As children, we always got to choose our birthday dinner, and this was my choice, year in year out. The year I was fourteen, I ate seven. It was rarely less than five. Mmmm, mmm, mmm.
My mother’s recipe–simple and fantastic, especially excellent if you want to impress a guy. Not fancy and he’ll feel very well-tended. They are, without question, my favorite tacos in the world, thanks to addition of the beans, and the soft, not crisp, tortillas.
1 lb ground beef or turkey (or tofu, I’m sure)
1 onion, chopped
1 15 oz can chile beans (pintos)
1 taco seasoning packet (I’m partial to Lawry’s)
1/2 head shredded iceberg lettuce
2-3 chopped tomatoes
Shredded colby cheese
12 corn tortillas
Brown the meat with the onions. Add the beans and taco seasoning packet according to directions. Let simmer.
Shred the lettuce, chop the tomatoes. Set the table. Turn on the oven to 200.
To fry the tortillas: get an oven-proof plate or pan ready and cover the botton with a paper towel. In a heavy skillet, heat about an inch of vegetable oil until very hot but not smoking. Test with the edge of a tortilla–the oil should bubble around it. Using metal tongs, dip a tortilla in the oil for just a few seconds and turn it over, then pull it out and drop it flat on the paper towel. Repeat, layering new paper towels on top of the tortillas. (It takes a little bit of practice, but don’t lose hope.)
Serve with whatever condiments you like–guacamole or sour cream or pico de gallo. I like them straight—and there is a particular layering system I like: cheese, meat, lettuce, tomato so the cheese will melt, but CR likes to put sour cream on his and that goes first.
Did you have a birthday dinner ritual when you were a child?