We had dinner on Friday night at our neighbors, and earlier in the day when i was talking to Mr. B on the phone, he said “We’re having crunchy hippie tacos”. I didn’t tell the boy what we were having for dinner until we got to the neighbors’ house, because i wasnt sure how down he’d be with some of the ingredients (especially something called Crunchy Hippie Tacos); but it ended up being a really pleasant surprise. The original recipe came from some friend of Mr and Mrs B who would sell food at Dead shows (and other GD-like bands), so they took this and made it their own. And we liked them so much that on Sunday we decided to make them again, and j was over so he was our guinea pig. The original consists of a soft tortilla filled with grilled chicken, field greens, crumbled feta, Craisins, and Vidalia onion salad dressing. The boy tells me that in order to call a recipe your own, you need to change at least three ingredients to the original recipe. I’m not sure how many ingredients we changed here, but hey.
Since Sunday was such a nice day, we decided to fire up the ol’ charcoal grill which we hadn’t used in a few months. The first grilling day of the year is always a happy day. And we are grill purists, meaning that we use charcoal. This particularity caused A LOT of controversy early on in the boy’s and my relationship. We argued about the pros and cons of charcoal versus gas for EVER. I have always been a charcoal user, and to me there is nothing better for grilling out. It reminds me of my childhood. Bitch and moan all you want about the advantages of a gas grill, and how you’re able to use it in the winter. You want to grill out in the winter? Be my fucking guest. You sit out there in the cold and do it! i can still grill out in the winter if i want to, but heck, i dont feel like it. the most we’ve ever done is grill a leg of lamb at Thanksgiving for a few years when some guests of ours brought one and our oven was already in use with the turkey. If you have some stance on the wonders of a gas grill, by all means, lets hear it. i like to argue about this subject.
Now, having said this, i will agree that it might be fine and dandy to have a gas grill if you’re doing a lot of cooking while grilling. For example, if you have a sauce that needs to simmer while you’re cooking out, gas is fine with this. In fact, i’ve often said to the boy that perhaps one day when we’re Filthy Rich and Have a Lot of Money to Blow Through, then he can get a hybrid (by the time we ever get Filthy Rich we’ll probably find another use for the money, like hire our own Grill Bitch who wears hot pants and brings me foofy drinks with umbrellas in them). So yeah, before we invested in a grill, the boy and i had many an argument over what kind to buy. I’d like to think that i’m pretty easy going, but this was an issue where i had to put my foot down. It was charcoal or nothing. So we own a Brinkman grill with the happy little charcoal elevators and our outdoor life is much grander because of it.
I could go on about the wonders of a charcoal chimney and how we only buy chunk charcoal if we can find it, but i think i’ve waxed enough poetic on the topic.
Earlier in the day, i put 4 chicken breasts in a ziplock baggie along with the juice of three lemons, some grated lemon rind, three big smashed cloves of garlic (just smashed with the flat side of a knife and tossed in), olive oil, salt and pepper. This is actually one of our standby marinades we have used often in the past. I think I borrowed it from Nigella Lawson’s spatchcocked chicken recipe (a whole chicken that’s been cut open right up the backbone and grilled flat. When the weather gets really good, i’ll post on that). This would be a great marinade for fish as well, but i wouldnt let it sit around swimming in that for more than a few minutes or else we’re talking ceviche here. Not that there is anything wrong with ceviche, but that wasnt the point of Sunday’s grill-out. So i did the marinade earlier in the day and let the chicken breasts sit around in that for a few hours. The boy fired up the grill and cooked these for however long one grills chicken breasts. I want to say internal temperature of around 170 F, but seeing as i don’t have a head for numbers, i never remember. It’s a shame really, because i love math, especially geometry. But i digress. After these were pulled off the grill, assembly began.
We kept with Mr. and Mrs. B’s recipe to an extent. We kept the field greens, the crumbled feta (flavored if you like), the Craisins, and the Vidalia onion dressing (we used Ken’s Steakhouse). To that we added some sliced red onion. Earlier in the day i made pasta salad. I’m not going to post a recipe for that because i used what we had in the fridge, which frankly wasnt much. If you’ve got roasted peppers and such, throw those in. i used diced red onion, diced up half a cucumber, found a green pepper about to die in the “crisper”, a couple of leaves of basil, sliced scallions, some vinaigrette made with a packet of Good Seasons Italian dressing, a whole lot of salt and pepper, some red pepper flakes. The boy has decided that he likes to add a layer of pasta salad to his taco. So for him, that’s three ingredients which have changed, but for me it’s only two (I do not add pasta salad to my taco, I prefer it on the side thankyouverymuch). Marinating the chicken is one, adding red onion is two. Unless you want to count all the ingredients in the marinade, then we’ve definitely taken the recipe and made it ours. muhaha! thank you, Mr. and Mrs B.