Ugly Vegan Fajitas

Don't let the cilantro fool you. It's like lipstick on a pig.
Don’t let the cilantro fool you. It’s like lipstick on a pig.

I am lousy with good intentions.
I have recently been trying to eat less meat.  

I flip flop back and forth between being a carnivore and herbivore, and have done so for years.  Mostly because I enjoy judging people for not being as healthy as me. Plant based diets aren’t easy though. They require a considerable amount of planning, time and often, money. That’s why I never stick with it for very long. I’m not the best at planning ahead, or budgeting my time, or budgeting in general. This time around, I’ve been trying to keep things as simple as possible by planning minimal ingredient recipes. I’ve also been making meals ahead of time so that I have something available when I get the hangries.
I was crushing it. Was.

A weekend of excessive drinking, exhausting work hours, and an ambitious school schedule have a way of knocking me dead on my ass.  Well thought out menus were replaced by fast food, late night pub grub and oven ready pizza.  I’ve once again flip flopped.  Unfortunately, I’ve still got a crisper full of decomposing produce and I can’t afford to keep eating out.

 

After leaving work the other day, exhausted and in no mood for domestic work.
I was broke and hungry, and I had no choice.  I had to roll up my sleeves and get my Martha on.

The result…Ugly Vegan Fajitas.

 

What you need:

4 days Sleep Deprivation

1ea Oven that doesn’t work all that well

2lbs Mixed Veggies (summer squash, peppers, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, etc..)

1/4cup Olive Oil

Some Kosher Salt

1 packet Frontera Taco Skillet Sauce Frontera-Classic-Fajita-Skillet-Sauce-604183121745
(a seriously delicious, vegan life and time saver)

6ea Whole Wheat Tortillas

 

What to do:

Basically take whatever veggies you’ve got on hand, cut them up, season them with some olive oil and kosher salt, spread them out in a single layer onto a baking sheet. Roast them in a preheated, 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until they take on a bit of color.  Take the veggies out and drizzle the skillet sauce over them.  Put them back in the oven for a couple more minutes and you’re good to go.  Heat your tortillas in a skillet. Simple.
So my fajitas turned out ugly.  My oven is old.  Not cool early 70’s old…bad late 90’s old.  It doesn’t get hot enough.  I also loaded my pan up with too many veggies because I was in a hurry. Both things lead to mushy, pale pile of veg that didn’t caramelize.  The fajitas tasted great though.  Next time I’ll take my time and do these up right.  

As for my part time plant based diet?  I’m working on finding a balance.  
Tonight for dinner, I had leftover refried black beans and corn chips. Balance.     

Fassler Hall : A Breakfast Taco Review

I like to think that I coined the phrase  “getting fasslerd”, but I’m not sure if that’s true. Nor am I sure if that’s a phrase people use.
Regardless,  I’ve been a fan and a regular of Fassler Hall from the day of their opening in 2010. Fassler’s menu is best known for house made sausages of many flavors. I must mention the duck fat fries cause quite a stir as well.
(may I suggest pairing the fries with the gouda sauce)

Fassler has numerous offerings, but today’s review is all about the taco.

Chorizo Breakfast Taco from Fassler Hall. Onions added.
Chorizo Breakfast Taco from Fassler Hall. Onions added.

 

Location: 304 S. Elgin Ave, Tulsa OK
When can you find this taco?: Brunch! Saturday or Sunday 11-4
How much?: $3 a taco

The Goods: Perfectly spiced homemade chorizo and scrambled egg topped with feta cheese.
When I first heard the ingredients of this taco I questioned the feta cheese, but it works. I also generally frown at a processed, trans fat filled, flour tortilla. That being said, I would not change a thing about this taco. It’s properly balanced and divine.

Taste: Heavenly. The chorizo has a small kick and compliments the mild flavor of scrambled egg. The added feta gives this taco a complexity not expected while sitting on a bar stool eating out of a paper boat. For a nice compliment I suggest pairing with a mimosa. Order a carafe of sparkles and add your favorite juice at the mimosa bar.

If this taco were human?: It would be Jimmy Fallon

Did I mention Fassler Hall has beer? Hence the “getting fasslerd”.

Now try to use “getting fasslerd” in a sentence.
Or in past tense you could say something like “Man. I got so fasslerd last night.”

Supermercado Morales: A Taco Review

Supermercados Morales has been on my rIMG_0144adar for several years now.  I stumbled into the Mexican grocery store, one afternoon,  looking for something for a cookout that I was hosting.  I left that day with delicious marinated steak and all of the necessary fixings for carne asada tacos.  Morales has since been my go to for hard to find Mexican ingredients.  I swung by today, not for groceries, but for lunch.  In addition to pantry staples, Morales is also home to a kick ass taqueria.  Here is the break down:

Location:  Southeast corner of Peoria and I-44

How Much?:  $7.00 and some change for 3 tacos al pastor and 2 pork tamales.

The Goods:  Typical offerings…tacos of all kinds, tortas, quesadillas etc… I took full advantage of the salsa and garnish bar.  Be cautious of the salsa rojo, it ain’t for the timid.
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Sketch Factor:  It had just enough grime to let you know that it was a well frequented joint, but not enough to raise any concerns.

Taste:  Awesome!!!  The pork on my tacos was grilled to crispy perfection and seasoned well.  The tacos came with grilled onions and and a grilled jalapeno and the salsa was wickedly spicy.  These tacos were top notch for sure.  

Was It Worth It:  I generally have a slight feeling of remorse after a good taco binge.  Spicy food has a certain set of side effects that, well…you get the picture.  For these tacos, I will throw caution to the wind and stuff my face any chance that I get.  Totally worth it.

Comments:  My only regret:  I didn’t order a Mexican Coke, a mistake I intend never to repeat.

-John

Crispy Beef Tacos: A Recipe

My love of tacos began when I was a little boy growing up in the middle of nowhere, also known as Southeast Oklahoma. Fast food taco shacks and taco trucks weren’t really a thing for me.  The first exposure I had to taco awesomeness was my mother’s Crispy Beef Tacos, and I LOOOOVED them.

I’m all grown up now, and even though I know my way around all sorts of tacos, I still, from time to time, get peckish for some of mom’s cooking.  
Here is my take my mother’s classic, and though I’ve taken a few liberties to update these bad boys to suit my current tastes, they still get the job done when I’m feeling nostalgic.  

Ingredients:
Corn Tortillas
1cup Canola Oil (for frying)
Kosher Salt
1lb Ground SirloinIMG_0025
2tbls Olive Oil
½ Yellow Onion
(small diced)
3-4 Garlic Cloves (minced)
2tbls Ground Cumin
1tbls Dark Chile Powder
1tsp Dried Oregano
1tsp Coriander
1pinch Cinnamon
7oz Chipotle Sauce
1cup Chicken Stock
½ Bunch of Cilantro (chopped)
Kosher Salt and Pepper

Taco Fixings
(lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, etc….)

Procedure:
Start by preheating your oven to 250 degrees.
Next, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat.
Saute the onions and garlic until slightly caramelized.  Move the onion mixture to one side of the skillet and crumble the the ground sirloin into the skillet.  Brown the ground sirloin and the add the dried herbs and spices.  Add the chipotle sauce and and chicken stock.  Let the taco filling come to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Allow the filling 20 minutes to simmer.  Remove from heat and stir in chopped cilantro.   

While the taco filling is simmering, fry your tortillas.  Heat 1 cup of canola oil in skillet over medium heat.  Using a pair a tongs, carefully place one corn tortilla into the hot oil.  It should sizzle and bubble and make a fuss, that’s a good thing…Let it fuss for a about 8 seconds and then, using your tongs, fold the tortilla leaving one side in the hot oil.  Continue frying for another 15 seconds and then switch sides.  Let that side fry for 15 seconds and then transfer your taco shell to a racked baking sheet to drain.  Once you’ve fried all of your tortillas, place them in the preheated oven to stay warm.

Fill your taco shells with delicious beef filling and top with your favorite toppings.

Enjoy! and call your mom.

Arbol Chile Salsa : A Recipe


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Ingredients:

1lb Tomatillos, Husks Removed

3ea Arbol Chilies

1ea Head of Garlic

2tsp Sea Salt

1ea Bottle of Sparkling Wine

Procedure:

So, here is what you need to do….Chill your sparkling wine.
This is important. Get it down to an appropriate drinking temperature before you do anything else. Once the sparkling wine has cooled, pour yourself a glass, take a breathe, and continue with the next steps (if you are on a time crunch just add a couple of ice cubes to reach optimal drinking temp).

Preheat a large skillet over high heat.  Remove the stems from the chilies and shake out the seeds. While you are at it, go ahead and clean the garlic by removing all of the outer papery husk and tough skins. Throw chilies and garlic into the pan and cook until they both take on a bit of char. Word to the wise….the smoke from the chilies will make make you cough like crazy so crack a window. After the chilies and the garlic have charred add ½ cup of water and immediately dump those into a bowl and cover… basically, you are looking to soften the peppers a little.  Put the tomatillos into the same skillet and cook until they char on all sides.  Add  ½ cup of water and cover to steam.  Steam the tomatillos until they turn a dull green and they are super soft.  Let everything cool a bit and then blend the tomatillos, chilies, garlic and salt together.  Enjoy this salsa with corn chips, over enchiladas, or on tasty tacos.

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Note: This recipe has been modified from our original attempt, in which we used closer to 20 chilies. The salsa was hot. Literally left blisters in our mouth hot… so we had no choice but to drink all the sparkling wine with a sense of urgency.
After the sparkles we moved on to a table red. (Not a recommended pairing)

Still in need of an edible salsa we added a can of crushed tomatoes, a splash of Zing Zang, and a handful of cilantro. The result was spicy, yet pleasing, however we recommend following the above recipe for a more controlled and tested result.

 

Are Tacos on my Blood Type Diet?

After calling and primary care physician, being denied a blood typing test by my primary care physician, visiting a medical supply store, and talking to several pharmacist, I decided to donate blood to find out my blood type.

My blood type is O+. The most common blood type.
Apparently 37% of people are O+.

I discovered this with a home blood typing test kit. The blood bank couldn’t get me in soon enough to satisfy my instant gratification tendencies (damn volunteers move at a snails pace).

According to the Eat Right for Your Type guidelines I should not be eating tacos. Total BS.
I should be avoiding dairy, gluten, pork, potato and corn. Ha!

 

How I feel about not eating tacos:IMG_3366
Link to buy blood typing kit: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Type-Eldoncard-Typing-Test/dp/B00O2SRL12/ref=sr_1_3?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1438825866&sr=1-3&keywords=blood+type+test+kit

El Sambrosito: A Taco Review

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Location: Lewis and 87th Street in Tulsa

How much?: $11.50 for 6 tacos and 2 liters of Mexican Coke

The Goods: Typical Offerings including tacos, tortas, burritos and quesadillas

Sketch Factor: Surprisingly low… Actually we found this truck to be quite charming with its festive music and large canopy of trees.

Taste: We ordered both pastor and asada tacos. The pastor tacos won. The asada tacos lacked personality. That said there was plenty of onion and cilantro, which goes a long way in our blog. All in all these were average tacos.

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Was it worth it?: Yes. As taco connoisseurs, we would recommend this truck.

Comments: Not the kind of place that gives you a receipt for your taco blog.