Taco Tuesday

 - an epic fail on dump trump taco tuesday - 

We had some pretty big plans to have a killer fiesta celebrating the win of the first female president of the United States and my dad's 69th birthday.  

Obviously it did not go as planned.  

 neon (why did i choose construction paper?!) decor

neon (why did i choose construction paper?!) decor

THE PLAN

 My dad is pretty intensely antisocial so a wild birthday party for him is: Kyle + me, Marie + her partner, and him-so Marie and I figured having the 5 of us here to watch the election would be pretty rad.  Plus Kyle + I are the only ones in this crew with a TV, so the election was going to be watched here anyway, and his birthday was literally on election night.  

I started by straight up attempting to copy the Taco Bar from Martha Stewart, but a combination of my intense inability to directly follow instructions and being cheap led to a few fun changes to the menu.  OF NOTE- I simply cannot follow the instructions on how much garlic to add to a recipe.  If it says "2 cloves" my immediate reaction is to add 4, but I usually end up adding 8, and then in retrospect wishing I'd added 10.  

 the prophet of doom + some lovely decorations + delicious food

the prophet of doom + some lovely decorations + delicious food

the menu

Corn tortilla tacos with choice of filling:

salsa cruda // roasted tomoto salsa // pickled red onions // pickled jalapenos // cilantro // radishes // limes // lettuce // cheddar // sour cream // spice-rubbed pork loin // poached chicken // 

chocolate chip cookies because my dad loves cookies >> cake and Marie offered to make them.  

taco tuesday taco bar

Salsa + pickles

I started the morning by charbroiling some vegetables for salsa and making a quick red onion pickle.  The salsa was tasty (I did add about 8 cloves of garlic) but overall a disappointment because despite throwing those 2 massive jalapenos (seeds and all) into the mix it hardly had any kick, but the major blame resides with the less than ideally fresh and delightful tomatoes.  I ran out of white wine vinegar for the quick pickle and just topped it up with the standard vinegar and it turned out pretty aces, so one moderate win and one solid win for the morning's efforts.  I also cut up an extra jalapeno and pickled it too, because why the hell not?

 

decorations

While those sat around I headed out to walk down to Michael's to get some neon paper to make a standard fiesta decoration that would simply scream happy birthday dad! and happy election Hillary! (later these seemed a little macabre.)  After arriving I remembered that Micheal's is a craft store and not a paper supply company and I probably should have gone to Staples.  Eventually I found some neon construction paper and made the decorations that I hung from the ceiling.

OF NOTE: again, with the instructions!  When I got home I looked up a tutorial on making the decorations and found out that these decorations need to be made out of tissue paper and construction paper was clearly a nightmare to use.  What kind of a moron thinks using construction paper for a folding/cutting craft makes sense?  I.e. I highly recommend using tissue paper.  What I ended up doing was folding it in different random shapes and cutting pieces away, unfolding it and trying again, seeing if I could find some way to not cut the same spot twice.  

Really, I got super random with the folding but kept it folded down the middle the whole time, -literally just try and see where you can fold it and try it out.   The trick is to make sure you look on both sides of your fold before you cut because if you start connecting the cuts it looks terrible.  Folding it makes it a repeated pattern, you just also have to make sure to not cut too much of the fold because then it will fall apart (whoops, I mean, no I didn't do that to one of them.)  The more folds and cuts the more lacy it looks which is ideal, and at the end I added more cuts to the outside edge.  I used a needle and embroidery thread to string them together.  

I knew the ceiling is too high for me to hang things from and that I needed to wait for Kyle to come home to string them up, but once I get going on these things I can't stop.  Clearly they were up by the time Kyle got home, our bed was covered in ceiling dust but I was still alive so I count this as another win.  

My parents, and my dad especially, have spent some considerable time in Mexico, and brought back this very colourful tablecloth for me.  

magically turned out somehow spice-rubbed pork loin 

 really, it turns out cinnamon pork is a must have for a taco party

really, it turns out cinnamon pork is a must have for a taco party

Back to the cooking.  I planned on making Martha's carnitas but when we got to the grocery store it turned out that pork shoulder is mad expensive, and in a  classic Eva + Kyle move, we're like, "tenderloin is exactly the same NBD, but we'll save mad money so this is what we should do"

*** Turns out pork shoulder and pork tenderloin are not even at all the same, and no you cannot replace one with the other and make the same recipe.  Oh and also, tenderloin is not really for tacos.  But hey, girl, hey, it's what you have.

 

After some searching I found a Food + Wine recipe for making Spice-Roasted Pork Tenderloin that they recommended for use with avocado salsa tacos and I had all the ingredients so I made that.

OH EXCEPT I DID NOT HAVE ALL OF THE INGREDIENTS.  

SPOILER ALERT: it turned out AMAZ-ING.  

------------------------------- EVA'S GUIDE TO MAKING SHIT UP AS YOU GO ALONG BECAUSE THAT'S HOW I ROLL ---------------------------------

  • 4 pork tenderloins (about 4 pounds) I have no idea how much of pork LOIN (not tenderloin) I used
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton)I had standard paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin HAD IT! DAMN GIRL!
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder Oh that jar of garlic salt is not powder?  I just boiled some olive oil with 3 crushed garlic cloves in it
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano Kyle just told me we had a giant bag of it, so I guess I'm not just bad at instructions and cheap, I'm also too lazy to look.
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon  HAD IT
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil → Had it.  This gets a lower case because I'm pretty sure if I'd noticed this not being around I would have sucked it up and made a second trip to the grocery store even though , ugh, ugh, ugh I hate going to the grocery store.  
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper → had it

I created my own garlic oil by crushing some cloves and boiling some olive oil with it.  Let it boil until the garlic started to turn dark brown.  I used that to rub the pork before rubbing it with some salt and pepper.  I mixed the paprika, cumin and cinnamon together and rubbed that on too.

Then I failed to follow the instructions again:

I used our cast iron Dutch Oven and heated up some of the remaining garlic oil and seared the outside of the meat and then put it all in the oven for what I think was more like 40 minutes, which indicates to me that our oven actually sucks and I should probably get that looked at.

After letting it sit I sliced it thinly and let everyone be blown away by my mad culinary skills.

poached chicken 

I'm always afraid of cooking "real" meat, like pork loins or whole chickens, even though basically every time I try it turns out to be like super easy and not scary at all.  Here's how you poach a full chicken- you grab a big pot.  You put some crushed garlic (lots) onions cut in half, salt and the chicken, cover it with water and bring to a boil.  Cover it reduce to a simmer for like 40 minutes.  Then take it out and shred it.  It's so easy it's like a joke.  It took forever for the water to boil so if you're planning everything to come out at the same time keep that in mind.  

 the feast

the feast

A SMALL POLITICAL RANT

The night ended terribly.  Marie + her partner are part of the LGBTQ community and I have a vagina and there's something about this whole family that isn't a huge fan of systematic homophobia // racism // sexism // xenophobia // general bigotry.  My sister's partner and I started drinking fairly early on, and Kyle respectfully asked all our friends to keep me out of group texting about the disaster that was impending.  My dad paced around the house swearing under his breath and everyone left with hardly even saying goodbye.  Happy birthday dad!

I'll write more about this later, but the next morning I woke up in tears.  Everything hurts, especially my heart.  I know how this happened.  I know when people are scared they can lash out in anger.  Scared people were told that the change they so desperately want could happen through hate.  They were told their fears were justified and caused by those 'other' people whom for the most part, they've probably never even had the chance to meet.  But I didn't want to believe it could/would happen.  

Love has to trump hate.  It has to.  But it's going to take a lot of work to get us there.