In the city that never sleeps, tacos make the ultimate late-night snack. They’re small, quick to eat and packed with flavor. So it’s only fitting that this year’s annual Tacos & Tequila party turned into a late-night fiesta. From 10pm until 1am, taco enthusiasts united and wandered the rooftop of Pier 92 with a margarita in one hand and a taco in the other. Bobby Flay returned as host of the popular Food Network City Wine & Food Festival event and was just as excited as his guests about the delicious fare created by his “brothers and sisters” in white chef jackets.
For thousands of us, fall is the real season of renewal, when back-to-school planning encompasses everything from freshly sharpened pencils to visions of easier, tastier — and saner — mealtimes. If those visions are starting to blur a couple of weeks into the new routine, take heart and meet Katie Workman. The mother of an 11- and a 14-year-old, she is the author of The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket.
The book’s frank and funny tone, elevated comfort food and down-to-earth suggestions for involving kids in the kitchen have endeared Workman to legions of fans (and helped spawn a sequel due out next summer). Last month, she stopped by Food Network Kitchen in New York’s Chelsea Market to make her Taco Night tacos and dish on late-night cooking, the one kitchen tool she can’t live without and annoying food habits all parents should avoid. Here are some questions and answers from our conversation, plus three family-friendly recipes worth incorporating into your repertoire right now. (For more on Katie’s visit, check out The One Recipe: Katie Workman’s Taco Night Tacos.)
Tacos are having a moment in New York City right now, and it was on full display at Bobby Flay‘s fourth annual Tacos & Tequila party. This can’t-miss event has become a Saturday night staple of the New York City Wine & Food Festival. This year, nearly 30 of Bobby’s NYC chef “brothers and sisters” served up their tastiest tacos, and there were even stations from a few out-of-town friends.
Pier 92 was packed with taco-loving fans — including Food Network stars like Giada De Laurentiis, Chopped judge Aarón Sánchez and newly minted Star winner Damaris Phillips — eager to sample the offerings and sip Olmeca Altos margaritas.
FN Dish asked Bobby what makes up his perfect taco. “The perfect taco should be spicy, sweet, sour and crispy,” the event host told us, as he manned his Bar Americain station and chatted with hundreds of fans. Bobby’s own taco certainly met his criteria: He served a pork, pineapple and pomegranate taco wrapped in a crisp radicchio leaf for a refreshing flavor-packed bite.
Try a salty spin on an old ice cream-truck favorite, the Choco Taco. Fill taco shells with softened vanilla ice cream and freeze until hard, about 2 hours. Melt 6 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate in the microwave, then stir in 6 tablespoons chopped butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup. Dip the tacos in the chocolate, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and let harden, about 2 minutes.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
While most tacos boast heft and flavor from a filling of ground or grilled meat, it’s indeed possible to stick to an all-vegetable stuffing that offers the same level of sustenance. When eliminating meat from tacos — or any dish at all — it’s important to replace it with similar ingredients that are every bit as hearty and full-flavored so that at the end of the meal, you feel satisfied and content, not craving something else.
In its easy, big-batch recipe for Poblano, Mushroom and Potato Tacos (pictured above), Food Network Magazine cooks up two of the beefiest vegetables available — mushrooms and potatoes — to add to their corn tortilla shells. After sauteing tender Yukon golds until deliciously crispy and golden brown, cook up a cremini mushroom mixture featuring buttery onions and a duo of fresh herbs and garlic. Mild roasted poblano peppers and a splash of Mexican crema add contrasting smoky-cool flavors to the mushroom filling, which is married with zesty lime juice before being served. After stuffing the shells with the potato and mushroom-pepper combination, let your family help themselves to a spread of traditional toppings including cheeses, salsa, guacamole and lettuce so that everyone can finish their tacos with their favorite add-ons.
Working together to make it easier for families across the country to eat nutritious meals every day, First Lady Michelle Obama and FoodNetwork.com are teaming up with Partnership for a Healthier America and the USDA’s MyPlate to share thousands of nourishing recipes on Pinterest that meet MyPlate guidelines. And this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, Shrimp Tacos With Mango Slaw from Food Network Magazine, does just that.
Great for any weeknight dinner, these shrimp-and-coleslaw-filled tacos have great flavor and a wonderful crunch.
Get the recipe: Shrimp Tacos With Mango Slaw
Coming up with 50 of anything for Food Network Magazine’s monthly 50-recipe booklet can be daunting — in the past, the booklet has featured 50 things to make with bacon, 50 brownies and 50 grilled cheeses — but this month, Food Network Kitchens tackled taco night.
The 50 Tacos booklet is full of fun new ideas you can whip up in no time. For instance, tucked into the Chicken Tomatillo recipe (No. 14) is an incredibly easy tomatillo salsa. It’s just 32 words long and as easy as can be, but I promise you it’s a killer salsa that is just as delicious in hot chicken tacos as it is served with tortilla chips.
Puree 1 pound fresh husked tomatillos with 1 jalapeno, 1 garlic clove, 1/4 cup each chopped onion, cilantro and water. Fry in 2 tablespoons oil until thick.
And of course it’s not the only one. There are tons of great salsas all throughout these recipes. Explore, find your favorites and mix and match to create your own tacos, nachos and more!
Easy to find and simple to prepare, tofu can replace pork, beef, chicken and more in any number of recipes that you want to make meatless. Most tofu is sold plain (without added flavoring), though it can absorb any seasonings you add to it, similar to how meat adopts the flavor of a marinade. Whether you crumble it atop a salad, grill it with barbecue sauce or sear it and serve with Asian-style noodles, tofu is a hearty vegetarian ingredient whose uses are endless.
Food Network Magazine features firm tofu in 30-minute tacos (pictured above). To prepare, first slice the tofu, dust it with taco seasoning and sauté it until it is crispy and caramelized. From there, stuff the tofu in toasted tortillas along with lime-scented coleslaw, shredded mozzarella cheese and bright salsa verde.
Serve with Alton’s five-star Guacamole, made with fresh avocados, Roma tomatoes and pinches of cumin and cayenne, to complete this Mexican-inspired feast.
Get the recipe: Tofu Tacos
I have a dear friend who loves to perfect recipes. While I’m content to try something once and then move on to the next cooking project, Cindy will make a dish over and over again until she’s absolutely nailed it. Her pursuit of excellent food has benefited me many times over in the years I’ve known her, because I’ve often been one of her food testers.
There was a spaghetti Bolognese year, a winter of beef stew and a six-month stint during which she served a lot of cioppino. My very favorite was the summer when she was trying to make the perfect fish taco.
My sister and I were at her house the night she declared the winning fish taco. Served in warm corn tortillas, the fish was lightly breaded and fried and topped with a quick coleslaw and a spicy, creamy sauce. There were slivers of avocados for garnish and limes for a hint of acid. Whenever I eat fish tacos, I remember that warm night in her back garden.
Though I love fish tacos, I rarely end up making them at home, because of the frying step. My kitchen has no range hood, just a feeble exhaust fan that helps spread greasy splatter all over my cabinets. Recently, someone pointed me to Bobby Flay’s recipe for Fish Tacos, which has you grill the fish instead of frying it. I had to try it.
Quick to make and endlessly versatile, tacos are an easy weeknight pick the whole family will enjoy. These spinach-stuffed tacos are packed with good-for-you leafy greens, smooth and creamy ricotta cheese and spicy salsa verde. For an extra punch of protein and a burst of color, add rinsed and drained black beans and chopped fresh tomatoes.
Serve along with Food Network Magazine’s hearty Curried Brown Rice Pilaf with crunchy almonds and chewy raisins.
Get the recipe: Ricotta-Spinach Tacos from Food Network Magazine.