Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Menu for 2/16/2011 - Ground Beef Tacos (Dude2)

Cooking tonight was a challenge -- my entire family has the flu, and we're in the middle of moving so we have nothing in the kitchen (two pans, a knife, and a cutting board). On top of that, I was supposed to go pick up a new water heater to install in the new house tomorrow, but when I got there they said that they had shipped it to the wrong store! Despite that though, I managed to make some decent tacos and calabacitas guisadas. Serve it with a nice cold Mexican beer for maximal effect. Total prep time was about an hour:

Ground Beef Tacos (serves probably 6 or 8):
  1. 2 lbs grass fed ground beef
  2. 1 Tbsp beef tallow (rendered beef fat from grassfed beef)
  3. 1/2 large white onion, diced fine
  4. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 2 large jalapenos
  6. 1 14.5 oz can organic diced tomatoes
  7. 1/2 tsp cumin (or so, I don't measure)
  8. juice of 1/2 lime
  9. 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
  10. salt and pepper to taste
Melt the tallow in a medium skillet (big enough to hold everything) and when it's good and hot add the beef. While the beef is cooking, chop and add the rest of the ingredients in the order shown. Chop the meat into a reasonably fine crumble with the turner whenever you pass by the pan. By the time you get to the tomatoes, the meat should be pretty well done. Add the tomatoes and their juice, then cover the skillet and let it simmer on low until the liquid is reduced to the level of moisture you like in your tacos. Make the calabacitas while the juices are reducing:

Calabacitas Guisadas (about 4 servings):

  1. 4 medium summer squash, cubed (mexican, zucchini, and yellow squash)
  2. The other half of the white onion, this time sliced thin instead of diced
  3. 4 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
  4. 1 jalapeno, sliced very thin
  5. 1 can organic diced tomatoes
  6. 1/4 tsp cumin
  7. 1/4 tsp oregano
  8. juice of the other half of the lime
  9. salt and pepper to taste
Brown the onions over medium-high heat with some olive oil in a skillet. When they are light brown, add the squash and jalapeno. Cook for about 10 minutes to cook the squash and dry it out a little, then add the rest of the ingredients, reduce to medium-low heat and simmer until the tomato juice is reduced to make the whole mess thick enough that it doesn't run when you pile it up.

Serve the tacos with corn tortillas prepared on a comal (cast iron griddle) by first oiling the comal, getting it very hot, and putting two or three tortillas on it at a time to cook. Press the tortillas with a turner to prevent them from puffing up, otherwise they will be very weak and your tacos will fall apart on the way to the mouth. Flip them once, then remove from heat when they've reached the desired stage of doneness (can be very soft to very crunchy, depending on your taste). For toppings I provide chopped cilantro, diced white onion, thin slices of lime, cubed avocado, sour cream, and salsa or fresh pico de gallo (if it's summer time). Put the meat on the tortilla, add the sour cream and avocado, sprinkle with cilantro, onion, and salsa, and eat! You will need many napkins, I predict.

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