I’d like to make a case for Taco Thursday. Thursday is, I believe, secretly the sweetest day of the week. It sneaks in silently, after an almost full week of work and play and stress and hobbies, fresh with the promise of Friday. Thursday warms you up for the weekend and finally gives you room to breathe and look back on the week. Thursdays are what my dreams are made of. So why the heck are we not eating more tacos on Thursdays? Why am I waiting in such long restaurant lines on Taco Tuesday? Why am I wasting time that could be used to eat a taco? WHY.
One of my favorite questions to ask people I am getting to know, as well as people I think I already know well, is “what is your favorite food?”. I also love asking people what a day of perfect meals would look like, or what dish they would eat if they could only eat the same thing for the rest of a lifetime, but those are stories for another day.
I like answering the question as well. I always want to say my favorite food is salad (I am suuuuch a dietitian, the wooooorst)- you can stick whatever you want in a salad. I then want to say it is Thai red curry- spicy and fragrant and complex. But I always come back to tacos. Tacos are everything a salad and curry are- a vehicle for your choice ingredients, a dish always colorful and bright- but they are also everything a salad and curry can’t quite be: eaten with your hands. The taco therefore will always be my forever favorite food, a fact solidified when my co-workers purchased me a taco pinata for my birthday and presented it as if there could have been no better fitting gift, save had they filled the paper mache taco full of smaller, edible tacos. And no, I have not yet found the heart to pack and smash the thing. My birthday was in October.
Tacos are for birthdays, tacos are a great answer to my snoopy “what is your favorite food?” question, tacos are for Thursdays. And as I feel I’ve won my argument here, I hope you will use this recipe for dinner tonight. This particular dish is adapted from a recipe by Ellie Krieger, a fellow dietitian and food lover, via her book The Food You Crave.
These particular tacos are made with beef, but you can make them with chicken or a vegetarian or vegan protein substitute. That is the beauty of a taco, it is exactly what you need it to be, and it should be enjoyed, I believe, beyond the constraints of Taco Tuesday, always and forever. Amen.
- ...FOR THE TACOS...
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of paprika
- 1¼ pounds chuck steak
- 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas
- 3 cups shredded red cabbage
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- ...FOR THE SALSA...
- 1 medium English cucumber, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
- 2 medium avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- Juice of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped, or to taste
- Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and preheat it over medium-high heat or preheat the grill.
- In a small bowl, combine chili powder, garlic, cinnamon, salt, and paprika. Rub the spice mix on both sides of the steak.
- Grill or broil the steaks for 5 minutes per side (for medium rare) or until meat finishes at your desired degree of doneness. Remove from the heat and let the meat rest for 5 minutes. Carve into thin slices.
- Warm the tortillas either on the grill for 30 seconds or in the microwave between two moist paper towels for 45 seconds.
- Place carved steak, cabbage, and cilantro in the warm tortillas. Squeeze lime over the top.
- Top the taco off with the salsa, made by combining all the salsa ingredients in a medium bowl and tossing gently until mixed.
- The salsa is best served within an hour of preparing. Tacos are best served Thursdays, per Rachel.