Sunday, October 23, 2016

Have a Taco!

A few weeks ago one of the presidential candidates' surrogates made the comment that if something isn't done about the "dominant" Latino culture we'll have "a taco truck on every corner."  Here in Southern California, we have taco trucks on many corners, so that thought of one on every corner sounded like a GREAT idea.  I LOVE tacos.
Being a Californian, tacos are a way of life. We can get them with ordinary fillings like chicken, steak, pork, ground beef, and fish, as well as more "interesting" ingredients like brain, tripe, cactus, and corn fungus.  I'm not terribly adventurous in my eating in general so I leave the interesting ingredients for others and stick with the more common fillings. And generally when I make them at home I use braised or grilled chicken or carne asada, which is marinated flap meat (steak).  One type that I enjoy when I have it at a truck or restaurant is al pastor or marinated pork/pineapple.  The pork is traditionally cooked on a vertical rotisserie, which looks a lot like how shawarma meat is cooked, which is why I've never attempted it at home.   I saw, what looked like, a fun recipe on Facebook which used a skewer and marinated pork shoulder to create the tower of meat.
After buying the pork shoulder and planning on serving it for a get-together, finding the ingredients was a little more challenging than I thought.  There must have been a run on achiote paste and guajillo chili powder as both the Latino section of my market and the two Latino grocery stores nearby were out.  Maybe the Tasty recipe was making the rounds!
I ended up with a couple of substitutions (California chili powder and achiote seeds which I made into my own paste).
  On a side note, can we just take a moment to look at the voting guide in the background.  It is enormous - over an inch thick.  I, for one, can not wait until this election is over!
Making the tower was kind of fun, and an impressive sight.  There was a slight problem in keeping it standing while getting it into the oven and even once in the oven it kept losing its balance.
 After a few attempts we redid the tower into two smaller towers, which were much more manageable.
 It cut fairly easy off the tower and the flavor was quite good.  It certainly wasn't the real thing like on the trucks, but topped with cilantro, fresh pineapple, and salsa, it was a decent copycat version.

Do you like tacos?



15 comments:

  1. One thing I miss about Cali is the Mexican Food and the Taco truck that use to park close to where I worked.

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    1. No one outside of the southwest really understands what we mean when we say the food is GOOD. It is tried elsewhere, sometimes miserably, but nothing beats its.

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  2. Life in Northern Maine means tacos are from Taco Bell (or Taco Hell, as I like to call it).

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    1. Ha! I lived in New England for about 8 years and I concur that statement. Once, my friends took me to a chain "Mexican" restaurant and I sent my food back two times before realizing that that was how they meant for it to come out. :) We have TB here as well, but it's ingredients are suspect so I never go.

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  3. I love tacos! I can't really remember a time in my life when they haven't been available somewhere, so I guess even in south Arkansas we've always had our share of Tex-Mex food. :)

    Even with the way I eat now, I still indulge in tacos, just without the meat or cheese. One of my favorite ways is with black beans and corn. Lentils cooked up with Mexican seasonings are great, too. Yum!

    All your photos look totally mouth-watering!

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    1. Oh yes, it's easy to eat Mexican food cleanly. I prefer it down and dirty :), but the flavors are still there which is what counts. Cheese on tacos is an Americanized thing. I love cheese on certain, savory fillings, especially the cotija cheese, but not with any of the fruit based fillings.

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  4. Looks a bit like a Dรถner Kebab.
    Well done by the way. It's a blooming triumph to get the pork cooked. I certainly wouldn't have tried pork. I'd be fearful it wouldn't cook. I think I'd play with lamb first.
    I take it it's a slow cook with a big blast of heat for the last 1/2 hour, so the juice of the pineapple breaks down the fibers in the meat. I must highlight the spice, for I don't know it.

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    1. Yah, I was a bit worried about the pineapple making it mushy because it does break it down the fibers in the meat. There were a few parts up at the top, closest to the fruit that got a bit mushy, otherwise it was just tender.

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    2. I was thinking afterwards on a way to keep it high. For if you were to whip that out of an oven at a dinner party, wowza but that would be theater. I know you've probably seen them but a BBQ rotisserie like this thing https://www.amazon.com/Onlyfire-Universal-Rotisserie-Burners-Electric/dp/B01733YMAA/ref=sr_1_11?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1477290024&sr=1-11&keywords=bbq%2Brotisserie%2Bkit&th=1

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    3. That would be amazing! I don't cook those large quantities of meat but for few and far between, but it sure would be fun for a gathering wouldn't it.
      My grandfather was a butcher/grocery store owner and we acquired his rotisserie which had it's own housing. I have found memories of my dad starting a roast of some kind in there in the morning and it cooked in the garage for hours. The smell was amazing! When he died we gave it it away to some friends. Every-so-often I think about wanting it back.

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  5. love tacos
    the candidates for this election are all crazy.. the things that come out of there mouths.. I mean seriously.
    I vote for more tacos!

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    1. Me too!
      I heard someone talking about the next 2020 election recently and I almost lost my mind! NOOOOOOO, we are NOT talking about 2020 already!!!!

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  6. You are so adventurous in your cooking. I love it! I wouldn't mind a taco truck on every corner : ).

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    1. I know right?!?! That would be an amazing thing.

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  7. Looooove ๐ŸŒฎ tacos! And I am duly impressed with your tower(s). Well done!

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