Shredded Buffalo for delicious tacos

Buffalo tacos
So, not that you can really tell from the recipes we’ve been posting, but we really do try to eat mostly vegetarian food with about one or two meat dishes during the week. Regardless, this recipe does not come close to qualifying in the meatless category.
What’s great about this recipe is that you can put everything in the slow-cooker before you go to work (or go to school, or go to the park, or whatever) and when you get back home, your house smells like someone has been cooking all day.
(I consulted some websites about how to slow-cook meat before I put this together, but this recipe is my own, so you can look forward to some alterations as the time goes by…. )
What you need:
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 lb. buffalo stew meat, cubed
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 jalapeno, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cumin
  • 2 cups water (or, try less…)
Shredded Buffalo tacos
What to do:
  1. Before you head out in the morning, put all this stuff in the crock-pot. First the oil, then the meat, then layer the veggies, add the spices and then add the water. 
  2. Set the slow-cooker to low and cook for 8 hours (or a couple more) while you’re at work or out for the day. 
  3. When the time’s up, take the meat and veggies out of the liquid and place on a large plate. Pour the liquid into a separate container and reserve.
  4. Using the back of a fork, smash the buffalo cubes. They should fall apart easily. If not, use two forks to shred the meat. When you’ve finished, add the meat back to the slow cooker (on warm). 
  5. Add some of the liquid back until you achieve a consistency you like. I added back about 3/4 of a cup.
  6. Season to taste. I added some more chili powder and cumin. 
  7. For tacos, place some meat on a tortilla (flour or corn), add some salsa, chopped onions, cheese (cheddar or queso fresco), your favorite salsa and a sprinkle of cilantro. 
  8. Serve with beans and rice. Or quacamole. Or margaritas. Or some delicious combination

Salsa: My old familiar friend.

I eat an enormous amount of salsa- substantially more than anyone I know. When I go out for Mexican nobody wants to sit next to me because the salsa bowl on my end of the table is always emptied startlingly fast. There are several factors that contribute to this. 1) To me the taste of salsa is like magic. 2) I am a heavy scooper. No quick dips for me, I like to get in there and load up every chip to its maximum weight bearing capacity. 3) Beer tastes better with salsa. 4) When I eat salsa it feels like a party, even if I’m all by myself.

Coming off the Memorial Day weekend I thought what better way to celebrate the kickoff of summer than a delicious batch of salsa.

What you’ll need:

12 Roma tomatoes
1 White onion
1 Cilantro Bunch
3 Cloves of garlic
3 Jalapeno peppers
3 Limes
1 Teaspoon chili powder
3 Teaspoons salt
2/3 teaspoon cumin
2/3 teaspoon paprika
1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper

What to do:

1. Chop the tomatoes. I like to quarter them first and then cut out and discard the seeds and goopy part from each quarter. The tomatoes should then be chopped into small pieces.

2. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl and then add 1 teaspoon of salt. Then squeeze the juice from on lime on the tomatoes and mix it up. It’s good to mash some of the tomatoes while you mix to make the salsa juicier. Note: The salt and lime at this point are optional. I like to do this because the salt draws some of the liquid out of the tomatoes and the acid from the lime will make sure the tomatoes stay nice even if I get distracted and leave the kitchen for a while.

3. Mince the onions and cilantro and add to the bowl.

4. Mince the jalapenos and garlic and put them in the bowl. Note: This recipe calls for 3 cloves of garlic and 3 jalapenos. This makes a robust salsa, heavy on garlic and pretty hot. If you want to avoid garlic breath or don’t like too much heat, reduce the amount accordingly.

5. Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix.

6. Add the juice from the remaining limes. After each lime, taste to see if the salsa is acidic enough. The amount of lime juice you need can really vary depending on the tomatoes, so just keep adding until it’s tangy and fresh tasting but not sour. Mix.

7. Add the remaining salt one teaspoon at a time and mix. After each teaspoon taste the salsa to see if it needs more salt. I’ve found the salt can vary based on the amount of lime you put in and there’s nothing worse than ruining the salsa at the end with an unnecessary bombardment of salt. It’s also good to do the tasting with the chips you’re going serve with the salsa. If you’ve got a salty batch of chips, the salsa won’t need as much salt.

8. Put the salsa in the fridge for at least two hours and then taste and make any desired tweaks to the seasoning. The taste of the salsa will change substantially in the fridge as the oils from the garlic and jalapenos become fully incorporated into the mix. Expect the salsa to get hotter and more garlicy as it marinates.

Optional additions:

1) Add 1.5 cups black beans for a heartier salsa.
2) Add 1.5 cups corn to add color and sweetness.
3) Add 1 cup grated carrots for sweetness and texture. Carrots are a very nice addition indeed.
4) Add 1 chopped red pepper.
5) Add 2 roasted, skinned and chopped anahiems/new mexico chili peppers or diced chipotles for a smokey goodness. Note: This will add a significant amount of heat, so adjust the fresh jalapenos accordingly.
6) Add 2 minced habanero peppers and enjoy the sweet pain. Note: Unless you want parts of your body other than your mouth to be burning, wear gloves to chop these and be careful not to touch your eyes or nose, or anything else. I speak from experience.

Optional Procedure: Put it all in a food processor for a smooth salsa and less prep time.