Taco Tuesday!

I rarely fry food. And I’m certainly not one who is drawn to all manner of quirky fried foods that have gained popularity in recent years (read: fried oreos, pickles, etc). But I will take fried ice cream any day! Ha…yeah.

That said, last week, I stumbled upon a method for making fried tacos, and was intrigued. It just sounds right. I saw the process demonstrated in a video in the latest issue of e-magazine, Nesting Newbies (which previous to this, I had never heard of). I happened to have everything I needed to make them, so I declared it Taco Tuesday!

The recipe section is on pages 12-21, with the demo video on page 14. The chef gives some good tips, so pay attention, if you plan to make them. One thing I learned, is that corn tortillas have a grain. And to help prevent cracking, they should be gently folded against the grain.

While I followed the recipe process, I made up my own vegetarian “meat” filling to replace the beef. I didn’t intend this to be a recipe post, but I suppose I’ll share my version:

Vegetarian Fried Tacos
Inspired by a recipe by Lea Gonzalez McIntosh, published in Nesting Newbies, issue five.
Makes about 8 tacos.

FILLING:

SHELLS:

  • canola oil
  • 8 small corn tortillas
Directions:
  1. Sautée onion in olive oil in a large non-stick pan until soft and clear. Add seitan and chorizo and brown slightly. Add remaining ingredients, and stir until all liquid is absorbed.
  2. Fill a deep fry pan or wok with canola oil, about 1 inch deep. Heat to approximately 350º – 375ºF. To test if oil is hot enough, dip the edge of an extra tortilla into the oil. If the oil bubbles around the tortilla, it’s ready to go.
  3. Spread 1-2 Tbsp of meat filling down the center of the tortillas. One at a time, gently fold the ends together (against the grain), and slowly dip the bottom of the taco into the oil. Hold for 20 seconds, and then gently lay the taco on it’s side in the oil. Fry until lightly golden, and flip with tongs. Keep a close eye on them, I think I made mine a bit too dark. When done, remove with tongs, let excess oil drain, and set on a plate lined with paper towels. If you want, you can keep the plate warm in the oven until the rest are done.
  4. Gently top with shredded sharp cheddar, lettuce, salsa, and low-fat plain yogurt.
Along with the tacos, we had refried beans and a fresh garden mesclun and radish salad with orange vinaigrette.

 

For dessert, I quartered and fried a few tortillas that were left, and let them drain on paper towels. After they cooled down a bit, I tossed them in a Ziploc bag with a few tablespoons of sugar and a couple shakes of cinnamon. They were a perfect compliment to Turkey Hill’s (all-natural) Philadelphia-Style Vanilla Bean ice cream.

Did I say, “Yum”?
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Mmmm…Matzoh Ball Soup!

A week ago, I completely lost my voice. So, I decided I would make a pot of soup to sooth my throat. I initially thought minestrone, but quickly changed my mind when I found a box of matzoh ball mix in the cabinet. I promptly threw a bunch of stuff in a pot, and and hour later, had yummilish matzoh ball soup! Just to clarify, yummilish is the kind of yummy where you exclaim, “This is really good!” after every other bite (Oh…you don’t do that?).

Fortunately, I wrote down the all the dirty details (except the part where I almost burned the onions), so I can repeat the recipe for the Passover Seder at my parent’s house next week…aaand so I can share it here with you. Oh, and in case you start to wonder, we don’t prepare or eat meat in our house. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make a good bowl of matzoh ball soup!

Vegetarian Matzoh Ball Soup
makes approx. 6 servings (about 12 small matzoh balls)

  • 2 (approx.) T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse/kosher salt
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 small parsnip (if available)
  • 1 tsp dried dill (or 1 T fresh)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • one packet (2.5 oz) Manischewitz matzo ball mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 T oil
  • 14 cups hot water
  • 8 T (1/2 cup) Frontier™ vegetarian “chicken” broth powder
  • 1 Quorn Naked Chik’n Cutlet*, diced
  • black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Sauté onion in olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add salt, celery, carrot, parsnip, dill, and bay leaf. Cook until onions are clear.
  3. Add water and broth powder, and simmer about 15-30 minutes to blend flavors.
  4. Meanwhile, combine matzoh ball mix with eggs and oil. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  5. For each matzoh ball, scoop about 1 T. of dough, and roll into a ball with wet hands.
  6. Add matzoh balls and Quorn* to boiling soup.
  7. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Add black pepper to taste.
  9. Enjoy!

Notes: Quorn* is a vegetarian protein source that approximates chicken in flavor and texture. This was the first time I tried it in soup, and I am quite please that it retained it’s meaty texture through boiling (unlike seitan, which can get rubbery). It is not an essential ingredient, but I highly recommend it if you can find it (we get it at Whole Foods, but it is available elsewhere; see link above). *Quorn products contain egg, milk, and wheat ingredients.

Also, some may say I “cheated” by using matzoh ball mix and broth powder. But, hey, they work. And particularly well, I might add. If you have matzoh meal and tons of veggies, you are welcome to make everything from scratch, and then invite me over for dinner. ;)

I want to hear from all the matzoh ball fans out there! Have you ever had a bowl at a deli or diner that rivaled home-made? If so, please share where! And if you’ve never tried it, what are you waiting for? Get cooking!