Tacos: How They’ve Changed!

August 19, 2015 – When I was a boy taco night at our house was a favorite night.  I looked forward to it every week.  My mother made great tacos.  She still does.  The last time I visited her she made tacos.  I ate six.  Her tacos are still an inspiration.

My mother uses the build-your-own approach.  She prepares the meat, usually ground beef.  Always delightful.  She then offers an array of ingredients to add according to your taste.  Chopped tomatoes, onions, green onions, olives, shredded cheese, salsa.  And, of course, tortillas.

She uses the same preparation for the tortillas as I do.  Drop  them flat (and carefully) in hot oil for mere seconds.  Fold them in half for a few more seconds.  Lay them on a dish covered with paper towels to drain.  Oh, the pleasure of that taste.  She usually prepares a few extra just so I can have one or two plain.  Unadorned.  Extremely good.

But times have changed.  The food culture that began slowly a few years back with Julia Child, Wolgang Puck and Paul Prudhomme before exploding with the Food Network and other networks offering copy cat programming has led most of us to eat differently.  To explore new ways of preparing favorite dishes.  We’re now all familiar with fusion, combining food cultures to create new tastes.  New pleasures for our palates.

We also now have ingredients that we hadn’t even heard of when I was a boy.  For the first decade I grew up in a small Louisiana town.  The next decade was in Anchorage, then a pretty small town itself.  Far from the midsize cosmopolitan city it has become.

When we first arrived in Anchorage many ingredients that we had available even in our small Louisiana town couldn’t be found.  Or, since everything had to be shipped in from Outside, we couldn’t afford them.  Today that has changed.  At least in the larger communities.

So my wife decided to make tacos.  She uses a completely different style.  She doesn’t do build your own.  She puts the taco all together.  And it’s marvelous!


(serves two)

1/2 pound ground chicken sausage                                                                                    1/2 roasted red pepper                                                                                                      1 chopped jalapeno                                                                                                         2-3 chopped green onions                                                                                               1/2 cup corn (frozen or fresh cut from the cob)                                                               salt & pepper to taste                                                                                                       1/4 teaspoon chili powder                                                                                                1/4 teaspoon paprika                                                                                                      1/4 teaspoon onion powder                                                                                             1/4 teaspoon garlic powder                                                                                               1 16 oz can cannellini beans                                                                                             Small corn tortillas                                                                                                        Finely grated cheddar & Jack cheese                                                                      Cilantro                                                                                                                        Lime juice                                                                                                                     Salsa

Place two tablespoons of your favorite salsa into a skillet.  Mix the sausage, roasted red pepper, jalapeno, green onions, corn and all the seasonings well.  Cook the mixture on low heat for about 20 minutes.  Drain the beans and add them for the last few minutes.  Mashing a few of them adds a very pleasant creaminess to the sausage and vegetable mixture.  When the sausage is cooked through and the beans are heated, set them aside.

Lay a tortilla on the burner (either gas or electric) on low heat.  Turn the tortilla every few seconds until you have the desired amount of char.  Be careful to turn them often and not leave them on too long.  You want to put some char on them without making them too brittle to fold.

Fold the tortilla and fill it with the sausage creation.  Top with a squeeze of lime, grated cheese, chopped cilantro and salsa.

Bon temps!