I think as food bloggers we, myself included, have a tendency to write about topics that are generally pretty light and fluffy. But life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows…am I right? Sometimes it’s filled with periods of rain and thunderstorms: Your car gives you trouble; your dog gets sick; you injure yourself; things at work hit the fan; etc.
Well, that’s exactly what happened to me last week—all of it. In a matter of days, actually. It was just one of those terrible, no-good weeks that left me feeling sad and angry. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed, pull the covers over my head and not come out again until someone assured me that the storm had passed.
Unfortunately, the bed tactic wasn’t in my cards, but I did take a nice, long road trip, which was a great second-best solution. While I had to leave my trusty Sonos system behind during my road trip to San Francisco, I still used music to channel my emotions, breaking out my favorite moody tunes and just letting myself really feel the crappiness of the week. (Think Limp Bizkit’s “My Way” or “Rollin (Air Raid Version)”; Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”; and Offspring’s “Self Esteem” and “Gone Away”. These songs, cranked at full volume, felt oh-so satisfying. Fair warning: They’re not for the faint of heart, but if you find yourself having a similar kind of week, I highly recommend them.)
But you know what’s funny about those times of intense sadness and frustration? They make me appreciate the good times that much more. And after 10 hours of rocking out and feeling sorry for myself, I arrived at my destination—the house of two of my very best friends—greeted by warm smiles, crisp ocean air, and the aromas of a California-fresh dinner.
My friends and hosts for the week, Lindsay and Alex, are two of the best home cooks I know. When my husband and I lived in San Francisco, we were just a short climb from their house, making dinner parties a frequent occurrence between our two households. It was such a luxury to have my fellow foodie friends just up the road. But I don’t think I even digested how much I’ve missed their food and, even more their company, until I walked through their front door and saw their faces, along with the faces of several other friends I miss dearly.
It didn’t hurt that they handed me a glass of wine and fed me tacos promptly upon my arrival And their food tasted exactly how I remembered it—incredibly light and fresh with an array of complimenting ingredients.
Lindsay is amazing at whipping up food that’s not only flavorful but also healthy. Our styles of cooking are so different most of the time, but that’s what I love—she inspires me, and challenges me, to try new techniques and ingredients.
The tacos she made that first night were a kind of Lindsay classic, but it’s something I almost never make myself. Well yesterday, I decided to recreate her tacos and channel the friend love I felt that night with fresh pico de gallo, creamy crema, and crunchy raw radishes. I filled the smoky tortillas with a spicy pork chorizo instead of the lighter grilled chicken she used, mostly because I was too exhausted from all of the driving to break out the grill.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bourré went a little crazy over the smell of the chorizo. Just look at the longing in his eyes…and the nose smoosh!
Needless to say, coming together with loved ones over a home cooked meal improved my otherwise terrible week considerably. I guess it’s just another instance of how food and friendship have the unique power to turn rain into rainbows. I couldn’t be more grateful for both.
Pork Chorizo Tacos
- Flour tortillas
- 1 lb of pork chorizo, removed from its case (or other protein of your choice, seasoned)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Toppings (quantity varies, depending on taste):
- Pico de Gallo
- Avocados, cut into cubes
- Radishes, raw and sliced into thin rounds
- Limes, cut into wedges
- Hot sauce
- Crema (if you can’t find crema, a thin Mexican cream, you can substitute crème fraiche or sour cream, but they will be considerably thicker)
Begin by getting all of your garnishes prepped and ready to use. Slice your limes and avocados. Place the garnishing ingredients in small bowls for serving so that guests can pick and choose their own toppings.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chorizo meat and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and crumbly, about 7-10 minutes.
Using tongs, hold each tortilla over a stovetop flame burner to char a bit. This will introduce some smokiness to the tortillas. They burn quickly so lift and check their underside frequently. If you don’t have a flame burner, you can heat them instead in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil.
Set out tortillas, chorizo, and garnishes and build your own tacos!
For a vegetarian alternative, try Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo. It’s pretty fantastic.