The fist time I ate a taco was when my husband and I were on our honeymoon.
(Sometimes I ask my husband to proofread my blog, this was one of those times and he read the first sentence and already had an editing comment: “You should delete the words my husband and I, because who else would you be on a honeymoon with?” Everyone is a critic! I didn’t make the revision, because it’s my blog and the sentence makes sense to me, but I digress…)
Why have I never eaten a taco before then, you wonder? There weren’t many Mexican restaurants in our area at the time and I hadn’t been to Mexico yet, so I didn’t know much about Mexican food. Although, as I understand it from talking to the people in Mexico when we visited a few years later; taco’s are more Tex-Mex than they are Mexican. Kind of like pineapple on pizza is a North American creation and not something you’d ever find in Italy.
I’m telling you this so you will understand what happened during my first taco tasting experience. Also, please keep in mind that I was in Honeymoon Heaven, so that allows for some ditzy-nano-second moments.
So off we go to a restaurant to try out a taco.
First of all, they look complicated to eat. They are stuffed with meat, salsa, lettuce & cheese and after assessing what was on my plate, I figured this was not something you’d eat with a knife and fork. Just like one wouldn’t eat a hamburger with utensils…although, when friends from Italy visited Canada and we took them out for burgers, they did cut it up with a knife and fork.
(I know, I’m off topic, (so says my blog-editor, sitting beside me) and my mind goes all over the place, but the hamburger memory helped me realize that I’m not the only one in the world who wouldn’t know how to eat a new-to-me-food.)
Back to the honeymoon taco lunch. Upon further examination of the taco on my plate, I said to my husband: “How do you eat one of these?”
Hubby: “Turn your head sideways.”
With taco in hand, I turned my head, smiling at the couple seated to my left, who I’m sure were thinking, “Why is that woman holding up a taco and staring at us?”
Confused, I straightened and said to my husband, “You’re joking, right? How the hell am I supposed to eat it when my head is turned to the side?”
My groom literally laughed his ass off.
Me: “What’s so funny?”
He stopped laughing long enough to say, “Honey, turn your head sideways, not turn your head to the side.”
Me: “That sounds stupid, why do I have to turn my head sideways?”
Hubby: “To take a bite from the side, so the filling doesn’t fall out.”
Me: “Show me.”
Hubby: “I can’t right now.”
Me: “Why not?”
Hubby: “I can’t risk eating and laughing. I’ll choke.”
He then demonstrated what he meant.
(Yes, I know, we have the most intriguing, deep, serious lunch conversations).
It’s a memory he likes to bring up once in awhile. It’s what he calls; “A Selena moment of; you just had to be there.”
It is in RARE moments like this when he wishes he had a video to capture it all. But he wouldn’t dare even if he had a camera handy, because then I’d have to let go of my zen-like, passive tendencies and go all Italian-Kick-Ass-Chick all over him.
I blame the whole taco tasting incident on his lack of precise instructions and the fact that I was in glowing new bride mode and not really thinking straight.
For this week’s Tasty Tuesday, I am sharing a recipe which I have created, fusing Italian and Mexican food together for an EASIER TO EAT and healthier and LESS CRUMBLY Italian Taco.
THE ITALIAN TACO
(Can be eaten with a knife and fork, hence no head tilting, turning or other movements necessary, except chew and enjoy!)
1/2 pound Italian Sausage
½ pound lean ground beef
½ pound lean ground pork
(You can substitute lean ground turkey sausage and ground turkey if you like)
2 cups of Sexy, Sassy Sauce (told you this sauce comes in handy when creating dishes) OR – You can use any kind of tomato sauce.
½ cup Parmesan cheese
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
3 cloves of roasted garlic (OR if you don’t have roasted garlic, minced garlic and saute until tender)
½ cup fresh basil, chopped finely
½ cup Italian Salad Dressing
Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional: Hot chili peppers (if you like it spicier)
Optional: ½ cup Pine nuts
Large Romaine Lettuce Leaves
Preheat oven to 350F
Wash and dry the Romaine Lettuce Leaves and set aside.
In a small pot, add your tomato sauce and warm it up. Not to boiling point, but heated all the way through.
In a skillet, combine the ground meats and cook over medium heat until evenly browned.
Drain off excess grease.
Turn stove top heat to medium-low and to the meat add: garlic, sauce, salad dressing, stirring meat mixture, until all liquid is absorbed.
Remove mixture from stove and put in a large bowl and stir in: chopped basil, salt & pepper to taste, (hot peppers if you are using them), (pine nuts, if you are using them) and tomato sauce.
Note: Add just enough tomato sauce to cover the meat, and leave some behind in the pot.
Spray a casserole dish with a non-stick spray and put the mixture in the casserole dish.
Top the dish with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake for about 8 – 10 minutes, until the mozzarella is all melted.
When done, remove from oven and scoop the mixture inside the lettuce leaves and wrap it up and spoon leftover warmed up tomato sauce over the wraps.