Sunday, October 9, 2011

Taco Truck Tacos

One of the more beautiful things in life has to be the food truck scene here in NYC. And few food trucks hold a special place in my heart like the taco truck. Two guys working side by side to bring you joy on a double layer of corn tortillas with fresh cilantro, onion, and the meat of your choice. All usually for under $4. What's not to love? There is a great taco truck called Endless Summer that lives in Brooklyn on North 6th and Bedford Ave in Williamsburg.

If you want the more ethnic experience, you need to head further into Brooklyn to Bushwick, where taco trucks are more plentiful then sit down restaurants. Before moving to Harlem, we lived in Bushwick.  Mike took full advantage of living in the hood, but sadly I didn't discover how much I truly loved tacos until we moved. So on my fall list of things to do, I now have a taco truck tour of Bushwick.

Which brings me to our recipe for tonight. Mike makes the meanest tacos around. This is his take on the "Al Pastor" taco variety. We use chicken since I'm special needs and don't eat pork. Feel free to take this marinade recipe and run with it, there really isn't a bad use for it that we can think of. This marinade has some spice (okay, a lot, it's those peppers) so make sure you try it as you go and adjust to taste.

Al Pastor Marinade (this makes enough marinade for tacos for 8, but it also keeps well to use again)
1 7 oz. can La Morena Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
4 slices of pineapple (fresh is best, but canned is good too)
3 Tbs. vegetable oil

Mix these together in a blender and blend until smooth. If it's too spicy for you, add more pineapple to taste.

The rest of the recipe is for two people. Just add more chicken to increase the recipe.

4 Chicken Thighs
To prep your chicken:
Remove the skin and save for later in the week (a blog post about chicken skin to follow).

Once you have your marinade and chicken ready, mix together and let it sit in the fridge for about 4 hours.
Throw it in the oven (uncovered) for about an hour at 400. After 30 minutes keep checking on it until the chicken is so tender its falling apart. While the meat is in the oven, you should prep the taco fixings. The sky's the limit, but here's what we think you should use:

1 package of good corn tortillas (the denser the better, ours come from this dive-y grocery store in Harlem, they will make or break your tacos) 
1 bunch of finely chopped cilantro
1 bunch of sliced radish
1 diced sweet onion (red or vedalia)
1 lime cut up in slices
some of the extra marinade for spreading on the tortillas

Once your chicken is cooked remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove the meat from the bone and dice.

Turn on your stove and use it as a grill to slightly char the tortillas. Assemble the fixings on the table and let everyone make their own, but first encourage everyone at the table to double wrap their tacos! Simply layer two tortilas together before heaping them with taco goodness. Squeeze the lime slices over the tacos as the last step and enjoy!

As a drink suggestion, may I recommend the Hemingway Daiquiri? It's a wonderful classic cocktail with a tart bite that pairs nicely with the spice of the Al Pastor marinade.

According to the cocktail book "Speakeasy" by Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric of Employees Only here in NYC, the Hemingway Daiquiri is rumored to have been invented for Ernest Hemingway at the La Floradita bar in Cuba. They call him an Olympian cocktail connoisseur. Clearly Hemingway's the man and knows what's best. Take a page out of his book and make yourself two!

Hemingway Daiquiri (makes one drink)

2 oz. White Rum
1/2 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1/2 oz. Lime juice
dash of Simple syrup
Lime for garnish

Pour the rum, liqueur, juice and syrup into a mixing glass, fill with ice cubes and shake vigorously. Strain into the glass of your choice and garnish with the lime.

And there you have it, our take on taco truck tacos with a tangy cocktail to stand up to the spice!

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