Between a few extra writing projects for vita.mn and my Firefox completely crashing last week -- and it still isn't right; like why the hell is everything double-spaced in the recipes below? -- things were a little quiet around here. Ill make it up to you two ways.
First, let's talk about Star Trek. Don't worry, no spoilers, I'm just going to do you a huge favor by telling you that you must see this movie at any and all costs as soon as you possibly can. Because-it-is-a-mazing. As soon as more people have seen the movie, I'd love to discuss it here, possibly in the comments so we don't ruin it for anyone.
Second, let's talk about grilling. It's officially barbecue season which means it's time to take one of my favorite meals outdoors. I do make it in my kitchen all winter long, but you know how it is; there's just something about the open fire. Especially when there's fresh corn involved.
This is barely a recipe, more of an idea-starter. When you're tired of grilling the same veggie kebabs over and over again, or when you've had your fill of burgers and brats, go Mexican. (Just a warning: you may never go back.)
Veggie Chorizo Tacos
Makes 16 tacos
5-6 small tomatillos, soaked and husked
2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce + 1 teaspoon sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 package Field Roast meat-free chorizo
1/2 package (roughly 16) fresh La Perla tortillas
1 bunch cilantro, washed, stemmed and chopped
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 limes, cut into wedges
Yes, it's vegetarian sausage and, yes, The Mexican loves it. Grill tomatillos until they become soft and begin to blacken. Transfer to a deep bowl or immersion-blender-mixer-container-thing. Add chipotles and adobo sauce plus 1 tablespoon water. Blend until smooth, salt to taste and set aside.
Heat oil on grill in a large frying pan with a flame-proof handle (side note: why do they even make pans with non-flame-proof handles?). Fry chorizo in the oil, breaking it up with a sturdy turner while it cooks. At the halfway point of the chorizo cooking (about 4 minutes), throw 16 tortillas on the grill to heat through, turning as necessary.
Serve tacos open-faced, topping tortillas with chorizo, onion, cilantro, salsa and a squeeze of lime. Eat those bomb-ass tacos.
Haters of raw onion and cilantro, I feel you. You're advised to substitute with thinly sliced fresh cabbage and diced avocado. Actually, we've been known to throw all of that on our tacos all at the same time, so just go with whatever you like.
8 ears fresh corn, still in husks
3-4 Tablespoons softened butter
1 cup grated cotija cheese*
Pequin chili powder in a spice shaker**
1 lime, cut into wedges
I already know what you're thinking. No mayonnaise? No crema mexicana? I know, I know. I'm sorry, and I'm all for authenticity, but mayonnaise, thick cream and cheese is just too rich and salty for me on fresh grilled corn. Plus, hello, I'm American so I have to put butter on it. I have something much more fun to do with crema mexicana that I'll show you later. (Minds out of the gutters, people, I'm talking about dessert.)
Clean your kitchen sink and fill it with cold water. Immerse corn for 1 hour. Shake off excess water and grill corn in husks for 15 minutes until husks are blackened and kernels are mostly tender. Pull back husks and grill corn for an additional 5 minutes. Transfer to platter (doing that handy husks-as-handles thing), cutting in half if desired. Coat thinly with butter. Sprinkle with cotija cheese, then shake on pequin chili powder and a squeeze of lime. Eat that bomb-ass elote.
* I can always find cotija cheese at Byerly's. An adequate substitute would be grated parmesan, but I strongly recommend seeking out the cotija.
** Pequin chili powder is easy to find in Mexican markets, but it usually comes in those awkward cellophane spice packets. I just transfer it to a regular spice shaker for ease of use. Pequin is about as hot as cayenne, but has an almost smoky flavor.