On Date Night Monday & Taco Tuesday!

TACO TUESDAY!! OH MY GOSH! It’s my favorite day of the week, next to certain Mondays. Mondays, you might ask? Yes, but only a special kind of Monday! The kind where, no matter how crappy my Monday started, it ends amazingly because around 4pm, Frankie decides we should go out and treats us both to something yummy! Ergo, I have dubbed these awesome Mondays to be known as “Spontaneous Date Night” Mondays! And this past Monday happened to fall into that category of awesomeness!

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Frankie took me to Revolution Brewing in Logan Square [Palmer Square if you want to get really technical] because one of his improv friends mentioned there would be a special Beer-B-Que deal going on! For $15 dollars we got: two meaty Applewood Smoked Wings [perfectly smoky], a little more than 1 cup of Burnt Ends on a piece of soft white toast [melt-in-your-mouth tender goodness], a side of Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad [flavorful pesto and a great palate cleanser in between bites of barbecue], and a square of Corn Pudding [sweet, sticky, a little on the heavy/greasy side, but warm as get all]. Oh, and to wash it all down, a pint of beer was also included [Cross of Gold, very smooth]. And the barbecue sauce was like spiced whiskey, smooth but with a quick kick after you swallowed. Delicious in every way and the perfect amount of food for the perfect price with my perfect partner! One of our best Monday Dates yet, and a great option for anyone looking for a quick & thrifty night out!

But even a night out didn’t stop me from preparing something for Tuesday, and I’ve been itching to make tacos again since the Chicken Carnitas I made in January, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned how much I love tacos. It didn’t help that when Frankie was in Seattle recently for a performance with his musical improv group Buzzed Broadway, he had amazing beef tacos, which made me hungry, so I made slow-cooker barbacoa to satisfy that craving, and what a beauitful cut of beef I found at the store!

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But honestly, there’s nothing like a taco. The messiness, the finger licking good seasoning and sauce, the endless combinations of proteins, toppings, salsas, and cheeses! Sour cream, no sour cream, or maybe creama, or no crema! The taco can be classic, old, familiar, and rustic, but also fancy, modern, elevated, never the same taco twice! Remoulade or aioli instead of salsa, slaw instead of lettuce or onion or cilantro. The taco is, essentially, the perfect culinary vessel of different flavors and cultural profiles (next to, I think, the hot dog).

Is it okay to veer to the right real quick and give a recommendation/share? Good! So, there’s a place in Cincinnati on Vine Street called Senate that is doing the same kind of elevating and culture crossing with hot dogs and I think they’re doing an amazing job of it! A highlight for anyone in that area too! Also, I just learned they have a cookbook out with some of their menu items and I’m not going to lie, I just bought it! EEK! Their duck fat fries and mussels are AMAZING, not to mention their hot dogs are out of this world! If it’s not clear, I HIGHLY recommend this joint, and their sister restaurant Abigail Street, which is a Mediterranean Wine Bar with delicious bites too!

But back to tacos! My obsession with them cannot be tamed I tell you! And while I’m always looking for new recipes to make, there hasn’t been a taco recipe I haven’t liked, just other recipes I happen to like more, and that’s what continues to fuel my obsession with the kinds of tacos I can make. There is never going to be just a solitary, perfect taco recipe, so instead, I try to accumulate as many varieties as I can, swapping out one taco recipe for another depending on similarity and my preference for it. But I do find that my slow cooker does the best job of making tender taco meat, next to fresh grilled chicken breast and Cholula sauce! And that’s the recipe I’m going to include today! Slow cooker barbacoa, with a warm zucchini and corn salsa (which I’m going to try and up the ante on with some green bell pepper or tomatoes). Next up for Taco Tuesday: Chicken Tinga & Shrimp!

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Here’s a toast to Taco Tuesday! – Cooking Maggie Out


Slow-cooker Barbacoa Tacos

Ingredients

For Barbacoa

  • 2 pounds chuck roast, fat trimmed and cut to fit cooker
  • 1 white onion, dieced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • ½ cup beef broth or beer
  • 4 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 bay leaves

For Topping

  • Tortillas
  • Chopped white/red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Lime
  • Cheese of choice (Chihuahua, Queso Fresco, Monterey Jack)

 

Instructions

  1. Put everything except the beef in the crock pot, stir to mix. Place beef on top and spoon some sauce/onions/peppers on top of beef.
  2. Cook for 4-6 hours on high, 8-10 hours on low. When done, remove beef and shred, then place back in sauce and stir slightly (or shred in pot to save a step).
  3. Assemble tacos and enjoy! Serve with a warm zucchini & corn salsa!

Warm Zucchini & Corn Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 corn on the cob, kernels cut from cob
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions: Heat a pan with the olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add zucchini and corn until zucchini & corn is tender (a little color on your veggies is a-okay, and actually preferred). Season with salt & pepper (add more to taste), and serve warm.

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