Saturday, December 20, 2014

What I Mean by Tacos

Just to make things absolutely clear, when I use the term "taco" I refer to all types of meals wrapped in a tortilla but expressly NOT one of those tasteless, pre-cooked, cardboard-y things sold in packs of 10 in the grocery store. I mean a vast assortment of delicious foods folded or wrapped in fresh, warmed or fried tortillas, either flour or corn. Okay? Just wanted to get that established from the beginning. 

It just so happens that I have jumped into my bean blogging career mid-week, mid-bean batch. Stay with me and you'll undoubtedly get the whole process eventually. Yesterday I found a small bit of salmon left over in the fridge from last weekend and decided on fish tacos with this week's black beans on the side. I thought you might enjoy seeing one on my variations on taco building. Here we go in random, non recipe fashion:

I placed some fresh corn tortillas on a cookie sheet and spread about a half teaspoon of olive oil mayo on each one, then drizzled Sriracha sauce onto that.
I placed them in a 350* oven to warm. Then I put about a half cup of beans in a couple of ramekins. Here's a little hint for you: when reheating beans in the microwave, place a moist paper towel over them before heating. It prevents them from exploding all over your microwave. I zapped them and left them in the oven. Then in a sizzling steel skillet, I drizzled a little amount of excellent olive oil and seared the thin salmon until it turned white around the edges. Because it was so thin, this only took about three minutes. I flipped the fish, turned off the skillet, and finished cooking it by chopping it up with the spatula, stirring as it cooked. 

I pulled the tortillas out of the oven and plated them. On top of each tortilla, I put a whole leaf of lettuce, then the salmon, some grated cheese and confetti-ed red pepper. All over this I drizzled some more olive oil mayo and Sriracha.  I served this with some of that marshmallow and cool whip salad type thing that I made up at the last minute using left over cranberry relish. To make it really special I toasted some chopped pecans and tossed them in at the last minute. Incredible!!
The lettuce leaf makes the taco almost bomb-proof easy to eat and everything was well timed and delicious. 

I forgot to mention this took less than half an hour to throw together. I'm nothing if not practical. I usually serve the largest meal at lunch. In the mornings, I come down to my studio on the lowest level of the house where the kitchen and dining room are also. I lay out my paints, maybe start a painting, and then begin thinking about lunch. If the beans haven't already been cooked, they are started, some meat might be thawed or the leftovers appraised. I make the meal in small increments until it's time to toss it all together just before lunch. This is fun, creative, and most importantly, gets me out of my painting brain which can get too narrow focused, too nitpicky unless I frequently step away from the canvas, breathe some outside air, toss the ball for the dogs, bug Tim in his studio, or fuss in the kitchen. 

I said I would tell you how I became the Queen of Beans, but got all excited about cooking and didn't get around to it. Next time, perhaps. Hope you enjoy it!

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