5 Tasty Taco Ideas for Cinco De Mayo

Cinco De Mayo is this week. So I thought that, as my usual celebration, I’d go through the drive through at Taco Bell, order a crunchy taco and that would be that. But, with all this technology at my fingertips, I thought it was time to see what other taco ideas were out there on the internet. I started with some basic ideas, mixed and matched, and came up with my 5 finalist tacos for my Cinco De Mayo menu this year.

1. Steak Taco with Pineapple or Mango Salsa
Not too daring but just perfect for trying something new and exciting. You have to start somewhere, and the pineapple should really be a nice break from the traditional taco. It adds a sweet tanginess that pops in your mouth.

2. Asian Shrimp Tacos with Sriracha
Sriracha has been all the craze lately and I’ll be the first to admit I jumped on the bandwagon too. I like all of these flavors together but have never tried it in taco form. The heat that Sriracha adds to the back of the throat will be a great way to spice up my tacos.

3. Braised Mole Beef Tacos
In searching for various recipes, I found about a dozen recipes for mole. It seems everyone and their mother has a different recipe for this classic. So this may have to be a several-attempt dish as I search for the best combinations for my taste buds. But that just means more tacos for me!

4. Guy Fieri’s Tex Wasabi’s Koi Fish Tacos
The write up on Food Network’s page says “Guy Fieri gives fish tacos a California twist. Tequila and lime-marinated, tempura-style cod is topped with sliced cabbage, pico de gallo and tequila lime aioli.” If that doesn’t make your mouth water, you’re not human. Although, I’m terrified that if I cook it Fieri himself will come insult my cooking skills. No matter, there’s no way I’m passing on tasting this dish for myself.

5. Ice Cream Tacos
Alright, alright, I know that these don’t count. But why not? Everyone loves them! Ice cream, any number of toppings. Sometimes you just have to let go and have fun. Remembering that food is just that…fun! A make your own ice cream taco bar, is just a fun way to end a meal, Cinco de Mayo or any day. And it’s nearly impossible to mess it up. Messy, yes, but mess it up? No.

All of my new tacos may come out great, or maybe my execution will be lacking, who knows. But life is short and you have to have fun, try new things. I do know that my Cinco de Mayo this year will be spent with family, building memories and creating new stories to tell at future events. Do you have any suggestions for new taco recipes or combinations? I’d love to hear all about it. Be sure to comment below and tell me about your Cinco de Mayo plans. You can also share this article on Facebook, Twitter or any social media so that others can join in on the conversation as well.

Unusual Proteins You Never Thought to Try

Food is ever changing and is different to each person. We imbue our food with our stories and feelings and no two dishes are ever exactly the same. Something else that can change everything is the protein used. There are more options out there than you think and some may seem quite unusual.
If there’s one thing I learned after years of cooking, it’s to never doubt a food until you’ve tried it at least once. Some of the proteins on the list below are ones I still have yet to try. But you can be sure it’s on my to do list. And I recommend you give it a chance, at least once, at some point.

  • Donkey – this is a beautiful and clean red meat that is sadly underrated. You can braise or stir-fry it like the Chinese do or even throw it on the grill. The taste can be described similar to veal, so if you enjoy that, give this oddity a try.
  • Cuttlefish – don’t let the strange name scare you away. It’s actually very similar to squid or possibly octopus. The key here is to clean them as thoroughly as possible and then slice them down the middle. The favorite way to eat them is grilled, but I’ve heard rumors that blanching them is as delicious as calamari. Lemon and olive oil are your flavor friends here!
  • Buffalo – you might have heard this all American protein described as bison, but it’s delicious no matter what name you call it by. It’s similar to beef, but is leaner and has a sweet tone to it. My favorite preparation of this protein, that I have tried and enjoyed many times, is in chili. The greatest part of loving buffalo for dinner is that it’s not too difficult to locate and buy for yourself.

Who’s ready to get into the kitchen and start cooking as soon as possible? I know I personally am hungry to start exploring the proteins of the world. If you enjoyed reading about these meats, then share this article with your friends and fellow food lovers on Facebook or Twitter.
If you take the plunge and try any of these proteins, or have another protein you believe belongs on this list, comment below to tell us about it. There is plenty of good food to try, we just need to know it’s out there. Until next time, good eating my friends!

Escargot Time (Yes, I’m Eating Snails!)

Hello foodies! You all know how I love trying foreign foods to tell you all about. Well, my current craze is French cuisine. Many people enjoy this culture’s delectable food, so you may think it’s not the most exotic thing I’ve ever sampled. But I decided to go for a protein that those who are squeamish may gasp at the thought of consuming. Escargot.

For those of you who don’t know this fancy word, it’s a snail. That’s right, I’m eating snails. Some of you may be grossing out, but others may know just how delicious these little morsels can be. Not only will I tell you how I like to eat mine, and your mouth will be watering to try them too, but I’ll tell you what makes a escargot snail different from the ones on the side of a pool. Tasty and educational!

So what snails are we eating? Why are they so darn delicious? Why can’t I eat any snail I want? They’re actually raised a very specific way. Fruits, leaves, and other clean foods make up their diet to keep them edible, and even then only certain species are safe. When it’s getting close to the time to be harvested, they are actually fasted for a few days and then fed flour to maximum flavor.

Now for my favorite way to eat it. I recommend grabbing a saute pan and simmering butter, herbs, and garlic cloves until nice and hot. Then throw in the snails and cook for about ten minute or so. The butter and garlic brings out the best tones in the escargot and you can either eat it on its own as an appetizer or place them in little hollowed out bread balls for a delicious meal.

And if you are a wine pairing fanatic, I did find a few wine suggestions that you might enjoy with this unique protein. Mostly any white wine will go nicely with the snails, but Chardonnay also goes well with the butter sauce. If you decide to cook the escargot with a lemon sauce however, another delicious option, the wine pairing changes. Then I would suggest a Sauvignon Blanc.

If you’re looking to impress friends or family, or a really cute date, this is a winner for sure. It’s unique enough to be a conversation starter, but part of a cuisine that most are somewhat familiar with. You can cook it yourself without too much difficulty if you do your research, or find a nice restaurant for a truly gourmet experience. What a great addition to any French meal!

Thanks for reading. If you found this article rather enlightening, share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and all those other great social sites. And if you do try escargot, comment below to let me know how the experience was! If you’ve had escargot before, comment how it was prepared, what wine you paired with it, or how it tasted. I love reading about my fellow foodies’ experiences.

 

My First Hot Pot Party

Hot Pot Party!

I’m friends with a married couple who invited both myself and some friends over to their place to experience the art of ‘hot pot.’ Not sure what i’m talking about? Keep reading to discover what you’ve been missing.

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What is a Hot Pot Party?

Who does such a thing?

Well, let me tell you. So my good friend Danny owns a local tree company (treeserviceshenderson.com) and happened to meet his current wife while removing a tree from her yard. His wife also happens to be a Chinese born woman who is exceptional at cooking. They both decided it would be a good idea to expose my friends and myself to a traditional Chinese meal in a traditional Chinese style setting.

In response the second question I posed above, everybody’s doing it, so you should too!

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Japanese Cuisine – Tasty & Bland

Japanese Cuisine

Japan is a country famous for its beautiful culture and ancient customs. Wherever there is a rich culture, rich food is sure to follow.

Japanese Tasty Cuisine

In approximately 300 B.C., China introduced the Japanese to the most basic ingredient in Asian cuisine: rice. Soon after, the Chinese brought the Japanese chopsticks, soy sauce, and tofu. Today, the Japanese consume many of the foods they were eating hundreds of years ago. Although some Japanese meals have been heavily influenced by Chinese culture, the Japanese always have a way making it into their own.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a wide variety of people here in Las Vegas. A lot of them have been at world class restaurants enjoying exceptional meals. One of the best conversations I had was at Oyshi Sushi with a gentlemen by the name of Mikhail who owns a local tree pruning and removal company, (lasvegasbesttreeservice.com). I was relatively new to sushi, but Mikhail was savvy enough to give me the crash course in sushi. That conversation actually sparked the idea for this blog.

Here are just a few examples of popular meals you’ll see in Japanese cuisine.

• Sushi
• Ramen
• Miso Soup
• Gyoza

All of these dishes are delicious, but you don’t have to cross the Pacific Ocean to get a taste of the world’s best Japanese cuisine. Las Vegas is so much closer.

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Korean Cuisine – Flavor

Korean Cuisine            

Anyone visiting Korea will find a wealth of unique and delicious dishes. Rice continues to be a staple of the Korean diet with meals being rounded out by a variety of vegetables, meat and fish. Of course it isn’t necessary to visit Korea to sample its flavorful fare. There are many local restaurants specializing in the distinct spicy flavor of Korean cuisine.

Korean Cuisine Food

The number of side dishes included in a Korean meal was traditionally dependent on the class of people who were eating. Not including rice and soup, a high-ranking family might have up to twelve side dishes, while a lower class family might have three.

At a traditional Korean meal, all the dishes are served at the same time and are shared, except the rice and soup. Chopsticks are the main utensils, with spoons used for soup. Unlike Japanese or Chinese chopsticks, Korean chopsticks are thin and made of metal. Table settings follow formal rules that change depending on what main dish is served.

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Chinese Cuisine – Spice & Zest

Chinese Cuisine

Authentic food representing all eight cultural regions of China is widely available in the Las Vegas area, not only on the strip, but all around the town. With its 5,000 years of history, Chinese cuisine is intertwined with its people and terrain. The products used in their dishes and the methods used to cook them strongly reflect the regions from which they came.

Chinese Cuisine Flavor

Common to most Chinese cuisine is the absence of dairy, except perhaps for eggs, and a reliance on noodles, rice, Asian vegetables and seafood. Spices and sauces create the distinct flavors, and many of the dishes are cooked in a wok or other vessel that allows the ingredients to cook quickly at high heat to maximize taste and retain their character.

The Chinese principles of harmony and balance are reflected in their cuisine, which combines textures, colors, and the surroundings to please all the senses. Meals are often served family style.

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