Thursday, April 18, 2013

Coconut Crusted Fried Avocado Taco's with Creamy Cilantro Coleslaw, Spicy Taco Pickles, Crumbled Cotija Cheese, + Bang-Bang Sauce on Homemade Beet Infused Soft Tortillas

Coconut Crusted Fried Avocado Taco's with Creamy Cilantro Coleslaw, Spicy Taco Pickles,
Crumbled Cotija Cheese, + Bang-Bang Sauce on Homemade Beet Infused Soft Tortillas
First of all, sorry for not posting this week. I've been sick and my birthday was two days ago, so I just hadn't gotten to it yet. Second of all, and most importantly, this whole meal is vegetarian. That's breaking news around this joint. My inclination to put bacon in every recipe, including desserts, has honestly turned into a form of habit... some might call it an addiction; I prefer to say that I just have an unbreakable bond to that smoky-fatty-porky goodness. To sum it all up, I apparently share an affinity for bacon culture. Frankly, that might not exist, but I wholeheartedly believe it does. Okay, okay enough with the meat and onto the veggies. Have y'all ever had fried avocado? It somehow straddles the line between deliciously creamy and expertly crispy all at once. What a do-gooder that avocado is... or because I'm bitter, it's a suck up. Well, I got the sudden urge to finally make fried avocado with a slight twist, coconut fried avocado. Who doesn't like coconut shrimp? Tell me now because I want to go beat them up talk to them. The little bit of added sweetness is perfection, especially in a fully loaded taco. All of our tacos are completely packed, I am compelled to do it. So, I made some creamy cilantro coleslaw, a bang-bang sauce, & our new favorite condiment/topping... Taco Pickles. I saw the recipe for these pickles on Pinterest and just knew I had to try them, that day. And we did... and they are awesome. I slightly adapted ours to include a few extra special ingredients; they're lovable, I tell ya, lovable. Another key element to this meal were the homemade flour tortillas. For those of you shaking your heads, they aren't that hard to make and they taste wayyyyyy better. I infused ours with beets, making them delightfully pink (yes, I know I made pink tacos. I went there, you did too. Let's both get our heads out of the gutter, people... naughty jokes aside). Anyway, pink is the new brown butter, y'all. Okay, no that's not true, I'm still in a very committed relationship with brown butter and I don't see that changing any time soon. But these beet tacos with coconut fried avocado, they're the new vegetarian jam. All my life, I've been told "you eat with your eyes first", and this recipe is living proof of it. My Mountain Man moaned + groaned all the way through it and also proclaimed these to be "some of the best tacos I've ever eaten". Just a reminder... he's a meat-lovin'-rabid-carnivore and these, once again, are all vegetarian (no bacon fat included). I wanted to make sure y'all realized that. Besides that, we finished them with a little bit of pico de gallo, crumbled cotija cheese, & fresh cilantro. I've done enough describing, and hopefully, enough convincing, that some of you meat lovers will join in on the fun with us!! Enjoy :)
Look at all that color in one meal, it makes me smile :) 
Right there, that's some coconut fried avocado poking out.
So many toppings... 
And to go along with our tacos, I made some maduros (fried sweet plantains) + yellow rice. 
One, very delicious, vegetarian meal. 

For the Spicy “Taco Pickles”:
1C White Vinegar
½C Apple Cider Vinegar
½C Red or White Wine Vinegar (if you use the red vinegar, expect some pink color tinting)
1C Sugar
1 Peeled Jicama, Thinly Sliced or Julienned (cutting it into small cubes works as well)
8 Radishes, Thinly Sliced with a Mandolin
4 Carrots, Thinly Sliced with a Mandolin
4 Jalapenos or Serranos, Thinly Sliced with a Mandolin (if this is too spicy, use 2 peppers)
¼C Candied Jalapeno Slices (optional, but we liked the added sweetness & heat)
Half of a Small Red Onion, Very Thinly Sliced
4 Large Cloves of Garlic, Finely Chopped
1 Bunch of Fresh Cilantro, Finely Chopped
½t Dried Oregano
¼t Cumin & Coriander
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Beet Infused Water:
1 ½C Water
2 Beets, Peeled & Roughly Chopped

For the Beet Infused Soft Tortillas:
2 ½C AP Flour
2 ½t Baking Powder
1t Sea Salt
½C + 2T Vegetable Shortening
1C Beet Infused Water, Hot (if the dough is still too thick, add a touch more beet water)

For the Creamy Cilantro Coleslaw:
2C Coleslaw Mix (or thinly shaved cabbage)
Half of a Small Red Onion, Very Thinly Sliced
2 Green Onions, Minced
Small Handful of Fresh Cilantro, Finely Minced (you can add as much as you want)
Fresh Lime Juice & Fresh Lime Zest, To Taste
2-3T Mayo (we wanted just enough mayo to lightly coat the slaw)
Pinch of Sugar, Salt, & Pepper

For the Bang-Bang Sauce:
½C Mayo
1T + 1t Asian Chili-Garlic Sauce
1T Honey or Sweet Chili Sauce
Pinch of Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Coconut Crusted Fried Avocado:
1-2 Avocados, Cut into Wedges (make sure they are ripe, but still somewhat firm)
Salt & Pepper, To Taste (plus extra for sprinkling after they have fried)
Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice (to lightly drizzle over the avocados)
1C AP Flour
1t Baking Powder
2C Shredded, Sweetened Coconut
½C Panko Bread Crumbs
Canola Oil, For Frying
For the Taco's:
Homemade Beet Infused Flour Tortillas, Warm
Coconut Crusted Fried Avocado Wedges, Hot
Prepared Creamy Cilantro Coleslaw
Prepared Spicy Taco Pickles
Prepared Bang-Bang Sauce, For Drizzling
Crumbled Cotija Cheese, Pico de Gallo, & Fresh Cilantro (for garnishing)

1. For the Spicy “Taco Pickles”: Cut up all your veggies into what ever shape you like. (I used my mandolin slicer and just made them into thin round pieces). Bring your sugar and vinegar to a slow boil and whisk until all the sugar is dissolved and then store in the fridge or freezer to bring it back to room temp. Once cool, add the liquid to your mix of veggies, jalapeƱo, cilantro and salt and combined. Store in a container in the fridge and eat your pickles over the next couple of weeks. One thing that I did is that I left the radishes and Jicama out of the pickling liquid until an hour or so before because I wanted to maintain their bright white color from the pink pickling liquid. This is completely up to you. It will all taste the same, so no worries!
2. For the Beet Infused Water: Puree the beet pieces with the water in a food processor until smooth and hot pink in color. Strain this mixture through a fine sieve to remove any pulp. Immediately pour this colored water into a small pot and heat it in order to make the homemade flour tortillas.
3. For the Beet Infused Flour Soft Tortillas: Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and stir together. Add spoonfuls of the shortening, and then use a pastry cutter to combine the ingredients. Continue to cut the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly pour in the hot beet infused water, stirring to bring the mixture together. Lightly knead the dough, 30-40 times, or until it becomes a cohesive ball of dough and is less sticky in texture. Cover with a tea towel and allow the dough to rest for at least an hour. Roll into ping-pong sized balls, place on a plate, cover with the tea towel, and allow it to rest again, for another 30 minutes. When you are ready to make them, heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat and roll out the balls of dough until they are very thin. Cook the tortillas in the preheated pan until they are soft, but slightly brown in spots. This should take about 30 seconds a side, just take your time and fiddle around with the appropriate heat for your pan. Keep the tortillas warm until you are ready to assemble them.
4. For the Creamy Cilantro Coleslaw: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss together until completely coated. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a little sugar. I like to do this right before serving in order to keep the coleslaw crisp and not soggy when I eat them.
5. For the Bang-Bang Sauce: Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and whisk until smooth (and season to your tastes). Refrigerate it until you are ready to use and also pour into a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling.
6. For the Coconut Crusted Fried Avocado: Cut the avocado into wedges, squeeze some fresh lime juice over them, and then sprinkle them with some salt & pepper. In a dish, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add the water and whisk until smooth. Let the batter stand for 15 minutes. In another dish, toss together the coconut and panko. Heat about 2 inches of oil to roughly 350 degrees or medium heat in a small skillet. Put the prepared avocado into the batter, and then dredge them in the coconut mixture, pressing it very gently to help the coconut adhere. Fry the avocado, in batches, in the hot oil for 2-3 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy. Drain the avocado on a paper towel lined plate and season with salt & pepper. Immediately layer them onto the tortillas while they are still hot.
7. Assembling the Taco's: Place a fried avocado wedge into a warm beet tortilla, and then top them with creamy cilantro coleslaw, spicy taco pickles, and a drizzle of bang-bang sauce. Garnish with some crumbled Cotija cheese, pico de gallo, and fresh cilantro. Enjoy immediately!

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