Tag Archives: tacos

Tofu-riffic Tacos!

Pickled red onions on a taco?!  Oh bay-bee!  The favor combination of the vinegar-y onions, creamy guacamole and the spicy, smoky sauce on the tofu is other-worldly good.  Like something I’ve never tasted or even imagined.  You may think you don’t like tofu, but after trying these tacos, you’ll be running to the store for more!  We came across this combo in a Denver restaurant called Fuel Cafe–a tricky place to find in an industrial part of the RINO district–click through the images on their page to get a feel for the place.   Well worth the journey for tacos like these.

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To get started, you’ll need to pickle a red onion.  It’ll need time to chill and be ready for your tacos.  You can make the pickled onion ahead of time.

ingredients for pickled onions

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced.

Slice the onions as thin as you can.

slice thin

Blanch the onions in boiling water for about 10-20 seconds.  You don’t want to blanch the color out–if you see it starting to fade it’s time to drain them!

blanch

Drain completely in a colander and return to the now empty but still warm blanching pot.

drain

Add the vinegar, sugar and salt along with enough water to just cover the onions.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute.

add vinegar sugar salt water

Place onions and vinegar into a jar and chill.  The onions will turn a beautiful fresh hot-pink color!  So pretty!

in a jar

Now that your onions are chilling, prepare the sauce–it’s essentially the same as for sofritas.  The sauce can be made ahead of time.  You’ll need:

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 poblanos, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili blend–like a fajita mix or a chili powder of your choice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a splash of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup broth–I use No Chicken broth
  • 1-2 TBSP tomato paste
  • NOTE-ignore the tofu, I recycled the pic from the sofritas post!  🙂

Roast your poblanos, either in a 400F oven or on your grill.  I chose my outdoor grill–it was a beautiful day!  Roast, turning until blistered on all sides.

roast poblanos

Place the peppers in a plastic bag and seal to steam.  This will help the skins slip right off.

steam poblanos

When the peppers have cooled enough for you to handle them, peel by rubbing them gently with your fingers.

peel poblanos

Then remove the seeds and stem.

seed poblanos

Place the cleaned poblanos in your blender.poblanos in blender

Then add the chipotles, cumin, chili blend, salt, garlic powder, oregano, lime juice and broth.

everything else in blender

Blend until smooth, transfer to a bowl and stir in the tomato paste.  Set aside.

add tomato paste

Now for the tacos!  You’ll need:

ingredients tacos

  • pickled red onions (see recipe above)
  • prepared sauce (see recipe above)
  • 1 (14 0z) package extra firm tofu–always choose organic tofu to avoid GMOs
  • prepared guacamole–buy it or make it yourself.  Mine is simple–avocado, garlic powder, salt, lime juice, and cilantro.
  • corn tortillas
  • chopped lettuce
  • chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges

Drain and then press the tofu by placing it on a clean kitchen towel.

drain tofu and place on towel

Wrap the towel around the tofu and place something on top to help press out most of the remaining liquid.

add weight to press water out

Let the tofu sit for at least 15 minutes (up to 30 minutes) and then cut into cubes, by cutting through the side and then cutting long sticks.  Finally cut the sticks into cubes.  The cubes will be about 1/2 inch on a side.

cube tofu

Spray a fry pan with oil and place over medium high heat.  Add tofu cubes and fry, stirring occasionally to brown on all sides–or as many as you can get.  Don’t worry about getting every cube perfectly browned.  🙂

fry tofu

Reduce heat to low and add enough sauce to coat the tofu–about half of the sauce.

add sauce

Stir to coat.  Now it’s time to put the tacos together!

stir to coat

 

Warm the tortillas inside a kitchen towel in a microwave or however you like to warm them.  Place a bit of lettuce, then tofu cubes, then a bit of guacamole, then pickled onions and finally a sprinkle of cilantro.  Look at them!  Like art!

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Squeeze a lime over the top, pick one up and have your first wondrous bite.  Oh my.

Both the sauce and the onions can be made ahead to speed up the tacos when you’re ready to make them.  Is this my new favorite way to eat tofu?  Yessssssss!  Mmmmmmmmmm-yummy!

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Filed under dinner, lunch, recipe, restaurants, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian

Melt-in-your-mouth Slow Cooker Carnitas

OMG you MUST make this recipe!  I’ll wait while you run to the store for a pork shoulder.

Back?  Great!  You gotta love pork shoulder–at under 2 bucks a pound, you get a lot of meals for your money.  My grocery only sells whole shoulders–usually 10 pounds or so.  This recipe calls for a 2-pounder.  I just go ahead and buy a whole one.

When I get home, I get a cutting board that can go in the dishwasher, sharpen my knife and cut the shoulder into more workable pieces.  I tried to cut 3 equal pieces, but as this is “bone in” I was limited to how I could cut it.  I ended up with 2 pieces that were about 2 pounds and a larger one containing the bone, about 4 pounds.  Safety note:  wash hands carefully, before and after handling raw meat.

Then I put the pieces in freezer ziplocs, label and freeze for later.  One of them just went into the fridge because I wanted to use it the next day for these amazing carnitas!!!

This recipe couldn’t be easier and can be started before you leave for work in the morning.  When you get home, dinner will be mostly ready and your house will smell divine!

Gather up your ingredients for Melt-in-your-mouth Slow Cooker Carnitas:  (based on a recipe from Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes)

2 pounds of pork shoulder  (Definitely use the cheaper pork shoulder as opposed to the pricer and leaner tenderloin.  The tenderloin will be too dry to “pull.”)

1 cup water

2 large onions, peeled and quartered

3 fresh jalepenos, chopped, seeds and all–it will not make the meat overly spicy.   (I have a bag of frozen jalapenos from last year’s garden–I just get out what I need and let them thaw on the counter.  Pickled jalepenos would make this recipe too vinegar-y.)

8 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Trim the excess fat from the pork–you won’t get it all, remove the rest as you shred it later.

Place meat in the slow cooker, add water and the rest of the ingredients.

Handy tip:  Hot peppers can literally burn your skin, and anywhere else (eyes–ouch!) that you touch.  To minimize this, use rubber gloves or handle the pepper by its stem.  I hold it by the stem and make some cuts lengthwise and then cut across, retaining the stem end to use as a “pusher.”  Scoop up the pepper pieces with your knife and push them into the pot using the stem end.  I still wash my hands thoroughly with soap and water after.

Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours, or on high setting for 4-5 hours.  (I did the high setting and was super happy with the results!)  Remove the meat to a shallow bowl and discard the cooking liquid.

Use two forks to shred the amazingly tender and succulent meat.  Be ready to slap any hands that wander by and try to sneak some before dinner!  You, as the cook, are allowed to taste.  This is called “quality control.”

Use this uber-yummy spicy pork to make sandwiches, burritos or tacos.  We made tacos.  I set out cheese, salsas, sour cream, sliced avocado, chopped green onion, queso, flour tortillas, soft corn tortillas, lettuce, and hard taco shells.  Mr16 made his with 2 flour tortillas with a layer of queso in between, lots of meat, green onion and cheese:

DH is watching his carbs so made his with lettuce leaves, meat, green onions, salsa and cheese (low carb option):

I made mine with soft corn tortillas, cheese, meat, tomatillo salsa, avocado, green onion, sour cream and lettuce:

We had enough meat for 2 tacos a piece (remember there is a teenager eating here–he uses lots of meat in his tacos!), plus some leftover.  I am totally making this again….I’m dreaming of a yummy carnitas burrito with pinto beans and green chili…..mmmmmmm!

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