1.28.2011

Recipe for Ceviche or is it a Seafood Salad? That's What Peruvians Want to Know




In the last 5 years or so, Ceviche has continued to rise on the Gourmet LA Food Scene. Is it really so different from Sashimi? Sure. The seasoning is different.

My friend Enrique is a purist. He's also Peruvian. He doesn't want a lot of stuff chopped up with his ceviche. He's also a snob. He basically wants sashimi with Latin flavors. Simple, pure, delicious, a tad spicy. He wants to taste the fish.

I'm a salad girl! The more chopped up cilantro, celery, onion, carrot, scallion something has, the happier I personally am!

Here is the recipe for what I now have to call a Seafood Salad aka Ceviche.

1/2 lb. of fresh halibut cut into 1 inch flat slices (very thin)
1/2 a green apple cut into small cubes/chunks
2 handfuls of cilantro chopped
2 scallions (white and light green part chopped) *
*I think it needed more and would add one or two scallions more
1 Jalapeno chopped (very fine - wash everything after, don't touch your face, privates etc.)
1/2 a firm avocado chopped (mine was a little too soft and I used too much at 3/4 an avocado)
Juice of 2 limes (use a good tool for getting all the juice out)
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbl of good olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of black pepper

Marinate the fish in the lime juice for 30 min. Toss every 10 minutes to make sure the lime gets all over the fish. Add a pinch of salt and maybe a teaspoon of chopped cilantro at this phase. You know it's ready when lime juice has become milky and the fish turns white.

Drain the fish after 30 min. Add to a bowl with other chopped ingredients. Toss with 2 tbl. of olive oil and 1/2 tsp sea salt and any other listed ingredients. Toss and serve with chips or small tostadas made for ceviche.

Serve with Chalupa or any other bottled hot sauce. You may further salt and pepper to taste.

*** I think a pinch of celery would have been nice here too. Traditional Mexican ceviche has tomato and sometimes cucumber. The picture below is the Campechana from Mariscos Jalisco which also has shrimp and octopus. A lot of times people add other cooked items to the fish ceviche rather than cooking the shrimp and octopus from a raw state with lime.

Find great Peruvian Ceviche HERE ::

1.25.2011

La Casita Mexicana and a Fantastic Potato Taco

After being sad and slightly miffed that Potato Tacos are only made on Tuesday, I sucked it up and went back today, Tuesday, to try some Tacos.

Chef Ramiro Arvizu was in da house. What a sweetheart! I bought some tacos to go and it turned out he was there and had a few minutes... he then ordered me a hugely generous amount of chow and talked to me for half an hour.

Here is our video of the interview.



Here are some fun videos so you can get to know them a bit more...

http://www.blip.tv/file/4669099  (Korean Food Challenge)



They won and their recipe is in a Bobby Flay cookbook. I had the winning Chili relleno. Light and fresh and tasty. No cheese. No batter! Just fresh organic nopales and mushrooms.

Get to Bell please.

1.22.2011

Chef Robert Luna and Tacos with Pickles

Here him talk about the creation of my favorite taco HERE!!!! And he gives the recipe!!!!! WTF!!!!!!!!

WHOO HOO!!!!!

Malo Ground Beef and Pickle Taco


More Luna Love :: HERE

In case KCET moves the link to the recipe around again as they did previously, here is the actual recipe! 

Except for the great salsa they put on it. AHEM.

Ground Beef and Pickle Taco
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 boiled russet potatoes (cut into small dices)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese grated
  • Small jar pickle chips
  • Soft Corn tortillas
Instructions
1. Sauté ground beef in olive oil (1/4 cup oil)
2. Add all the dry spices and cook 5 minutes add cooked diced potatoes.
Continue to cook 8-10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat let cool on counter 30 minutes
4. Heat corn tortillas and fill them with the beef and potato mixture
5. Close both ends with a tooth pick.
6. Fry them in canola oil about 2 minutes on each side
7. Once cooked, place them on a paper towel, remove toothpicks and open
8. Add cheddar cheese and kosher pickle chips.

Then...
"Ok you're done. Now eat," instructs Luna.

1.19.2011

Bill Esparza, Street Food Maven, World Traveler, Says Yes to All Good Tacos

Such a great guy. A saxophonist, a foodie in the beyond and a teacher of foodies. Bill! Thank you so much for giving Taco Talk this interview. So many recommendations. So much to try! I encourage you to catch up on your blogging so we can all see the amazing things you are up to foodwise.



http://www.streetgourmetla.blogspot.com/

http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2009/09/food_blogger_bill_esparza_stre.php

http://blogs.kcrw.com/goodfood/tag/bill-esparza/

Listed Below are the Recommendations Bill gave during the interview...

Drink Cachaça
Eat at Metro Balderas on Figueroa for Nana (Pig Uterus)
Check out a guy who makes sausage near Olympic and Alameda at the Produce Market
Drink Volcan de mi Tierra Tequila
Try Escona Tequila
Drink Tequila La Alborada
Eat at Mariscos Jalisco on Olympic and Dacotah
When in Ensenada, Seafood La Guerrerense at Alvarada and 1st.
Travel Latin America Often
Try New Things
Respect Latin Culture

1.15.2011

Guisados!




I had an adventure. I went in search of something that has been gone for almost two years. The Breed Street Food Fair in all it's glory was shut down by local residents. I just had to see for myself since Yelpers wrote about taco action on Breed St. as recently as December 2010.

My trusty Side of Rice was glued to a football game and another expert guide had tasted too many Pinots at a wine festival and needed some lay-down time.

7pm on a Sat. night I ventured alone into the big city of East LA. I grew up in Greenwich Village in the 70's. I think of myself as a tough New Yorker. I speak Spanish. I've been to DF. I've driven the whole Baja Peninsula 14 times, mostly by mest. And yet, I was afraid to get out of my car and sample the street fair.

The corner of Breed and Caesar Chavez was all but deserted. The Siren Taco Truck was there but after I made the block once she had disappeared. There was also a truck at Breed & 1st but I didn't catch the name. I saw the place I came to see, 'Nina's', but it wasn't even a stand, it was a card table and a plastic cooler under one light. I just wasn't feelin' it.


"Well... I've come all this way. I might as well eat SOMETHING'. (By 'all this way' I mean 8 miles from Eagle Rock. Not far at all!) I passed by the super bright and cheerful La Parilla and thought I could probably do worse.

I went to park the car. On the way back toward the sound of Mariachis, I passed a bright and friendly storefront. GUISADOS the sign sang out. "I know what that means!!!!" I screamed to myself.

I was drawn in and greeted by the extremely young and friendly owner. He spoke perfect English. I felt relief. In fact as it turned out I spoke more Spanish than he did.

He explained they had barely been open a month. I explained I was a Taco Addict with a humble blog and an Internet 'show'. He gave me the sample platter which included the following... all on small homemade tortillas made right before my eyes. All impressively fresh, complex and delicious.


Chorizo & Papas (sausage and potatoes ) :: The perfect blend of texture and flavor. SUBLIME

Calabacitas (zucchini) :: Mixed with onions and corn. Tangy, salty, oily. FANTASTIC

Chicken Mole :: Served with pumpkin seeds. Rich but not too rich. Flavorful. VELVETY

Steak Picado :: Mouth watering flank steak with peppers and onions. SAVORY

Pork Mole Verde :: Tart and delicious. Hunks of Pork with just the right texture.  MUY RICO

Bistec & Salsa Roja :: More like Brisket. Tender and juicy with a zingy red sauce. SEXY

They also had Chicken Tinga and Chicharron. Instead of being super crispy and dry, the Chicharron was simmered and stewed until it was soft again. Super tasty but a little too rich for me. The Tinga was delicious, though I've never had it before so had nothing to compare it to.


They also give you a little starter cup of soup if you would like to cleanse your pallet. Today it was cream of calabacitas. To amuse themselves, they write 'amuse bouche' differently every day. JAJAJAJA.


The restaurant is a 3-way partnership between Armando Jr, Armando Sr. and Ricardo Diaz (who owns another restaurant in Monterrey Park called COOK's which is famous for their incredible tortas) Armando Jr's Uncle owns the market next door where people come for fresh Masa.

I can't wait to tell and bring all my friends. The full size tacos are about $2.50 and they are open from 10am to 8pm every day but Sunday (butby now I think they actually ARE open Sunday - call first to be sure.)

Armando De Latorre Jr.

***More raves and reviews have continued to pour in since we wrote this post! Now they have 3 locations. One in Silverlake and one in W. Hollywood. I feel proud to have been there in the beginning. Good peeps. Good food.



1.12.2011

Detailed Taste Test of Baja Ensenada Tacos and The Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada




Side of Rice and I do have different taste, but he is seriously a fish taco expert because he doesn't eat meat!

I love the attitude and dedication at the Best Fish Taco in Ensenada at 1650 Hillhurst Ave. in Los Feliz and I love the authenticity and simplicity of Tacos Baja Ensenada at 5385 Whittier Blvd.

Viva the Baja Style Fish Taco!

My 'Conversation' with Jonathan Gold!


By 'conversation' I mean question and answer via Facebook! Here's what he said.... Some day maybe Dean will beg him to visit us on Taco Talk. Until then.... Viva Facebook!

Taco Maven :: Do you like crispy tacos or are they just too white trash gringa for you? If you DO like, any favorite spots?
Mr. Gold's Response :: Crisp tacos - tacos dorados - are as authentic as any other kind, and you can find them all over Mexico.  I have been known to daydream about the crunchy shrimp tacos one vendor used to make for the old Breed Street gathering in Boyle Heights. (If anybody knows where she is selling now, let me know) My favorite crunchy tacos at the moment? Probably the deep-fried potato taco at El Atacor #11 on Figueroa near 26th in Highland Park.
Taco Maven :: Note to self. I have had trouble finding crispies in Mexico. They make taquitos and they deep fry a quesadilla in a crispy folded corn shell but I have not seen the more gringa style one with lettuce and cheese on any menus. But I have only been to Baja and Mexico City.

Baja Style Shrimp Tacos

Close-up of shrimp nuggets


I have to apologize for the lack of pictures. When I'm cooking and eating I forget and the lighting in my friend's modern kitchen is not the best!

I vow to make these again soon and get some better photos. Send me one of yours please!

What I liked about these was how light they were because they are just coated in flour vs. dipped in batter. Shrimp is also more consistent and easier to choose and use vs. 'fish' which is a pretty large recipe variable in general.

I like to use ROCK SHRIMP because they come cleaned in E-Z bite size portions. But they are a little hard to find. Instead I got some reg. Mexican shrimp. You have to clean and butterfly which is a pain, but worth it.

Remove shells, make a small slit down the front and back and pull out the weird veiny stuff. Cut off tail fin piece and then cut shrimp in half. In three pieces if they are super big. Rinse and drain to make sure you get off all the ickies.

Makes enough for 4 peeps.

Flour-Coated Shrimp Tacos

1lb of RAW shrimp (cleaned, butterflied and chopped and patted dry)
1/2 head of Green Cabbage (sliced thinly into strips)
Flour or Corn Tortillas (or both) Just get fresh ones!
Jar of Mexican Crema (if you can't find add one cup of milk to one cup of sour cream and blend until pourable) NO MAYO PLEASE
1 carton of Buttermilk (freeze the remains for next time)
3/4 cup of flour
1 tsp. of paprika
1 tsp. of cumin
1 tsp. of chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. of dried oregano
1 tsp. of sea salt
1 tsp. of ground blk pepper (pinch more if you love pepper)

If you want to get really fancy you can add a teaspoon of micro finely chopped cilantro to add some green flecks to the crema.

Salsa - buy your fav. make your own. Pico de Gallo is traditional, but here is a fun fruity one below.

After you clean the shrimp (ugh) place in a bowl and crack a little salt and pepper over it. Add 1 cup of buttermilk. It should cover the shrimp. Stir it about and let sit for at least one hour.

Mix dry ingredients into a wide, flat bowl or a plate with a lip.

Heat vegetable or corn oil in a skillet. Add a pinch of salt to the oil to keep it from spattering.

The shrimp will cook so fast, I recommend heating your tortillas first. I like to do one by one in a pan with some PAM spray. You can even make a crispy corn shell this way. Or you can wrap in foil and heat in the oven.

When oil is hot, with a large spoon remove the shrimp from the buttermilk and dredge in the flour. You can use your fingers to roll the pieces around. Make sure each piece is coated and then put it in the pan.

It's about 1 minute per side and that is it. Once brown, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Put about 5 bite-sized pieces of shrimp into each tortilla. Sprinkle with cabbage and let your guest add their own salsa and crema.

Serve with a cold Mexican beer.

APPLE MANGO SALSA

1 crispy apple peeled and chopped (use gala or fiji or braeburn)
1/2 a firm mango (chopped) lots of stores sell pre-sliced mango - just don't get a mushy one (about 2 tbl)
1 serrano chili (carefully sliced into thin rings) wash your hands after and your knife
1 firm but ripe avocado (chopped into small square pieces)
1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
1 heaping handful of cilantro (chopped)
juice of one juicy lime (may need half a lime more...)
1 Tbl. rice vinegar
1 tsp. of salt (add more to taste)
a few cracks of black pepper

MIX all together about 10 minutes before frying your shrimp. The lime will keep things from browning but the fresher the better. You could also substitute pineapple for mango. Get super fancy and add 1 tbl. of pomegranate seeds (Trader Joe's has) just for fun.

This crema is a good one!


SIDE NOTE - For a thicker more traditional batter, use the same spices but use 1 cup of flour to 1 cup of beer. Use darker beer for fun or lighter beer for a more traditional batter. You'll need more oil in the pan too, about an inch.

1.10.2011

Rod's Char-Broiler Has Great Old School Tacos



This place is so great. Open for great breakfast burritos early, open late for turkey burgers and roast chicken. Really tasty crunchy greasy crispy ground beef tacos. REALLY GOOD. $1.89. 

Go try it! The breakfast burritos have hash browns in them. OH YEAH. So friendly.



Nice little vintage booths AND TV's!

CASH ONLY but they have an ATM.

2600 Artesia Boulevard Redondo Beach, CA 90278. YELP PAGE