Tuesday, March 11, 2014

rainbow tacos...i don't know why

It has been a busy week.  I think we are all feeling the call of Spring, as well as the crush of some extra work in our midst.  Jonathan has travelled a bit for work.  And both Julia and Nicholas have had extra projects they are working on for school.  

Nicholas has been working, hard, on a stop motion Lego animation movie for an independent reading assignment.  He read Suzanne Collins', Gregor the Overlander, and loved it.  His book trailer is the perfect project for a book like this, and for this boy who loves fantasy and adventure as much as he loves to build with Lego.  And he had so much fun creating the movie, and then showing it to his class this week at school.  And Julia is creating a movie for her Pi Day (3-14) celebration.  It is hilarious, though I am actually not sure she is going to be able to work up the nerve to show it at school.  We shall see.

Julia and Nicholas both are making iMovies for their projects, and therefore Jonathan has been hard at work in the evenings helping them while I am in the kitchen trying to play the how long can I go without hitting the grocery store game with myself.

Somewhere in the middle of all this school work, Elliott turned to us, perhaps a bit neglected, and said: I want to play outside.  Will someone come outside with me? I stood before him, holding a large knife, chopping vegetables frantically for an already late dinner and quizzing Nicholas on his vocabulary flashcards at the same time.

Jonathan, hearing this from the other room, came into the kitchen, grabbed his parka, and headed outside with him.  That man is a good one.

And true to Elliott, the task he decided he wanted to do, in the slushy icy thin layer of snow that remains out there, was build a snowman.  And not just a snow man.  But Olaf, from the movie Frozen.

Roll the song, Do you want to build a snowman?

Apparently, Jonathan did indeed want to build a snowman.

I need a carrot, and a butter knife, Elliott announced when he came to the kitchen door a few minutes later.  I passed him both, and asked Nicholas to spell complicity for me, his flashcards in my other hand.  And told Julia to go practice her piano pieces.

They made this.  Seriously.

His name is Olaf and he likes warm hugs.

Me?  I decided, for some unexplained reason, that I needed to develop rainbow tacos.  Yup.  I don't know why.  Maybe because I needed some color?  In the frozen muddy melting tundra, color is close but not at all here yet.  Or maybe I am jealous, watching everyone else around me engage in complicated and fussy tasks, and the competition got to me.

So I made these.  Rainbow tacos.

They are loosely based on a taco that Jonathan and I shared, gobbled, devoured, snatched from each other's hands, and then licked the container clean while holiday shopping a few months ago.  That taco came from a food truck outside a store we were shopping in, emerging from the store not at all hungry, but once we came in contact with the wafting smell said truck was producing, we decided we should just share one little taco.  Oh my.

It had a kind of Asian spice flavoring to it, and it was fresh and savory and delish.

And so, I tried to recreate it at home.  And its fabulous flavors and freshness and rawness and easy peasy prep, heavy on the helpful and therefore happily busy child chopping has made it a family favorite all around.  And it appeals to the carnivores with a teriyaki marinated meat filling and lessofmeatarians, just cheese and vegetables please, amongst us here.

The ingredients evolve and change, based upon what I have in the refrigerator, but this week I added red cabbage to the recipe.  Hilariously, if I put the bowls of the raw vegetables out on the table, and then, you know, stall for a bit, before I start toasting the corn tortillas and melting the cheese, the kids start nibbling away at all that raw color.  Happily.  Strangely?  They now love raw purple cabbage.  I know!!

Okay, so last time I made these tacos, I joked that I had every color of the rainbow represented by the fillings.

Except blue, Julia, my little quiet skeptic announced.

I show you this picture for two reasons.  To show you the look from Julia that sometimes scares me.  And to show you the maniac, Elliott, in the background.  That's purple cabbage he is shoveling into his mouth.

Yup.  You are right.  Except blue.  It's best to agree.  And back away slowly.

I laid out a bowl of frozen blueberries that night.

Later in the meal a few weeks ago, Nicholas, my constant food safety inspector, leaned in close to me, mouth full of partially chewed food and said in a stage whisper that all could hear, Mom?  This spot here.  Is this mold?

Now you have blue!  cheered Elliott.

I gasped and leaned in.  Saw a bit of a stain on his corn tortilla, so perfectly crisped by Jonathan, who was still standing alert and ready to crisp more at the stove.  I looked closer.

Ah no.  That's staining.  From your red cabbage.


This time, I tried for blue without the possible mold option.  I mentioned our inexplicable need to project here, right?  I started by rubbing purple cabbage on the tortillas.  Too purple.  I added some swipes of color from the red pepper.  Too watery.  Seriously.  I was the Goldilocks of the food color wheel.

I tried laying out blue plates.

Eating them while wearing a blue sweater.

Eventually, I went with a blue bowl of the teriyucky (Julia's term of endearment for it) sauce with a blue spoon in it.

Aren't we creative?

We did, in fact eat dinner that night.  Don't worry.

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