Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cinco de Mayo


The night before a production job demands hours of gathering video equipment, batteries, tape and cameras. Each piece of equipment must be inspected thoroughly-ensuring a worry-free job.

You can imagine that process doesn't leave much time for dinner but with our renewed commitment to dine-in I made one of our favorite quick meals. Soft tacos with fresh avacado, cilantro, chiles and nicely-ripened tomatoes. Normally, I would top these with fresh Asadero cheese but it's becoming increasingly difficult to find in the gringo supermarkets-so I used a very fine Amish cheddar!

I sprinkle the avacado with fig balsamic-a delicate sweet contrast to the fiery flavors of the Chef Boy Hidy Habenaro sauce providing some nice heat! The lettuce is spiked with fresh chopped cilantro-another aromatic contrast to the chiles and cumin for the nose-stimulating all the senses before this heavenly pouch ever hits the mouth!

The magic bullet for the recipe is a flavor packet from GOYA-full of flavor from the annatto chile, cumin and cilantro. Inspired by the taco stands of Tijuana and Rosarita Beach I have made these for almost thirty years.

I am busy designing a home-version of a Mexican gadget used at the taco stands. My gadget will fit inside my infrared grill-simulating the process used for marinating and grilling the pork before slicing tender pieces onto softly fried or grilled corn tortillas. The aroma of the grilled meat wafting through the streets with bowls of fresh toppings remains a lasting memory.

Another favorite memory of Tijuana, a corn tortilla factory where the proud owner escorted us to the front of the line to admire his shiny equipment and enjoy the fresh warm corn tortillas rolling off the conveyor belt.

A Mexican friend who helps me around the house has generously shared her family secret for some of the finest pork tamales I have ever been privileged to taste-our bond strengthened by sharing our cultures through family recipes. Her fiery green sauce is a perfect accompaniment for the lightly-sweetened tamales.

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