So it's Adri again, last seen on the dessert board with her crazy cupcake battle with the boyfriend. As we've decided to make this a weekly thing, this past weekend's battle was Tacos. Good ol' tacos. Staple of the college kid kitchen. Only we both decided individually that we didn't want to do something as plain as ground-beef-with-seasoning-packet tacos. As delicious as those are. No, we wanted to be fancy, so fancy in fact that we'd both chosen the same recipe to make. The same awesomely amazing looking shrimp tacos. This wouldn't fly, we couldn't do the SAME thing. So he caved and looked up something else. And by caved I mean I'd already bought ingredients and he hadn't, so by default, he was the one choosing something new. He ended up choosing an authentic Mexican dish called carintas, which is seasoned roast pork shoulder.
Jay's had to be started WAY WAY before mine did. Actually we was cooking a good 3 hours before I was. I'd barely pulled my shrimp from the freezer and he was browning and chopping and generally being very busy. So, from the start then. Jay bought a whole pork shoulder from teh food shops. He decided he was going to cut it up and butcher it himself at home. Which was good, because it was cheaper that way. Like it was only $3 for a whole 3lb shoulder. That's a lot of good meat. We get home, and he pulls out his kitchen knives and slowly realizes that they're all little dull for this task. Here you can see the first knife used on the right, with the second in his hand:
to this one, where the second knife has been set aside for my super sharp pocket knife (that I have for cutting tie line at work, and was washed very well):
Finally he got it all cut up, as much excess fat and connective stuff removed as possible. The skin and bone he's now got in his freezer waiting for more soup-appropriate weather.
Now time for actually cooking! He grabbed his cast iron skillet, threw in the pork pieces and decided to add in something that the recipe didn't call for, but we knew we'd both love as additions, about half-ish of an onion . And of course the things like the chili powder, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cumin, a few cloves of garlic, chopped especially tiny, and oil the recipe called for.
After the pork was good and brown, he deglazed the pan with some water to get all that awesome off the bottom and get those spices mixed around and start a great sauce to come. Add the meat back in and use water enough to get it up about 2/3rds over the meat. Yay ready to start the LONG part, as with all good food.
Now we waited. For three hours, set at 350. He checked on it about every half hour to hour to make sure that there was still a bit of water in there so it wouldn't get all dry. Three long hours, filled the apartment with delicious smells. And at the end we were rewarded with:
This is where he could have stopped of course. But no, he had to get back at me for "stealing my[his] recipe!" So you know what he did? Made his own tortillas. So that there'd be no chance in his mind that I could possibly win. 'Cause who would possibly vote for someone who used BOXED taco shells like me? I think he underestimates me. But reguardless he hauled out the lard, flour, baking soda, hot water and salt. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Lard.
He is very proud of his lard. Only it doesn't come in sticks like butter, it comes in a giant block. So as he only needed a cup, and not a pound of it, I had to reason out for him that he wanted to use half of the giant-blob-block of it. I figured that two sticks of butter is half a pound of butter and also a cup of it. So he went with my logic. And would have been ruined without it, I want to note. Onto the mixing though,
He had to clean out his skillet, as it was the best tortilla cooking devise around. Which is good, as his dough needed to rest. He also realized that he did not own a rolling pin, and needed something to aid him in getting the tortillas the requisite thinness. To which his solutions was a canister of kosher salt.
So here they are all cooked up and delicious. Seriously tasted like the best biscuits ever:
and somewhere in there he made pico de gallo when I wasn't looking. Tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and lime juice. makes a nice crispy fresh yum on lots of things.
where he got his:http://foodisluv.blogspot.com/2009/04/carnitas.htmlhttp://mangiodasola.blogspot.com/2009/09/tortillas-de-harinaflour-tortillas.html
And the finished product:
Now, my tacos, were rock awesome delicious. So delicious in fact, we ate most of it that night, where as there was plenty of pork leftovers. It was a perfect summer kind of dinner, light and with a bit of a crunch and plenty of flavor but without all the heat of an oven on for three hours. I started out mine with guacamole, which is something I have recently discovered I love. Avocado, mashed up with a little bit of onion, a tomato and some lime juice. Add any spices you'd like. It all works out well.
Next came probably the hardest part of making my tacos: cutting the bacon into tiny pieces. As you can see in this photo i was having quite a time with it.
But once that was done it was easy! I cut up the rest of the ingredients: Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, onion, cilantro, lime, off with the shrimp tails. Then I fried up the bacon, having to drain it TWICE.
When it was mostly cooked I added the onion, then waited a few minutes and added the shrimps (which i'd covered in cumin, 'cause I loves it so) and peppers.
While these were finishing I took advantage of a warm oven to set in my taco shells bough from the store to make them taste less plasticy gross and more like tortilla chips. Just long enough in the oven to toast them up a hair and get out the preservatives taste.
Then they were done! Just assembly was left, which I discovered afterward that breaking open the shell and treating it more like a tosada was more visually appealing and easier to eat. But they were DARN tasty.
So tasty in fact the little that was left over we added to eggs to make into omelets the next morning. All the flavors worked really really well in eggs. Just saying.
But now, since you read THIS far (yeah, I know, I'm a bit wordy), I have a favor to ask you. Tell me whose tacos you'd prefer? What you think would make the better? What you would have done different? There is even a poll at our blog where you can vote! We're letting the internet decide the winner this go around as there was no one available to be our in house judges. Plus on the blog, you can get his side of the story too.
Jay has officially won Battle Tacos. I knew I had no chance, but wanted to keep up the bravado anyways. Feel free to keep the comments coming, I swear I read every one. Watch in the next few days for Battle Cookies. I'm beyond flattered that I've gotten this many reads and comments.
You all rock my socks.***/EDIT***