Tag Archives: taco cleanse

Taco Cleanse Day 25 – Corn VS Flour Tortillas: The Great Debate

Taco Cleanse enthusiast Abbey Bean asked an important question on a previous post and I would like to address it here because this is a crucial topic that I feel remiss for not addressing as of yet. She said “do you prefer flour or corn tortillas?” and I will try to answer this as best I can.

This is a perfect tortilla, it’s almost spongy like injera and delicate like a crepe but the flavor is pure corn

If you have ever wondered “how could eat tacos all day” my guess is that you have never had a deliciously fresh perfectly made tortilla. They are the most critical element of the taco both for enfolding the delicious components within and for creating a way to bring the taco from your plate to your mouth. They are also a vital element when it comes to the taste of the taco. You hear a lot that you can tell how good a taco stand is going to be by it’s salsa and I would have to disagree. Fresh homemade tortillas are the hallmark of any great taco stand. And they aren’t even hard to make.

I choose my taco’s tortilla based on what is going to be inside. Usually it works out that if it’s going to be more of a Tex-Mex taco like fajitas or a scramble-sausage-cheese breakfast taco I will use a flour tortilla. If my taco is more Mexican inspired like Al Pastor, Carnitas, or my standard breakfast taco of refried beans, nopales, and potatoes, then I will chose a corn tortilla. This is most of the time and I do really love a good corn tortilla. A bad one can ruin a taco however. I’ve never really been a fan of whole wheat tortillas because I’ve never had one that wasn’t tough but maybe I would enjoy a really fresh one. I do like Margarita’s spelt tortillas and get them occasionally for breakfast. On the taco cleanse it can be a little harder to figure out what tortilla goes with what filling. For the Pad Thai-co I was trying to think of some rice based or mung bean based tortilla, like a Vietnamese crepe, but in the end I just used flour because flour is kind of a neutral and it worked great. 

Choosing a flour vs a corn tortilla isn’t even the real issue. I used to be kind of a corn tortilla snob but I’ve gotten over it as I’ve gotten older and learned to try and embrace every kind of taco. Quality, I assure you, is what makes the real difference. I don’t think I can really explain it through pictures because you can’t always tell a good tortilla by looking at it. Just the other day, I was at the Mexican meat market looking for five inch flour tortillas and I tried the first brand I found that was vegan. I didn’t have very high hopes – I usually don’t go for flour tortillas unless they just came off the comal- but they ended up being fluffy and delicious. Generally you want to either make tortillas yourself or go somewhere where they are still warm when you purchase them. In Austin, Fiesta, HEB, Central Market, and many taquerias make their tortillas fresh all day so they are easy to find. Tortillas don’t last long, that’s why dishes like migas, chilaquiles, and nachos were invented, to use up the tortillas past their prime. If you aren’t making fresh tortillas you always want to heat them up, before you add the filling. I used to always wrap them in foil and stick them in the oven but ever since I got my tortilla warmer I have been using the microwave instead. Tortillas should always be small, six inches or less, you should be able to finish a taco in a few bites.

A festive woven tortilla warmer is a nice change from the beige standard ones.

If there aren’t Mexican grocery stores in your neighborhood and you do decide to make tortillas yourself, I recommend getting a tortilla press to make the job super easy. They aren’t expensive and you can use them to flatten gluten cutlets too if you make your own seitan.

I would also recommend watching a video, here is one from Hilah Cooking, to get the technique right and try corn first, I find them easier than flour. They are similar to making pancakes except there is no measuring, only a couple ingredients, and they are done in about a minute. If you can’t get masa in your area, there are even recipes for how to make them yourself, here is a great video.

Now there are, of course, a range of other vehicles for holding your taco but these are always secondary to the standard fresh tortilla. Crispy tacos, puffy tacos, pancake tacos, waffle tacos, romaine leaf tacos, and even raw corn tortilla tacos all have their place on the taco cleanse but they aren’t “standard” tacos, I would call them specialty tacos. I see a lot of folks calling their tacos “soft tacos” and I think that term is an invention from Taco Bell that is rather redundant. Any taco is a soft taco unless it’s otherwise stated.

A crispy taco is a “specialty” taco not typically served in Mexico or Texas.

I hope that clears things up. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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Taco Cleanse Day 24 – Soy Curl Fajitas

I tried forever to figure out how to say Soy Curl fajitas in Spanish but it turns out I just don’t know how. Why are they even called soy curls? Are they like curls of smoke or curls of hair?  I blame this lack of knowledge on my shitty Spanish teacher “Señorita Williams” who was like Peggy Hill without the enthusiasm. She also exclusively wore jumpers like this. I don’t think Fajitas are Mexican anyway. I’m pretty sure they are a tex-mex dish that was made up by cowboys or ranchers. Those poor folks didn’t have ready access to soy curls as we do these days so they had to use pieces of dead cows! Thankfully times have changed and this vegan version is super. The recipes took me a while to perfect. I think the key was to use a lot of oil, because otherwise the soy curls would stick to the pan rather than getting browned. Maybe my cast iron just isn’t seasoned well enough. I also used aji amarillo Peruvian pepper paste because I absolutely love it and I feel like it perks up any peppery dish but I’m sure any pepper paste would do. I have been loving the  Yellowbird Sauce made with habañeros, too, but you could skip it or use whatever hot sauce you like. Finally, I had some fajita spice mix but if you don’t another seasoning mix would do, something that has onion and garlic powder along with salt and pepper.

Soy Curl Fajitas

4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion cut in half moons
1 red pepper and 1 orange pepper cut in strips
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups of soy curls (re-hydrate in vegetable broth and then squeeze dry)
2 Tablespoons of aji amarillo pepper sauce
1 Tablespoons of yellowbird hot sauce
1 teaspoon of cumin
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tea spoons of fajita spice mix

Heat up a cast iron skillet over a medium hot flame and then add the oil. When shimmering toss in the peppers and onions. Once they are getting browned add the garlic, after it sizzles for 30 seconds add the soy curls and toss in the other ingredients. Cook until the soy curls are browned and serve on a tortilla with homemade guacamole or sour cream and scallions or sliced almonds for some crunch.

Enjoy!

This recipe is going to be in the upcoming taco cleanse zine which we are feverishly working on! Luckily we are #TacoPowered and should get it done before veganmofo is over!

Taco Cleanse Day 17 – The Pad Thai-co

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Pad Thai is one if my go-to comfort foods and there is a great little place down the corner from me called Tuk Tuk that’s hard to resist. It’s the most untraditional taco I’ve eaten yet and maybe the easiest since I just piled on the takeout noodles, cabbage, and topped with some peanuts like and sriracha into a flour tortilla.

It also made me realize that one typical sized pad thai serving would feed about 6 people in taco form.

Tacos save lives!

Taco Cleanse Day 13- Time for raw tacos

Today Culture Map wrote an article quoting me about the benefits of the taco cleanse and I have to admit, when I read it this morning,  I wasn’t feeling that great! I’ve had too many days in a row of decadent tacos from Mexican food trailers that I decided a trip to living foods cafe Beets was in order.

Their taco plate described as “three crispy corn taco shells filled with a veggie ground meat, topped with shredded lettuce, salsa and drizzled with cashew nacho cheeze (served with with “sunflower beanz” and a choice of side salad” turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. Or maybe it was the half gallon of water I drank along with the meal instead of margaritas. It’s hard to say really but here at the midpoint I do recommend adding some raw tacos if you are on the cleanse.

Staying hydrated on the #tacocleanse can actually be a bit of a challenge so I was super excited that one of my all time favorite blogs Eating Appalachia posted a nice recipe for Horchata for all of us working through the cleanse. And one of my other favorites “Don’t Eat of the Sidewalk” has promised a movie and taco post later on today to help you if you wondering how to spend the weekend. I know my plans include watching The Three Amigos while eating the three amigos taco from the Vegan Nom. And if you are looking for even more recipes check out fellow taco lover and veganmofoer The Vegan Training Table‘s post Handmade Tacos: Inspired by the Austin “Taco Cleanse”

Stay #tacostrong!

Taco Cleanse Day 12 – Sweet Ritual’s Amazing Wonder: The Chaco Taco

When we first started talking about the taco cleanse back in April I never would have guessed that it would have led to so much new taco goodness. At that time in my life I already ate a taco pretty much every day so I didn’t realize that there would be so much more to discover when committing to the cleanse. So many people have been joining the cleanse and local restaurants have been adding new and unique tacos to their menus just to help us through this! I got to try Teriyaki soy curl tacos at Counter Culture’s Taco Tuesday a couple of days ago and then a The Ginger Bliss special at the Vegan Nom last night. There is so much creativity coming out with tacos in Austin. But I have to admit, so far my favorite new taco on the scene is the Chaco Taco that Amelia from Sweet Ritual has put together for us.

I’ve been dying to try it ever since Ross posted his last week. Then they were suddenly all over social media. Last night I was up north with my fellow taco scientists and after eating Rockin Vegan Tacos for dinner we headed over to Sweet Ritual for the chaco taco dessert. When we got there they only had one left and everyone graciously stepped back and let me have it. The taco cleanse is really working, we are feeling so much more love for humanity and tacos than ever before.

I had cinnamon ice cream in my waffle cone taco shell topped with one the many long lost loves of my life, the hard chocolate magic shell. I was dead quiet while I ate it and went into a state of taco bliss that I can’t even describe.

And yes Austin, they have more today and will have them all weekend.

Taco Cleanse Day 11: What is a taco?

would you call this a taco?

Since I’ve been on the taco cleanse for 11 days now I’ve really given a lot of thought about what really is a taco. Since I happen to be vegan, of course I’ve been making and eating vegan tacos which btw is pretty easy to do here in Austin Texas. Recently, a blog that I love and respect implied that my tacos weren’t “real” because I am not eating pigs, chickens, cows, and other animals. While I certainly agree that vegan tacos aren’t culturally traditional, they do exist and are therefore real! I’m living proof of the reality of vegan tacos, I promise! I mean, are Taco Bell tacos culturally traditional? I know for some people, tradition is so important that they don’t want to see anything else and I can respect that. Sometimes I wish there was some respect in the other direction though. Maybe because of my life long love of Star Trek I am more of a future thinking kind of gal, but, it seems to me that the world changes all the time. Food preferences, especially, are constantly evolving. If they didn’t, Italians would have never embraced the tomato, a new world ingredient, and then where would we be as the human race? It’s hard to say really, except that we wouldn’t have marinara sauce and I would still firmly believe that vegan tacos are still tacos.

Where I’m having more trouble is with tacos that aren’t Mexican or Tex-Mex inspired. We, the taco scientists, decided as a group the most important aspect of the taco was the single fold around a filling. Years ago I ate my first Dutch Taco at the Flavor Spot in Portland, I didn’t think twice about a waffle enveloped around a sausage as being a taco, even if it wasn’t close to traditional. But, over the weekend, when I folded a pancake around sausage and called it a taco it definitely seemed like I was cheating on the cleanse. Falafel wraps have come up several times when discussing the taco cleanse with other vegans (the stereotype of herbivores eating tons of hummus is probably the most accurate of all the stereotypes). Even though it fits the parameter of the single fold, I don’t think it’s a taco, but then if you stick the same ingredients in a tortilla they kind of are! I mean, there are Korean tacos and Vietnamese tacos all over the place so why not a falafel taco?  On the other hand, the tortilla isn’t entirely critical because low carb dieters and raw food enthusiasts use the lettuce leaf and call it a taco and who am I to judge them. So is a pita ok too? All I know for sure is that a burrito definitely isn’t a taco.

So, yeah, that’s what has been on my mind. Now you know more about what it’s like being a vegan on a taco cleanse. Please let me what you think below (although rude comments are always deleted). And yeah, if you are wondering, I’ve definitely been called out by the taco cleanse police.
taco police

Taco Cleanse Day 10 – Veracruz All Natural

Another Austin blogger has joined the Taco Cleanse this week, Aneelee, and I was very excited to see her breakfast tacos yesterday because they looked unfamiliar. 24 hours later I was driving around the east side in early morning traffic hunting down a little food trailer called Veracruz All Natural which has been on my list for a while, but I had never tried. When Nelly mentioned that the tortillas were to die for it was pretty much all I could think about until I had them in my hot little hands. I perused their vegetarian friendly menu (spinach, avocado, and nopales are always a win for me) and studied their salsas, one had big chunks of avocado in it so I knew I was going to be happy.

I ordered potatoes, beans, and avocado on one and potatoes, beans, and nopales on the other both on corn because that’s how I roll. The corn tortilla was indeed like a perfect delicate corn crepe, the potatoes were soft and well seasoned, the beans had a nice flavor and all the salsas were spicy but not overpoweringly spicy, just a nice gentle burn. Definitely a good stop if Ceaser Chavez is on your morning commute.

I am starting to notice the positive effects of the taco cleanse. Usually, I snooze my alarm clock for sometimes over an hour and spend the morning in a fog of confusion and anger. This morning I awoke before the sun was up, maybe for the first time in my life. I was filled with a sense of love for the world and a desire for more tacos. I think I’ve passed through the tougher stages of the cleanse and my body is starting to exude taco power. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Tonight is Taco Tuesday at Counter Culture and Sue is cooking up some badass specials.  “Rotating Tacos throughout the day including a Cafeteria Style Taco with a hard corn shell, ground seitan, lettuce, tomatoes and queso and an Asian Taco with teriyaki soy curls, kinpira and tomatillo salsa.” I can’t wait! I’ll see y’all there, stay Taco Strong!