–By Rene Tyson–
Eating Gluten-Free can be a little bit daunting. I remember growing up with bread at practically every meal. If we didn’t have rolls or flour tortillas then I would get a piece of plain white bread and eat it with the meal. I continued this trend into my marriage and for a while my husband or I made homemade biscuits every night. (His family is from the South, so they are all about good bread!) SO. When I realized that the only way for us to loose weight was to cut our bread-intake, it made me very sad. Kate was having to cut out gluten all together because half of her family gets sick or muscle-achy every time they eat bread, so we (I) joined the bandwagon. (Hubby usually eats what I make, so if I cook with less gluten then we all eat with less gluten.)
REAL Tacos are Tacos the way my mom makes them. She learned from my Grandmother, whose family emigrated from Mexico. (Although when Grandma was 9, she got in a fist-fight with some girls because she refused to speak Spanish. “I’m American! I can speak English if I want to!”) REAL tacos are made when you fry the corn tortilla in hot oil.
1. Seasoned cooked meat (See below for seasoning options)
2. Finely Chopped Tomatoes (set aside in a dish)
3. Grated or thinly sliced lettuce (set aside in a dish)
4. Any other veggie that you enjoy in your tacos (set aside in a dish)
5. Grated Cheese (set aside in a dish)
Step 1: Fry the tortillas:
In a cast iron Skillet (or a non-stick skillet), pour enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. (Olive oil tends to make softer shells and canola or vegetable oil tends to make the shells more crispy.) Have a paper-towel lined plate next to the stove. Heat the oil until it smokes, then turn it down to medium. (As you cook, you may have to adjust the oil’s temperature but it will be obvious when this is so–because the tortillas will suddenly burn or not cook at all.)
Using metal tongs, gently place a tortilla in the oil and flip it over to coat both sides. Then, fold the tortilla in half and let it cook for about 30 seconds or until crispy. Flip the whole thing over and do the other side. Place the crunchy shell upside down on the plate so that the oil drains as much as possible. Repeat.
It is possible to do more than one tortilla at a time, but they tend to stick together when they touch, so as you get proficient then add another tortilla to the oil after you’ve folded the first one in half.
Step 2: Fill the tortillas
I always line my tortillas in a casserole dish and fill with meat before giving them to the family. We make an assembly line and I let the kids build their own tacos. They love having control over what they put in their taco. If they don’t want vegetables, then I let them make their own salad out of the vegetables instead.
Basic Meat Spices:
Ground Beef: Fry some diced onion in a little oil (I usually use 1/2 small onion per lb of beef) until transparent, then add the ground beef. Immediately add: a small can of diced green chilies, powdered cumin, (about 1 T per lb), Oregano (1 tsp per lb), Salt (1 tsp per lb) or other seasoning salt, Chile powder (1/2-1 T per lb). If you like “soupy beef” then towards the end of cooking, add a little water mixed with cornstarch to the beef. Taste before you fill the taco shells and add extra of what is needed (usually salt).