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the haas machine: Steak Tacos with Pico De Gallo

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Steak Tacos with Pico De Gallo

Where do you draw inspiration for your meals? Do you look to pinterest to find something that will satisfy your family & your wallet? Do you check out five bazillion cookbooks at your library, hoping you'll actually have time to look through one entire book before they are all due in three weeks? Are you a food blog addict & steal recipes from your beloved bloggers?

I am guilty on all three accounts. I pin waaaay too many recipes to actually try, check out waaaay too cookbooks to actually read, & devour waaaay too many food blogs to actually keep track of.

But I also like to take some of my life experiences & apply them to the food we eat & my most of my favorite experiences have come through traveling.
My very first time in Mexico lasted just over a few hours. My dad & step mom brought us to Arizona for spring break or something, so we made the few hour drive to Mexico, basically to cross the boarder, buy a few treasures to prove that we were there & journey back to the States. It was less than impressive & I don't even think we had lunch. Depressing!

My second time to Mexico was more of a deep plunge. I studied abroad in Mexico City & Oaxaca City, getting to experience both the crazy big city Mexico & the quaint work-your-bootie-off Mexico. I was studying Women's Rights & Globalization, so we saw & experienced some pretty heavy things. We learned first-hand from many women who were suffering to gain their rights, earn a decent wage, & support their families. We watched demonstrations, we visited museums, we toured significant places of Mexican history. And of course, we ate incredible food.
Have you eaten traditional Mexican food? I'm not talking about the taco-whatever you get, covered in refried beans, Spanish rice, & gallons of melty cheese. I'm talking about fresh & simple ingredients, lots & lots of cilantro, & a flavor that is comparable to none.

Here in La Crosse, we don't have too many authentic Mexican joints. Our favorite (by a landslide) is Burritos House, which looks like a shady little place you should speed past, but believe me, it's da bomb. 

I'll never forget my first meal from a street vendor in Mexico City: shrimp tacos. Our instructors advised us against eating from the vendors because, well, you know... we were American & would probably get sick. But when these shirmp tacos were staring me in the face, I just couldn't resist them. A few other (probably naiive) students joined me in devouring these tacos & we didn't regret it one bit. We ate plenty of other funky things (like grasshoppers!) but these tacos were definitely the right choice.

Since being in Mexico, it has really changed how I like to eat this kind of food. Although I love a good melty cheese most days, sometimes I'd rather pass & enjoy each of the individual flavors in the fresh veggies & herbs that make Mexican food really come alive.

Have you ever traveled somewhere that has "wrecked" how you used to eat that region's food?

Steak Tacos with Pico De Gallo
(Serves 2)
1 4-ounce steak sliced very thin
Salt & pepper to taste
Lime juice to taste
8 corn tortillas
1 recipe for Pico De Gallo
1/4 cup cheese (we used 1 string cheese, but you could also use crumbled queso or any mild white cheese, shredded)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Prepare your Pico & set in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Make sure that you slice your (raw) steak very thin & season with a little bit of salt, pepper, & lime juice. We cooked our steak in a cast iron skillet for just a couple of minutes (you can also cook it on the grill if you are going the 100% anti-oven rule, just cook it as one whole piece & then slice it. We really liked how when you slice it before cooking, each piece gets evenly cooked & a tiny bit crispy). Cook the steak to your level of comfort (we go medium rare).

Then warm up your corn tortillas, either in an additional cast iron skillet, on the grill, or in your toaster oven/microwave. Next, layer two tortillas on top of each other & add the steak, chilled Pico, cheese, & cilantro (we use two tortillas per taco so that they don't rip when we stuff them full of the ingredients).

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At July 18, 2013 at 7:50 AM , Blogger Lindsay Moe said...

Burritos House does look shady! We'll have to go there some time. I never knew you studied in Mexico, sounds like a great experience!

At July 18, 2013 at 9:33 AM , Blogger Gillian Haas said...

We will definitely go with you guys sometime- they just aren't open on Sundays, which is always the day we want to go!


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