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Homemade Flour Tortillas



3 1/2cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading

3/4 cup lard or trans-fat -free vegetable shortening

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup lukewarm water



1.  Using a wooden spoon, blend the flour and lard in a large bowl until the mixture resembles fine meal.  In a small bowl, mix the salt and water.  Gradually add the water to the flour mixture, stirring with the wooden spoon until the liquid is incorporated.  Form the dough into a ball and knead it on a lightly floured surface for 2 to 3 minutes, or until smooth.  Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.


2.  Heat a griddle over moderately high heat until hot.  Roll one of the balls of dough into a 7-inch round.  Cook on the griddle, turning twice, for 1 to1 1/2 minutes, or until puffed and golden on both sides.  Wrap the tortilla in a kitchen towel to keep arm.  Repeat with the remaining dough, stacking and enclosing the tortillas in the towel.  (The tortillas may be made 1 day in advance and kept refrigerated in a plastic bag.  Reheat before using.)



NOTE:  To warm tortillas, heat them directly over a gas burner or in a dry skillet over medium heat, turning once, for 20 seconds.



Slow-Cooked Carnitas for Tacos



1/2 cup lard or trans-fat -free vegetable shortening

2 lbs. pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes (4 cups)

Salt and ground black pepper

4 black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

2 medium white onions

4 garlic cloves, peeled

12 (6-inch) tortillas, warmed

Salsa Asada or a purchased salsa

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped



1.  Melt the lard in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the pork all over with salt and pepper then add to the pan.  Sear the meat on all sides, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the meat and juices to the insert of a slow cooker along with 1.2 tablespoon salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves.  Quarter one of the onions and add to the slow cooker with the garlic cloves.  Cover the slow cooker and cook on high until the meat is tender and falling apart, about 3 1/2 hours.


2.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a cutting board.  Discard the onion and garlic.  Cool slightly.  Using your fingers, shred the pork.  Transfer the carnitas to a platter.


3.  Slice the remaining onion.  Serve the carnitas with warm tortillas, the salsa, sliced onion, and cilantro for making soft tacos.  Serves 4 to 6.



Taco Light



1 orange, thinly sliced with peel

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, halved and smashed

1 flank steak, about 2 1/4 lbs.

Salt and ground black pepper

1 cup light-colored beer, preferably a lager

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon serrano chile, seeded and minced

1 scallion, white and pale parts only, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped

1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated

1 Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced



1.  Scatter half of the orange slices, half of the onion slices, and half of he garlic pieces on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish.  Scatter the remaining orange, onion, and garlic over the flank steak and pour the beer over it.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.


2.  Heat a grill to medium-high.  Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.


3.  Remove the from the marinade and pat dry; discard the marinade.  Grill the steak to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare.


4.  Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, lime juice serrano, scallion, and cilantro in a small bowl.


5.  Transfer the grilled flank steak to a cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes, and then cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick strips.  Make tacos using the lettuce leaves as wrappers and filling them with flank steak and avocado then drizzling with the soy sauce mixture.  Serves 6 to 8.



Shredded Chicken in Peanut Sauce Tacos



2 large tomatoes, cored and peeled

2 cups roasted unsalted peanuts

1 tablespoon peanut butter

2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from canned chipotle chiles)

Salt and ground black pepper

2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded

Sesame seeds, (optional)

6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed



1.  Puree the tomatoes, peanuts peanut butter, and adobo sauce in a blender until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.


2.  Pour the sauce into a medium skillet and add the chicken.  Stir for 3 minutes over medium heat until warm.  Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.  Serve with warm corn tortillas.  Serves 4 to 6.



Torta De Milanesa



4 (4 oz.) chicken or beef cutlets (each 1/4-inch thick)

Salt and ground black pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

1 cup plain dry bread crumbs

Vegetable oil, for frying

4 bolillo rolls or 1 baguette, cut into 4 pieces

Easy Chipotle Mayo

4 iceberg lettuce leaves

8 (1/4-inch-thick) tomato slices

12 (1/4-inch-thick) avocado slices

12 thin white onion slices

12 pickled jalapeno slices or 4 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

8 lime wedges



1.  Sprinkle the cutlets all over with salt and pepper.  Put the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper.  Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl.  Put the bread crumbs on a plate.  Dip the cutlets on both sides into the flour, then into the eggs, and finally into the bread crumbs, pressing down on both sides so that the bread crumbs adhere to the meat


2.  Pour enough oil into a large skillet to come 1/3 inch up the sides of the pan.  Heat to 350 degrees F  Working in two batches, pan-fry the cutlets until golden, about 2 minutes per side.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.


3.  To assemble the sandwiches, halve the rolls horizontally.  Pull out the soft center of the rolls and discard.  Spread each roll evenly with the chipotle mayonnaise.  Layer on the cutlets and top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, onion and picked jalapeno.  Top with remaining halves of the rolls.  Arrange the sandwiches on serving plates and garnish with lime wedges.  Serves 4.



Carne Asada Cheese Tacos



1/4 cup anejo tequila

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 serrano chile, stemmed and finely chopped

1 lb. skirt steak

Salt and ground black pepper

Olive oil

3 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

2 avocados, halved, pitted and sliced

1 cup Grilled Corn Pico de Gallo or other salsa or hot sauce, to taste



1.  In a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish, combine the tequila, butter, cilantro, thyme, garlic, and serrano  then mix well.  Add the steak to the marinade, turn to coat, and season with salt and pepper on both sides.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours.


2.  Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium-high heat and brush with olive oil.  Cook the steak, turning occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes per side for medium rare.  Let rest on a plate, covered with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes.  Cut meat against the grain into 1/2-inch slices.


3.  To make cheese tacos, heat the same griddle or skillet you used to cook the steak over medium-high heat.  Spoon 3 mounds, each using 1/4 cup of cheese, at least 2 inches apart on the griddle.  Cook for 3 minutes.  The cheese mounds will spread flat like tortillas; make sure they don't stick together.  After the cheese browns on the bottom (it will stay white on the top), add some sliced meat over half of each cheese tortilla and fold the other half over to make a half-moon-shaped taco.  Transfer to a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.  Repeat the procedure with the remaining cheese and steak.


4.  Serve the cheese tacos topped with sliced avocado and salsa.  Serves 4.

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