Summer is summoning me...calling for long days in the sand and relaxing bike rides through my little beach town. Maybe it's all the taco spots i've been riding past, or the memories of fun experiences at mexican restaurants, or merely the burst of excitement that spice gives us, but lately i've had a hankering for good ol' spicy mexican fare. While this may not be a big deal to most, it is to me. I absolutely love the taste and flare of mexi food, but i don't eat it often since i'm not partial to the lack of quality, the fat, and the heaviness that many mexican restaurants seem to offer. I prefer my mexi food light, healthy, and fresh. Enter the kitch with me, my mandoline, a knife, some veggies, and organic corn tortillas...and here we go.
First let's get our chips ready to be baked...cuz who needs all the fat and extra soybean and crap oils they use on store bought chips? Purchase a package of organic corn tortillas. Check the ingredient label - make sure there is not more than three ingredients: corn, lime, salt. Anything other than these three is uneccessary and you should opt for another brand. Stack 6 of them. A pizza cutter comes in handy here. Cut in half. Then cut each half into quarters creating triangle chips. Lay them on a baking sheet making sure not to overlap the chips. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Rub each chip individually in between your palms to make sure both sides are lightly coated with oil. If you prefer salted chips, sprinkle with sea salt. Preheat oven to 350. While these only take about 10 minutes to bake (check and pull them out when crisp), do this as one of the last steps to preparing your meal, so you can enjoy warm chips right from the oven.
CHIPS BEFORE BAKING
Next let's make our veggie taco filling. Basically this is a big ol' salad full of fresh flavors and spiced up to your liking.
1 ear of organic corn (raw) - cut from cob
1/2 small red onion sliced thin on mandoline. You can leave in long slices or chop.
Purple cabbage sliced thin on mandoline (approx 1/8") about 1/2 cup.
Fennel sliced thin on mandoline about 1/2 cup
Jicama sliced thin on mandoline, stacked, then sliced in half and into thin strips
1/2 zucchini sliced thin on mandoline, then sliced in half
1 clove of garlic pressed and chopped
2 cups loosely packed mixed greens, torn into smaller pieces
cilantro chopped about 1/2 cup
1/2 medium avocado
1/4 tsp of cumin
a few dashes of cayenne pepper
optional 1 tsp of stone ground mustard
1 lemon (juiced)
optional protein choice: black beans, pinto beans, cooked shrimp, etc.
Put all of the above ingredients in a bowl, except for your protein choice. Roll up your sleeves, take off your rings and watches, gets your hands in there and massage the avo into the salad ingredients blending all together well. Taste. If you need you can add a little more seasonings or spice, but i would recommend leaving the spice on the lighter side. Spiciness builds as you eat it, and you might have a favorite hot sauce or salsa you'd like to top your tacos with in the end. My recommendation is Scotty's tomatillo salsa.
Put your chips in the oven now along with a few whole tortillas that you plan to use as your veggie taco wraps. Leave the whole tortillas in only to warm and toast very lightly a minute or two. These need to remain pliable as your taco shell. Pull out, fold in half, and let cool. Allow the chips to finish for the remainder of the 10 minutes. Those of you looking to keep it raw or corn free just omit the corn from the salad and opt to wrap your tacos in a larger piece or two of the purple cabbage. Using this as your taco shell.
Put together your taco. Need i explain this one? Place a stack of your salad mixture in the shell, along with protein of choice, a dash of salsa, a spit of hot sauce, and if you are a dairy do-er maybe a small spoonful of plain yogurt or sour cream to cool the fire. Enjoy along with your friends, a corona (cuz sometimes that just tastes so good with mexican food), and your warmly baked corn chips. Now that's healthy mexi. Fresca y caliente!
*(save leftover salad to make mexi tacos in a pinch for lunch tomorrow)