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Trios: Tacos, Salsas, Toppings and Music|A Creative Cooking Crew Challenge

July 10, 2014 by Joan Nova in Creative Cooking Crew Challenge, Fish/Seafood, Food Challenge, Food Pairings, Mexican + Southwestern, Party Food, Party Menus, Recipe Development | 20 Comments

What do you think of when you hear “tacos”? The traditional street food from Mexico that was introduced to this country in the early 1900s? Your mother’s “ground beef-hard shell-jarred salsa” taco night? Taco Bell? Or, do you think of today’s tacos — those that have been diversified, fancified, and globalized as they make their way through every culture, cuisine and country?

That’s what this month’s Creative Cooking Challenge is all about — tacos and their infinite variations.

Once I decided to go with a seafood trio, it was fun putting an international spin on it by marrying different cultures and indigenous ingredients while keeping a Mexican profile. The first was the Italo-Mex — not unlike the fried calamari you order in an Italian restaurant, right? The Americano embraced American ingredients, particularly from the South and coastal areas, and the Asian introduced some Pan-Pacific flavors.

3 Seafood Tacos •  3 Salsas • 3 Toppings

Don’t ask me which was my favorite! It’s like asking which of your children is your favorite. I loved all 3. I came away from this challenge saying to myself that I should make tacos more often!

Fried Squid, the Italo-Mex Taco

Fried Squid with Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Green Chili Salsa. Topped with Crema and Cotija Cheese.

Cilantro-Lime Butter Poached Salmon – the Americano

Salmon with Corn and Peanut Salsa. Topped with Avocado Salad Dressed with Cilantro and Green Chili Vinaigrette.

 Spicy Sriracha-Sesame Shrimp, the Asian Taco

Sriracha and Sesame-Marinated Shrimp with Black Bean Salsa and Thai Chili Aioli. Topped with a Papaya and Cucumber Salsa (to cool it off).

Note to Self: White flour tortillas would have given better photographic contrast!
Note to Readers: I grilled (store bought) soft and thin corn tortillas.

The #3 has symbolism outside this taco post. It has significance in numerology, the bible, photography and home decoration so, as my mind was set in triples, I couldn’t help but think of another trio.

Trio Music

In the world of Spanish-language music, this is sweet-sounding, romantic, easy to listen to, easy to dance to — and, if you know the music, no doubt nostalgic. Like me, you probably have memories attached to every song. Sadly, the genre is not as popular as it was a couple of decades ago, but the classic songs tend to live on. The most famous trio was Trio Los Panchos — 2 of the members came from Mexico and the third from Puerto Rico. Here’s a sample of their music and one of my all-time favorite songs.

I’m sure the other members of CCC will wow us with more taco variations when the round-up is published by Lazaro Cooks on July 29. See you there!8316344214_9d16bebb6e_z

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Amazing job and wow you did three complete version of tacos. I would be hard pressed to pick a fave too but the Fried Squid one has me curious.

  2. W H A T ?????? and you didn’t call me??????!!!!!!!!

  3. Silly, no critique, just pure enjoyment…you know I love your cooking!
    South Florida Food and Wine recently posted..Lunch at La Gazzetta in Mary Brickell VillageMy Profile

  4. Aurora Gil says:

    Thanks for the music videos. I felt like I was back in the sixties! The food looked delicious

  5. Looks gorgeous – and so vibrant and colourful

  6. Joan, wow just wow!! Tacos are a favourite of mine and you’re awesome combinations have my mouth watering. Fantastic and the music is pretty nice too.:)
    Nancy@SpicieFoodie recently posted..Tapas with An International Touch and Rioja Red Wine: A Match Made in HeavenMy Profile

  7. Lazaro says:

    Great job. Fantastic and creative combos. One taco party I’d love an invite to.


  8. sippitysup says:

    The challenge here would be picking a favorite. GREG
    sippitysup recently posted..Ginger Ice Cream Candied Orange: Pain and PleasureMy Profile

  9. Norma says:

    It’s funny I was going to finish my post with a taco song. You’re always so creative and this post proves it. What an amazing job. I think I could not have a favorite either but my eyes kept going back to the salmon.

  10. Victoria says:

    So creative! I like that each taco features a different kind of seafood with a different ethnic twist! Delicious :)
    Victoria recently posted..Fifty Shades of Chicken: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Sweet-and-Sour OnionsMy Profile

  11. I am wondering what my fave out of the trio would be as well and have to go with the sriracha shrimp, though they all look and sound divine! This was fun! By the way, I love mariachi music!
    La Diva Cucina recently posted..Thai-flavored Duck Taquitos with Coconut Red Curry Avocado Cream and Pineapple Jalapeno SalsaMy Profile

  12. As I have said many times before, I never come away from your posts without feeling stimulated as a cook. Living in Mexico, the original home of the taco (or so we believe here), I can say that these are some of the most interesting interpretations of a beloved dish that I have ever seen. I don’t know which one appeals most.
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Giverny, Water Lilies, and the Easiest Pie Recipe in the WorldMy Profile

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