Tag Archives: Tacos

Bang Bang Popcorn Shrimp Tacos

Bang-Bang Sauce:  It is traditionally a spicy, creamy sauce that accompanies street vender chicken in the Szechwan region of China.  Here in the states though, myself and a few notable restaurants serve it with chicken OR shrimp and consume it in taco form.  Tacos make everything delicious right?  They sure make my world go ’round!  (Tip: on a low-carb mission??  Make lettuce wraps with these bad boys!)

Also, let me make this clear…frozen products can be your friend and make your life so, so much easier!  (Did you know that unless you’re buying your seafood from a real deal fish monger, it’s packaged frozen before being sent to your favorite grocer?  Is it fresh?  Of course..I hope..but it’s still like the frozen section, just now thawed.).

That PSA being said (public service announcement for those not in the know), just go with me on this recipe and it’s ingredients.  I for one may skip our traditional Mexican fare this next “Taco Tuesday” and once again tantalize my loved ones taste buds with this sweet-heat, crunchy version!
The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package frozen popcorn shrimp (I.e. Gorton’s)
  • Corn tortillas, warmed
  • Green onions, sliced

Slaw

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded red & green cabbage
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar 
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus zest
  • Pinch of salt

Bang Bang Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • Pinch of salt



Preheat the oven to package directions and line a baking sheet with foil.

In a medium size bowl, combine all of the slaw ingredients and toss to combine.  *Give a taste..does it need more salt?  Need more vinegar for tang?  You know your family’s taste buds.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside (place in the refrigerator if you’re making it in advance).


In a small bowl, whisk together all of the “Bang Bang Sauce” ingredients.  As I stated above, if you like more heat (like myself) add a bit more sriracha.  More sweet?  A tsp more honey.  Cover and set aside.


By now the oven should be hot and ready! Place the baking sheet of popcorn shrimp into the oven and bake according to package directions. While the shrimp is baking, heat the corn tortillas on a NON-oiled pan and keep warm.

Assembly time!!  On your warmed and slightly charred tortilla, place about 4-5 pieces of shrimp down the center and top with the slaw, a hefty drizzle of the Bang Bang Sauce and the chopped green onions.  *We like to serve ours alongside cilantro & lime coconut rice, a perfect compliment!

Ancho and Coffee Crusted Steak Tacos w/ Spicy Corn Salsa

I’m not sure if it’s because I lived in Arizona, California and Texas, but I’m pretty sure that tacos are a way of life for ‘us people’.  They range in flavors and toppings galore as you have Sonoran, Baja, Texmex, standard beef and cheese, shredded chicken..I could go on and on and on.  So I will!

I tried to break out of that standard taco fare box and make it a little more refined, perhaps bigger and brighter flavors, and boy did that work out for me!  Hey, I had OVER a pound and a half of steak, plus toppings and my family of two (apparently starving) adults and two lil ones and we ate it ALL.  I won’t even bother you with the details of me just standing haphazardly at the butcher block shoving steak slices in..damn good!

*I also mentioned below, please cook to your desired preference..However, we may or may no longer speak if you choose well-done, but…

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs flat iron steak
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp ground coffee
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp canola and 1 Tbsp butter, for the pan) 

Spicy Corn Salsa

  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (I left seeds in, but remove to cut the heat if desired)
  • Juice of 1 ripe lime
  • pinch kosher salt

Garnish

  • Corn tortillas, grilled and warmed
  • Lime wedges
  • Salty cheese (cotija, feta, parmesan)
  • Jalapeños, thinly sliced. 

Lets marinate this steak!  2-3 hours prior to grilling up, you’ll want to begin this.  You could do a longer marinade time, however, marinades can break down the meat too much and it just won’t be quite as good, texture wise.

In a small dish, whisk together all of the spices listed above for the steak.  While using your fingers, coat the steak evenly with the spice blend, cover and place in your refridgerator until ready to grill.  

Next we can prepare that super easy spicy corn salsa!  As always instructed ;), start by rinsing and chopping and dicing the veggies needed.  

In a microwave safe medium-size bowl, pour in the 2 cups of frozen corn.  Pop into your microwave for just about 30 seconds tops.  You do NOT want hot, mushy corn.  On to the other easy part, to that corn add in the prepared red onion, halved tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and diced jalapeños.  Give a good squeeze of fresh lime juice and a hefty pinch of salt.  Toss to coat, cover and like the steak, refridgerate till needed.  

Ok friends..now here come your options and the “blah-blah-blah” of how to cook a steak.  Please follow along.

You can absolutely grill this (quite delish), you can sear in an oven proof pan and pop in the oven to finish or even vice versa, you can place it under the broiler..do what makes your heart sing.  However, if you want it how I made it, then here it goes:

Remove the marinated, dry-rubbed steak from the refridgerator 20 minutes prior to cooking.  I brought my cast iron skillet up to medium/medium-high heat and then added in the 1 Tbsp canola oil and 1 Tbsp butter (never margarine people).

Once the skillet was just slightly smoking, knowing it was hot and ready, I layed the steak into the hot oil and butter.  WALK AWAY.

Let that steak sear and do its thing.  It will of course have a dark outer-edge due to the sugar, coffee and spices creating that great “crust”.  You so, so want that.

I prefer my steak a perfect medium-rare, so for my weight of meat I let each side sear for about 8 minutes on each side…then place on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.  PLEASE let rest!!  During that time you can get out your choice of salty cheese, the spicy corn salsa AND start to quickly warm and slightly char the corn tortillas!  

*If you have a smaller cut of steak, cook anywhere from 3-5 minutes per side (for medium-rare,  internal temperature of 135 degrees).  Of course you can eat the steak to your liking, so cook it longer if you so desire.

*If you follow the medium-rare advice, but someone in your family is “weird” about that ;), simply take a few of the slices and return back to the pan for just a few seconds.  It WILL cook fast!

Once the steak has had its rest period (keep those juices IN!), slice thinly against the grain..this is sooooo tender and just melts with that fantastic crust.  Drooling….again.  (You can also dice up the slices for small mouths..aka my kiddos).

The time has arrived..assembly time!  Simply take a warm and charred corn tortilla and lay a couple of slices of that beautiful steak on top.  Garnish with a spoonful of the Spicy Corn Salsa, a bit of salty cheese and a few lime wedges..enjoy!!  

Chorizo & Sweet Potato Breakfast Tacos (w/ Lime Crema)

I grew up in a city where Breakfast Burritos was the quintessential  breakfast..Now here in Texas, it’s quite similar, but it’s Breakfast TACOS instead that reign supreme.  …I’m also totally ok with that!!

So below is a fantastic version of my own that has spice, sweetness, savoriness, tanginess..need I go on??  Also, if there are leftovers, than simply throw them in an airtight Tupperware and reheat for the next days breakfast..or dinner 😉

*Gluten Free as well.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-2 links Mexican chorizo sausage, about 8oz
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, divided
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • Kosher salt & black pepper
  • 6 large eggs, plus a splash of milk
  • Corn tortillas
  • 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil

Garnish

  • 1/2 cup of sour cream w/ the juice of 1 lime
  • Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled
  • Cilantro
  • Salsa (red or green)
  • Jalapeño slices
  • Lime wedges 

Let’s begin!!  In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, lime juice and a 1/4 tsp of cumin;  cover and refrigerate.

Next up, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the chorizo until browned (7-8 minutes) and transfer to a paper towel lined dish with a slotted spoon.  Keep that slightly spicy chorizo grease in the pan please!!

 Now you will add the cubed sweet potatoes along with the chili powder, remaining cumin, cayenne powder and a pinch of salt & pepper to the same hot skillet and cook until the edges are crisp and the center is soft.

  

  While the sweet potatoes are doing their thing, whisk the eggs and milk together before pouring them into a buttered non-stick skillet.  Cook, stirring and folding occasionally, over medium heat.  Once the eggs are ALMOST done and set, fold in the cooked chorizo and set aside.

  

    *If you can really multitask, I like to warm my tortillas a bit first before adding all of the goodies 😉

 Finally!!!  On your (warmed) tortillas, fill with the slightly charred sweet potatoes followed by the chorizo & egg mix.  Top each taco with your lime crema, salsa, cilantro, cheese & Jalapeños!!  Enjoy!!!….if it’s Sunday brunch then serve with a cerveza! 😉

Baja Fish Tacos (w/ Cilantro Slaw & Avocado Cream Sauce)

There’s not a thing I miss more from my days in San Diego than some baja-style fish tacos!!  Now don’t get me wrong, I love just about every taco I can get my hands on, but that fresh fish flavor and crisp acidic slaw may just have my heart…

My recipe below is sure to put you in the mood for the sound of the ocean…or maybe just a bit of Sublime on the stereo and a shot of tequila in the meantime ! 😉

**Gluten Free

The Starting Lineup

Fish Tacos

  • Corn tortillas (homemade or store bought, warmed)
  • 1.5 lbs Mahi-Mahi fillets
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder and paprika 
  • Canola oil (to fill 1/4 up a pan/not fully cover the fish)

Cilantro Slaw

  • 1 bag shredded cabbage (sometimes I don’t use this entire bag for this, fyi)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • Juice of 1 ripe lime
  • 1/4 cup mayonaisse (to taste)
  • 2 tsp Apple cider vinegar (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Avocado Cream Sauce

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and skinned
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and rough chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Pinch of salt
  • **if too thick, slowly add in 1/4-1/2 cup of water and blend

Let us begin this fiesta!!  Here I like to start with the Cilantro Slaw, followed by the sauce, so that the flavors meld together well..

Slaw

 This is super simple friends!  Start by rinsing the veggies and then get to a slicin’ and a dicin’!  

In a large bowl, combine all of the ‘Cilantro Slaw‘ ingredients and toss together.  Make sure to give it a taste test for seasoning, etc and then cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside in the refridgerator and we’re on to our sauce! 

   Sauce

 Begin by taking out your blender and prepping the cilantro and jalapeño.  

Now just like the above slaw, add all of the ‘Avocado Cream Sauce‘ ingredients to your blender and pulse till smooth.  If it’s too thick for your liking/hard to blend (always is for me..) then slowly add in a little bit of water at a time till the creamy, smooth consisitancy is achieved! 

   Pour into an airtight container and set aside in the refridgerator till dinner time.  **If you have a squeeze bottle (kind of like those old school ketchup and mustard bottles), those work great!

Fish Tacos

 Bring a saute pan with the canola oil up to temp (350 degrees-about medium heat).

In a shallow dish sprinkle the over the Mahi-Mahi.

In another shallow dish, add in the rice flour (along with the cumin, cayenne, salt, garlic & onion powder and paprika).  Whisk together.

 Finally, dredge each fish piece in the rice flour, shaking off any excess and transfer to a plate.  Once all your seasoned fish has been dredged, gently lay 2-3 pieces at a time into the hot oil.  **Do not overcrowd the pan..it would then ‘steam’, oil temp would drop and you can kiss your crunchy fish buh-bye! 

 Allow each side to cook appx 2 minutes, until a golden brown and transfer to a paper towel lined plate while you finish the rest. 

 **Meanwhile, I am making corn tortillas and keeping them warm.  For store-bought, still place each tortilla onto a HOT NON-oiled pan for about 20 seconds or so each side to slightly char and keep warm. 

  Assembly time!!!  Place a crunchy piece of mahi-mahi onto each warmed, corn tortilla.  Next top with a good helping of the Cilantro Slaw and a healthy drizzle of the Avocado Cream Sauce…and in true “me” fashion, I always add a few thinly sliced jalapeños for added kick!  Mmmmm…enjoy!!  **margarita optional 😉 

 

Cola Carnitas

I often say that simple ingredients can make the most delicious meals.  This recipe is yet another that helps make that thought true.  Given there are no complicated add-ins or cooking techniques, you REALLY taste the sweetness of that Coca-Cola, the brightness from the fresh oranges and the savoriness of the seared and braised pork.  I’d eat this delish delight off of a shoe…but a warm tortilla is better. 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 2-3 lbs pork butt/shoulder
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 12oz Coca Cola (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp cumin, to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp evoo
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil  

We’ll start this Mexican food favorite by mincing the garlic, quartering the oranges and heating the canola oil to a medium high heat in a large dutch oven.  Also sprinkle the entire pork with a liberal amount of cumin, salt and pepper and the extra virgin olive oil.  

    Working in small batches (you do not want to overcrowd the pan..no, no, no…), sear each side of your pork in the hot dutch oven.  Once seared nicely, set aside as you finish the rest of the pork.  This will take roughly 20 minutes for the entire pork butt/shoulder to brown.  

  

  

Next, add all of the seared pork back into the pot along with the Coca-Cola and water.  You will now also squeeze in those fresh oranges!  After each quarter has been squeezed dry, toss the whole thing into the pot. 

  
 Bring to a boil, while scraping up the yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.  

Lower the temperature to a simmer and add in the Bay leaves, garlic and a pinch or two more cumin, salt & pepper.  Simply cover and keep on that low temperature for 2-3 hours…just walk right away and relax! 

 ….I do believe that time is now up!!  Carefully uncover that pot (steam hurts!) and remove that tender, fall-apart pork to another dish.  Pull apart with two forks or let cool slightly and use your own two hands!  *I like to sneak a bit straight into my mouth too, sshhhh…. After its fully shredded or chopped up, ladle in a bit of the juice from the dutch oven to keep warm and not dry out. 

 Serve this as you wish!  However, around here we top warmed tortillas with this sweet and citrusy pork, along with a bit of cilantro, chopped white onion and thinly sliced radishes.  Enjoy!! 

 

%d bloggers like this: