Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week 22 - Fusion

Fusion, the theme for Week 22 of the challenge, is everywhere in today's culinary world. While we've eaten plenty of things that qualify as fusion, like Korean tacos, I was having a lot of trouble coming up with a good idea of my own. When I told A that I couldn't think of anything to make for the fusion challenge, he came up with a good suggestion - taco spaghetti! I decided that if I couldn't come up with anything more inventive on my own before the challenge week, then that was going to be what I made. So, yeah, taco pasta is what I made (not from a recipe but off the top of my head).

The way I thought about taco pasta was that I would make a dish with the same "layers" as a taco. Pasta instead of the taco shell/tortilla. Taco filling. And then some more "traditional" taco garnishes, like pico de gallo, cheese, and cilantro.

To make all of that, I used:

- 1 box of vegetable penne
- 1 lb of ground turkey
- taco seasoning to taste
- 1 yellow onion
- about 1 tbsp of tomato paste
- a little bit of water
- 1 white onion
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1 can of Rotel
- lime juice
- 4 scallions
- cilantro
- shredded Mexican cheese

I didn't really keep track very well of how much I used of everything, as so much of it was to taste, and I made this so long before I wrote this post that I've forgotten a lot of what I did too. Oops. So fair warning, this is going to be a bit of a crappy post, but it was for the challenge so I can't skip it. Anyway, for all those reasons, no pricing for this dish, although if I had to guess, I'd say $10.

There were a bunch of different components for this dish. First off, the pasta, which was just cooked according to the package instructions.

Second, the taco meat. Basically add olive oil to a pot, add the ground turkey, break it up as it cooks, cook it through until it's completely done. Push the turkey to the outside of the pot, add a chopped yellow onion, cook until translucent. While the turkey and onions are cooking, add (lots of) taco seasoning. I may have also added other seasonings like chili powder or garlic powder, but I don't really remember anymore. Then add some tomato paste and some water, stirring it all around. 

Let the turkey simmer for a bit, stirring every so often. Adjust the taste. (For me this meant adding more taco seasoning.) Keep breaking it up so the meat pieces are small. I was hoping this would break up to be as small as "traditional" Americanized taco meat, but no such luck, even though I cooked it for a while.

For the pico de gallo, I mixed a can of Rotel (not quite tomato season and didn't feel like searching for good ones), chopped up jalapeno, chopped up scallions, and chopped up white onion. Mix it really well and season with lots of lime juice.

I had my doubts about whether this would work since Rotel doesn't taste quite like fresh tomatoes, but it worked surprisingly well and was very refreshing.

Once everything was done, it was time to assemble the taco pasta, which I assembled, just as I said, like it was a taco. Pasta, then taco meat, then pico de gallo, then cheese and cilantro.

Overall, we liked this dish. It wasn't our favorite challenge dish, but it was filling and tasty. I could see us making this again another day. Or we could just make tacos...

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