Good morning fellow quarantiners! Hope everyone is still feeling healthy and relatively disease free.
As we muddle through our virus induced madness it’s important to remember that it’s safer if you cook your own food. Always tastier too. And since there are no sports of any kind right now, another thing we shut-ins can do is stay home and read about food.
See? Two solid fucking ideas to help you while away the time until we’re allowed back outside and the toilet paper shelves have been restocked.
God help us, the world has lost its goddamn mind.
Got to be honest though, I am definitely washing my hands more frequently and more thoroughly and I’ve taken to wandering around work using a piece of paper towel to open doors.
Let’s just say I’m not panicked but I don’t want the nasty fucking virus either. You don’t know where that virus has been!
That shit will drive you fucking nuts if you keep thinking about it.
I’ve got a better idea.
Let’s make some fucking tacos!
Sure we’ve dabbled in the taco madness before.
Back in 2016 DJ TAJ filled in for me while I was recovering from yet another goddamn knee surgery and gave us these.
That’s your basic American gringo taco.
Why just last year I gave you a tiny bit more advanced recipe for the Sunday Gravy season finale.
Still pretty simple and easy – although this one was vegan with the “Beyond” meat – but we did make our own pickled jalapenos for that one.
I had something more authentic in mind today.
Something like a street taco. With some carnitas maybe, some pickled red onion, some of those homemade jalapenos, maybe some fresh fire roasted salsa all served on a corn tortilla.
Yeah, that’s the ticket.
What if we made EVERYTHING from scratch?
Including the tortillas!
Fuck yes I did and it was life altering.
Got a few links I’m going to dump on you because several of these items have been made before but we do have two brand new disciplines for you today; fire roasted salsa and homemade corn tortillas.
PLUS! I’ve got a brand new kitchen toy to fuck with.
That link right up there to the season finale of Sunday Gravy has all the instructions for making the pickled jalapenos but I did take a couple of photos to assist you along.
That’s my sliced up jalapenos and carrot.
is after I poured on the pickling solution.
Refrigerate for a week before serving and these can last in your refrigerator for a couple of months.
We also had some pickled red onion…
that was pickled a couple of weeks ago. I covered those details in our falafel episode.
For a protein, you regulars know I went after that pig.
For a side I chose the always popular refried beans, and the recipe for those can be found with a simple press of that search feature up there at the top of this here blog or just look in that first “carnitas” link as well.
Let’s get to the new shit shall we?
Fire roasted salsa!
I made the salsa the day ahead to let the flavors marry together.
7 roma tomatoes cut in half
6 cloves of garlic – you don’t have to peel the paper off until after roasting
1 onion cut into chunks
1 pasilla pepper – a poblano or Anaheim would work as well.
Jalapenos, use as many as you like for heat. I used 1 today and it needed more. Way more.
1 lime – juiced
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of cumin.
Original recipe inspired by budgetbytes.com.
First, let’s preheat our oven to 450 degrees for our “fire roasting.” Fuck it, you can do this in an electric oven too.
Grab a big ass baking pan, line it with foil and get your veggies on there.
Drizzle the olive oil over the top and give them a quick toss. Then into the preheated oven you go for about 30 minutes.
you’ve got some lovely roasted vegetables.
Here’s a cool idea, you can use this method to fire roast any one of these veggies. You know all the many times I’ve shown you how to fire roast chilies over the burner on your stove?
This method could replace that shit.
Look at the pepper after roasting.
That tough-ass skin peeled right off and it sliced up beautifully. Fuck yes, I’ll use this method for fire roasting next time. Remove the stems from the chile and the jalapeno. You can remove the seeds too for a milder salsa.
Honestly? I’m gonna throw in a fucking habanero next time to kick it up.
Now get everything into the blender.
Then add in the lime juice, cilantro – I used about half of the bunch, leaves only – the cumin, salt and sugar and grind this shit up. When finished it looks like this.
Season with additional salt as needed.
Some quick observations: yeah, the color is a little funky. Instead of being the vibrant bright red most salsas have, this one was a little more orange. I’m guessing the size of the chile impacted that. Next observation; it was a little sweeter than it needed to be, which is why I added the (optional) label to the sugar. Also, it needed a lot more than 1 jalapeno to bring up the heat.
Don’t get me wrong, the overall flavor is delicious. Just heed any or all of my suggestions to adjust the heat and sweetness levels.
Actually a fair amount of the work for our finished meal was accomplished the day before serving. We’ve got the salsa ready for tomorrow and the pickled onions and jalapenos are ready in the fridge as well.
Shit, we may as well get a pre-soak on those beans while we’re at it.
Yep, that’s a motherload of produce for this meal.
So this next bit I’m going to do chronologically. This is how shit went down on taco day.
Get some pig!
That’s the typical bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt) right there.
Get out your Dutch oven, add some cooking oil and over a medium-high heat get that pig toasty!
That’s been seasoned with salt, pepper, chile powder and cumin. Sear for about 6-7 minutes per side. Give her a flip to sear all sides.
Next add in the onion, jalapeno, garlic, a cut up orange, some cilantro (if using) then cover everything with 32 ounces of chicken stock and one 12 ounce beer.
Grab a lid for the Dutch oven, place it slightly ajar over the pot, reduce heat to low and simmer this bastard for 3 to 3 1/2 hours stirring and rotating periodically.
Remove the pig from the pot, let cool, remove the bone, cut into chunks and brown the bits under a broiler until the chunks get crispy.
Just as you get the pig seared, seasoned and started simmering go ahead and start cooking the beans.
Here’s the bean recipe if you need it.
That’s the pre-soaked beans, onion, garlic, chile de arbol, salt, pepper, cumin and chile powder. Like the pig, get a lid slightly ajar over the top of the pot, reduce heat to low, simmer for 2 1/2-ish hours while stirring occasionally.
About 30 minutes before the beans finish, yeah you know the drill.
Get some bacon. Cut up some bacon.
Fry up that bacon.
Remove that bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel, set aside for later and, yep, dump that sexy fucking bacon grease right into them beans!
At the end of the cooking time, break out your immersion blender, give a few pulses.
Rendering them thusly.
Now. Didn’t I say something about a new kitchen toy?
Ladies and gentlemen. I present to you…
The BFTP 5000!
That, my friends is a solid-ass cast iron tortilla press that I’ve dubbed the Big Fucking Tortilla Press 5000.
What does this beautiful motherfucker do?
It presses motherfucking tortillas, that’s what!
Let’s make some!
If you have the right tools this shit is very easy.
It all starts with this exotic looking bag-o-flour.
That’s masa harina. It’s corn flour that somebody took the effort to do the nixtimalization on then dried out making it ready for corn tortilla making. I’m gonna Wiki that shit rather than give you the whole rundown.
It’s as simple as adding water and a little salt at this point, making a dough and making tortillas.
2 cups of masa harina
1 1/2 cups of water
Pinch of salt
Combine everything in a bowl and using your (no doubt extremely well washed) hands form a dough.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for an hour. It’s not going to need to proof or anything, the hour just allows the corn glutens to stretch and get all sexy-like for tortilla making.
This is simple if you follow these step by step instructions.
Cut the dough into quarters and divide each quarter into 3 equal sized portions. Then roll each portion into a ball, making a total of 12 balls.
Get a skillet out and heat it up over a medium flame.
Know what I did here? I used the same pan I cooked the bacon in and simply wiped the bottom of the pan with a paper towel. Pre-seasoned and shit!
I used two equal sized pieces of parchment paper for the pressing. Place one sheet on the press, then take one of your balls and place it slightly offset nearer the hinge of the press, like so.
Cover with the 2nd sheet of parchment paper and firmly press the dough ball flat by closing the press.
Remove the pressed tortilla, and drop it into the preheated pan.
Sixty seconds then flip over and cook for another 60 seconds.
That’s it. Remove the cooked tortilla to a plate that’s covered with a kitchen towel.
Repeat for each tortilla in that exact order,
Parchment paper down, press the tortilla, move to the pan, 60 seconds per side, remove to plate and cover with towel.
When all 12 are cooked…
Your righteous ass just made a dozen corn tortilla by your own goddamn hands.
Hell yes you did.
Fuck it, let’s make a taco.
You do you for this part. You can put all of today’s ingredients on a single tortilla or customize as you like.
Me? I took some carnitas, some of that pickled red onion, added on our fire roasted salsa and then a spoon of my own chile tepin.
Looks good don’t it?
Want a bite?
I served my beans on the side but there were other eaters who put beans and meat on their tacos.
For my second round I played a little jazz.
I had the pork, onion, salsa, jalapenos, cilantro and some of our cooked bacon on one and the other was the same but instead of bacon I used a few chicharrones.
Mother of God! Both those motherfuckers WORKED!
I am fucking speechless. I almost brought myself to tears with this shit.
I tried one last taco with meat, beans, cheese and chile tepin. Delicious yes but…it really missed the brightness and tang from the pickled onion and jalapeno, the freshness from the salsa and honestly it also sorely missed the cilantro.
Those two tacos that had all of those along with the bacon or chicharrones? Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
That was the money plate for sure.
You really get the homemade effect from the tortilla. So much so that I think I’ve lost my appetite for store bought corn tortillas for fucking life. It just worked perfectly with the pickled things, the fresh fire roasted salsa, the pork and even the cilantro played a role.
Every single element played off of each other with precision.
I’m sure you’re used to my over-hyping my own food here but these were the best tacos I’ve ever eaten.
God almighty I want to make some more tacos next week. Fucking hell!
All hail our new kitchen lord and saviour…
There you go folks.
Now that we’ve all got plenty of time on our hands being on lockdown and shit, fuck around in the kitchen some. Get creative.
Make yourself a goddamn taco.
Be safe and healthy out there, fellow shut-ins.
I’ll be here again next week.
See you then.