ctnow.com/sports/sns-holiday-cinco-de-mayo-tacos,0,2811505.story

CTnow

Recipes to help you celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Including tacos -- the ultimate street food of Mexico

By Susan M. Selasky, Detroit Free Press

McClatchy-Tribune

Advertisement

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo celebrations, here's a cookbook on tacos, the ultimate street food of Mexico. The book has an array of recipes for such classics as Pork Carnitas and Rajas and Cheese (poblano chiles and cheese) as well as ones with a twist, such as Chicken with Apples and Goat Cheese.

Mark Miller, author of "Tacos: 75 Authentic and Inspired Recipes," published by Ten Speed Press, writes that he had a New England childhood but spent summers at a hacienda near Guadalajara.

While in Mexico he tagged along with the family cooks while they shopped, and they always had time for a taco after they finished.

The recipes reflect what Miller, the founder of the Coyote Cafe in Sante Fe, N.M., means when he says "the heart of a great taco is the filling."

Most recipes are easy and have terrific color photos. When applicable, the level of heat is listed on each recipe with 0 the mildest and 10 the hottest.

There also are detailed recipes for making your own corn or flour tortillas and shells for tostadas and crispy tacos. The recipes call for typical Hispanic ingredients, which you can find at area grocery stores or Hispanic grocers.

Skirt steak from Zacatecas

Makes: 8 tacos
Preparation time: 40 minutes (plus overnight marinating)
Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
1 pound skirt steak, silver skin, most of the fat trimmed away
8 to 10 cloves garlic, roasted (see note)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon red chile powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground, or 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup corn or other vegetable oil
2 tablespoons red chile sauce
1 teaspoon chipotle puree
8 (5{-inch) soft corn tortillas
Salsa, radishes, lime wedges, finely shredded green cabbage, chopped onions for garnish
Pound the meat with a butcher's mallet until it is a uniform 1/4 inch thick.

In a large bowl, combine the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, red chile powder, kosher salt, pepper, cumin, onion powder, cilantro, oil, and the red and chipotle chile sauces to make a marinade. Rub the mixture over the meat, cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator (or less time, if you want more obvious beef flavor).

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Season the meat with additional salt and pepper as you throw it on the grill. Grill the meat over medium-high heat, flipping it once during cooking, 6 minutes total. Remove the meat from the heat and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips or 1/4-inch dice.

To serve, lay the tortillas side by side, open face and overlapping on a platter. Divide the filling equally between the tortillas, and top with salsa and garnishes. Grab, fold and eat .

Cook's note: To dry-roast the garlic, place unpeeled garlic cloves in a heavy skillet over low heat. Cook until softened, about 30 to 40 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Or roast in a preheated oven until soft--about 20 to 30 minutes. When done, the garlic will be soft, creamy and sweet, and soft enough to slip out of their skins.

From "Tacos: 75 Authentic and Inspired Recipes" by Mark Miller

Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Nutrition:
169 calories (38 percent from fat ), 7 grams fat (2 grams sat. fat ), 12 grams carbohydrates , 14 grams protein , 174 mg sodium , 32 mg cholesterol , 30 mg calcium , 2 grams fiber.

Chicken with chorizo

Makes: 8 tacos / Preparation time: 15 minutes (plus marinating time)

Total time: 1 hour

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 poblano chile, stemmed

1 jalapeno chile, stemmed

Leaves from 1 bunch fresh cilantro

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon favorite chile powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and ground, or 1/4 teaspoon ground

1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, toasted and ground

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 bunch green onions, root ends trimmed and cut in big pieces

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in 1/2-inch-wide strips

6 ounces Mexican pork chorizo, bulk or links

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 white onion, thinly sliced

8 (5 1/2-inch) tostada shells or corn tortillas

Salsa, optional

In the jar of a blender, place the water, lime juice, chiles, cilantro, garlic, chile powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt, parsley and green onions and puree until smooth. Have the chicken strips ready in a large bowl. Pour the marinade over the chicken and let sit for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

If the chorizo is in links, slit open the casings, remove the filling (discard the casings), and break it up with your hands. Bulk sausage is ready to use. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion until caramelized, about 4 minutes.

Add the chorizo to the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chorizo is thoroughly cooked, about 7 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside, leaving any fat in the pan.

To cook the chicken, remove the strips from the marinade and drain off any excess liquid. In the same pan as the chorizo mixture, saute the chicken, turning once or twice, until a light golden color and thoroughly cooked, about 9 minutes.

Remove from the heat and serve immediately or keep warm in the pan until ready to serve.

To serve, divide the filling equally between the crispy shells, top with salsa and arrange in a taco holder. Or, lean the filled shells in a row, propped upright, on a platter. Eat right away.

From "Tacos: 75 Authentic and Inspired Recipes" by Mark Miller (Ten Speed Press, $21.95) .

Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

276 calories (48 percent from fat ), 15 grams fat (4 grams sat. fat ), 14 grams carbohydrates , 21 grams protein , 554 mg sodium , 58 mg cholesterol , 49 mg calcium , 2 grams fiber .

------

RICOTTA CHEESE TACOS

Serves: 6 (generously) / Preparation time: 15 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

The tacos can be fried up to 2 hours before serving and reheated in the oven.

5 ounces requeson or ricotta cheese

2 teaspoons minced fresh serrano chile

2 teaspoons minced epazote, optional

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

6 small flour tortillas

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a medium bowl, mix together the cheese, chile, epazote and salt.

Heat the tortillas briefly to make them pliable.

Spoon one-sixth of the cheese mixture onto each tortilla and spread it in a straight line near one edge, being careful to keep it slightly clear of the edge so that none can spill out or burn during frying.

Roll each tortilla into a cigar-like shape and secure firmly with a toothpick along the side.

In a large skillet, heat the oil. When hot, brown 3 tacos at a time, turning on each side. Drain on paper towels. Remove the toothpick and cut the ends of the tacos to make them look neat. Serve whole or cut into thirds.

From Lydia Gutierrez, Hacienda Foods, Detroit.

Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

163 calories (50 percent from fat ), 9 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat ), 16 grams carbohydrates , 5 grams protein , 438 mg sodium , 7 mg cholesterol , 106 mg calcium , 0 grams fiber .

------

POTATO TOSTADAS

Serves: 12 / Preparation time: 15 minutes (plus marinating time)

Total time: 1 hour

8 red potatoes cut into 1/-2-inch squares

1 cup pineapple vinegar or mild cider vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons crushed Mexican oregano

1 medium red onion, sliced paper thin

Kosher salt

2 medium allspice berries

1 large package of sturdy tostadas

1 cup refried beans, either pinto or black, warmed

2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced into medium slices

1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, sliced thin

1 cup Mexican sour cream, or American sour cream slightly diluted with milk

1 small can of pickled jalapeno or serrano peppers

Place the potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil until tender. Drain the potatoes and place in a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, oregano, onion, salt and allspice berries. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and toss to coat. Let set for about 2 hours.

To assemble the tostadas: Remove the potatoes from the vinaigrette and be sure to remove and discard the allspice berries. Spread the tostadas with a thin layer of warm beans, then drained potatoes, tomato slices, avocado slices, sour cream and a sprinkle of salt. Top with pickled jalapenos.

From Maria Elana Rodriguez, Allen Park.

Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

288 calories (43 percent from fat ), 14 grams fat (4 grams sat. fat ), 36 grams carbohydrates , 6 grams protein , 144 mg sodium , 13 mg cholesterol , 60 mg calcium , 5 grams fiber .

------

PINEAPPLE MARGARITA

Makes: 5 liters of base / Preparation time: 10 minutes (plus 4 to 5 days fermenting)

Total time: 20 minutes

1 whole fresh pineapple, the riper the sweeter

1 bottle (750 milliliters) tequila

MARGARITAS

2 cups crushed or cubed ice

6 to 8 cubes of pineapple from the fermenting pineapple

1 cup of the pineapple-fermented tequila

Sliced oranges, fresh pineapple and a maraschino cherry for garnish

To prepare the pineapple margarita base, cut the sides and eyes off the pineapple and remove the core. Cut the pineapple into cubes.

In a large glass jar, place cubed pineapple and pour the bottle of tequila over it. Place lid on and allow it to ferment for 4 to 5 days.

To prepare 1 liter of margaritas: In a blender, place the crushed or cubed ice, pineapple cubes and fermented tequila. Blend to desired consistency. Serve in a margarita glass garnished with fresh sliced fruit of choice.

From El Rancho Restaurant, Detroit. Not tested.

Analysis per 1 margarita.

158 calories (0 percent from fat ), 0 grams fat (0 grams sat. fat ), 5 grams carbohydrates , 0 grams protein , 1 mg sodium , 0 mg cholesterol , 5 mg calcium , 1 gram fiber.

------

(c) 2009, Detroit Free Press.

Visit the Free Press at http://www.freep.com.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.