There’s nothing better than a grass-fed beef taco. As I am a Mexican food fanatic, I can eat tacos anytime, but especially when they are this delicious, healthy, and made with fresh ingredients.
History of tortillas and tacos
Tortillas are believed to date back as far as 10,000 B.C. Mayan legend says that in ancient times a peasant created them for his king. In 1521 the acquisition of Mexico was taken by Spain, headed up by explorer Cortez. They were looking for fortune and opportunity and found a myriad of new foods such as squash, avocados, chocolate, beans, vanilla, peanuts, and corn. Cortez was received warmly at first by Montezuma, the ruler of the Aztec civilization. But over time, many battles ensued and eventually Cortez overtook the capitol and claimed it as the property of Spain. Although they replaced many of the Aztec buildings and institutions with their own, the culture was never fully removed and many customs and traditions came through such as the eating of stone-ground corn cakes with many other foods.
One of the most integral parts of the diet in Mexican eating is the tortilla, made from corn. To remove the husk, corn kernels are cooked with lime and then ground on a stone slab with a grinding stone. The resulting dough (masa) can be formed into little round balls and then hand patted out into thin round cakes. The cake is then fried on both sides in a pan. This cake can also be wrapped in a corn husk (the tamale) which is filled with meat. This handmade wrapper is extremely versatile and its uses are endless.
Tortillas can be used for many foods such as enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, and tamales. Tortillas are often used as eating utensils, such as a plate as in a tostada or taco salad (even Mexican pizza). The tortilla has become popular in the United States and can be found in many places – and not just Mexican restaurants – due in part to the increase of the Hispanic population.
- 1 – 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
- grated raw cheese, I use Organic Valley Raw Monterey Jack
- organic romaine lettuce, shredded or sliced
- organic onions, diced
- cilantro, stems removed
- chili powder
- sea salt
- home-made pico de gallo (see recipe below)
- sprouted corn tortillas (we used Ezekiel brand organic, sprouted corn tortillas – a traditionally prepared food)
- garnish with avocados (optional)
- Brown the ground beef in a stainless steel pan with onions (optional).
- Begin adding in sea salt, pepper, and spices – chili powder, cumin, oregano, and paprika.You can add a bit of water to your mixture to help set in the spices.
- Turn heat down to low and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Cook beef and onions until beef is browned and onions are sauteed.
- About five minutes before the beef is done simmering, turn the oven on to warm and place your tortillas on a piece of foil to heat for 2 – 3 minutes. The longer you leave your tortillas in the oven, the more crispy they will become. Some people prefer them this way, I like mine softer.
- When the tortillas are ready, take them out of the oven. Place on a plate and fill with ground beef. Top with cheese, cilantro, romaine, onions, and pico de gallo.
Recipe for pico de gallo:
- finely chopped organic tomatoes (3 – 4 medium sized)
- finely chopped organic onions (1 medium)
- diced organic green onions (one stalk, optional)
- organic cilantro, stems removed, chopped (your own preference of amount)
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- organic chili powder (to taste – some people like spicy, some prefer mild)
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, adjust amounts according to your own taste. Serve over tacos.
Photo, courtesy Jennifer Whitt