This book was send to me by my friend Allen. I met Allen in LA for the first time. I was behind the wheel of a rented black, Chevy Yukon and he was standing in front of the Roosevelt Hotel on his way to the Yahoo! Grammy party. Our short drive up the Sunset Strip solidified a few quick lessons. We were both creative guys and we both expressed it through cooking. Arguably, the single most important thing he taught me came years later as we both stood in my Brooklyn kitchen after yet another one of our Yahoo! projects wrapped. Now that might seem shallow but it’s not. The trick he showed me was how to heat up a tortilla. Put the stove top flame on med heat. Throw the tortilla directly on the flame. Flip in 5 seconds. Pull it. Stuff it. Eat it.
I had always heated my tortillas in a large hot pan. Not only did this dirty another pan in the cooking process but it took longer to heat the tortillas. So, why was this lesson so important? It is not about the tortillas as much it is about understanding a new or different way to do something. So often we look to solve problems from the perspective of what we have learned or how we were taught. Sometimes this is not the best or most logical way to do something. In this case, remove the middle man (the pan) and go directly to the source is more efficient in every way, not to mention it looks really cool. Apply this to creative thinking (in my case advertising) and watch out.
A few months back Allen took a trip to Mexico and happened upon a cooking class from famed Mexican chef Rick Bayless (Mexcian via Oklahoma). With our tortilla bond in mind, he picked up a copy of Rick’s latest book and sent it over to my BK kitchen. Inside are some fantastic sounding, delicious looking recipes. Picking one to cook was difficult. The night finally arrived last week, as the book was screaming at me from my kitchen counter, to pick a recipe and cook. I decided to go simple but with massive flavor punch. The Chipotle Beef Tacos with Carmelized Onions on page 169 fit the bill. Of course we had to throw some accoutrements in with the tacos.
We started with some chorizo and queso fresco.
And some homemade yucca fries for good measure.
To add some veggie to this meat mayham I modified a recipe out of the front of Rick’s book. Romaine, watercress, Fennel salad with lime cilantro vinaigrette. In Rick’s recipe he used jicama instead of fennel. The market didn’t have it :( I love jicama.
Chips and salsa with taco toppings staged the next course
Finally the Taco’s were built and devoured. Damn tasty.
Entenmenn’s chocolate cake made an appearance for dessert
As did Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby
This recipe was fantastic. I don’t cook much Mexican nor do I frequent many Mexican restaurants in NYC because I find they are not very authentic. I don’t think this has changed my mind on Mexican restaurants but I am certainly going to try a few more Bayless recipes and hopefully develop a few Mexican favorites to put in teh arsenal. Thanks Allen for the book and thanks Rick for the inspiration.
Page 169′s Chipotle Beef Tacos with Carmelized Onions
One 7 ounce can chipotle chiles en adobo
1 lbs skirt steak
3 tbs olive oil
2 medium white onions slices 1/4″ thick
12 warm corm tortillas
about 3/4 cup smokey chipotle salasa (page 149) or bottled salsa
Turn oven onto its lowest setting. Open the chipotle and blend in a food processor until smooth. marinade steak with chipotle. In a large skillet cook the onions in the oil until crunchy. Remove onions from pan and ass the steak. Brown on both sides (3 minutes per side). Let is rest in the oven for 5 minutes then slice into 3 inch lengths. Toss with the onions and season with salt. Build tacos with tortillas, salsa, hot sauce and steak/onion combo.