“Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild west. A state that’s untouchable like Elliot Ness”
Theme song by 2Pac, Dr. Dre & Roger “California Love” from All Eyez On Me
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Despite the fact Music & Food is located in Brooklyn, I have absolutely no opinion about the Biggie vs. 2Pac thing. I also don’t buy into the East vs. West shit either. Both artists made great tracks and crap tracks. Both coasts have great artists and crap artists. The only thing that matters is if it’s funky, and goddamn this is a funky as hell theme. Most certainly Top Five on my California G-Funk list. 2Pac and Dre are on point, the track bangs, and the addition of Roger doing what only Roger can do takes it to the next level. If you can listen to this without your head nodding, you might just be dead inside.
Back in my pro cooking days, I did some recipe R&D for taco cups as an appetizer. I wanted to keep the filling vegetarian for both budget and veg menu option reasons. I often default to a mushroom when planning meat substitutes, but I wanted something new that I had not made before. I love making Buffalo Cauliflower but wanted something more in a Tex-Mex style. In doing some research, I came across a couple of cauliflower taco recipes and decided to combine those for the filling.
The best part of this recipe is its versatility. Your choice of what to use for toppings is up to you. I kept it in a classic Tex-Mex mode with yellow cheddar, lime sour cream, & a simple pico. Other suggestions: Oaxaca cheese or queso fresco, tomatillo salsa, pickled carrots or red onions, or anything you’d likely put on a taco.
CAULIFLOWER LOVE TORTILLA CUPS
Taco spiced cauliflower & mushrooms, cheddar, lime sour cream, & pico de gallo in flour tortilla cups
Makes 8-10 cups
3-4 burrito size flour tortillas
Taco spiced cauliflower & mushrooms (see recipe below)
Pico de gallo (see recipe below)
Lime sour cream (see recipe below)
2-3 ounces of cheddar, shredded
Standard muffin pan
3″ biscuit cutter
Start by making the taco-spiced cauliflower & mushrooms. While that is cooking, make the pico de Gallo and the lime sour cream.
When the cauliflower has cooled a bit, it’s time to assemble the taco cups.
Lightly grease the cups of a regular muffin tin. Take a tortilla and use the biscuit cutter to cut small tortilla rounds. You will need three rounds for each cup. Take three rounds and arrange them in one of the muffin cups to completely line the cup. Press the tortillas firmly into the bottom of the cup. Fill with 2 tablespoons of the cauliflower mixture and top with cheddar. Place in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes or until cups are golden and cheese has melted. Let them rest for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan.
To serve, top each cup with a spoonful of sour cream and a bit of the salsa. Add a couple of dashes of hot sauce if that’s your thing.
CAULIFLOWER MUSHROOM TACO FILLING
1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 1/2 cups)
8-ounces fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or lightly oiled parchment paper.
Lightly pulse the mushrooms in a food processor until you have a rice-like consistency. Place the mushrooms in a large bowl. Remove the core and leaves of your cauliflower. Cut it into small pieces. Pulse the cauliflower to the same consistency as the mushrooms and add to the bowl. Stir in soy sauce and mix. Stir in spices and mix well, making sure everything is mixed thoroughly. The mixture rest for 5 minutes.
Spread mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Stir lightly and continue baking for an additional 8-10 minutes
PICO DE GALLO
Makes about cups
1 plum tomato – cored, seeded, and diced fine
1 poblano, diced fine
1 red pepper, diced fine
1 jalapeno, diced fine
1/2 sweet onion, diced fine
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Place the tomato, peppers, and onion in a medium bowl. Add lime juice and spices. Mix thoroughly. Allow it to rest on the counter for 15 minutes. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge.
LIME SOUR CREAM
Makes about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup sour cream
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge.
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