One of the first things that my girlfriend taught me to make (with the intention that I could take on one of the nights of cooking for us) was Tacos. I’m no stranger to this meal myself: my bachelor version involved burning some meat, microwaving some beans, slathering it all into a huge flour shell, something that I called “the two f’s” (folding and frying), and then adding as much cheese and salsa as it took to cover up any damage I had done. When she had taught me, it had actually been a long time since I had tried my hand at the meal, mostly because I had eaten it so much for so long that I no interest in making it again.
Once I had completed my first successful, “Taco Tuesday,” she approved that I could officially take over the meal in our weekly routine. I’ve been doing this now for several weeks, putting to use her tips and tricks in a way that creates a much more edible meal. (Tips like, “keep an eye on the meat while it’s browning.”) This week, because of various complications, Taco Night coincided with The Debate, and I had also made another batch of chili (so we would have something to pack for lunches). While you can’t quite make it out in the picture above, there are, in fact, tacos beneath all the fixin’s. There is also the token glass of vodka, because cooking seems to work out better when you’re buzzed.
This weeks’ version involved black beans & sausage as the “base.” I seasoned the sausage with cumin, white pepper, chili powder, and a few shakes of turmeric. The ground sausage was simply browned. I’m constantly on the hunt for different spice and flavor combinations, and would love any ideas that you may have. For our “fixin’s,” I used tomato, red peppers, lettuce, green & white onions, avocado, plain yogurt, cheese & salsa. (I would love to start making my own salsa too, and if there are any suggestions out there, please let me know.)
Since the chili was nearly done by the time the debate started, I decided to spoon a little on the side to see how it came out. I was pleased with the spice combination of the chili this time, but it clearly needed a couple more hours to help soften up the vegetables.
Taco Tuesdays have been a fairly big success for me, as it is a hard meal to fuck up. So long as the meat is edible, and none of the vegetables have gone bad, your tacos will go down without too many complaints. The only thing you are “cooking” is the meat. (I guess the beans are technically cooked too, but really you’re just “heating” them.) After that, it’s just an assembly line process of putting things on that you want in the amounts you prefer. We have gotten into the habit of “over-loading” our tacos with so much stuff that they really become taco-salads. Still, I know my girlfriend loves Taco Tuesday, if only because she does not have to do anything in the kitchen.
I would really like to try to make some more authentic tacos; as a Californian by birth, anything truly Mexican is just impossible to resist. Perhaps if anyone has any recommendations on what to do with shredded beef or pork, I would be happy to give it a shot. Having gotten pretty good at the basic parts of the meal, I am really looking for new variations on the theme, too. I would love to hear about the various ways you have developed taco night at your house. While we’re both huge fans of tacos, I would like to change things up as much as possible, so that we don’t get bored and so I can increase my skill-set when it comes to my usefulness in the kitchen.
Now, wasn’t this better than an analysis of the debate?