Tacos. My latest food obsession.
A few years ago I volunteered at a cooking class hosted by a local chef who had spent a fair amount of his time in Mexico. He had learned about various cooking techniques, flavor combining, the exact proper way to turn corn to flour to tortillas. It was by far one of the most food-fun evenings of my life. His passion was so evident, not only for the food and the culinary experience he was providing to the class but to Mexico itself.
It was an inspirational few hours that I have carried with me all this time, despite never actually using the techniques I was fortunate enough to pick up that evening. Until this week.
I’ve had tacos here and there, enchiladas maybe a few times. Nachos used to be a pretty regular occurrence in my house growing up, as they’re so easy to throw together and after a long day at work making dinner for a screaming kid (that’s me) couldn’t have been what a single parent wanted to do. Needless to say, having never been out for real Mexican food or to a Mexican city in my adult life – having a chef so passionate about corn flour was pretty rad.
These tacos are very similar to + are fully inspired by the ones that are offered on that special passionate chefs newly opened restaurant. Just like his, these ones are filled with soft earthy mushrooms, a sprinkling of white onion and cilantro. One of the final additions to many of the staple tacos on his menu, is crema. Crema is basically the Mexican version of creme fraiche; it’s heavy cream soured with lime juice and zest. Appropriate, right?
Any kind of creamy dreamy dip will do, if you’re not into dairy – go for a cashew or a coconut yogurt with a touch of lime zest stirred in. Or, omit the lime all together! Tacos are about building, after all. So build however you please!
Guacamole, of course, had to make an appearance on our recent taco night. Naturally. Seeing as it’s a common snack in my house, smeared on anything from toast, rice cakes to cucumber slices. Who am I kidding? I eat it straight from the jar. This guac is really easy, aside from mashing the avocado all that’s really necessary is a pinch of salt and as much of the spicy salsa verde accompanying the tacos as desired.
What I’m getting at here, is the whole meal isn’t that much more labor intensive than making nachos. Slicing and dicing, cooking the mushrooms and assembly.
Bing bang boom.
Oh also, that salsa verde. Don’t let it’s gorgeous green fool you – that babe is hot hot hot. It’s a base of tomatillo, onion and garlic with the addition of a whole blackened jalapeno. If you aren’t into spice, half the jalapeno, or even quarter it if you’d like. Add it in bits, tasting as you go along to really tailor it to the level of heat you enjoy.
- Check out what kinds of fun local foodie events are going on in your area. Maybe there’s a foodtruck festival, a set of cooking classes or a specialty shop (think cheese, wine, ethnic) showing off it’s goods event style
- Take a stroll through an ethnic market, get inspired by different cultures, cookwares and aromas
- Don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit, hold the spaghetti tonight – try some warm vegan mushroom tacos!
- 4 Cups Chopped Shiitake Mushrooms*
- 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 1 Bunch Cilantro
- 5 Large or 9 Small Tomatillo
- 2 Limes
- 2 Ripe Avocado
- 1 White Onion
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 2 Jalapeno
- Coconut Yogurt
- Package of Soft Tortillas
- Turn the broiler on high
- To make things go smooth and easy, get all of the chopping and peeling out of the way first starting with the mushrooms. Wash and dice them to desired size
- Wash the cilantro, separating about 1 cup and dumping it into a blender - chop up another half cup for garnish
- Peel the tomatillo, wash the stickiness off each fruit and pop them into the blender
- Peel the garlic and the onion. Halve the onion, adding half to the blender and dicing the other half for garnish
- Place one jalapeno on a cookie sheet and broil, turning every few minutes to ensure it doesn't actually burn - just blackening the skin. Once the jalapeno is soft and the skin has browned/blackened halve it, then toss it into the blender.
- Blitz the blender until a chunky salsa forms, transfer to a serving bowl reserving about ½ a cup for the guac
- In a large pan or sauce pot, cook the mushrooms and the coconut oil over medium heat until soft
- Halve both avocados, scooping out their flesh into a large molcajete or sturdy bowl. Mash until smooth but still slightly chunky. Add in the reserved salsa verde, season with salt and a squeeze of half a lime. Season to taste. Top with sliced raw jalapeno and chopped cilantro if desired
- Gently heat the tortillas in the oven turned on to 300 in a tortilla warmer, or wrapped in foil
- To assemble, arrange the tortillas on a plate, scooping first the mushroom filling, a dollop of coconut yogurt, some of the diced white onion and finishing with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro
- Add salsa verde and guacamole as desired.