Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Taco Project

By now, those of you that have been checking out my blog posts might find yourself wondering . . . "What's up with the tacos?"  Yeah.  I know.  I feel the same way, but at this point, I feel that I'm kind of powerless to stop it.  I think it's my destiny.  O.o

So, how did this start?  Well, it started with a taco cookbook that I have never even seen.  I don't know who wrote it.  I don't know what it's called.  I don't even WANT to know.  I heard about this cookbook secondhand.  It's probably a great book.  The point is, this cookbook contained LOTS of taco recipes - so many that I think the author may have been scrambling around a bit to reach their goal.  One of my dear sisters ran across a recipe for - get this - spaghetti tacos.  Yes.  Spaghetti with tomato sauce.  In a taco shell.  Ummm . . . really?  My sister and I laughed a bit over a few text messages and kind of left it there.

A few days later, I wanted to come up with something to use some frozen albacore tuna steaks that I had in the freezer.  For some reason, I thought of tacos.  I remembered an awesome recipe for beef tacos with wasabi mayonnaise in Gordon Ramsay's Home Cooking.  This book, by the way, has become one of my favorite cookbooks.  It has awesome, simple recipes, some of which I can even manage on a weeknight!  Here's the book on Amazon.  I've also included a video of Gordon Ramsay making the tacos!

Anyway, I used the recipe as a model, substituting tuna that I lightly smoked in a stovetop smoker (more on that wonderful invention later), and modifying the marinade and slaw recipes a bit.  They were really outstanding!  My husband and I were sitting at the table after dinner, as we often do, and I remembered the spaghetti tacos that I had heard about from my sister.  I mentioned the book and described the recipe to my husband.  He laughed and agreed that the number in the book was exorbitant.  He told me that ten taco recipes was really enough.  What???  Only ten?


I would not even begin to try to come up with the number of tacos in the  mystery book that I still have not read, but I told him that I thought I could come up with one hundred original, interesting, solid taco recipes.  In a year.

It was DONE.  Like I said, it might be my destiny.  I'm not sure yet.

So, there you have it.  That's The Taco Project.  I want to create and share 100 taco recipes with anyone who cares.  It was too late to post my tuna tacos (or at least too late to take pictures), but I figured I would post 99 others and finish up with the tuna tacos at the very end.  My first post for the project was August 2nd, so that means I need to wrap it up with the smoked tuna tacos on August 2nd, 2016.  Well, two down.  Ninety-eight to go.

Since I embarked on this adventure, my husband and I have had a few lively discussions about the nature of tacos.  What constitutes a taco?  When have you taken things too far?  When have you stopped being adventurous and crossed over into not-a-taco territory?  I'm not sure we agree 100% on the answers to those questions.  I suggested that he start his own taco project on his own blog, because that would make the whole thing twice as much fun.  Ha.  :)  I'm not sure that's going to happen.

So, for the purposes of The Taco Project, what is a taco?  Here are MY rules and guidelines for myself.

1.  It has to have a tortilla shaped wrapper (crunchy or soft is fine), and you have to be able to pick it up and eat it like a taco.  No fork food.

2.  It does NOT have to be authentic.  I'm trying to stretch the boundaries with flavors and ingredients, so I will use any ingredients that sound interesting.

3.  I will be exploring a variety of styles and will tackle this project from an omnivorous point of view.  I will try to create a nice sampling of meat, vegetarian (probably some vegan), hearty, light, savory, and sweet tacos.  I am not counting calories or trying to promote a diet or way of eating.  My two goals are creativity and deliciousness.

4.  As you may have noticed (if you have read my recipes), I am not exactly a one-pot or fast-and-easy type of cook.  I wouldn't complicate something for no reason, but I enjoy cooking.  If I need to get three pans and six bowls dirty to bring my idea to life, so be it!

5.  That being said, I will probably have a balance of simpler tacos and those-to-make-when-you-want-to-knock-someone's-socks-off tacos.  I have a full-time job, which I love, and weekday tacos are going to have to be doable for me.  For the majority of the recipes, I will probably use quality store-bought tortillas.  If I have a burst of inspiration and I want to mix it up, I may try a tortilla/wrapper recipe of my own!

Well.  After all this, if I quit, I will really feel silly!  I hope you enjoy reading my recipes, perhaps making a few, and getting some ideas of your own.  I love cooking.  It's . . . really an AMAZING thing to do.  I love to share good food with people who enjoy it.  :)

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