I'm trying something new.
Not these tacos.
I want to separate food blogs from Bald Spots and Other Catastrophe blogs. That way, if anyone (including me) wants to find a recipe it'll be easier to sort through. If you haven't noticed, I'm still trying to figure this website out.
Coincidentally, the book I'm working on concerns a disgraced Food Network Chef. Her show is called A Diva Dines...so here's the first recipe post on my Diva Dines blog.
Don't worry, if you already subscribe, or want to subscribe, you'll get both along with your regular subscription. You don't have to do anything twice.
Now, about these tacos.
The best tacos in the world can be found on the streets of Mexico. Those food carts that everyone tells you not to solicit. Do it anyway. They are sublime.
These are not those tacos.
But, they're pretty damn good anyway.
I'm not a Mexican, nor am I an expert on Mexican food, so I can assure you that since I made these up, they are not the real deal. They're tacos made on the fly by a White girl...well, an Asian girl...an Asian/White girl...you get the picture.
No real Mexicans were harmed in the creation of this recipe.
Easy, easy, weeknight dinner. Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, stripped of its meat, ranch dressing and some taco seasoning, mixed up and put in a shell. How easy is that?
You toss your shredded chicken meat into a pan over a low-medium heat and sprinkle with some taco seasoning (I got mine at Trader Joe's, but McCormick has one too and you can find it at any grocery store) and some ranch dressing. Stir it around to blend.
Because this part was soooo simple, I assuaged my kitchen guilt and made homemade tortilla shells. I can tell you, it's worth it.
I realize that the addition of homemade taco shells pretty much obliterates the "easy weeknight meal" concept. So, feel free to buy them already made. I do just that a lot of the time.
One of my daughters shamed me into making these with "You mean you don't make your own?" Ummm...that would be a NO.
"They're easy, you know," she said. The implied "even you can do it" hung over me like Wile E. Coyote's anvil.
So, I bought one of those presser things at Williams Sonoma (better to get them at a Mexican market if you can). I know this because, "You mean you didn't get it at a Mexican market?" My daughter said.
The dough couldn't be easier. And it handles waaaay better than pie crust dough. It's masa and water. That's it. You stir it around, then use your hands to form it into a lump, break off small pieces, roll them into a ball and flatten them.
They key is to use those plastic leftover grocery bags to put on the press to keep the dough from sticking. My daughter also clued me in on those. "Everybody knows you use those, Mom." I've tried regular plastic wrap, wax paper and parchment paper. None works as well as those leftover plastic bags.
I hate it when she's right.
You will probably still have a little sticking, so just gently peel the taco away from the plastic. You will also have to master the size. I'm still working on that. My shells are thicker than store bought and thicker than the homemade I've had in Mexico. It's an art form, I can tell you that. At any rate, it doesn't matter if they're ugly like mine, thicker like mine, or what have you. They are hands down so much better than store bought, no matter what their size, or what they look like.
Put them on a hot griddle till they're a little crisp and keep them warm in a damp towel. The good thing is you can do these ahead, and just reheat them on the griddle when you're ready to eat them.
If you've got leftovers (and you probably will) just toss them in one of those larger ziploc bags and refrigerate. Reheat on the griddle. I don't know how long they will keep. They only last in my house for a day or so because we eat them. You could cut them up, fry them in hot oil, toss around in some salt, and have homemade tortilla chips too.
Fill your shells with whatever...the chicken meat mixture plus...whatever makes you happy. I used the usual suspects; cheese, tomatoes, onion and I had some arugula and corn that I threw on too. The corn didn't add anything, so I wouldn't do that again. Corn tortillas, corn...too corny.
I topped off this stack of goodness with this crema. You can usually find this in any grocery store in the refrigerated stuff.
Wherever you use sour cream, you can use this. It's thinner though, but lip smackin' delish!
Here's the recipes...which aren't much.
Serves 4 or 5 - 2-3 tacos each.
3 cups of shredded chicken meat
I didn't put quantities because it's all to taste. I don't like a lot of seasoning. I used probably 1/2 of the 1.25 oz. package and at least 1/2 cup of the ranch dressing. You can do whatever you think is right. Mix it all up in a pot and heat it up on the stove.
2 cups Masa (you can find this at most regular grocery stores too)
pinch of salt
1 3/4 cup water
That seems like a lot of water, almost as much water as masa, but its all good. The dough won't be that wet either, it forms a nice, moist, lump of dough. Break off pieces and roll it in your palm till it's a 1 1/2 in diameter ball. The dough dries out quick so keep the bowl covered with a towel while you're making these. If it feels too dry, add a little more water. I live in high altitude and I added a tablespoon or two more.
Put your garbage bag so it covers both sides of the press. I just kinda cut the bag all the way open at the seam. You'll have to play around with it.
Press the ball of dough out, peel it off the plastic, and heat on a griddle, till its a little crispy and brown.
Keep them warm on a damp towel covered plate.
Fill and eat!
My upcoming novel Flesh of My Flesh stars Delilah, a fictional TV Chef who stirs up a whole lot of trouble and a little food. Probably better than you'll find here. These recipes are inspired by her, my love of food and overall laziness.