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.
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/

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/