Nathan and I met my lovely aunt Mary for lunch today, at Beaujo’s Wine Bar. Mary and I had the Greek sandwich for the third time in a row – it’s that good. There’s something about the bread, which is perfectly crusty and yet not too heavy. The filling of olive spread, feta, cucumbers, tomato, spicy peppers, and onions doesn’t hurt either, especially since the sandwich is warm, so everything ends up salty-crunchy-melty-delicious. Nathan had a burger, which he loved, as well as some very rich mocha torte sort of thing. And a cup of (decaf) coffee – my boy lurves coffee, since he was a toddler, so once in awhile I let him indulge.
Back here for a swim and dinner prep. I had a hankering for something Mexican-ish so I made a Rick Bayless-inspired potato-cheese filling, with homemade tortillas and guacamole. Rick’s recipe is actually a chorizo sausage-potato filling (recipe posted in comments, below), which I would happily devour, but John’s not a sausage lover. So I instead sauteed a bit of crispy, spicy ground beef to accompany the potatoes and it worked quite nicely. Ole! (A tart, fresh-lime, on-the-rocks margarita would have been KILL, but, eh, I kinda ran out of energy. An ice-cold beer sufficed just fine, yeah, baby…)
Easy & Rustic Homemade Tortillas
1 c. instant masa harina
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. oil
In a medium bowl, combine 1 c. masa harina and salt. Slowly stir in water, a bit at a time, until a ball of dough forms. Knead dough briefly in the bowl. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Scoop out a couple of Tbsp. of dough into a ball and using your fingers, press into a 1/8-inch thick round, probably 2-3 inches wide. Lay into the hot skillet and bake for 3 minutes, flip and bake the other side for three minutes. Remove to a plate. Use all the dough, baking tortillas as you go, preparing approximately 8 of them. Add oil to the hot pan, turn heat up to medium high, and heat for few minutes until oil is hot enough (I test by dipping an edge of tortilla in, see if it sizzles – if so, it’s hot enough). Fry tortillas, 2-4 at a time, side-by-side but not touching (or crowding the pan) for 3 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Serve immediately.
Potato-Chorizo Tacos with Simple Avocado Salsa
From Mexico One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless
Serves 4 as a light meal
3 (about 12 oz. total) medium red-skin or smallish Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice (about 2 cups)
12 oz. (about 1 ½ cups) Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed if there is one
1 small white onion, finely chopped
4 oz. (2-3) tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and roughly chopped (I’ve used tomatoes instead when I have nice ripe ones, seeded and chopped)
1 garlic clove, peeled
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 serranos or 1 jalapeno), stemmed
1 large ripe avocado
12 small, warm, fresh corn or flour tortillas
1. The filling. In a medium (3-4 quart) saucepan, bring about 1 quart water to a boil. Add the cubed potatoes and heavily salt the water (about 2 tsp). Simmer until the potatoes are fully tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. In a large (12-inch) skillet set over medium heat, combine the chorizo and onion; stir regularly, breaking up any clumps of sausage, until the onion is soft and the sausage cooked through, about 10 minutes. If the sausage has rendered more than a light coating of fat over the bottom of the skillet, pour out the excess. Add the potatoes to the skillet and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the potatoes begin to brown, about 8 minutes. As the mixture cooks, mash everything together a little with the back of a spoon or a spatula, scraping up any crusty bits of potato, so that it roughly holds together (it’ll look a little like hash). Cover and keep warm over the lowest heat.
2. The salsa. As the filling finishes cooking, make the salsa: in a food processor, combine the tomatillos, garlic, and chiles. Pulse the machine until everything is finely chopped. Peel and pit the avocado, ad the flesh to the processor and pulse until everything is well blended (the salsa will be the consistency of a light mayonnaise). Scrape the salsa into a serving bowl, taste and season with the salt, usually about ½ tsp.
3. Serving. Scrape the warm chorizo filling into a serving bowl and set on the table along with the avocado salsa and a basket of steaming tortillas. Supper is ready.
Peel, dice, and boil potatoes as above. In a large skillet, heat ¼ c. oil (or more as needed to thoroughly coat the bottom of the pan) and add chopped white onion and ½ c. chopped poblano (mild spicy) pepper. Saute until onion is beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and 1 clove of garlic, minced, as well as 1 tsp. of ancho or chipotle chili powder. Fry until potatoes are brown in spots , about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Turn heat to low. Sprinkle potatoes with ½ c. of shredded jack or cheddar cheese and cover pan until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Serve in warm tortillas with above avocado salsa, sour cream, and chopped raw veggies (arugula, ripe tomatoes, raw sweet onion). Serves 4.