Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

Hola chicos,

Three final exams down, two to go. Whew! Yes, I actually had a final on a Saturday. A SATURDAY!

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I figured we were due for taco night. The offerings of the evening included fresh guacamole with black bean chips, tacos de garbanzos y champiƱones (chickpea & mushroom tacos- my Spanish professors would be so proud), spicy refried beans and Mexican brown rice.

The guacamole was my husband's doing, loosely based on Rick Bayless' recipe from "Authentic Mexican". It was nice and bright and fresh! The object in the middle of the guac is the avocado pit to help keep it fresh (it helps from oxygen getting to the middle part of the guac while we worked our way inward). We ate it with spicy black bean chips from Guiltless Gourmet. Some of their chips are a bit cardboardy, but these were excellent. We've had them in the pantry forever, so was good to finally give them a chance to shine.

The tacos were messy, but worth it!

First, the taco filling:

I started with a basic miripoix of onion, garlic and yellow pepper (red, orange, yellow- I usually use one of them). I added the peppers when the onions were not quite translucent.

I then added the mushrooms. As things got dry, before the mushrooms released much moisture, I added the juice of half a lemon and a small bit of vegetable broth to deglaze the pan and keep things moving. Once the mushrooms started to break down and create a nice sauce, I added the garbanzos (soaked & precooked or canned are both fine- watch the salt with canned). I mashed a few of the garbanzos to aid in the sauce. I seasoned it (to taste) with salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and paprika. Since I didn't find any chiles at the store that I liked/looked good, I added a bit of red pepper flake for heat. A chopped chili of your choosing would be fine, too. Personally, for tacos, I pick up whatever looks freshest/sounds good at the time. Or, I go with whatever is already in my fridge/pantry. The "smoke" you see is actually steam:

The tacos were made with soft, fresh corn tortillas (very easy to make, but also available in most grocery stores). Heat them up over fire, if you have a gas stove. Otherwise, a skillet or griddle is fine. Heck, if you want to, toss them in the microwave. I won't tell. The main objective is to make them pliable. Of course, if you don't like corn, flour will do.

We topped off the filling with light white cheddar, lettuce, chopped tomato, thinly sliced radishes, fresh parsley (we don't do cilantro), a squeeze of lime and plain Greek yogurt. What makes it for me are the radishes. They remind me of really good Mexican street tacos.

They were served up with spicy refried beans and Mexican brown rice. The rice was easy- I threw in all the ingredients (Pomi chopped tomato, onion, salt, chili blend, cumin, a bay leaf, cinnamon and probably a few other things I'm forgetting) into the rice steamer and set it to cook. Allow for about double the time as it takes on the stove top, with a couple of stirs in between so the rice cooks evenly.

The beauty of this meal, beyond the taste, is that it all went really well together. So, instead of packing up the leftover components individually, I layered them all (including some tortillas in the middle) in a casserole dish for later in the week. It will be easy to pop this in the oven to heat through when needed. It's healthy and perfect for when I'm in the weeds of exams and won't want to cook.

¡Nos vemos!


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