Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tacos and Nachos

Italy: while a great place for Italian food (duh), it's not so great a place if you want food diversity.  I think I mentioned this in one of my earlier posts; it is very difficult to find non-Italian ingredients around here!  I have been craving Mexican food for a while so when I saw ground beef on sale and cumin in the spice racks at Pam (grocery store in Siena), I jumped on it.

The first time around, I bought some tortilla chips (apparently there's only one brand of tortilla chips in Siena: generic) and made nachos.  Second time around, I bought more chips and made more nachos.  Third and fourth times around (OK, so I made it a lot this week...) I made my own tortillas using flour (1 cup), butter (2 tablespoons) and a little warm water (just enough to make the dough stick together but not stick to your fingers).  Roll them thin and dry fry in a sauté pan for a minute each side and you're done!  The tortillas are really easy to make and I would recommend them over the tortilla chips if you are in a time crunch (or are just too lazy to go buy some).  The tortillas can also be cut up and baked or fried to make your own chips.  They keep well at room temperature and will maintain their flexibility if covered in an airtight container (only for a day or two max).

  • 1/2 c. dry beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/3 t. cumin
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes or powder
  • Fresh mozzarella, chopped
  • Lettuce, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Tortillas or tortilla chips
  1. Soak the beans overnight in 2 cups water
  2. Dump the beans into a small pot and cook with a gentle boil until tender (1 - 1 1/5 hours)
  3. Sauté the onion and garlic in a bit of extra virgin olive oil on medium heat until tender
  4. Add the ground beef, cumin and red pepper
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
  6. The beef should cook pretty quickly so keep stirring it around until cooked through
  7. Add the beans (with remaining water) to the pan and reduce heat to simmer until desired saucification is achieved
  8. Enjoy with a Corona and lime or Birra Moretti, depending on which side of the Mexican-Italian divide you are favoring at the moment

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