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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Taco Night

Pizza night, soup night, pasta night, and taco night.  We all know the routine of weeknight meals.

Taco night used to be on our regular weeknight meal rotation.  I imagine we replaced it with our weekend lunches at Jalapenos Mexican restaurant.  Because of work and other obligations, we haven't been to Jalapenos for a few weeks, which has caused major taco cravings for both of us.  Last night, we brought taco night back to quell those cravings.  There was a slight problem.  Because of Lent, I couldn't eat fried taco shells.  The answer? Taqueria style soft corn tortilla tacos, which I adore.

Yesterday, after work, I stopped by Super Marcado Aguascalientes to pick up a few things for taco night.  I needed soft corn tortillas, queso fresco, and crema. That was it. 

The latino supermarket was mind boggling. 

Starting in the produce section, I was surprized to find fresh garbanzo beans, fresh espazote, and prickly pears tucked in and around husked/unhusked tomatillos, chayote, tiny limes, nepallitos, habas (broad beans), huge jalapenos, serranos, poblanos, and anaheim chilis.  They were gorgeous.  I walked away with garbanzo beans, prickly pears, and jalapenos stashed in my basket.

After passing tubs of dried yellow and purple corn kernels, I meandered past an array of tortilla presses.  I've purchased two there and have broken both of them.  That's why I was buying corn tortillas and not making them...two broken presses. 

I reached the extensivly stocked meat counter and was quite taken with what I thought were cooked pig's ears.  Buche, it turned out after questioning, were cooked pig's stomachs, which differ  slightly from the honeycombed cow's stomach called tripe.  They looked tasty.  I was tempted to buy one for our tacos, but knew it might have stretched Michael's bounds of culinary maiden's patience.  I nixed the buche.
I was mesmerized by the selection of meats.  Chicken feet were haphazardly piled around livers and chicken breasts.  Stacks of porterhouse steaks were shrink-wrapped and nestled beside flanken cuts of short ribs.  I couldn't pass on the rarely seen flanken cut short ribs.  I bought a pound of them. They were very inexpensive.

The head-on shrimp, tucked between cooked peeled shrimp and headless uncooked shrimp, were beautiful.  They glistened.  I wanted them, but resisted.

I was so transfixed by the meat selection, I tripped over a wooden pallet supporting what appeared to be 10,000 packages of corn tortillas.  Bingo. I pulled myself to my feet while leaving my dignity on the floor, and dropped a small bag of corn tortillas into my basket. 

As I made my way to the check-out counter, I stopped by the small dairy cooler and grabbed a container of crema along with a package of queso fresco.

With a few spontaneous additions, I ended up with everything I entered the market to buy; crema, corn tortillas, and queso fresco. 

Michael cooked the meat filling for our tacos. I minced a purple onion to marinate in fresh lime juice, diced a tomato, crumbled the fresco, and roughly chopped fresh cilantro for toppings.  Nice.  I intended to make a salad with the tart purple fleshed prickly pears, but snacked on them as I prepared the taco toppings. Oops.  My bad.  They were gorgeous, tart, crunchy, and fabulous.

Dinner was a cinch.  I warmed the thin-cut corn tortillas in a cast iron skillet to make them pliable.  After double stacking them taqueria style, I topped them with the seasoned meat,  crumbled fresco cheese, crema,  lime marinaded onions, diced tomatoes, and cilantro.
The soft corn tortillas exploded with corn flavor, adding an extra layer of flavor to the spicy meat, pungent fresco cheese, piquant lime-pickled purple onions, mild creamy crema, and fresh cilantro.

A simple taco night.

A routtine meal.

An adventure.

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