¿Febrero, Febrero, por qué eres cruel en todo el mundo?
I may not be enduring blizzards and sub-zero temperatures (Fahrenheit sub-zero! Now that is a crazy thing), but in spite of a general balminess, February is still kind of sucking.
The semester is ending, so the normal finals mess is getting cleaned up. I'm hoping once it is over I will suddenly find myself with abnormally high levels of energy or I may consider switching my high levels of coffee consumption for speed.
Generally at this time of year, I'm fighting off a cold and trying to consume as many oranges and grapefruits as I can. I even resorted to putting those Emergen-C packets in chamomile tea one particularly bleak February when I lived in a cold, dank, hippie-basement. Thankfully, this year, I haven't been stuffed up with a vague, foggy wish to die at all (knock on wood). Therefore, my vitamin of choice has switched from "C" to "T".
"Vitamina T" is a joke I've heard repeatedly here in Mexico. It refers to the "T" heavy diet of tacos, tlayudas, tostadas, tortas. . ..I think you get the idea. While it may only be a joke, I have a strange faith in the curative (comfortingly curative) properties of all these delicious items. These past few weeks I have turned to them again and again. They give me a nice little pick up and a few moments of quiet enjoyment-- a meaty, spicy solace.
So if you do or don't have a cold and February is bumming you out a little bit--make yourself a batch of the major "T"--(¿señor T?)--tacos. The ease of preparation itself is a bit curative. There are as many possibilities as delicious Mexican dishes that start with the letter "T". Be creative!
*slow cook some chicken, pork, or beef in the crock-pot. You can choose to jazz it up with some seasoning, (citrus juices, garlic, or use my mama's crock-pot meat) or just leave it as is.
*pick up a pack of chorizo at the grocery store--if you don't live close to a grocery store that sells chorizo. . . nah, you aren't looking hard enough, you live close to a grocery store that sells chorizo. If "strange" meats make you uncomfortable, don't read the ingredient label. If you are very comfortable with all meats, cook up those blood-red, ground up salivary glands, lips, and cheeks and enjoy their facey goodness.
*beans and rice (for those animal-haters). I used to frequently make a bean and rice mixture for tacos using Zataran's Black Beans and Rice mix, it already has spices mixed in, so it makes it nice and easy. Cook according to package directions, then throw in a can of refried beans, a can of corn (drained), and some chopped jalapenos. If you want to get really crazy you can use this mix with some meat.
*tacos dorados. Deep fried tacos=deep fried comfort. If you do it right, they are crispy and delicious, not heavy or greasy.
Regardless of what main ingredient you choose, there are a few things that are a MUST for a real taco.
--corn tortillas. . . don't insult me, your tacos, or Oaxaca by putting your goodies on flour tortillas or those crispy molded shells. Seriously. You can warm them up in the microwave or toast them in an oil free skillet (or you can be really legit and dip them in the meat juices before you warm them in a skillet.)
--diced onions or some shredded green cabbage
--salsa. The chunky, tomatoey salsas of my youth aren't to be found here. Usually you get a green salsa or a warm color (anything from 60s sofa-yellow, true-red,tiger-lily-orange, or a zombie-purple-red) that is primarily pulverized peppers. Chunky tomato salsas are still good, but the simpler, hotter ones can really showcase the flavor of the meat without overpowering it. Mrs Renfros is a good salsa verde choice.
--limes. They've got vitamin C, if you have a cold--you can lazily kill the proverbial birds
I hope you enjoy a batch soon and make your February a little bit less gruesome.