Fall Tacos!

Fall Tacos for National Taco Day

Fall Tacos!

I love October. Not only does it mark my favourite season - fall - but it’s home of one of the best ‘food’ holidays: National Taco Day!

Today, October 4th is National Taco Day, and here in this post I have tried to incorporate a bit of fall flavours (sweet potato, beet and corn) within the tasty taco shells. Tacos can have so many components, so sometimes making them is a bit of an undertaking, but luckily, this time, I had a bit of help!

The tasty filling is Conchita Pibil, which I got it from my favourite local Latin grocer, Nostalgia Latin Market on Kerr Street in Oakville. This pork,, slow roasted in Achiote came with some tangy pickled red onion, the perfect filling for these tacos. Nostalgia Latin Market stocks excellent Latin sauces, chilies and specialty food items. I also got my oh-so essential queso fresco from there as well as some excellent tortillas.

Jamie Oliver’s Hummingbird Cake

For a little kick, my friends Bajan mom generously gave me some of her homemade hot sauce, made from Scotch Bonnet Peppers grown in her own backyard. It’s, hot, tangy and a tad sweet. A secret recipe that has me guessing the sweet ingredient...I’m thinking pineapple juice, although I could be way off. In my house, we’ve dubbed it 'Mama Wendy’s Sauce', and I want to eat it on everything.

For my own contribution for this taco-feast, I made sweet potatoes roasted in dried chilies, a spicy pico de gallo, a buttery cilantro corn, pickled Chioggia beets and a drunken avocado crema.

The best thing about tacos is you can make them as easy or as complicated as you like, it’s all about finding that perfect combination that works for you, in that moment.

Happy National Taco Day – I hope you enjoy my ‘fall-ish’ tacos!

A couple of things I must stress:

1-    ALWAYS use fresh lime juice. I don’t care if they’re $6 each. It is a must. That bottled stuff is nonsense.

2-    Queso fresco is crazy good. Its mild – quasi-feta-like flavour really gives some contrast and balance to the myriad of other flavours going on.

3-    Try your best to source authentic tortillas. Sorry Old El Paso, you just don’t make the cut.

4-    Try experimenting with a variety of hot sauces and chilies. There is such a great variety out there, and they aren’t all necessarily ‘hot.’ You will find some lend smokiness or depth of flavour that you won't be able to get enough of. In addition to 'Mama Wendy’s Sauce' I picked up two more at Nostalgia: El Yucateco Exxxtra Hot Sauce (hot, hot, hot) and No 7 Garlic Hot Sauce, which is on the milder side. Yum, yum.

Chili roasted sweet potatoes

(Note – if you can’t find all of the chilies, try just using guajillo or ancho, or in a pinch, a blend of chili flakes and smoked paprika)

Ingredients
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 dried guajillo chili pepper
1 dried ancho chili
1 dried aji mirasol
1 dried aji panca
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 375F

In a blender (I used my Magic Bullet) blend all the peppers until they create a coarse powder

In a large bowl, combine chopped potatoes, oil and 2 tablespoons of the pepper powder, plus a pinch of salt and pepper, toss to evenly coat

Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes

Fall Tacos

 

Buttered Cilantro Corn

Ingredients

2 ears of corn
1 tablespoon of melted butter
3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Boil corn until tender

Grill corn on grill until lightly charred

Let cool

Carefully remove corn niblets from cob using a sharp knife

In a bowl, combine corn, butter, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper

Refrigerate until ready to use

 

Pickled Chioggia Beets

Ingredients

4 medium Chioggia beets
½ cup Apple Cider vinegar
¼ cup water
1 Bay leaf
¼ teaspoon of fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon of coriander seeds
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of sugar

Method

Peel beets and slice into thin rounds using a mandolin or peeler and place in a shallow glass dish

In a small saucepan combine vinegar, water, bay leaf, fennel seeds and coriander seeds, bring to a low simmer

Remove from heat and stir in the salt and sugar

Using a sieve, pour the warm vinegar mixture over the sliced beets and toss to evenly coat

Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour

Fall Tacos

 

Drunken Avocado Crema

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
½ cup of sour cream
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of tequila
½ teaspoon of honey or agave nectar
Pinch of salt

Method

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

Transfer into a squeeze bottle and refrigerate

 

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

1 tomato, finely chopped
½ white onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
½ red hot banana pepper, finely chopped
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate

Assemble tacos as desired

Fall Tacos
Follow