Taco Truck Tortas

Howdy-doody eaters!

That was kind of a weird greeting. Let’s move on.

There’s a taco truck that parks down the street from my house every night — the La Azteca truck, for any locals who are interested. It’s actually right across the street from my Crossfit box and there have been many nights during running WODs that I’ve very seriously considered just running right over and getting some tacos.

Leon and I have been there a few times. We walk down with Charlie and sit in the folding chairs. The food is pretty great. It’s not like our regular dollar tacos, but since the truck is owned by the same restaurant the food is just as good.

Charlie has pretty bad manners.

Charlie has pretty bad manners.

And it only took us a couple of visits to establish our favorite dish — the torta with chorizo.

It’s this ah-maze-ing sandwich made with ground meat, jalapenos, tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, and refried beans.

The torta.

The torta.

The refried beans really make the sandwich. They take it from being a lame ground meat sandwich to being a serious thing.

One of us has gotten it every time we’ve gone to the taco truck. It’s that good.

(The fish tacos, which I think is what they were originally known for, were good, but not phenomenal.)

Fish tacos.

Fish tacos.

And while I’m not normally one to try to re-create my favorite restaurant dishes at home (because they’re really never as good and it takes away my excuse for getting take out), I figured that this sandwich was an easy one to make myself.

Ingredients:

Ground chorizo, red cabbage slaw with lime, jalapenos, plain yogurt, and refried beans on a small loaf of wheat bread.

Red cabbage slaw.

Red cabbage slaw.

Verdict:

Ehh, not as phenomenal. I could have gone with a firmer, less doughy bread. The slaw was good, but I think I should have gone simpler and stuck with lettuce and tomato. But even with those little misses, m’gosh this was a delicious sandwich.

This is one serious sandwich.

This is one serious sandwich.

A really, really delicious sandwich.

So delicious that I literally inhaled in. It was messy and beastly and amazing. Not quite ah-maze-ing, but close enough. And it still gives me an excuse to walk down to the taco truck.

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Your turn, eaters:

Do you like to re-create restaurant meals at home?

What’s your favorite kind of food truck?

Later eaters!

Birthday Tacos!

Hi eaters!

How did Monday treat you?

Mine was less than stellar, but I’ve risen above. A glass of wine and an hour spent planning my next couponing trip (it’s almost Super Double Week at Harris Teeter!) sure helped me rise above.

Also, I’m still glowing from a really nice birthday weekend.

I would love to tell you all about putt putt and my birthday wound and my pretty friends and beers at Natty Greene’s and reading for pleasure (I’m currently reading Dreaming in French, by Alice Kaplan and I loveloveLOVE that I have time for pleasure reading now!) and all the other fun things. But other than dinner, I only have pictures of my birthday wound and my birthday donut.

Car selfie in the parking lot at work.

Car selfie in the parking lot at work.

That little bump in the middle of my chest is where I got stabbed by my sunglasses. They're surprisingly sharp and it bled a surprising amount.

That little bump in the middle of my chest is where I got stabbed by my sunglasses. They’re surprisingly sharp and it bled a surprising amount.

 

And then there was dinner.

For dinner, my friends Peach and Janet came over and we went downtown to Crafted. If you remember, I went there for the first time over Christmas.

Well, it’s gotten a lot more popular since then, so there was an hour wait when we got there at 7pm. And while I’m normally not one to wait that long, I was in no hurry and Natty Greene’s was within walking distance, so we put our name in and went down the block to grab a beer.

After just over an hour we were seated and it was ah-maze-ing!

Nachos!

Nachos!

We split the Dirty South Nachos, which were housemade sweet potato fries topped with pulled pork and some kind of cheesy cream sauce.

Janet likes to be creepy in the background of my pictures.

Janet likes to be creepy in the background of my pictures.

For my entrée, I went with the Fixie, which was beef brisket, pineapple, sweet chili sauce, and coconut aioli.

O’m’gah, so freaking good. The pineapple and the sweet chili sauce was a bit much on the sweetness, and I could always do with a little more spice, but it was still a delicious little combo.

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Everyone else raved about their tacos, which was nice because we’re typically a $1 taco crowd.

Next time, though, I’m definitely getting the stuffed avocado appetizer. Something about avocado, chorizo, and queso together with tortilla chips sounds like straight up mouth sex.

And that’s all I’ve got.

What about you, eaters:

Do you like big, raging parties or small gatherings for your birthday?

Do you like more sweet or spicy?

Later eaters!

Weekend Food

Hi eaters!

I love weekends, don’t you?

Working in retail means I almost never get two days in a row off and the fact that I get Sundays off is just a happy coincidence. And now with a second job I might never get two days in a row off again.

This week, though, I lucked out. I got Sunday and Monday totally free from work.

Beyond loving the freedom to nap and read and take long walks with my dog, I also love the freedom to cook.

On the weekends I get to eat big breakfasts.weekend food1

I get time to gradually get hungry and to think about what I really want to eat before I stuff something in my mouth.

Scrambled eggs with sausage and a de-licious unglazed buttermilk donut.

Scrambled eggs with sausage and a de-licious unglazed buttermilk donut.

I get to cook more elaborate meals and eat earlier.

Grilled pork chops and corn, all from the farmer's market.

Grilled pork chops and corn, all from the farmer’s market.

All of these things are vastly different from the weekdays when, more often than I would like to admit, I eat lunch (and change my pants) in the car. And lately, as I haven’t had time to shop or meal plan properly, that lunch has been a grilled chicken sandwich from Chik-fil-A way too often for my comfort level.

During the week I almost always eat eggs with fruit for breakfast and most days I am just shy of hitting my water intake goal for the day. (I have a 24oz water bottle and aim to drink it three times a day.)

My go to snack is mixed nuts, which is a very satiating snack, (as I pointed out last week) but not exactly thrilling.

All of these things are nice and healthy and easy to eat, but man, do they get boring. A few weeks ago I was so sick of my usual, nice, healthy, easy food that I would have rather not eaten than eat the same thing again. (I ate a lot of takeout that week.)

My cute pig corn holders.

My cute pig corn holders.

So weekends are my saving grace. They let me re-charge my batteries and stuff my face with the most delicious food so I’m ready to face the week ahead, which are always guaranteed to be filled with car lunches and speeding through yellow lights (sorry, papa) and hurried dog walks.

What do you think, eaters:

What’s your favorite thing about weekends?

What’s your least favorite part of your work/school week?

Later eaters!

Graduation Snapshots

Hellooooooo eaters!

I’ve been MIA lately and for that I’m sorry.

I’ve missed you lots, I promise.

But I graduated college yesterday, so I’m back.

After a few weeks of running around to tie up loose ends, a night of worrying about whether or not I passed one stupid class, an hour of defending my thesis, and a weekend of celebrating, I have finished college.

And it feels pretty good, I think.

Honestly, though, I don’t know. I’m still stuffed and reeling from everything that happened so quickly over the last couple of days. So while I try to process things and figure out my next step, here’s a handful of pictures from the last few days.

My new wreath, because it's tacky to have the same wreath up from Thanksgiving.

My new wreath, because it’s tacky to have the same wreath up from Thanksgiving.

Going into my second hour of standing on line to walk into graduation.

Going into my second hour of standing on line to walk into graduation.

They can't take it back now.

They can’t take it back now. #HireMe

Mother and brother.

Mother and brother.

graduation05

I’m in love with my dress.

And I'm in love with him.

And I’m in love with him.

My mom's boyfriend upon hearing that my camera was one the wrong setting so none of his pictures came out.

My mom’s boyfriend upon hearing that my camera was one the wrong setting so none of his pictures came out.

My sister at dinner.

My sister at dinner.

An amazingly tender steak from Print Works Bistro in Greensboro.

An amazingly tender steak from Print Works Bistro in Greensboro.

I'm in love with the shape of this martini glass. So feminine and refined. The martini wasn't half bad, either.

I’m in love with the shape of this martini glass. So feminine and refined. The martini wasn’t half bad, either.

graduation11

After two dinners out and a lunch at my house, my fridge is packed to the gills with delicious leftovers.

A well deserved afternoon relaxing with my pup.

A well deserved afternoon relaxing with my pup.

Your turn, eaters:

What did you get up to this afternoon?

Do you take leftovers from restaurants or is that tacky to you?

Later eaters!

PS — I’m coming back to blogging. Expect to see at least 4 posts a week from me.

Pastrami

Hiya eaters!

I think North Carolina’s three week spring is over and we are in full on summer mode.

I even have the sunburn to prove it.

I have been waiting for summer to start for so long. In my head I have a running bucket list of all the things I’m really excited to do this summer.

Walking down to Best Way, the extraordinary beer grocery store in my neighborhood (on Walker Ave in Greensboro, for all you natives), with Leon and Charlie to buy expensive, hoppy beers and drink them in the kitchen while we snack.

Going to Virginia Beach for a weekend of big, comfy couches and washers and dryers and beer on the beach and Charlie digging in the sand and crab cakes and fish tacos.

Improving my Toms tan.

Wearing sundresses and eating froyo with extra gummy worms (because cold gummies are the best thing ever).

Going to Georgia for Brady, my brother, and my graduation party where we’re going to get my mother to drink out of a keg.

Buying lots and lots of fresh fruit and making pies and cobblers.

The list goes on and on. And Sunday, on a gorgeous sunny day that was supposed to be cloudy, Leon helped me cross another thing off my list — barbecue.

A few weeks ago Leon snagged a cheap beef brisket and decided to smoke it. Of course, I’m always up for a big hunk of smoked meat.

So we set up camp on the front lawn.

pastrami05

pastrami06

Charlie played in the grass. Leon sunbathed.pastrami02

I sat in the shade and tried to do homework.pastrami04

And we smoked a big hunk of meat.pastrami01

It was supposed to be pastrami. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten pastrami, so I don’t know how spot on it was. But I do know that after a few solid hours on the smoker this hunk of meat had a gorgeous crust. It was absolutely dripping juice between the cracks in the crust.pastrami07

pastrami08

In a word: it was meat perfection.pastrami09

Leon sliced a bunch off and we stacked it high on homemade bread with provolone cheese, sauerkraut, and lots of brown mustard.

This stack created a sandwich of amazingly epic proportions. And while I normally would never leave any part of a sandwich behind, even I couldn’t finish this giant beast.pastrami10

pastrami11

And while normally I would consider not finishing a sandwich to be a sign of failure (c’mon, my blog is called FoodBaby for a reason), I know that having a quarter of it in the fridge just means I get a midnight snack. And that there’s still a whole summer of big hunks of smoked meat ahead of me.

Barbecue chicken is on the menu for this weekend.

Your turn, eaters:

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

What’s your favorite kind of sandwich?

Later eaters!

Cowfish and Dropkick

Hellooooo eaters!

Boy, have I got a great night to tell you about.

Last night Leon and I had tickets to a Dropkick Murphys show in Charlotte. Leon introduced me to Dropkick when we were first dating so I was jazzed to finally get to see them with him.

Also, there’s a chance Leon and I are moving to Charlotte at the end of the summer so we were jazzed (correction: I was jazzed, Leon was excited) to spend a little time in our prospective future home.

First stop: dinner!

I had heard about Cowfish from Caitlyn’s blog forever ago and I’ve wanted to go ever since.

Come on, it’s a restaurant that serves burgers, sushi, and burgushi. How could that not be awesome?!

Well, it was!

To start we split a spider crab roll.charlotte nc1

I haven’t had sushi in more than a hot minute and this was pretty good. I could have gone for a little less rice and a little more tempura, but who couldn’t all the time, so it was fine.

To eat I took the waiter’s suggestion and went with one of their bento boxes.charlotte nc3

This came with a double stack of the featured mini burger (which had pimento cheese and some kind of peppers), Thai cucumbers, sweet potato fries, edemame, and a blackened tuna roll.

A massive mini burger.

A massive mini burger.

Can we talk about this blackened tuna roll?

It.Was.Stellar!

It was like this awesome, creamy orgasm in my mouth.

(Let’s not talk about how awkwardly sexual that was, okay? Okay.)

Also, those cucumbers were oddly perfect. It was like your traditional vinegar cucumber salad, but it had this sweetness that kept the vinegar from being overpowering. They were pretty magical.

Leon got the Stringin’ the Blues burger.charlotte nc4

It was massive and awesome. The blue cheese was really balanced (and I don’t like blue cheese), but it could have used a slice of bacon to even out the flavors.

Oh also, Cowfish is in South Park mall and I really kinda want to live there. It’s fancy.

After dinner (and getting a little lost) we ran through the rain and made it to the Filmore.

The venue was pretty great with big crystal chandeliers all over the place and not too big.

Oh, and a women took off her pants (and maybe her underwear) in the ladies room. That’s fun, right?

Dropkick took the stage at 10 sharp and they were great.charlotte nc6

They played a really nice balance of their old favorites and stuff off their new CD and I only had to kick one guy in the knee (because he elbowed me in the boobs, asshole).

And when they played “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced,” which is when they let ladies come on stage, I did not get on stage and look trashy.

#Winning!

So yeah, a beyond awesome night.

I can’t wait to go back to Charlotte and explore some more (and take Leon to Ikea).

Your turn, eaters:

What was the greatest concert you’ve ever been to?

Sushi or burgers?

Later eaters!

WIAW: Magical Mexican Soup

G’day eaters!

I want to start off by saying a big ole Congratulations to Jenn, the host of WIAW, for getting knocked up!

Everyone around me seems to be getting pregnant. It’s awesome and all, but…

I really hope it’s not contagious.


Pre Crossfit:

Half an apple. A lot of pb. A vanilla whey protein shake.

Crossfit:

#PROOF of my 105# floor press PR!

#PROOF of my 105# floor press PR!

PRs are my favorite.

Breakfast:

Scrambled eggs with bell pepper and avocado, and a pair of cuties.

Scrambled eggs with bell pepper and avocado, and a pair of cuties.

This is my new typical breakfast.

Yup, I’m still on the scrambled eggs and cooked veg breakfast.

Side note — these are the smallest, cutest clementines I’ve ever seen. I finally feel like I’m getting “cuties,” not like those small-ish oranges I’ve been calling “cuties” all these years.

Lunch:

A Cobb salad of sorts — bib lettuce (my favorite!), rotisserie chicken, bacon, bell pepper, cheddar, avocado, and balsamic dressing.

A Cobb salad of sorts — bib lettuce (my favorite!), rotisserie chicken, bacon, bell pepper, cheddar, avocado, and balsamic dressing.

Look! I did something “healthy living blogger”-like and made my lunch the night before while I was making breakfast. Let’s ignore the fact that I ate it at home.

Another pair of cuties.

Another pair of cuties.

Having it ready was still mighty handy.

Snack:

Let’s play the game where you don’t scold me for buying a giant bag of Twizzlers because it was $1 and I won’t pretend I only ate one serving.

Dinner:

This meal knocked my socks off! That’s real talk, eaters. Real talk.

A pork tamales and a pair of salsas, because I was indecisive.

A pork tamales and a pair of salsas, because I was indecisive.

First, I made the pork tamales over the weekend as part of my thesis. And while they were good on the day I made them, they were so much better a few days later when the exhaustion of making them had worn off.

Second, this soup was pure magic. I wanted to make some sort of lazy tortilla soup so I mixed a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and then leftover “broth” from the tamale meat (which was the pork cooking water pureed with cooked garlic and cooked onion). I added a little bit of spice and pureed the whole deal again.

The most magical of all Mexican soups, topped with cheddar and tortilla chip crumbles.

The most magical of all Mexican soups, topped with cheddar and tortilla chip crumbles.

And by the grace of the Mexican food gods (who I imagine have heads made out of grilled cheese sandwiches) it ab-so-freaking-lutely rocked!

The end.

Your turn, eaters:

What was the last winging-it meal that turned out magical for you?

What’s your favorite candy?

Later eaters!

Multi Purpose Dough

G’day eaters!

So…I know I said I’d pick the GoodBelly probiotic giveaway winner on Wednesday or Thursday, but that, obviously, didn’t happen. Other things happened and now suddenly it’s Sunday.

So here goes:

Georgiana, you are the winner of a 12 day supply of GoodBelly shots! Email me your mailing address at kara_h_thomas @ yahoo.com.

And another thing that I said I would do, but haven’t yet is to share a recipe I created for my thesis. And since I have my first full draft due in a week or so, my mind is thoroughly saturated with thesis things.

So here goes:

Do you know the crappy pizza buffet restaurant CiCi’s Pizza?

When my brother and I were much younger my mom used to take us there a lot. We all loved pizza. It was cheap. And there was a huge TV that always played cartoons. So understandably, it was the perfect place for my mom to take us kids when she didn’t feel like cooking.

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to CiCi’s, but for some reason I remember them having these really great cinnamon rolls on their dessert buffet. They also had some kind of goopy chocolate dessert pizza and maybe something with apples, if I remember. But for some reason the idea of cinnamon rolls really stuck out to me.

More importantly, the idea of cinnamon rolls made out of pizza dough really stuck with me. Because, ya know, I’m positive that if there were cinnamon rolls they were made out of the same dough at the pizzas.

So with that in mind…

One Dough Two Ways

1 packet (2 ½ t) dry active yeast

1 ½ c warm water

2 T honey

2 T oil, plus a little extra

2 t salt

2 ½ c whole wheat pastry flour

1-2 c all purpose flour

Mix the honey into the warm water and then add the yeast, giving it a quick stir to break up any big clumps. Let this mixture proof for 5-10 minutes, or until there is at least an inch of foam at the top.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the whole wheat flour and 1 c of the AP flour with the salt. Once the yeast has proofed add in the oil and then pour all the liquid into the bowl with the flour. Stir the mixture a few times until it starts to form a ball and them use your hands to mix it until it forms a cohesive ball. Add more flour, about ¼ c at a time, as needed.

Once the dough has become a slightly sticky ball, remove it from the bowl and place it on a well-floured surface. Begin kneading the dough, adding flour as needed to keep it from sticking, for 10 minutes.

Line a bowl with a piece of plastic wrap. Drizzle a little oil into the plastic wrap. Place the ball of dough into the bowl and cover with a towel. Leave the dough to proof in a warm spot for 1-2 hours, or until it has about doubled in size.

Pizza

The pizza part, which is made using half of the dough you just made, is pretty self-explanatory. Make it and then bake it at 500^F, on a pizza stone if you have it, for 10-13 minutes.

Cinnamon Rolls

½ batch of dough

¼ c butter, melted

3 – 4 T sugar

1 ½ T cinnamon

Bring the dough to room temperature. Lightly flour a big, open surface and a rolling pin and roll out the dough into a rectangle. Pour the butter onto the dough and, using the back of a spoon, spread it evenly over the rectangle. Sprinkle the sugar and the cinnamon evenly over rectangle.

Then roll the dough by slowly and evenly rolling the long end furthest away towards you. Once the two long ends meet, gently pinch the seam closed. Them using a sharp knife cut the roll into ~2” segments and place an inch or so apart in a buttered cake pan.

Let the pan of rolls proof for an hour in a warm spot, until the rolls are touching.

Bake at 375^F for 7-9 minutes, or until the tops are just barely golden brown and the outsides are firm, but not hard.cinnamon rolls1

I ate a few of these rolls plain, but then Leon suggested they needed a glaze. So I whisked up some powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla, a glaze similar to the one I made for my pumpkin donuts, which is why I didn’t write down any measurements.

But glaze or no glaze, these were really good cinnamon rolls. They become amazingly good when you consider how complicated normal cinnamon rolls are — lots of scalding milk and excess sugar — and how simple these were.cinnamon rolls2

The trick in these rolls really is to not over bake them. A minute or two too long and you’ve got cinnamon-y dinner rolls.

And then eat them within a day or two.

And eat them warm.

Maybe with a side of bacon. Or after pizza.

Or just eat them at every meal, like I did for a day or two.cinnamon rolls3

Your turn, eaters:

Do you have an unconventional way of making something?

What’s a meal you remember loving when you were a kid?

Later eaters!

WIAW: Put a Fried Egg On It

Hiya eaters!

I haven’t done a WIAW in a hot minute, so why not, right?

Oh, and I didn’t have anything exciting to blog about because I eat a lot of leftovers that I top with fried eggs. Because really, what doesn’t taste better with a little runny yolk? (I should add that to my food manifesto.)


Breakfast:

Shredded, roasted Brussels sprouts baked with two eggs.

Shredded, roasted Brussels sprouts baked with two eggs.

Speaking of fried eggs…

Seriously, this was a coincidence. I didn’t remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday when I wrote that intro.

On the side I also had a Clementine (because all those Brussels sprouts are only 1 Zone block of carbs, can I get a #HotDamnHoory!).

Work:

Grande whole milk latte and a messy desk.

Grande whole milk latte.

I was out of creamer and forgot to add fat to my breakfast, so this happened. For the first time since before Christmas.

Yes, I am proud of that.

Lunch:

Vinegar baked chicken, spicy peach seitan, and a kale salad.

Vinegar baked chicken, spicy peach seitan, and a kale salad.

Since we all know that grocery shopping on an empty stomach is bad, so I treated myself to the Whole Foods hot bar. For the first time since before Christmas.

As you noticing a pattern? I eat more convenience foods when school is in.

Snack:

WINE GUMS!!!

WINE GUMS!!!

My friend Polly is a freaking angel and brought me a big bag of my FAVORITE gummies from England — wine gums! So I ate a few too many of these.

Dinner:

Homemade pizza with chorizo, peppers, onions, and fresh mozzarella.

Homemade pizza with chorizo, peppers, onions, and fresh mozzarella.

I had a kneading breakthrough last week, so I had to see if extra kneading improved my pizza dough.

It totally dinner. The chorizo helped, too.

And that officially makes this pizza the second tastiest thesis homework yet! (Though I’m baking cinnamon rolls tomorrow, so that might change.)

Your turn, eaters:

Do you eat leftovers as is or you do jazz them up a bit?

What’s your favorite candy?

*Bonus* Would you be interested in me sharing my thesis recipes?

Later eaters!

A Food Manifesto

‘Ello eaters!

I hope you enjoyed my pictures from last night. As you can tell, I’ve very proud.

Hell, I’m very proud anytime I can do something on the computer. I’m a bit of a Luddite, don’t ya know.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about my views on food. They’ve obviously changed over the years, especially since I’ve had this blog. And while I’m absolutely positive they will change more over the years, I figured it was worth tacking them down as they as now.

Kind of like a manifesto time capsule, if that makes sense.

So, without further ado, here’s my food manifesto as it stands today, December 11, 2012.

Sprinkles don’t have calories. Or carbs.

Eat one serving of fruits or vegetables at every meal.

Bacon should be thick cut and crispy.

Food becomes exponentially better when you eat it with your hands.

Condiments make food exponentially better.

Any cut of BBQ pork is the right cut as long as it’s saucy.

The more colorful the food the healthier it is, with regards to fruits and vegetables.

Tofu is not just for vegetarians.

Salads are the best packed lunches.

Eat at least one snack a day.

Dessert isn’t healthy. If it’s healthy than it’s not dessert, it’s an after dinner snack.

Never skip meals.

Nuts should be roasted and salted.

Donuts are a perfect food.

When you don’t know what to say, bake a cake.

Smoked paprika is the best spice, second only to pepper.

Cheese.

Strawberry banana is a very over used flavor combination.

It’s always worth it to make it from scratch. At least once in your life.

Eat locally and seasonally; it’s cheaper, among other things.

Never turn down crusty bread.

Pizza is also a perfect food.

Sausage is not just for ball games and barbeques.

Wine should be dry and shared.

I’m sure there are plenty of other things that I have lots of other views on food, those are all I can think of.

Your turn, eaters:

What are some of your views on food?

Any of my views that you disagree with?

G’night eaters!