Thursday, May 27, 2010

Iain & Emily's Tacos Verdes

Well, it's official. If we hadn't gone foodie before, we certainly have this time. Several weeks ago we decided to make some experimental tacos. We each focused on making about half of the components, while conferring with each other for the overall palette, and the end result was mindblowingly awesometacular. With that last sentence, I probably just gave away that it was Iain writing this paragraph.

This recipe is a little on the intensive side, but it didn't seem hard to make at the time, especially with two people working on them. It was mostly a really fun experience to make, and the combination of flavors hitting your tongue is exquisite. Think hearty yet crisp and fresh at the same time. Did your mouth start watering there? Yeah. I thought so.

Tofu Tacos Verdes

Salsa Verde
2 tomatillos, diced finely
1/8 cup onion, diced finely
1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbs lime juice

shake of garlic powder

1 Serrano pepper, minced and seeded

Onions/chili mixture
The rest of the onion, cut into rings
1 ancho pepper, diced
2 cloved garlic, minced
1 Serrano pepper, minced and seeded
1 green bell pepper

Tofu de Excellence
1 half of a container firm tofu, pressed
a few glugs vegetable oil
3/4 tsp cumin powder
small handful corn meal
chili powder
more cumin

Other Components
5 flour tortillas
Habanero Jack Cheese (a little), grated
Tillamuk Cheddar Cheese (a lot), grated
1/2 can frijoles negros refritos (refried black beans)
cut up cilantro

Music Listened To
A Jewish Odyssey, courtesy of Emily's iPod.


Well, I (Iain) shall begin be reporting on the parts I produced, and then I shall hand the keyboard over to Emily.

1. The salsa! After you've prepped all the above ingredients, turn to your friend, the food processor. Place 3/4 of tomatillos, the onion and the garlic in the blender and pulse it on low a few times. Mix with the remaining diced tomatillos and the other ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix. Using the food processor is totally optional, but doing it this way gets most of the salsa nice and smooth, but still with chunky bits. Note that this will have a very potent taste, so don't overload your tacos with it.

2. The Tofu
  • Press the tofu. Ideally, you should do this by placing it between two plates and putting something heavy on top (like a can), leaving it for 15-20 minutes. If you're short on time, just hold the tofu in your hands and squeeze it gently over the sink to release some of the water. Then cut the tofu into inch-sized cubes
  • Generously oil a pan and put in 1/2- 3/4 tsp. cumin seed. Let blacken over high heat, then turn down to medium.
  • Mix the corn meal, chili powder, ground cumin, and salt on a plate or shallow bowl. Roll or dip the tofu cubes into the dry mix and fry over medium heat 'til crispy, turning to fry each side and adding additional oil as necessary.
  • When done, leave the skillet coated in the spice for the onion mix, and if you have leftover cornmeal mix, dump that in as well.
3. The Onion/Chili Mix
  • Cut the onion into thin rings and saute over medium heat in the leftover spice mix from the tofu, adding more oil if needed.
  • Add the diced ancho, followed by the serano and 2 cloves of garlic. We also threw in some minced cilantro stems, reserving the leaves for the top.
  • Stir in the green pepper, then cook for a couple minutes more, removing while the pepper still has a bit of crunch.
4. The Assembly
  • Soften tortillas by placing in a dry skillet over high heat for 10-30 seconds a side.
  • Put on a layer of beans, followed by some of the onion mix, then 4-5 pieces of tofu.
  • Add cheese (if you get your hands on habernaro jack, a little goes a long way!), cilantro, and lettuce if desired, and drizzle a line or two of salsa, but take that easy because the flavor's quite intense! And enjoy, whether you're a foodie or not.

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