Tacos!

 

Mushroom Tacos

Mushroom Tacos

I have a friend who’s partial to Taco Johns bean tacos as a hangover cure. When I learned this, many years ago, I thought to myself, why would anyone ever eat a bean taco? It’s amusing to me now because beans and tortillas are the foundation of my diet.

When I moved to Mexico I discovered many authentic non-meat taco fillings.  For the next few weeks I’ll share some of the more interesting veggie taco recipes.  I like this recipe because the salsa is cooked into the filling. It’s very simple, very easy, and very good, indeed.

I’m lifting (though not the exact recipe) this recipe from the Essential Cuisines of México, by Dianna Kennedy because my goes something like…chop up some mushrooms throw’em in a pan with some chilies and tomato… Oh, don’t forget the oil!

 
Tacos de Hongos

The original recipe calls for huitlacoche but any wild or cultivated mushroom could be used.

 

3 Tbles Vegetable oil
¼ cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
2 cups tomatoes finely chopped
3 serrano’s cut into strips with seeds and veins
1 Ib. mushrooms roughly chopped
2 sprigs epazote or parsley (I use cilantro is I don’t have epazote) roughly chopped
Tortillas
Sour cream or,  I add 4 Tbles of heavy cream

 

Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic gently, do not let them brown.

Add tomatoes, chilies, mushrooms and salt. Cook over medium heat uncovered, stirring from time to time,  until the mushrooms are soft and the juices reduced—about 15 minutes.

If you’re using the heavy cream add and cook on high heat for two minutes to reduce the fluids, then toss in the epazote and cook at medium heat for 1 min.  If not using the heavy cream, garnish your tacos with sour cream if you wish.

Fill tortillas of your choice, I recommend corn. You can see I put some Queso de Cincho on mine; it’s a salty cheese that doesn’t melt, its similar to Romano. I don’t recommend a melting cheese because the tacos are really rich and can be unctuous with too much creaminess.

Probecho!

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Rabbits

Many years ago I bought Joseph Keller’s The French Laundry cookbook, a massive, five pound coffee table book with gorgeous photos of fabulous food I would never make. Mr. Keller’s methods are seldom very simple or easy, and I have to imagine that ‘very good’ doesn’t do his cuisine justice. But I learned a lot from reading the book, in particular the chapter, The Importance of Rabbits.

In this chapter Mr. Keller talks about his belief that it was important for him, as a chef, to have the ability to kill an animal if he was going to serve them. He tells of his struggle to learn swift and humane methods, of his failure and final success.

I clutched at the first rabbit. I had a hard time killing it, it screamed. Rabbits scream and this one screamed loudly. Then it broke its leg trying to get away. It was terrible.

The next ten rabbits didn’t scream, and I was quick with the kill, but the first screaming rabbit not only gave me a lesson in butchering, it also taught me about waste. Because killing those rabbits had been such an awful experience, I would not squander them. I would use all my powers as a chef to ensure those rabbits were beautiful. It is very easy to go a grocery store and buy meat, then accidentally overlook it and throw it away. A cook sauteing a rabbit loin, working on the line on a Saturday night, a million pans going, plates going out the door, who took that loin a little too far, doesn’t hesitate, just dumps it in the garbage and fires another. Would that cook, I wonder, let his attention stray from that loin had he killed the rabbit himself? No. Should a cook squander anything, ever?

It was a simple lesson.

Likely at home, we don’t throw out a piece of meat because we slighty overcooked it, but blithely discarding the skin of a chicken is common practice. After I read Mr. Keller’s book I  started keeping all my scraps to make a broth for myself or my pets, but it was many years before I had an opportunituy to honor my conviction, that if I was going to eat meat I should experience what it meant to kill an animal. Continue reading