other – a mini-replica of the cultures lining my street.

taco movilInspired by the diversity of the neighborhood, our homeowner’s association decided to mix it up for the main course this year: the Taco Movil. This taco truck was really something – with flashing lights, two serving counters and a huge side buffet filled with endless salsas, shredded cheese, greens and guacamole.   

It was impossible to choose between the beef, chicken or chorizo tacos, the pork carnitas and the spicy chipotle chicken tostadas. So I had them all.  

Here’s my take on the Spicy Chipotle Chicken Tostadas.

Spicy Chipotle Chicken Tostadas
Yields 16
Spicy Chicken Topping
  1. 1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more to taste
  2. 2 lbs. skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
  3. 1 (28-ounce) crushed, drained tomatoes
  4. 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, plus 2 T. adobo sauce
  5. 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
  6. 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  7. 2 t. ground cumin
  8. 1 medium white onion, diced
  9. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  10. 4-6 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo (about 1/2 cup), casings removed, crumbled, fried until almost crisp (optional)
  1. 16 store-bought crispy tostada shells
  2. Kosher salt (if needed)
  3. 14 oz. can refried beans
  4. shredded iceberg lettuce
  5. thinly sliced white onion
  6. Mexican crema or sour cream
  7. queso fresco
  8. cilantro leaves with tender stems
Make the spicy chicken topping
  1. Fill a large pot with 8 cups water; stir in 1/4 cup salt. Add chicken and simmer over medium-low heat until just cooked through, about 45 minutes. Drain, then chop or tear chicken into bite-size chunks. Discard bones.
  2. Meanwhile, purée tomatoes, chiles, adobo sauce, pepper, cinnamon, and cumin in a blender until smooth.
  3. Cook onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sweet and charred (you want more char than "caramelization"), 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes longer. Add tomato mixture to skillet, reduce heat, simmer, partially covered, about 30 minutes. Divide tomato mixture in half, freeze half for another day. Add chicken and chorizo, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is well-coated and moist and liquid is reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes more.
  4. Season with salt, if needed.
Assemble the tostadas
  1. Spread 1 Tablespoon refried beans on a tostada shell.
  2. Top with 1/4 cup spicy chicken topping, then lettuce, onion, crema, queso fresco, and cilantro.
  3. Repeat with remaining tostada shells.
  4. Serve at room temperature.
  1. Spicy chicken topping can be chilled for up to 3 days. Reheat and let cool to room temperature before using.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast Burritos
Serves 4
  1. 2 t. canola oil
  2. 1/2 small red onion, diced (1 cup)
  3. 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  4. 1 cup drained, rinsed canned black beans, preferably low-sodium
  5. 1/4 t. chili flakes
  6. salt and freshly ground black pepper
  7. 4 eggs and 4 egg whites
  8. 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2-ounce) shredded pepper jack cheese
  9. cooking spray
  10. 4 (10-inch) whole-wheat tortillas (burrito-size)
  11. 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  12. 1/4 cup salsa
  13. 1 large tomato, (4 ounces) seeded and diced
  14. 1 small avocado (4 ounces), cubed
  15. hot sauce
  1. Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over a medium-high heat. Cook the onions and peppers until onions are softened and peppers are slightly charred, about 8 minutes. Add black beans and red pepper flakes and cook until warmed through, another 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a dish.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and egg whites and then stir in the cheese. Spray the skillet with cooking spray, and reheat the skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add eggs, scrambling until cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  3. Spread each tortilla with 1 tablespoon each sour cream and salsa, then layer with 1/4 of the black bean mixture, 1/4 of the scrambled eggs, some diced tomato and 1/4 of the avocado. Season to taste with hot sauce. Roll up burrito-style and serve.
Adapted from The Food You Crave, Ellie Krieger 2008
Adapted from The Food You Crave, Ellie Krieger 2008
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Daddy’s Girl by Robin Nathan

My sister’s oldest daughter got married a couple of weeks ago and my entire family came together to celebrate. We are pretty spread out these days – from Mexico to the Cayman Islands, and many points in between. I got to spend a lot of time with my dad, and with Father’s Day this Sunday, I’m remembering a special memory I have with him.

PicoOn Sunday mornings when I was very young, my dad would take me to run errands. My mom, sister and brother would stay home, and it was special to be the “only kid” for those few hours. On the way home, we always stopped at a little taco shack near our home in San Pedro, in the south bay of Los Angeles. We’d always get little beefy tacos with plenty of cheese melted in, wrapped in freshly made corn tortillas. My dad would douse his in lots of hot sauce, but I didn’t have the palate for heat — yet. I covered mine with fresh pico de gallo. Just one bite of a fresh beefy, cheesy taco takes me straight back to those times. Isn’t it wonderful how a taste of something so simple can melt the years away?

Here’s my recipe for Picadillo Tacos, aka Beef Tacos. Enjoy!

Picadillo Tacos
Yields 6
For the Tacos
  1. 1 T. corn oil
  2. ½ pound ground chuck or sirloin
  3. salt to taste
  4. ½ white onion, diced small
  5. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  6. ½ jalapeno, minced
  7. ½ t. ground cumin
  8. ½ t. chile powder
  9. ½ t. ground coriander
  10. 4 oz. Asadero or Chihuahua cheese, grated
  11. 6 thick corn tortillas, warmed
For the Pico de Gallo
  1. 2 Roma tomatoes, small dice
  2. ½ white onion, small dice
  3. ½ serrano or jalapeno chile, minced
  4. handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  5. juice of one large lime
  6. salt to taste
  1. Heat the corn oil in a large skillet; add onion and cook over medium heat until the onion begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and dried spices and cook 30 seconds. Add the meat and continue cooking, breaking up the meat to a crumble and seasoning with salt. When the meat is nearly cooked through, add the cheese and stir through until it’s melted.
  2. Combine all ingredients for Pico de Gallo.
  3. Pile meat mixture onto warmed corn tortillas and garnish with the Pico de Gallo, additional grated cheese, and sour cream.
  1. Here’s a trick – serve the beef and toppings on the tortilla, but don’t fold it up. Let your diner do it – somehow the taco holds together better that way.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/