Monday, March 9, 2009

Lazy Geary Street Cooking

Dutch brought home another cookbook, Latin and Caribbean Grocery Stores Demystified, and after skimming through it, I developed a craving for tacos.

Specifically, the tacos I prepared with the Elevensies and the Molly back at 327.  They weren't terribly authentic, but they were always good, and the company always made them sweeter.  On a foundation of burner roasted corn tortillas, we'd pile canned black beans, cheese, lettuce, ground beef, home made salsa, and whatever else we had laying around.  The table would be crowded with pans and bowls of condiments and fillings.  We'd barely have enough room for our plates.
I had masa harina, for making tortillas (and a griddle and a press).  My mom got me hooked on fresh tortillas.  She made them with flour, though.
I had farm lettuce. (complete with mud from last week's rain) and fresh cilantro and parsley.
I had bacon (what else could I need?)
I had uncooked rice.
In my imagination I had beans.  I thought I was set. 
I made the tortilla dough.  even though the package says "instant" I have learned better.  Its not instant.  Its always better if it sits around in the fridge for a while after you knead the jeebers out of it.  Maybe instant just means "sit around in the fridge for a half hour while you ransack your kitchen for beans."
Canned Beans, the Quintessential Korean Staple
I had been getting used to disappointment today.  I got word that I'll get a pink slip on Thursday, I found out that Big Red has a slow tire leak, and one of my students ditched class, which meant I had to stay late, fill out forms and make nasty phone calls.  Surely I deserved some good news, and would find beans.  I found lentils ( I am willing to stretch the idea of a taco in a lot of weird directions, but somehow, I couldn't visualize lentils, plus they take a whole 45 minutes to cook), and konbu, and Jiffy cornbread mix and solidified honey, and all sorts of useless items.  No beans.  Not anywhere.
I resolved to walk to the nearest beansource and mercantilize.    Not 50 yards from my front door, I encountered my favorite Korean Market.  They carry SPAM, surely they'd have some beans.  It turns out they had lots of beans.  Bags and bags of beans.  Mung beans, black beans, red beans, lima beans, peas, (they even had acorn flour! I could indulge my desire to make Ohlone acorn cakes!?).  I grabbed barley, and flax seeds, and wild rice.  I didn't grab the beans.  They were great if I wanted beans tomorrow, but I wanted beans now!  Finally, in the aisle with the tea, I found canned beans.  But my joy was short lived as I read the ingredients.  Beans followed by corn syrup!  They were desert beans, they were meant to go in shakes!  Wrong wrong wrong!  Suddenly I wanted to make this work.  I didn't want to go to another store. I was not going to roll over.
First Korean Market Tacos
half pound marinated beef, chopped fine
handful of cabbage kimchee, chopped fine
cooked rice (any kind will do, I used jasmine)
corn tortillas
handful each of fresh cilantro and parsley, chopped fine
juice of one lemon
Cholula or any hot pepper sauce
small head o' lettuce, chopped fine.
half an onion, chopped fine
three strips of bacon (the Russians carry a particularly fine German variety), chopped fine

  • Combine the fresh herbs, kimchee and lemon juice.  This will be the garnish. 
  • Saute bacon and onions til brown and limp, add the beef, and cook on medium until done.

To Serve
  •  Lay down a warm, tender, fragrant tortilla.
  • Add a little rice, a little meat, a little lettuce.
  • Top with the garnish, and a splash of Cholula and lemon

yum, yum!


H said...

That is an amazing Asian/Euro-Mexican fusion taco recipe! You are a genius!

Camille said...

Thank you! (she blushes modestly)

Kay said...

This would make a great chapter in a cook bok! Great writing - as always.

Kay said...

Course I mean book.

Camille said...

thanks! (still maintaining that modest blush)

The Nikkster said...

Such a multi-cultural taco! That should get some bonus points in the California school system.

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I blog about life and soup, but mostly soup.