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Meatless Fridays #7 Vegetarian Taco Salad

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vEGETARIAN TACO SALAD 2

     Welcome Back to Meatless Fridays. The more I do these posts the more challenging it becomes. For today’s effort I had a taste for something South of the Border. I have always loved a Taco Salad but wondered if I could get all the depth of flavor without the meat. I believe I came up with a very satisfying answer.

     I began by making the shell. I heated a pan of vegetable oil to 350 degrees and dropped a flour tortilla in. I then used a big ladle and pushed it down. The tortilla curled around the ladle to make my bowl. When it had crisped I carefully turned it over with a pair tongs to complete the crisping process. I then drained my shell on a paper towel and let it cool.

VEGEATRIAN TACO SALAD       I though about the flavors I wanted in my Taco Salad. Beans,Tomato, Avocado and Corn all came to mind. Rather than just toss the ingredients together I decided to deconstruct the Taco Salad. I took a ring mold and began layering. First Beans,than Corn,more beans,Avocado and finally  Tomato and Cilantro salad.

     I must confess I was very pleases with the results. As with all great dished every element on the plate comes together and just pops in your mouth.

Vegetarian Taco Salad (for 1)

 

  • One large onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 can Cooked Black Turtle beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Cumin to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Can whole kernel corn
  • 1  ripe Avocado
  • 1 Ripe tomato
  • Juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Flour Tortilla
  • Vegetable oil for frying
Sauté 1/2 the onion with the garlic until translucent. Add the Black beans and cumin to suit your taste and toss until the beans are warm.  Season with Kosher salt. Remove and mash slightly.

Drain the corn and toss in a pan with the chili powder. Season with salt to taste.

Dice the Avocado and toss with the remaining onion and 1/2 the lemon juice. Add some Olive oil to carry the flavor.

Make a quick tomato salad using diced tomato, chopped Cilantro, Olive oil and the remaining Lemon Juice.

Fry the flour tortilla in vegetable oil using a ladle ( or other implement) to hold the center of the tortilla in the oil creating a bowl. When it begins to crisp gently turn it over to complete the frying process.

     While I took the time to make a tower this really isn’t necessary. Put a scoop of your Black beans in the bowl and top with the corn, Guacamole and Tomato and enjoy.

Hasta Luego!!

Techniques 101 –Breaking Down a Chicken to 8 Pieces

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    ( In tribute to Jack Ubaldi)

    Many years ago I attended the New York Restaurant School. This was my first experience with formal culinary education. It was a tremendous experience that set my course in life.

     Amongst the instructors was a gentleman who taught butchering named Jack Ubaldi. He was a great man! If you click on the link you can learn more about this well known butcher, restaurateur, author and teacher. Under his tutelage I learned how to break down a side of beef,pork, lamb. How to break poultry down and, something no chef I have come across knows how to do, remove the bones from a chicken while leaving the skin and carcass intact ( I will cover this in another post!). These are skills I use to this day!

   One of Jack Ubaldi’s best known traits was to bring a bottle of wine with him to class. I remember fondly Jack giving me the keys to his locker and being sent for the wine because it was not enough to learn how to butcher, we had to learn how to cook what we cut!. We would cook a Newport Steak or Denver Ribs or whatever we worked with as part of our class.

     Butchering is a lost art. As much as the American Culinary Federation  does to keep standards high for skills required to be a Certified Chef, there are a large number of practicing culinarians who call themselves Chef who have no concept of how to break down a side of beef into quarters and then usable cuts or could explain the confirmation of various animals. This is due in large part to the prevalence of portion cut beef and chicken that has eliminated the opportunity for Chef’s to use this skill.

     One of the easiest tasks of butchering involves breaking down Chicken into individual pieces. The process starts by removing the wings from the carcass.

chicken 1

chicken 2

The second is to remove the leg and thigh and then separating the leg from the thigh.

chicken 3 chicken 6 chicken 7

The most important thing to remember is to use the path of least resistance ( Note the center picture where there is a separation of the darker meat –leg, and the lighter flesh – thigh). This is where you want to make your cut. Your cuts should be through the cartilage instead of the bone.

chicken 8 chicken 9   chicken 10

Lastly the breast should be separated from the back and either left bone in or ( in a further step) made boneless.It can the be split into 2 pieces through the central breast plate (which in a young chicken is cartilage).

chicken 11

Bon Apetit

Written by Ed Schenk

May 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm

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