Saturday, August 11, 2012
Soft Tacos with Salsa and Guacamole
What to do with one New Zealand strip loin and 3 people for dinner. The steaks come in packages of three and I don't want another one left over. The meat counter didn't have 2 other strip loins of identical quality and a special price. I can't give two people one kind of steak and the third another kind. I looked down at the ground beef. I could grind up the steak and mix it with other meat! I bought the smallest package of ground pork for $1.61 and the smallest pack of ground bison for about $7. That put my protein cost at $4 per person, well within my budget. I also picked up some sour cream, a ripe avocado, lemons, limes, a jalapeno pepper and soft tacos (these are Ancient Grain tacos, quite nice).
When I got home I went straight to work. Make the salsa first, it doesn't mind sitting.
1 slice sweet onion
1 tablespoon chives (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 tsp cumin (or more)
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
1 lime juiced
Finely dice tomatoes, jalapeno (seeds and membranes are hottest, leave out for less heat), onion, chives and parsley. Add the lime juice salt, pepper and cumin. Taste, need salt, pepper or lime juice? Add more taste again. It occurred to me while writing this that I could have taken some zest from the limes and added them to boost the lime flavor, an idea for next time.
1 lb ground meat (or a bit more)
1 tsp salt (less if taco seasoning has salt)
4 tbsp taco seasoning (or more)
Time to start the meat, I have a meat grinding attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer so I got it out and ground up the steak. That's the second or third time I've used the meat grinder, which came as an extra with something else. I thought I'd never use it. Anyway, to the steak I added the ground pork and bison and mixed them up. I spread the taco seasoning over the meat and worked it in thoroughly.
The 10 inch saute pan should be large enough, get it hot, add some oil and add the meat. I broke up the balls and kept the heat medium high till there was no raw meat. Then I turned it down fairly low and covered it so the juices would mix with the taco seasoning and hopefully carry the flavor back into the meat.
1 ripe avocado (if it's firm it's not ready)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 lime juiced
I used a potato masher on the avocado but I suppose a ricer would work well or even a fork if it's the only thing available. Get all the lumps out of the avocado then add the other ingredients, mix and taste. Enough salt, sour cream and lime? Adjust if necessary.
I still had 10 minutes till dinner time so I went to the garden and got some lettuce leaves. I washed, dried and julienned the leaves. Lay leaves atop one another, roll up from side, cut 1/8 inch slices off end. Perfect ribbons of lettuce uncurl. I added thin slices of cucumber, xv olive oil, regular oil, red balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and mixed it up with my hand.
Finally, grate some extra old cheddar and put some soft tacos in the oven to warm up. Take the lid off the meat and if it's too wet turn up the heat for a minute to dry it out. Plate a taco, add meat to center, spread some grated cheese over the meat and roll up the shell. Spread salsa over the taco. Guacamole over the salsa and grated cheese over the guacamole. A dollop of sour cream and a handful of salad beside the tacos round out the plate. It tastes as good as it looks.