Friday, August 3, 2012

Rosie Makes Chicken Tacos For Her Little Hawthornes.

 Youngest Hawthorne loves the chicken tacos
at Mama Kwans in Kill Devil Hills.

Here's the menu item:
Jerk Chicken Soft Tacos                                                  $9.25
Grilled chicken breast seasoned with Jamaican Jerk Spice. Served with cheddar/jack cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, jasmine rice, salsa, sour cream and flour tortillas.

Instead of paying $9.25
for Mama Kwan's
Jerk Chicken Soft Taco,
I persuaded the young-un to let me try my hand 
at recreating these tacos.
My own way.

YH and I had a serious conversation about this.

I'm making him chicken tacos.
And Mama Kwans is set as my bar.

I told the boy I wanted to make chicken tacos
better than Mama Kwans.

But he told me he wanted Mama Kwans tacos
and to not even try to exceed them.

This entire conversation
boggled me and left me just a tad confuzzled.
With this in mind,
let me show you how to do a proper chicken taco.
 I already had chicken breasts
($0.99/lb. at Food Lion).
I skinned and de-boned the bosoms.

 Since the chicken breasts were of uneven thickness,
Mr. Hawthorne pounded the thick part out a bit to even it out.
 I'm going for a marinade next.
 Ingredients for my marinade:
juice of 2 lemons
juice of 2 limes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TB sugar
1 TB white vinegar
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp fajita seasoning
Mix all ingredients.
 You want a fine mince on the garlic.

 Garlic goes into citrus juices.

 A little sugar.

 Some vinegar.

 A teaspoon of each of the spices.
 Mix all ingredients
and add chicken to marinade.

 I let the chicken marinate about two hours.

See the color change?

 While the chicken was marinating,
I made a salsa.

I dropped my garden-fresh tomatoes into boiling water
for about 20 seconds.
Remove, drain, and let cool.
This quick boil allows you to easily pull off the skin.
Cut tomatoes in half,
insert fingers into gel sacs and squeeze to remove 
the juice and seeds.
Tomato skins and seeds are indigestible.

 This was probably 6 tomatoes.
Add in minced jalapeno to taste.
I like it hot, so I used two.
You might want to start with one and taste test.
I also like to use different flavored and colored peppers
for extra dimensions of flavors and for the pretty.
And these peppers and tomatoes are all from my garden.
Add in some chopped onion.
About 2 TB each sugar and vinegar.
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.
Cilantro if you have it.
All I have now is tiny seedlings.
But I have thousands.
Mix, cover, and refrigerate to let the flavors meld.

My peppers, grapes, and tomatoes are coming in now.

Sweet red pepper and hot jalapeno.

Add chicken to hot iron skillet
with hot oil and butter.

 About four minutes each side for the chicken.
Remove from pan and let rest before slicing.

 My toppings:
lettuce greens
chopped red onion
grated cheddar

 I filled my tortilla with the chicken, Jasmine rice,
lettuce, onion, cheddar, salsa, and my homemade creme fraiche.
I used a corn tortilla for mine.
Youngest Hawthorne preferred whole wheat.

Creme fraiche is homemade sour cream,
only better.

To make creme fraiche,
I poured a cup of heavy cream in a container
and added 1 TB lime juice and 1 TB buttermilk.
Mix together.
Cover loosely and let sit overnight at room temperature.
It will thicken up nicely.
Cover and refrigerate.

Use as you would sour cream.

Youngest Hawthorne himself made two meals out of these.
And I fed three others.
Five meals on two chicken breasts.
Not bad.

Youngest Hawthorne gave this a thumbs up.


Marilyn said...

But were they better than Mama Kwan's?

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Yes, Mar.

YH liked my chicken better, but preferred MamaKwan's soft taco and their lettuce.

Go figger.

This is a tough audience to work.

Marilyn said...


Rosie Hawthorne said...

That's what I said.

SweetPhyl said...

So give the boy a flour tortilla and chop some Napa cabbage. YOU WIN!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

SweetPhyl, this boy is a challenge.

Mel said...

This is my favorite chicken marinade. My first attempt was the best. I shredded the chicken, boiled the marinade down for a sauce, and made homemade tortillas and spicy yellow rice. (I was having a "don't want to clean so I'll just make food" day.)

But for the life of me, I cannot get creme fraiche to work out right. I will though.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

What's the problem you're having with creme fraiche, Mel? I use a cup of cream and add a tablespoon each of buttermilk and lemon or lime juice. Stir once, cover with paper towel, and leave it alone. I usually make it about 4-5 in the afternoon, so I let it sit overnight. The next morning it's nice and thick. Stir to combine, wrap with plastic, and refrigerate.

Mel said...

I'm trying again tonight. I have never tried with both lemon juice AND buttermilk, maybe that's where I went wrong? I only keep powdered buttermilk on hand, maybe that's the problem? I can't imagine it would be because it reconstitutes perfectly and I have used it for many years and never had a problem yet.

Of course, it could just be my amazing knack for over thinking and making the simplest things complicated.... We'll see what I have in the morning. Fingers crossed!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Mel, I wouldn't use powdered buttermilk. I haven't even heard of it.

You can take a cup of milk and add 2-3 tsp of cider vinegar to it and get a buttermilk facsimile.

And I prefer lime juice to lemon juice, but that's a personal thing.

My cilantro is starting to bloom now and I love it when I get the raw, green, tart, citrusy coriander seeds. Sprinkle those in your creme fraiche. Heaven!

Mel said...

I do believe it worked this time! It looks like your pictures, not the separated mess I ended up with before. I would say the taste and consistency is similar to crema. I'm very happy with it. I prefer lime, as well. I will definitely try that next time.

I love powdered buttermilk. I bake a lot and it seems easier to use and store. Cheaper too. (Not to mention I can't always find actual buttermilk at my regular grocery store.) You just sift it in with your dry ingredients and replace the milk with water. It's something my mom used to use so I do, also. It even works as an overnight soak for fried chicken!

I'm just now coming around to liking cilantro. I haven't tried the seeds, yet. We've been focusing on planting citrus, fruit, and ornamental trees since we moved here. I need my herb garden back, though. For the first time, cilantro will be included.

Again, thank you for this blog, Rosie!

Mel said...

Just a quick add: the creme fraiche is now chilled and the consistency is closer to sour cream and has more flavor. Very nice! (I'll stop bugging you now...)

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Glad to hear it, Mel.
And bug away! ;)