Sometimes I wonder what dinners Levi will get excited about when he’s older. I used to (hey, still do!) love pigs-in-a-blanket. My mom would wrap hot dogs in a homemade biscuit dough that had grated cheddar cheese in it. Whenever we make tacos, I think that maybe “Taco night” will be one of those meals that Levi anticipates when he’s old enough to care. In Japan we would stock up on Lawry’s taco seasoning at the import store and treat ourselves to a weekly taco night, but then we discovered we could make our own seasoning blend at home with cumin, chili powder, garlic, and onion powder that was just as good. What makes taco night at our house special is Dustin’s crispy corn shells. I don’t have the patience for frying them, but he does a great job of doing whatever he does with corn tortillas, two forks, and a small frying pan of hot vegetable oil, resulting in the perfect crunchy vessels for seasoned ground meat, guacamole, shredded cheese, and spicy, pickled radishes. Everyone has their version of tacos, but I thought it was time to share ours!
For the Pickled Radishes:
1 small bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced (use 1/2 for less heat, obviously)
1 small lime
agave nectar to taste
salt & pepper to taste
For the Taco Meat:
1 pound ground grass-fed beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
a couple splashes of good, medium bodied beer (or water)
For the Crispy Taco Shells:
vegetable or canola oil
chopped green onion
- In a small, non-reactive bowl, combine the sliced radishes, jalapeño, lime juice, agave nectar, salt & pepper. Stir together and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the meal.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the meat, stirring to break it apart with a wooden spoon. Drain fat, if necessary (our ground beef was pretty lean). Add the minced garlic and stir to combine. Add cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and salt & pepper to taste. Add a couple 2-second pours of beer (or water), and cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes, until liquid cooks off and spices are well-incorporated. Taste meat and add more seasonings as necessary.
- In a small frying pan (wide enough to fit a corn tortilla), add enough vegetable oil so it reaches a depth of about 1/2 an inch. Heat over medium heat. Working with one tortilla at a time, place it down in the pan and use two forks to keep it submerged under the oil for a couple seconds. Then use the forks to flip one side of the tortilla over, forming a shell. Hold it there in the oil until it stays. Flip and fry the other side of the shell. Repeat with as many tortillas as you have. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Fill your shells w/ the seasoned meat, a couple spoonfuls of your favorite homemade guacamole, some grated cheese, a few spoonfuls of spicy, pickled radishes, and some chopped green onion.