Make It Mexican – Part II


Informal and fun, tacos make for a flexible meal serving a variety of dietary needs.

I love taco night. Informal and fun, tacos make for a flexible meal serving a variety of dietary needs: kosher, lactose-intolerant, vegetarian, gluten-free and finicky children.
Tacos start with tortillas — soft, thin flatbreads made from finely ground wheat or corn flour. (Corn tortillas are gluten-free.) I always buy tortillas ready-made. The 6-inch size is easy to handle and limits how much food people can pile on — they are always welcome to return for second helpings. The Mission brand is kosher and found in many supermarkets.
Here’s how taco night works. I warm up tortillas on cookie sheets in a 350˚ oven. Placing an array of fillings on the table, I tell family and friends to make their own tacos by selecting their fillings of choice, layering them on tortillas and folding them in half.
Some of the fillings are effortless: sour cream, chopped red onion, store-bought grated cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and ribbons of finely chopped iceberg lettuce. 
Other fillings require a recipe: guacamole, roasted chicken breasts, corn chili and frijoles negros (black beans).
I’m amused to see picky children stuffing their tortillas with gusto as vegetarians and carnivores sit side-by-side in harmony. No two people at the table create the same taco. Variety is the magic of this Mexican feast.
Recipes below serve 6-8 as taco fillings inside 6-inch tortillas.
Corn Chili
1 bunch of scallions
2 Tbsps. corn oil
1 tomato, seeded and diced fine
½ green pepper, seeded and diced fine
kosher salt to taste
tsp. chili powder
tsp. cumin
Dash of turmeric
1 pkg. frozen corn, defrosted
Cut off scallion roots and peel away tough outer layers; discard both. Slice scallions thin. Reserve.
In a skillet, briefly heat oil over a medium flame until warm, about 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato, green pepper, salt, chili, cumin and turmeric. Stir until tomatoes and peppers are softening and spices are fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the scallions and stir. Spoon in the corn and stir until well-coated and warmed through. Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat.
Frijoles Negros
1 15-oz. can of black beans
1 garlic clove, minced
kosher salt to taste
2 tsps. cumin
¼ tsp. chili powder
tsp. paprika
1 bay leaf
Pour the can of black beans, including the liquid, into a saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Cover the saucepan and simmer on a medium flame until beans soften, about 10-15 minutes. Check often to make sure the liquid isn’t reducing too quickly. When ready to serve, remove the bay leaf and discard. Serve immediately.
3 ripe avocados
juice of 1 lime
1 garlic clove, minced
kosher salt to taste
chili powder for dusting
Cut avocados in half. Scoop out the soft centers into a bowl and mash with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Serve immediately.
Sliced Chicken
Nonstick vegetable spray
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 wedges of lemon, seeds removed
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
tsp. each garlic powder, onion powder and oregano 
Preheat the broiler. Coat a broiling pan with nonstick spray. 
Pound the chicken breasts with a mallet until about ½-inch thick. 
Squeeze lemon wedges over both sides of the chicken. 
Place the salt, pepper and spices in a small bowl and stir with a spoon. Sprinkle the mixture on both sides of the chicken. 
Move the chicken to the broiler pan and broil for about 20 minutes, turning the chicken every five minutes. 
Place chicken on a platter and cool to warm. Slice chicken into thin strips. Serve immediately or at room temperature. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here