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Posts Tagged ‘taco’

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Salsa options range from mild and tangy, to slightly sweet fire sauce.  Clockwise above: medium heat tomato based salsa, hot Habanero sauce, and mild tomatillo sauce.

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Lunch specials include $4.99 for two tacos and an iced tea (including refills).  I tried the Cochinito Pibil tacos, pork in a habenero sauce cooked in banana leaves, which was flavorful and very tender.  If you are gluten-free, ask for corn tortillas.  I didn’t ask if they have separate kitchen areas for the gluten-free orders, although a friend eats there on a regular basis who recently discovered their aversion to gluten.

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This is one of the other lunch special tacos on the menu: Green Chile.  Not spicy.  Pork is just as tender as the first tacos.  I removed most of the large pieces of white onion, otherwise it’s a great taco.

Spinach Enchiladas

Also tried the vegetarian option on the lunch menu that did not involve fish, the Spinach Enchiladas, which were tasty and full of veggies.  The black beans were slightly harder than I would make them.

carnitas rojo taco plate

Lastly, the carnitas rojo tacos which are pork simmered in a red sauce, probably my favorite so far.

The atmosphere is hole-in-the-wall but the staff were all pleasant.  They try to spruce up the tangerine walls with art and mirrors.  It lacks in high class comforts but makes up for it with authentic Mexican flavors.  Evidence is on the chalkboard menu on the wall next to the kitchen, it lists “Gourmet Tacos” which are not found on the menu, you’ll have to ask if they have any of them available that day.

Molca’s is at 8127 Mesa Dr, Austin, TX 78759

For more Mexican restaurants check out my city guide post, or view the entire Austin City Guide here.

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Living in Texas has influenced my choices in quickly prepared meals.  Tacos are the ubiquitous fast food in Texas and there as many ways to prepare them as there are fire ants in your backyard.  Some like it hot, some as hot as an inferno.  Others keep chilies out of the equation.  Do you like avocado?  Loads of diced vegetables?  The selections of meats and different cuts within each type of meat are enough to send your tongue in a tizzy.  Today I had some pork stew meat ready to be made into something delicious.

First, prepare the meat.  I chose a smoky mild dried chili, called cascabels, as the flavour base for my chunks of pork.

  • 1 1/2 lb pork (stew meat cuts)
  • 1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4-5 dry cascabel chilies
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced

pork cascabel tacos

Place all above in crock pot on low for about 6 hours or until the meat is tender.  You could do this on the stove if you like on a very low simmer.  I hesitated to add more liquid than what came in the can of tomatoes, and I’m glad I did.  This would have been much soupier and the pork may have been tough if it was left to boil in liquid.  With minimal moisture, the fat rendered out of the pork to allow it to fall apart.

You can prepare the pork in advance, keep it in the fridge in a sealed container.  The flavours will marry even more.

For the tacos, I made a fresh salsa (tomato, red onion, poblano pepper, pinch of salt) and warmed up the tortillas in a small fry pan.  A few shreds of sharp cheddar cheese, I can’t have tacos without cheese, under shredded pork and topped with the salsa.   If we had any good avocado, that would have made this even more delicious with its balance of creaminess against the tang of raw onion.  Oh well, dinner is served!

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Taco Salad

Want to skip the crunchy carbs of taco night?  Make a salad instead!

Chop up your favorite lettuce.  Make a fresh “salsa” out of diced tomato, onion (red or white, or green yum) and peppers.  Cook ground meat with taco seasoning or combine chili powder, garlic, oregano, cumin and salt.  To make it vegetarian, you could use beans instead of the meat or diced Portobello mushroom caps.  Hey that actually sounds pretty tasty!  Top with shredded cheese.

Funny tidbit for you:  the most popular search on my blog remains at Claire Robinson, she has many fans including yours truly!

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Molé, made from scratch is not something commonly done these days in Mexican homes.  It’s easier to buy a paste as it is to buy prepared Phylo dough.  Nobody does these by hand unless you are compelled to do so.  From my understanding, molé is akin to chili, everyone has their own recipe.

Given the fact that I have not reached that level of kitchen skill (at least in Mexican/Latino cuisine) I used a can of prepared molé for my chicken.  This was a challenge and spur of the moment dinner after a short jaunt to the store for a curtain rod.  We can never go shopping for just one item and browsed around until hunger set in.  The molé was there and it was selected for a quick dinner.

Following the vague memory of a molé and instructions from Hubby, I was able to put this together.  The most important part is to remember to dilute the canned molé paste with a chicken stock, a 4 to 1 ratio give or take.  Sauté onion and peppers along with chicken breasts, season with cumin and garlic, salt and pepper.  Blend the molé paste with some of the stock to a thin liquid.  Add the stock and molé to the pan, bringing it to a gentle simmer.  The sauce may reduce and thicken as it simmers, you can add a few tablespoons of water to keep a consistency you prefer.

Serve with a side of fideo, warm tortillas and Mexican cheese and you will be in the middle of Mexico before you know it.

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A cumulative effort (mostly cooked by Hubby) resulted in a delicious traditional Mexican favorite: Guisado Tacos.

Traditional guisado does not include carrots but they were an unexpected twist that worked to balance out the spicy tomatillo salsa served on the side.

Guisado is a meat and potato dish, often flavoured with cumin, garlic and onion.  Hot chili peppers usually pep up this dish but we tend to leave them out because of the kids.  Beef cuts were braised with potato and carrot pieces.  I shredded some colby jack cheese and warmed the corn tortillas.

Together we built a quick and easy dinner.  It’s great to have a partner in the kitchen.   Now if i could only get the kids to do the dishes for me.

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Shrimp Tacos

We drove out to see the Grandparents over the long weekend for Big Brother’s birthday.  I decided to run to the store to pick up a cake to save us from the heat of the oven during the hottest Labour Day weekend I’ve ever seen.  I enjoy browsing different grocery stores, you never know what you might find or what might inspire an awesome snack.  Enter Shrimp Tacos.

The idea was simple.  Spice up some shrimp and add fresh avocado slices, wrap up in a toasty tortilla… Voilà lunch is ready!

shrimp, red bell peppers, cilantro, lime juice

Toss cleaned shrimp in your favorite Cajun spice blend.  Slice up a red bell pepper and chop cilantro.  Cut a lime in half.

Heat a skillet over a medium-high flame.  This was a cast iron skillet, I gave it a bit of oil.  Cook the shrimp and red bell pepper together, turn the shrimp half-way.  The shrimp should curl but not to the point of making “O”s.  Turn off the heat, juice the lime over the pan and sprinkle with cilantro.

shrimp tacos

If you can wait long enough, assemble as tacos with avocado.  Enjoy 🙂

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Breakfast Tacos

I was in a hurry this morning running around trying to gather all of the necessary gear for the kiddos.  I usually make scrambled eggs with cheese or fruit and yogurt for the kids, coffee for Hubby, and pack a banana for myself.  Pepper had an unusually early request to go potty (at 4am!) and that just turned everything upside-down and bass akwards. 

Hubby, seeing me in a tizzy, made breakfast.  A whole pan of lovely fluffy eggs with bits of ham mixed in.  Normally on a week day I don’t eat eggs, even though I remove most of the yolks to reduce the cholesterol.  I just can’t eat in a hurry!  I don’t like to shovel food down just because it’s the morning.  I need to settle down at my desk, make a cup of tea, then munch on my banana or muffin (or 3 cookies).  I will survive the 28-odd minute commute to work.

“You never eat my eggs”  Hubby said.

“I never eat eggs with the kids, even when I make them!”

That felt sore only after I had blurted it out.  Case of verbal diarrhea.

I sighed then reached for foil, tortilla and the wooden spatula for the eggs.  Hubby saw I was going to take his tacos with me, but he also saw me taking the picture of the tacos I was taking with me.  Eyes rolled.  I smiled and shrugged.

I still ate them at my desk.

😛

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Fish Tacos

I’ve only recently jumped on the fish taco band wagon. When I first moved down south, and Lent came around, I was bombarded with fish tacos every where. “Yuck! Who in their right mind would eat that?” Well, I’ve matured since then and so have my taste buds. Also thanks to the Spanish influence of my hubby, I found a way to embrace this odd dish.

Basa fillets on a bed of red onion and yellow bell peppers

I start with fillets of striped pangasius, which were pretty cheap (2.49 per lb). Sprinkle the fish with garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, pepper.

Heat a large skillet, big enough for your fish with space to party in the pan. Heat some oil until nearly smoking, then gently add the fillets. Cook on each side until crisp and golden. Remove the fish and add slices of red onion and yellow bell pepper. If the pan is a little dry, you can add a little more oil. Sea salt over the hot fish fresh out of the pan gives it the best enhancement of flavour. You can spritz some lime juice over top as well.

Serve with warm tortillas, chopped cilantro, tomato slices and avocado. Enjoy 🙂

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