11/22/08

hello, hello, hello, is there anybody in there?

Hi everyone!

"HI MELISSA!"

Yo.

Some of you might know me, and some of you might not. I'm Melissa from Alosha's Kitchen. Krysta honored me by asking me to post for her in her absence these few days while she is tending to other needs and priorities.

Before and above anything else, she wanted me to thank all of you for the warm thoughts and words being sent to her and her family. Some of her family does read her blog and the love and kindness being conveyed by all of you is so, so appreciated. It's amazing the support that can come from our community to a soul in need of care. Keep sending those vibes for ease and comfort.

In the meantime, I can only try to take up some kind of "krysta vibe" while she is unable to be present herself. And while I can't quite do that, I have to say, it makes me that much more confident that I am making the right decision.

What I mean is...

Krysta has long been an inspiration for me. Because, you see, I have a personal blog and a food blog both. And for all this time I have kept them separate. But I don't want to do that any more. When I met Krysta a bit back, I saw the way her blog worked - she talked about life, marriage, kids, beauty, politics, music... AND food - and I couldn't help but think "that's the kind of voice I want to have."

My personal blog and food blog are both lacking something. I've thought about it for a long time, for everyone that visits each one individually. What they are lacking is a voice like Krysta's. A connect between food and the rest of her life and her experience. Because everything we experience outside of food - as people who love food - affects what we put on our tables.

I will be merging my blogs at some point and look forward to the transition. But for now, in honor of Krysta, this is my first post that tries to do both, that ties one to another. Thank you, dear woman. Love you, my wonder twin. ;) This is me subbing Krysta, serious side...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Steve and I got married in Dallas in 1996, we were very poor. The first couple of years we were dating, at 18, 19, we worked at various transient jobs, just getting by. But we were happy. And we knew we were right with one another. More than right. We were best friends.

When Steve joined the Marines at the age of 20, I was disappointed. Granted, it would create opportunity in his life (and he did only stay for 4 years), but all I could think about was the negative. We would be apart, he would change, things would be up in the air. Because when you're just boyfriend and girlfriend, well, they'll put you anywhere. But when you're married...

So while he was in boot camp, I took the leap. I asked him to marry me. And he told me he would be the best husband he could be, for as long as I would let him. He loved me. And I loved him. And there was no way we weren't going to be together.

So our wedding rings cost $40 apiece. I had no engagement ring. But none of that mattered. We got married at his aunt's house, with a small amount of family and friends in attendance. And we had a wedding party the night before, hosted by his mother and sister. And as you can probably guess, a caterer was not involved. Instead, we had a dinner that we asked for, that they made, which consisted of one of the only wonderful things I ate when I was young. Shredded chicken tacos. It doesn't sound like much, but ohhhh ohhhh oh OH. You just don't know.

I didn't know anything about down home Mexican food before I was with Steve. But these tacos? These tasted truly Mexican. One tortilla, a scoop of juicy, delicious chicken, sour cream, onion, hot sauce... it was heavenly. Like nothing else. It was a perfect meal to send us off with. Something to remember, something to compare everything else to, absolutely.

As I started cooking, which, as many of you know, was not long ago, I of course attempted Mexican food. For Steve's sake, for sure, but also because I love it. And I got the rice down. I made that a few times and Steve said I could serve it to his family and he would be proud. Hell yeah.

And then I mastered the beans (thanks Rancho Gordo!). And he said it was like having breakfast at his grandmother's house. Yesssss! Success.

But I was still missing a main dish. An authentic flavored meat to go inside those barely oiled and crisped wraps of beauty. I just never could quite accomplish it.

And then I found this recipe. And... wait, wait... oh my god... I couldn't believe it. THIS.WAS.IT. These babies tasted just like... hmm, what is it babe? "The chicken tacos." "YES! The chicken tacos! But with beef!"

Exactly.

And just like the ones of my memory, the lightly fried corn tortillas sealed the deal. And any toppings added just made it even more... screw the superlatives, you get it.

This brought us right back to the beginning. *Smile* Man. Steve even helped this night by doing the shredding. And when we sat down and took our first bite, we knew, oh yeah, it was some good honest Texas-Mexican cuisine. Just like we remembered from those times so long ago.

Finally.

Shredded Beef Tacos
courtesy of Jen Yu at Use Real Butter

Ingredients

1½ pounds eye of chuck (like Jen said, this is NOT chuck roast)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp chili powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup beef stock
salt to taste

Corn tortillas

My toppings: chopped tomato, onion, and cilantro, freshly grated cheese, diced jalapenos

Directions

Trim the fat and cut the beef into 1 inch thick slices.

In a ziploc bag, combine the oil, vinegar, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and garlic. Place the meat slices in the bag, seal, mix it around and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight (do it overnight!).

Bring the meat to room temperature. Place all contents from the bag in a baking dish with the beef stock. Cover the dish and bake for 1¼ hours at 350°F. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes and then shred it with forks (or have someone else like your spouse do it so your arms don't get tired from shredding HA). Salt the meat to your liking.

Fry the tortillas lightly in a little hot oil and stuff them with shredded beef and choice of toppings.

29 comments:

Julia said...

*Sniff* You should have warned us. Such a sweet story. How great that you can recreate that memory! And nice to see you here, but sorry of the circumstances!

Lisa said...

Krysta will be proud. Great job Melissa.

MrOrph said...

Great story Melissa!

As you know, I am a big fan of Mexican cusine. I have a taco post coming very soon.

Very nice of you to do Krysta a solid. She and her family are in our thoughts.

And take it from me, there is nothing wrong with a man in uniform. I did 6.

jodycakes said...

You're so cool Melissa...great story.
xxx

Lisa said...

Nice post. I love your story. Thanks for sharing!

cook eat FRET said...

i'm a big fan of both of you...

job well done
you're such an impressive girl
like if you (god forbid) had no family i would adopt you as my own
and then i would force you to make your own stock

heehe

cook eat FRET said...

oh shit....

oops

Sarah said...

I have been enjoying your blog for quite some time, Melissa, but now that I know that you and your man had real-deal Tex-Mex when you got married...well! Clearly, you're a kindred spirit! I grew up in Dallas and more than anything else, I miss home-cooked Tex-Mex. I love this recipe and will try it out once Thanksgiving is past.

Sharon said...

Great story. You did a wonderful job filling in for Krysta. THoughts are with her family!

katie said...

That sounds delicious! Can't wait to see how it turns out with chicken (you are going to try it right?). I am a big fan of you, krysta, and tex-mex so this is the best blog post EVER.

jennyonthespot said...

Melissa, lovely post... yummy, soon-to-be made recipe in my home! I can'twait. You did a fabulous job here, mixing yourpassion for food, and your lovely life into this post... bravo. Krysta asked the right girl :)

Paula Dines said...

That was a really lovely post. The food and the story were so wonderfully woven. If anyone thinks food isn't a very important thread in the tapestry of life, they are missing out.

chefectomy said...

I'm a guy and I am getting teary eyed - great story. I can see why Krysta entrusted you to do this.

--Marc

noble pig said...

You did fabulously...Krysta should be proud...I think all blogs should be mixed, I mean that's who we are...we just don't eat? I love having it all mixed up.

Snooty Primadona said...

Hi Melissa! I wish I had friends like you! You're the greatest...

Tell Krysta my thoughts & prayers are with her. It always sucks to have someone in the hospital during the holidays. I've been there & I know. It drains you ten times as much as cooking the entire Thanksgiving meal.

jesse said...

What a wonderful story... and I really need one of those tacos right now.

Bren said...

i think ur my latin sister friend on the blogosphere! i can tell u love our food! :)
i might ask u to guestblog too while i'm becoming a shoe whore!

Michele said...

Fantastic post Melissa! I'm like you...I have a personal blog and a food blog and I'm trying desperately to combine the two. Keeping two blogs is exhausting and one of them always suffers.

The pics of your shredded beef tacos are delicious. I can almost taste them by just looking at them. I'm very lucky to live in an area with a large Spanish population. Everyone shares recipes and ideas.

Great story about you and Steve! Very romantic and sweet. :-)

Loving Annie said...

Great job, Melissa ! And I like the idea of you combining your two blogs - it's your blog list that will get out of hand, though.....

Tina said...

Great post! I don't know if the chicken tacos are THAT great, but thanks for saying so.

I really hope you can make it for Christmas. I'd LOVE to try your beef tacos! Lots of love to you & Steve, and well wishes to your friend Krysta.

Hope to see your blogs merged soon.

giz said...

Awww Melissa - such a love story -and the beauty of the story is that it really doesn't matter how much money one has.
Nice that you're stepping in for Krysta.

Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer said...

I think you did a GREAT job mixing ... and of hosting :-D

I will have to try this soon.

Judy said...

Hi Melissa, I had to come over and read your guest post and it's awesome. You did very very well. I'm sure Krysta will be proud of you. I loved your story, it was so touching. I've never visited Krysta before so I'll to return.

me again said...

Very nice, Melissa!! Made me hungry! And please give Krysta lots of hugs from all of us :-)

Peter M said...

Yo Mel, good to see ya spreading the luv and indeed, that arroz looks mighty fine.

Brunhilda said...

That is a really sweet tale. I'm glad I came over to check it out. I'm sure the memories flooded back when you ate them.

Hillary said...

Great post Melissa! And much love to Krysta and wishes to get well.

Pam said...

Great story Melissa. Excellent recipe.

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