Taco Take Your Children To Work Day. So it seems only appropriate to have a post about MyFakeFoodDad, Dave.
Few of you have had the privilege of meeting my dad, but to know Dave is to love Dave.
Do you doubt? Let me explain. Meet Dave.
He doesn’t look like he’s having fun, but he is.
He worked on the railroad for his whole career. He can identify the meaning of a train whistle just by its sound. Now that he’s retired, he’s building a model railroad loosely based on the railroad where he worked when he met my mom. Pretty romantical, if you ask me. Also, nerdy. Old white man hobbies, amiright? (Don’t think he’s not reading this. I would say and have said this to his face. Love you, Pops!)
Dave loves Magnum P.I. and The Rockford Files and has instilled in me a healthy love and respect for both. We watch The West Wing every Thanksgiving, Die Hard every Christmas, and Nacho Libre every Easter. For that is how we do.
Dave will do most anything for a joke (sound familiar?), but he’s also really very thoughtful. He’s a long time reader of the Wall Street Journal and always keeps an eye out for articles that would interest me (and my friends). Theatre! Fashion! Production! Television! Recipes! So many recipes! All of the recipes!
A recent article he shared is about the culture of tacos in America. I love that sentence so much that I’m going to write it again. A recent article he shared is about the culture of tacos in America. The summary is that we’re starting to see a trend back toward the traditional roots of the taco and away from the culture of Anything Goes tacos. No, I don’t mean Cole Porter tacos. (That was for all you musical theatre nerds). What I mean is a taco where anything goes, like Doritos Locos tacos, Korean Barbecue tacos, or Tex Mex tacos. These things may be delicious, but they are not authentically Mexican in either flavor profile or ingredients.
The article included a recipe for Chicken Tinga Tacos from Bajo Sexto Taco in Nashville. Run, don’t walk, to make these for Cinco de Mayo. Or any day de Mayo. Or venticuatro de abril. (That’s tomorrow, people.)
They are deeply soul satisfying. The sauce is spicy with a sharp bite from the vinegar, which cools off instantly from the creamy avocado. I paired it with a grilled Mexican corn salad and some chips and guac. Because duh.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that. Tacos are the best. My dad is the best.
I just can’t decide which I love more.
Chicken Tinga Tacos from Bajo Sexto Taco via wsj.com
- 2½ pounds boneless chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 white onion, thinly sliced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons water
- ½ (7-ounce) can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 12 fresh corn tortillas, warmed
- 1 avocado, sliced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roast chicken until mostly cooked but still pink and juicy, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, shred meat coarsely.
Meanwhile, caramelize onions: Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions, tossing to coat with oil, until softened, 10 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons water, then reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and deep golden, 20-30 minutes more. If pan becomes dry, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to prevent burning.
Make sauce: In a blender, process caramelized onions, chilies with sauce, garlic, vinegar and a pinch each of salt and pepper until smooth.
Heat canola oil in a large skillet. Once shimmering, add sauce and cook until rust-brown and thickened, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken, stir to coat, and cook until no longer pink, 3-4 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken on tortillas with a slice of avocado.
Mexican Corn Salad from Bon Appetit
- 4 ears of corn, husked
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 ounce Cotija cheese or Parmesan, crumbled (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus more for serving
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Prepare grill for medium heat. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until tender and charred, 8–10 minutes; let cool slightly. Cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a medium bowl.
Whisk mayonnaise, lime juice, paprika, cayenne, if using, 2 oz. Cotija cheese, and 2 tablespoons cilantro in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add corn and toss to combine. Top with more cheese and cilantro.
DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Corn can be grilled and cut from cobs 1 hour ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Guacamole from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook via FoodNetwork.com
- 4 ripe Haas avocados
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
- 8 dashes hot pepper sauce
- 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced
Cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl. Immediately add the lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss well. Using a sharp knife, slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced. Add the tomatoes. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.