All American Taco and Taco Potion #19


the all-American Taco

It so happened that this week my bro in law Tim shared some of his catch of corn kernels and slacked lime (a.k.a cal), from his meandering in Mexican grocery stores. I saw Alton Brown’s episode on how to make corn tortilla from scratch so I went on and tried it out. People – why on Earth are you still buying corn tortillas as the store? Don’t give me the “convenience” story. You will have to try this at least once – you’ll make yourself a favor. Please!

But this post is not about my home made tortilla, but about the “almost home raised Taco” after Alton Brown’s recipe. I say “almost”, because with the exception of the beef, corn and cheese, every other ingredient here was home grown. Was probably the best Taco I ever had. We’ll start with the spices.

Taco Potion #19

Please, stop buying that insipid taco flavoring that adds more color than flavor to your dish. I bet that you still have an expired open taco pack somewhere in your kitchen. I’ve been using this recipe for all my Taco meat for the last 3 years, and I will not be buying it from store ever. The thing is that Taco potion is so ridiculously easy to make, that you really have no excuse to not make it:

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Put all of the ingredients in a small jar (or in my favorite granite mortar and pestle
) and shake to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Bingo!

This is the point in the blog post where I’ll be adding a plug for my latest photography blog called photogabi. You will probably find some of the food photos here posted over there as well. I think a delicious dish deserves a delicious photo, don’t you think? What appeals for the palate must appeal for the eyes as well. Please make sure you head over there, and subscribe via RSS, or Like the Facebook Fan page or follow gabiphoto on tweeter. You know, all the social things.


taco spices

 The All American Taco

12 corn hard taco shells
2 tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 chopped medium onion
1 pound ground sirloin
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 recipe Taco Potion #19 (see above)
2/3 cup beef broth (preferably low-sodium)

topping options:
6 ounces crumbled panela cheese
pickled jalapeno slices
1 cup iceberg lettuce shredded
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Put your apron on, we’re cooking. Unfortunately I’ve seen to many documentaries (like Food Inc.) to buy ground meat anymore. Specially after the Pink Slime episode. So, I ended up scoring a hand cranked meat grinder
that yes adds another step at least in my cooking process, but I can tell you that it is well worth the bother. Or if you have the KitchenAid, you have no excuse to get the KitchenAid grinder attachment. I found that by cubing the meat to approximately 3/4″x3/4″ and lightly freezing it, makes grinding a breeze.

meat grinding.jpg

meat grinding

Meanwhile, saute your onions in 2 Tbs peanut oil until translucent and slightly brown around the edges on medium heat. Next, add the minced garlic, ground meat and 1 Ts salt (kosher) and keep cooking until the beat turns slightly brown (maybe 5-7 minutes). Make sure you stir the mix every now and then so you won’t end up with lumps of uncooked meat. This is when you bring the Taco Potion #19 to the party and the beef broth and keep cooking for say another 3 minutes or until the mix thickens.

garlic and onion.jpg

garlic and onion


sauted onion

sauted meat.jpg

sauted meat

spiced meat.jpg

adding spices

cumin grinding.jpg

cumin grinding

You can go wild with toppings. You can in fact use whatever you have on hand right now. But for more traditional toppings you could go with crumbled panela cheese (aka “basket cheese”), shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, jalapeno slices, cilantro, diced bell peppers. Once you are done, post your pictures on Mamaliga’s Facebook Fan Page! I want to see how creative you can get with your topping! We might even feature your pic as a winner!!



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