Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cinco De Mayo!

First of all, let me begin by saying that did you know Cinco de Mayo is NOT a real holiday celebrated all over Mexico???  I was shocked and disappointed to learn, when I went to Mexico for the first week in May a couple of years ago, that there were no parties to attend.  Nothing at night clubs.  Nothing at all.  It's entirely insignificant there.  I guess it's just another excuse for Americans to party our butts off and line the pockets of good 'ol Jose Cuervo.  Hey, sounds good to me!  (Except for that at the moment I am pregnant!)

So I had an appointment with my midwife today.  As of tomorrow, I will be 5 months pregnant, which is only 1/2 way through...because there is so much no one ever tells you when you get pregnant!  (Its really 10 months!)  Luckily, I'm not a newbie at this pregnant thing so I kind of know most of the funk that is a great kept secret regarding the weird things that can happen to your body during this marvelous time.  Anyhow, my midwife is in Orlando, about an hour away from where I live.  Since where I live has absolutely no vegan restaurants and exciting places to visit for an eco-health-freak, I revel in the chance to go to the big city and check out new veg joints each time I go.  Today, after lunch at The Wrap Planet I got to visit a pretty amazing vegan bakery, the Raphsodic Bakery.  Check out the goods! 

After returning home and planning to post a recipe for the asian noodles that I've been having a love affair with the past 3 days, I remembered that today was Cinco de Mayo!  If there's one thing I love as much as buffalo sauce and cupcakes, its mexican food.  Ok, I lie....I am a total foodie and I love good food so much it's ridiculous.  What's really awesome is that despite my love of food and the fact that I really do eat ALL the time and don't diet....because I dont eat refined sugar and white four, etc....I don's gain a pound!  Try that on for size!....which by the way, is 2-4 when I'm not pregnant.  And no...I am not naturally skinny.  Since I've always been a foodie, even prior to eating this way, I gained 65lbs with my prior pregnancy.  Even running 3-6 miles a day couldn't get the weight off until I underwent an entire lifestyle and diet overhaul.  Now...I keep the weight off and still eat as much as I want!

I developed the following taco recipe due to my husband's adoration of 'street tacos', which are basically as authentic as you can get...tacos from a hole-in-the-wall joint in Mexico....or from your local non-english speaking taco trailer.  Authentic tacos are not like the tacos that most people are familiar with.  No cheese, no lettuce, no salsa or sour cream.  Real street tacos are made with finely chopped steak/beef and served with nothing more than an onion/cilantro topping and the option of salsa verde (green sauce) on the side.  I haven't perfected my salsa verde yet, but below is my vegan 'steak' taco recipe and my basic pico de gallo recipe.
Street Tacos1/3 c finely chopped white Onion
1/3 c chopped Cilantro
Juice of 1 Lime
1-2 Tbsp Oil made for high heat cooking
1 Bag either Gardein 'Beef' Tips or Boca Crumbles...whichever texture you prefer
1/4 c White Vinegar
1/4 c Soy Sauce, Tamari or Braggs Liquid Aminos (<--can be used interchangeably.  I used Braggs)
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce (or vegan worcestershire sauce)
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
non-stick cooking spray
Corn tortillas
Lime wedges

Mix first 3 ingredients and set aside.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add your 'meat'.  As soon as the meat starts to cook add the vinegar, Braggs, worcestershire, chili powder and garlic powder.  If using Gardein, use a spatula to break apart the 'meat' chunks in the skillet as they soften to make smaller pieces.  Stir the meat in the skillet until most or all of the liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat.

If you have a flat-top stove, just use the stove top itself.  This will make a mess, but the results are the best.  If you don't have a flat top stovetop, then use a cast iron skillet or flat griddle.  Turn the heat on a small burner to medium.  (If using skillet or griddle, turn heat to med-high and wait for it to heat up)  Spray the non-stick spray directly onto one side of the corn tortilla in a circle around its perimeter.  Throw it oil-side down onto the burner.  Use a spatula to move it around so the oil coats the entire side and while its cooking, spray the side thats facing up.  After about 30 seconds, before the edges get crisp, flip it over.  Before the edges are crisp, Remove to a plate.  Repeat with as many tortilla as you'll need.  This oils up and softens the shells, just like the authentic ones. 

Now, fill each tortilla with just a little bit of meat (authentic ones are not stuffed...they use minimal filling so you can almost fold it over taquito-style.

Pico de Gallo2 Lg Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c Cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 Lime
1/4 c Red Onion, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 - 1 Whole Hot Pepper of Choice.  I used 1/2 Serrano.  My husband prefers a whole habanero.  If you like it milder, use 1/2-1 jalepeno.
S & P to taste
dash extra virgin olive oil
dash red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dulse granules (optional - I add it without telling anyone to boost the mineral content...it's loaded!!!  and no one is the wiser.  Shhhh....)

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and serve with your favorite tortilla chips.
And....last but not least, my favorite part of Cinco de Mayo....the Margaritas!!!!
If you read the ingredients on the bottle of margarita mix or sweet & sour mix you have, its likely loaded with artificial dyes and high fructose corn syrup.  YUCK!  Would you like a side of cancer with your drink?  No thank you!  So....here goes:

Using a sliced lime, run the cut side of the lime along the rim of the margarita glass, then dip in a plate of sea salt.  Repeat with all glasses and set aside.  Fill your cocktail shaker with ice and about 3/4 of the way with Simply Limeade.  They sell it by the orange juice in grocery stores.  Not great, but FAR better for you than the fake crap!  Now fill up with tequila (I use an organic tequila that my local liquor store carries) and add about 2 Tbsp agave to sweeten even more if you like it sweet.  Shake it up and pour WITH ice into glasses.  Cheers!


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