Tag: Tacos

Baja Style (Beer Battered) Cauliflower Tacos

Baja Style (Beer Battered) Cauliflower Tacos

baja-style-Cauliflower-tacos I am seriously freaked out about all the radiation spilling into the Pacific ocean from fukushima these days. I obsess over what scientist have to say about the levels of radiation hitting an all time high. I follow all the stories about the whales and sea lions coming to shore injured and bleeding, and wonder why we are not taking this matter way more seriously? You rarely hear about it on the news and Super Markets have not pulled their seafood off the shelves, but come on people…. we know better than that. Sea life out of the Pacific is not the way to go right now, and may not be ever again in my lifetime. It’s a crying shame, a real crying shame. Me and one of my girlfriends talk about it all the time. We practically sob at the idea that we can no longer dive into a citrus spiked bowl of ceviche, or enjoy a plate of camarones mojo de ajo, without knowing exactly where our seafood came from, and even then… how can you be certain?

Instead of drowning in my sorrows thinking of all the things I can no longer eat, I am thinking of all the wonderful things I can eat instead…. like these baja-style (beer battered) cauliflower tacos. I hate to say this…. but…. it kinda taste like a fish taco without the radiation. These tacos make me so happy, and I hope they will do the same for you. Sorry about the BUM-OUT talk, but I had to share a real moment and let you know where I am coming from.

Ingredients-cauliflower-tacos

Ingredients for baja-style cauliflower tacos:

  • 1 – head of cauliflower
  • 1 3/4 – cups flour
  • 2 – teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 – teaspoons Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • 1 – teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 – teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 – teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
  • 1 – bottle Mexican beer ( I used Modelo)
  • Vegetable oil (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • Corn tortillas

Ingredients for garnish:

  • avocado or guacamole
  • lime
  • cabbage (thinly sliced)
  • pickled onions
  • radish
  • cotija cheese
  • salsa
  • Mexican crema

Ingredients for salsa chile de arbol:

  • 5 – tomatoes
  • 8 – chile de arbol
  • 4 – cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 – onion
  • salt

Directions:

  1. Wash and cut cauliflower into bite size pieces by removing the leaves and stem. Then break off pieces.
  2. In a large pot filled halfway with water over a high flame, bring water to a boil. Drop cauliflower pieces in hot boiling water and let par-boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from water and drain completely. cauliflower-pieces-boiling
  3. In a large bowl add in flour and baking powder. Then the lawry’s, garlic powder, chipotle powder and cumin. Mix to combine. Pour in beer. Whisk until batter is no longer clumpy. Set the batter to the side to rest for 10 minutes, then it’s ready. flour-baking-powder Lawry's beer-in-the-flour Whisk-batter
  4. Pour drained cauliflower pieces into beer batter. Mix to combine well. cauliflower-batter cauliflower-in-beer-batter
  5. In a pot add vegetable oil over a medium flame. Allow to get hot. Using thongs add in one piece of battered cauliflower at a time. cauliflower-oil
  6. Deep fry for several minutes or until golden brown. Oil will bubble, and once it starts to calm down a little the piece is golden and crispy. bubbling-deep-fried-cauliflower crisp-golden-cauliflower
  7. Place all crispy cauliflower pieces on a paper lined plate to drain. fried-cauliflower-pieces
  8. Make the salsa: In a small pan filled with water halfway over a medium flame bring to a boil. Add in tomatoes and chile de arbol. Boil for 35 to 40 minutes. tomatoes-chile-de-arbol
  9. In a small frying pan with a touch of vegetable oil over a medium flame, add in onion and garlic cloves. Fry until browned on the outside.
  10. In a blender add in tomatoes, chile de arbol (stems removed), onion, garlic, salt, and 2 cups from the water the chiles boiled in. Blend until smooth about 5 minutes. chiles-onion-garlic-in-blender
  11. Heat the corn tortillas, fill with crispy cauliflower pieces, and garnish as you desire.
  12. Enjoy! beer-battered-cauliflower-tacos

 

A simple Chile de Arbol Salsa

A simple Chile de Arbol Salsa

I started making this simple salsa many moons ago, as a fast tasty sauce for my tacos. Just a handful of ingredients and a few minutes and you have the ultimate salsa. I love the simplicity of the chile de arbol and tomato combination that this salsita brings to my burritos, eggs, steak, or popcorn…. It makes any meal perfectly spiced. Click here to watch a quick how to make this yummers salsa video.

Ingredients for Chile de Arbol Salsa:

  • 4 – cups of water
  • 1 – tablespoon salt
  • 3 – tomatoes
  • 16 – chiles de arbol (stems removed)
  • 5 – garlic cloves
  • a pinch of oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a pot over a medium high flame add water and salt and bring to a boil.
  2. Once water is boiling add tomatoes and chile de arbol, and boil for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove pot from flame and add tomatoes and chile de arbol to a blender. Use one cup of water that you boiled the chiles in and add to the blender as well.
  4. Add garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to blender, and blend on high till smooth.
  5. Pour into a bowl and enjoy on tacos or anything that tickles your fancy.
Avocado Tacos and a Red Salsa

Avocado Tacos and a Red Salsa

  

Is there a dish that your Grandma use to make you when you were little?  Something special that your Momma has learned from her Mom and will now pass it down to you?  For me it’s Avocado Tacos.  The simplicity of these tacos is the beauty of it.  You can taste the creamy-ness of the avocado, the tang of the cheese and the tasty salsa all wrapped in a crispy corn tortilla shell…. and that’s all you need.

Avocados from Mexico is sending me to Blogher in New York City in less then a week to find out what other bloggers think when they hear the words Avocados and Abuelita (Grandma) together?  What a fun trip.  I can’t wait to hear what people have to say.  In the meantime I will savor what comes to mind when I hear the words Avocados and Abuelita together ….. Avocado Tacos with a Red Salsa!

Stay on top of all the action on twitter by following the hashtags  #ILoveAvocados     #AmoLosAguacates

 All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for Avocado Tacos:

10 – corn tortillas

2 – ripe Avocados from Mexico (sliced 1 inch thick)

1 – round of jalapeno queso quesadilla (sliced 1/2 inch thick)

toothpicks

1 – cup vegetable oil

Ingredients for simple red salsa:

water

4 – tomatoes

14 – chile de arbol

3 – garlic cloves

1 – tablespoon salt

Let’s start with the simple red salsa.  Fill a medium pot halfway with water and place over a medium high flame. Bring to a boil and add tomatoes and chile de arbol. Boil for 30 minutes. Remove from flame. With a slotted spoon, remove tomatoes and chile de arbol (remove stem from chiles) and place in a blender. Add 1 cup of the water the chiles boiled in to blender as well. Then add garlic and salt. Cover and blend till smooth. Pour into a bowl and set to the side until tacos are ready. This portion can be made the day before if desired.

Taco time! Over an open flame heat corn tortillas till warm and pliable. Remove from flame and stuff with a piece of Avocado and cheese. Fold in half and close with a toothpick. Repeat until done with all tortillas.

Pour vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium high flame and allow to get hot.  Then add tacos and fry on each side for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp.

Then remove tacos from oil and let drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Remove toothpicks. Dress your tacos with red salsa, and eat one of the most incredible tacos of all time.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Avocados from Mexico and Latina Bloggers Connect. The recipe and opinions are completely my own!  Yes, and without a doubt #ILoveAvocados #AmoLosAguacates

My food interview with epic photographer Penny De Los Santos!

My food interview with epic photographer Penny De Los Santos!

If you love food and the journey that comes along with it, then it’s hard not to fall in love with Penny De Los Santos’ photos.  She tells a story through provisions.  Her portraits transport you around the world and leaves you standing in the middle of a plate.  Miss De Los Santos has a way of capturing food images that will have you salivating and practically make you believe you are tasting the dish.  Her joie de virve is apparent with the way she sees life through the lens. Grabbing precious moments with a click and encapsulating them for all time. In my opinion Penny is the creme de la creme of food photographers and will only continue to dazzle us with her images.  She works with National Geographic as a contributing photographer and is now the senior contributing  photographer for Saveur Magazine. She lent her talent to Creative Live with a 3 day photo seminar, for all to learn from. It doesn’t get any better than that.  Penny touches my heart with her work and spirit.

I had the pleasure of asking Penny a few food questions in mid- September.  Here’s what we talked about.

Photograph taken by: Ericka Sanchez

Me:  Since your “dream big and leap” move to New York City…. What foods or restaurants are giving you comfort in your new home town?

Penny:  I’ve been here just over a week.  So…. hmmm.  There is this place that I love, it’s called Buvette, it’s in the west village.  It’s a really wonderful French bistro.  It’s fantastic. I love it.  Then there’s a place called Commerce, I really love that place too. Then there’s a third place called Pearl Oyster Bar, oh and Prune.  I love Prune

Me: How would you describe your food photography style?

Penny:  My style, it’s an organic approach to food.  I try and illustrate food as real as it is, and as authentic as it is. 

Me: What makes you happiest about working with food?

Penny:  What makes me happiest working with food is the people that work with the food.  So, it could be the executive chef or the home cook or the family that gathers around the table.  The people that are connected to it.  That’s the connection… the people that connect us to the subject and what brings people together.  That’s what I most like about food. 

Me:  Do you ever eat what you shoot?

Penny:  God, I can’t tell you how many times people ask me that.  That’s a loaded question.  No and then sometimes yeah.  If I’m in Italy and I’m photographing someone’s homemade pesto that they learned from the recipe that their great great grandmother passed down from generation to generation, and I’m photographing it, then the next second they’re like “You got to try it.”  Then of course, you don’t say no.  So yes and no.  If I’m at a restaurant and it’s a high end shoot.  Then NO.  Not at all.  I’m there to work you know.  I guess it depends because then there are moments where the chef is like “Oh my God, I really want you to try this.” Then of course. You want to be a good guest in anyone’s kitchen.  Whether it’s a professional or in someone’s home. 

Me:  You’ve inspired so many people with your story-telling photography. What or who is inspiring you?

Penny:  I am a pretty big advocate for and a big fan of the master of photography. I always refer back to a lot of photographers… traditional street photographers. Traditional documentary photographers from the turn of the century who I feel really gave definition to a moment and really defined how pictures developed in this country specifically.  A lot of my inspiration comes from photographers that have been long gone. Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and some that are still living like William Eggleston.  I absolutely adore William Eggleston.  Wow, his pictures blow me away. These are the people who spend the majority of and have spent the majority of their life photographing humanity and life in the streets and everyday normal.  Not necessarily crossing an ocean to make pictures but walking down the street and photographing everyday life and seeing the uniqueness in that.  In the normal, which I think takes patience and instinct and a lot of looking. That’s what I LOVE,  that’s where I get a lot of inspiration. 

Me:  Do you like to cook?

Penny:  I love to cook , but I just moved to New York and I’ve been here not even 10 days and I think I’ve made a salad and coffee.  I haven’t cooked yet because I’m in the neighborhood where perhaps per capita, some of the best restaurants in the world are here.  I love to cook.  I grew up in a home filled with great food.  I look forward to when I’m settled down enough to cook in my new home. 

Me:  Being around food all the time, and in the presence of accomplished chefs and food stylists…. What’s the one cooking tip you have picked up along the way?

Penny:  Always buy the best olive oil you can find and spend your money on your finishing ingredients.  Really good salts, olive oil and buy all your ingredients fresh. 

Me:  Austin Texas is quite the food and music town.  Where do you recommend a person new to the area go eat?  Out of curiosity what’s your favorite venue to see a band play?

Penny:  OH MY GOD!  OKAY.  My favorite place to watch music?  Without a doubt is Stubbs and Emo’s.  Where to go eat?  I mean come on,  it’s Texas and it’s AWESOME.  So you got to do the food they do great and that’s Mexican and Barbecue.  The scale on both those types of food are huge.  You can go low brow on both or high end on both.  The opportunity to eat great Barbecue in Austin are endless.  For my money I’m going to Franklin’s Barbecue first and if I want really good tacos I’m going to La Condesa.

Me:  I love all your street food photos, especially the ones taken at night. Do you have a particular one you are especially proud of?

Penny:  No.  Every photograph is an observation.  It’s a moment.  It’s something I felt.  It’s something I saw and wanted to convey.  There’s no way there’s a favorite for me.  It’s an ongoing conversation. 

Me:  What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Penny:  Barbecue and chicken fried steak.

Me:  Who’s house would you like to be invited over for dinner?  It could be anybody.

Penny:  Wow.  This is such a great question.  I wouldn’t want it to be stuffy.  I would want it to be someplace where I could make great pictures.  I’m always looking for photographs so…. it would have to be a photographers house or an artist’s house. (She takes a minute to think) The first person that comes to my mind is Julia Childs, but that’s so cliche.  Who wouldn’t want to have a meal with her? Who wouldn’t want to go to her house for dinner?  Without a doubt Julia Childs.  If I could bring her back, I would make her portrait.  I’d sit on the other end of her lime green counter top kitchen and would quietly make my photos while she cooked. 

Me:  What dish from your childhood do you crave the most?

Penny:  My Mom’s crispy tacos. (Editor’s note: Penny’s Mom is no longer with us, she passed away a while back).  I love crispy tacos, when I could find them.  But they have to be really good.  You don’t want to blow it on something mediocre.  If I could find good ones I’m there.  It’s something I’m constantly looking for.  The best ones are in people’s homes.  Restaurants use a massive deep fryer on the tortilla and it’s just not that hand fried tortilla.

Me:  Do you have a special project your working on now?

Penny:  I’m working on a book right now on Mexican street food.  I just traveled to 5 states in Mexico with two very well known Mexican chefs.  We traveled for two weeks.  We mostly photographed seafood.  Amazing.