Monday, September 24, 2012

breakfast tacos

It's been a wild couple of weeks getting more settled into a routine of cooking with Texas ingredients and doing medicine Texas style (think guns being one shocker - you can't bring your gun into the hospital - sign at front informs you of this and plenty of kids shot accidentally most of the time). Anyway, one of the newer discoveries and habits is breakfast tacos. They are a staple down here. For better or worse.

My main interaction with said breakfast taco is picking them up for the residents on call over the weekend - a gesture more than anything but still. I've been going to a place that is on the bike ride to work that sells both tacos and doughnuts (see pics) and is chock full of Mexican-American grandmas making tacos from scratch. I go early enough that you can see them rolling out the dough and cooking the tortillas as they're made. While these probably have no small part in San Antonio's obesity epidemic as the majority of customers make apparent, they are delicious. So my hat (or helmet) off to the breakfast taco!

(While doing research for this blog, I actually found a news article on someone who saw the face of Jesus in his breakfast taco's tortilla and stopped eating it)... which is the blasphemy?

Without further ado, the menu for both last week and this:

Last week: 
Sirloin steak tacos, avocado, corn - great steak with lime, cumin, cilantro served with BBQ'd corn, avocado
Fusilli with veggies - as described (alla arrabiata sauce)
Vietnamese catfish sandwiches with kale - these were good, fried the catfish, made the sandwiches with french bread, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro with braised kale as a side
Chicken quesadillas with squash - speaks for itself
Pork kabobs with carrots and couscous - Erin's time to shine, she made a delicious version of this with a rosemary-orange marinade for the pork and carrots!

This week: 
Burgers, onion rings, fried zucchini - onion rings are a tricky business to make a batter stick, I had to improvise last minute with some sweetened condensed milk and regular milk but it came out ok
Teriyaki salmon, rice, chard - some excellent steelhead salmon on sale (so not really salmon)
Red lentil soup with mustard greens, garlic bread - basically cook the lentils down in water for 30mins, then add mustard greens cooked in whatever spice you like - cumin and mustard seed will work
Tomato soup with grilled cheese - may have to pick up some gruyere for this one and add some milk to the tomato soup with thyme from the garden
Enchiladas - have gotten better at a green sauce now, going to have a go at it and roast the tomatillos first for a smokier flavor (and some garlic) since what's going inside is pretty earthy - mushrooms, chicken, spinach, cheese
Fish tacos - we love this if you can't tell, always a winner with a good homemade pico de gallo and a coleslaw (use mayo + lime and you can't go wrong)

That's that!

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I was inspired to look into blueberries further after multiple encounters over the past week. Though I have actually had a long, albeit intermittent, relationship with the fruit. I'm sure my first encounter was around Atticus' age, but my youngest memory when the blue spheres are prominent evokes endless rows of bush and cool summer mornings in Oregon picking the little buggers till your hands gained a hue that would not come off for a week. Unfortunately for me, the next weekend was the next time to pick blueberries. Fourteen and things were grand.

Atticus mashes blueberries into his face (see below) and elsewhere on a pretty regular basis. The market was selling sausage with blueberries, and they were on sale like mad this week - I think end of season. Anyway, further investigation was warranted... 

As usual I went towards the health bent on the food. Turns out these little buggers have resveratrol in them - the compound thought to be behind the reason drinking is good for you!* They also have a pretty much worldwide distribution, but as with many things - the tomato most famously, most of the versions out there are disappearing since the most easily cultivated and transportable is being exported and grown all over.

Animal studies have shown some benefit in neuroprotection in stroke models, and there is some benefit in blood pressure regulation as well. Cool stuff. The mechanism may have something to do with polyphenols - little compounds termed "anti-nutrients" because they block absorption of nutrients and make the compound less digestible and are thus plants' defense against us! Anyway, these polyphenols may have a range of health benefits as well. But from a review, my favorite quote that just reveals how sick the medical machine has become (in my opinion): "Therefore, blueberry polyphenols could become useful pharmacological agents for various conditions including neurological diseases, but further studies are still necessary to attain this objective."

*as long as it's red wine, not too much, certain types of red wine etc

Also, menu for the week:
Linguini alla arrabiata with roasted carrots, garlic bread
Spicy tilapia tacos with daikon-jalapeno slaw
Champ, sausage, brussels
Lemon-garlic grilled salmon with mushroom, onion, peppers and rice