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We have a friend in Portland named Ed who is an awesome host. We love dinner invitations; we know we’ll have great food and drink and an evening full of laughter. Ed’s family has the tradition of Taco Tuesday, and he really does it well. He marinates chicken in spicy sauces, chops onions and tomatoes and lettuce, fries corn tortillas, puts out a variety of sauces and dips. We loved his tacos so much that we incorporated the idea last year. Ours were never quite as good as his (there’s something about not doing the work yourself), but they were good. We chopped cilantro and lime, put out sour cream and tortilla chips and that really good salsa from Trader Joe’s. Donn fried the tortillas. I marinated the chicken. It was so good that we would often make it other nights of the week when we had people over; everybody loves tacos, right?
One of the things “they” tell you, when you begin dragging your family all over the world, is how important it is to keep traditions. Keep things as normal as possible, they tell you. If something can be carried over, do so. And so, on Tuesday night, I decided to try to make tacos.
(Also, I was inspired by this blogger, who always has such beautiful posts about food. I think she‘s a better photographer though. And funnier. Maybe this won‘t work.)
First of all, the many Mexican-themed foods available in the US are not available in Morocco. Not to worry; I’ve lived in North Africa before. I have tried to make my own tortillas and they were abject failures. We use pita bread, cut in half around the circumference with scissors or, failing that, a knife.
Next, we make our own salsa. I made up my own recipe for a  sort of pico de gallo; it’s very simple but tasty. Start with some of these.

Chop tomatoes, green onions, garlic, and cilantro; mix together. (Note: could those green onions possibly have been baby leeks? They were awfully bitter. But could leeks ever be that small? Check this)

Add lemon juice, salt and jalapeno peppers.
If you can’t find peppers, you could use some of this.

On a side note, it’s interesting to me that there are things we could find in Mauritania that aren’t available here. I have already mentioned chopped tomatoes in tins, which is a sore loss since I use them for everything. Another thing is jalapeno peppers. I could get jars of them in Nouakchott, but can’t find them here. I did see fresh the other day, but where was it? And why didn’t I buy them then and there?
However, one thing you can get here is Louisiana hot sauce!
I’m sure it’s very authentic. Note the authentic Arabic writing on the label. Just like down in New Orleans.

You can find boneless/skinless chicken breast here, but it’s very expensive. However, filet of turkey breast is cheap and works just as well. I’m very happy, since neither could be found in Mauritania. I marinated it in Louisiana hot sauce and cooked it on the stove.
I chopped olives and avocado, but not much since I’m the only one who eats them. This furnished apartment has no cheese grater, so we did thin slices of gouda. I forgot to put out extra cilantro, but I did manage lettuce.
Et voila!

It was actually pretty tasty. The kids want to do it again next week.
I wonder if it will replace Tex-Mex as the next big thing? Let me know if you decide to try it.

September 2008

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