When I moved to Southern California, there was one thing I learned very quickly: Tacos are cheap, delicious and available EVERYWHERE all the time. Mexican restaurants, taco trucks, taco stands – really there’s no reason to ever make your own tacos when you live in L.A.. However! I love making tacos at home, and with a 3 year old who ‘helps’ in the kitchen, it’s the perfect fun food to prepare.
Also, Mexican restaurants here rarely serve hard shell tacos which are my favorite. I think they must be considered a Gringo thing – I’m not sure. But I love crispy. If you like soft shell tacos though, they are just as easy to find in the grocery store, and a lot neater to eat because the filling actually stays in.
1 can pinto beans, or black beans
1 small onion
Salsa verde, or really any kind of salsa
chopped romaine lettuce
Grated hard cheese (cheddar, goat cheddar)
Sour cream or Greek style yogurt, or plain goat yogurt
Saute the onion and a clove of garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the onions are transulent, add the beans and let them fry until they stick to the pan. Keep scraping them up from the pan – if you’re using cast iron, think of all the iron you’ll be ingesting – who needs meat? Then add about half a cup of salsa verde and keep mixing until it’s hot, then turn off the heat and keep the mixture warm in the pan until the last minute.
Then get your taco shells into the oven or toaster oven – 400 degrees seems to make them nice and crispy in about eight minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on them though because they can burn easily and even catch on fire. Why do I know this? Let’s just say you can learn from my flaming taco shell experience.
During this time you’ll want to get the guacamole made, so slice open that avocado and mash it together with lime, a small clove of garlic and some salt and pepper. For an absolutely incredible guacamole recipe, I’ll have to enlist Richard for a guest post. He’s the master of guac. But I also love this simple mash – it’s easy and delicious.
Now get chopping and grating! This meal is all about tiny bowls filled with delicious sides that get tucked into your taco shell. Chop the tomatoes, cilantro, lettuce, grate the cheese, and place everything in its own bowl so you end up with a table that looks something like this:
Not pictured here are cilantro, extra salsa, extra onions, sour cream – you can put in whatever you’re craving!
There are no finished taco pictures because things got very messy after this point. Violet started off her meal by smashing a taco shell into smithereens on her plate and piling cheese on top of that. In the end she ate dozens of tiny little shards of shell with one bean balanced on each. Overall the dining experience lasted about forty-five minutes. But I wasn’t complaining. It’s taco night!