Log Out | Member Center

58°F

72°/47°

DIY taco bar gives diners what they want

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013, at 1:38 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013, at 1:38 p.m.

SWEET POTATO AND BLACK BEAN TACOS WITH SPICY COCONUT GINGER SALSA

Hands on: 10 minutes Total time: 50 minutes Serves: 8

Indian flavors are combined in this vegan-friendly taco. The sweet potatoes and black beans also make a nice side.

4 large sweet potatoes, medium dice

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 Vidalia onion, small dice

4 tablespoons Tandoori paste

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or substitute canned

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the diced sweet potatoes in 1 tablespoon of oil and salt. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until soft and lightly browned, approximately 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute the garlic and onions with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil until translucent, approximately 3 minutes. Add the tandoori paste and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the coconut milk. Then fold in the black beans and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Fold in the roasted sweet potatoes and keep warm until ready to serve.

Per serving: 251 calories (percent of calories from fat, 51), 5 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 15 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 1 milligram cholesterol, 503 milligrams sodium.

SPICY COCONUT GINGER SALSA

1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded

1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

1 cup grated sweetened coconut flakes

1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the jalapeno and ginger until smooth. Add the coconut and cilantro and pulse until roughly chopped and combined.

Per serving: 35 calories (percent of calories from fat, 77), trace protein, 2 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 3 grams fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 3 milligrams sodium.

ROASTED CORN, TOMATO AND ONION SALSA

1 cup corn kernels, either fresh or frozen, Silver Queen preferred

1 Vidalia onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon canola oil

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup chopped cilantro salt, to taste for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine corn, onion and cherry tomatoes with cumin salt and canola oil. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until corn is browned.

Transfer to a serving bowl and combine with the lime juice, cilantro and salt to taste.

Per serving: 58 calories (percent of calories from fat, 33), 2 grams protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams fat (trace saturated fat), no cholesterol, 276 milligrams sodium.

GEORGIA SHRIMP ADOBO TACOS WITH ROASTED CORN, TOMATO AND VIDALIA ONION SALSA

Hands on: 30 minutes Total time: 2 hours, including one hour for marinating the shrimp Serves: 8

Georgia shrimp, sweet corn and Vidalia onions make for a Southern twist to a Baja classic taco.

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup tequila

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons oregano, preferably Mexican

3 1/2 ounces canned chiles in adobo sauce

1 pound peeled and de-veined Georgia shrimp, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

In the bowl of a food processor, combine garlic, tequila, brown sugar, oregano, and the can of chiles and sauce and process until smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine the cut shrimp with the adobo mixture. Transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for one hour.

Preheat the broiler.

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spread the shrimp and sauce evenly. Broil for approximately 5 minutes, stirring once until shrimp are opaque and have some charred spots.

Per serving, filling only: 101 calories (percent of calories from fat, 12), 12 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram fat (trace saturated fat), 86 milligrams cholesterol, 87 milligrams sodium.

PORK TACOS AL PASTOR WITH PEACH SALSA

Hands on: 30 minutes Total time: 1 hour plus at least 2 hours or overnight for marinating the pork Serves: 8

Substitute any stone fruit for the peaches in this twist on the traditional pineapple-based Al Pastor taco.

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder

2 teaspoons oregano, preferably Mexican

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 peaches or nectarines, peeled, pitted and chopped

1 2-pound pork tenderloin, cubed

4 peaches or nectarines, peeled, pitted and cut into quarters

In the bowl of a food processor, combine canola oil, salt, garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, orange juice, white vinegar and the chopped peaches. Puree and transfer to a Ziploc bag, along with the pork, and marinate 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to broil.

Remove the pork from the marinade and place on a baking sheet along with the 4 quartered peaches. Broil for 5 minutes, turning once. Remove from oven and keep warm until ready to serve.

Per serving, filling only: 245 calories (percent of calories from fat, 41), 25 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 11 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 74 milligrams cholesterol, 343 milligrams sodium.

PEACH SALSA

4 broiled peaches, roughly chopped

1 red onion, finely diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Juice of 1 lime

In a medium bowl, combine chopped peaches, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice.

Per serving: 36 calories (percent of calories from fat, 3), 1 gram protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, trace fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 3 milligrams sodium.

The notion of the do-it-yourself taco bar has many mothers going back to those cheap feed-the-kids kits that include seasoning mix, taco shells and sauce.

But it was the “Roll Your Own” section of the 1997 cookbook “License to Grill” by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby that won me over to the idea that a taco bar could be creative fun for tailgating or a cocktail party.

Schlesinger and Willoughby built their bar around marinated meat and seafood grilled on skewers and served with an abundance of mix-and-match garnishes.

Right now, food trucks are a major taco delivery system, part of a scene that’s as much social as culinary and revels in cross-cultural experimentation with favors from around the world.

Inspired by all that, we’ve taken to making taco fillings and salsas that borrow spicy, sweet and savory ingredients from Mexican, Korean, Indian and Southern cooking traditions. Laying them out buffet-style with some sides lets you feed a crowd while your guests mingle and make a plate.

Set up the bar with the fillings and salsas, baskets of warm corn and flour tortillas wrapped in kitchen towels and platters of crispy lettuce and cabbage leaves.

Include an array of garnishes like lime wedges, pickled onion, sliced jalapeno, scallion and radish, chopped cilantro, sour cream and crumbled Mexican cheese, plus guacamole, chips and several kinds of hot sauce.

And let the party begin.

Subscribe to our newsletters

The Wichita Eagle welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views. Please see our commenting policy for more information.

Have a news tip? You can send it to wenews@wichitaeagle.com or consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Wichita Eagle.

Search for a job

in

Top jobs