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Friday, August 6, 2010

¡Viva la Fiesta! (On my terms)

In case you are reading this and do NOT live in Santa Barbara, CA, we are living in the midst of our biggest annual celebration known as "Old Spanish Days," or commonly called "Fiesta."

There are some fun elements -- good cheap Mexican food is easy to find, fun confetti-filled eggs ("cascarones") to smash on friends' heads... sold by sweet little grandmas who make them all year precisely for this time of year. And a some great flamenco dancing.

But honestly, I view most of Fiesta by the pejorative term we locals call it: "Fiasco." Traffic grinds to a standstill in and out of the city and all around downtown. Thousands use it as an excuse to get sloppy drunk and act like fools. And though I grudgingly accept that we are a tourist town, the absolute worst of them seem to show up this time of year.

I will be the first to admit that I went with friends to our annual lunch run at the Northside Mercado yesterday, and ordered a plate with a homemade enchilada, tamale, and rice and beans, finishing off the feast sharing a basket of guacamole and chips. Yeah yeah.

But that's the extent of it. I will stay far away from the madness, and celebrate Fiesta at home with the organic goodness I got this week at Fairview... With cilantro, tomatoes, zucchini and avocado in this week's share, I looked up recipes for vegetarian tacos. Oh people... Vegetarian or not, this recipe should NOT be passed up. Ridiculously. Good.

Zucchini Garbanzo Tacos With Caramelized Onions

Ingredients (my changes/adjustments are in the tiny, italicized print... I found this recipe online):

4 tablespoons olive or canola oil, divided (I only used 2 tb olive oil)
1 red onion, sliced (sadly, had to skip this ingredient -- roommate doesn't eat onion)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
3 or 4 medium zucchini, quartered (I used 2 - not small, not huge)
1 green or red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (I don't know what they mean by "bunch" - I grabbed a handful about 2" across at the stems)
3 green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 to 8 corn or flour tortillas (corn, all the way!!)

I garnished them with a fresh diced tomato, chopped avocado, fresh salsa, some grated cheese and a drizzle of ranch dressing)


1. In a saute or sauce pan, 2 tablespoons of the oil. When hot, add onions, salt, and pepper. Stir until onions are translucent, then turn down heat, and stir occasionally. (You can tell when they are done if the onion is soft and sweet. ) Like I said, I skipped this part...

2. To a bowl, add zucchini, bell pepper, garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Stir to coat all of the vegetables with the seasoning. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

3. In another bowl, add garbanzo beans, cilantro, green onions, and lemon juice. (You may season with a little salt and pepper depending on your preference or if the beans were stored in a can with added salt.) Toss well.

4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and sauté zucchini and bell pepper mix until tender.

I decided to combine the bean mixture with the sauteed zucchini mixture because I wanted the beans to absorb the taco seasoning... this seems like an obvious move. It COMPLETELY worked, by the way. I let the two mixtures saute on low in a covered pan while I cut up the garnish ingredients.

5. To serve: Warm tortillas over stove then add zucchini mixture and garbanzo bean mixture. Top with caramelized onions.

Makes: 8 Tacos, Preparation time: 20 minutes, Cooking time: 10 minutes

1 comment:

  1. all i can say is try living off of state street. the sloppy drunks are out wed-sun. why does it last so long is my biggest question.