Listen, it ain’t all frilly-footed macarons and ingredients set in italics around here.
Cha’boy is a vegetarian. Well, “vegetarian” isn’t quite right. “Herbivore?” What I’m saying is that I didn’t choose this. Animal fats are fine, but I eat a steak or wolf down a chicken, I’m gonna have a bad time, y’know, digestion-wise. “Something something enzymes”—I don’t know. But this is how it has always been, my whole life.
As a result, I have—again, my whole life—maintained A List of Coveted Foods. It isn’t a glamorous list. Pepperoni pizza; that’s way up there. A meatball sub. All things that I have heard over and over again “aren’t even all that good,” but I remain undeterred.
School lunch tacos were a big one, in my youth. Like, those stale-yellow-shell tacos with the dry, pebbly “meat” in ’em, and basically nothing else.
Now, as I aged, my tastes of course became more refined. When I was in my twenties—a grown, matured gourmand, if you will—it became Taco Bell. Lord, I wanted Taco Bell; just, like, a basic-ass taco. I still do. As we speak.
Don’t you dare. Don’t you go ascribing negative moral value to “low class” food. Not here—not on this blog.
You’re right. I, a fictional judge-y person you have invented, am sorry.
Listen, we all got stuff to work on.
Anyway, this was baby’s first recipe, once upon a time. Ages ago, when those soy protein “crumbles” were brand new in stores, a whole new world of food-esque possibilities suddenly stood before me. Having just discovered that stuff, this spice mix was painstakingly forged from some jankity old jarred spices of indeterminate age, in an apartment with rattly, foil-lined electric “burners,” using cookware that a sometimes-roommate’s mother won in a radio contest, based mostly on smell and extensively tested on a group of people whose only culinary qualification was “knowing what Taco Bell tastes like.”
Is... is it any good?
Hell yes it is. I tinkered with this dumb thing for years. It’s probably not a one-to-one match for Taco Bell seasoning anymore, if indeed it ever was—but if you want some nachos on the quick, you could do a hell of a lot worse.
What do I do with it?
Brown about a pound of ground beef or a bag of that soy protein crumbles stuff, then lower your heat. If you’re using fresh aromatics, add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes more. Then take this spice blend, mix it into 3/4 cup of stock—or water, in a pinch—pour it in to the skillet, and stir until thickened; it should only take a few minutes. Done deal.
Make this alongside some refried beans, put ’em on some nachos, and have yourself a grand old time. Double it and put half in a jar for nacho emergencies.
Man, nachos rule.
See, now we’re on the same page.
Recipe: Taco Seasoning
21/2 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
21/2 tsp. Chili powder
11/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper
1 tsp. Cumin
3/4 tsp. Onion powder, or one onion, minced
1/4 tsp. Garlic powder, or two cloves of garlic, minced
Put the flour and dry spices in a small jar with a lid. Add 3/4 C. stock (or water) and shake vigorously.
Brown ~1 pound of ground beef (or one bag of ground-beef-style vegetarian “crumbles”) in a large, well-oiled skillet, over high heat
Lower heat to medium, add aromatics, and cook until softened.
Give the jar another shake and add the contents to the skillet. Stir until consistently thickened—only a few minutes more.