Taco Review 12: Cremini Christmas

Recipe Used:  http://cafejohnsonia.com/2014/10/gluten-free-vegan-portobello-fajitas.html
Also used the fajita seasoning from: http://www.rachelcooks.com/2015/06/19/homemade-fajita-seasoning/

Starting Notes:  So one year down!  It has been a learning experience I'll say that much!  And one thing I also learned this year is that the best laid plans of mice and mabs never survive contact with the enemy.  December is one of those months where EVERYTHING is happening so while I considered doing something a bit more classy and fancy, I ended up opting for more the "just make something I can shove in my face!" simple because yeah...while it may be nice at times to be all natural home made tortillas with from scratch salsa and ingredients...we're people with lives and the simple 'throw the packet into the mix' recipes have just as much validity if you are a hungry person!

I often try to see if there are vegetarian options because I have a lot of friends who have gluten allergies or lactose intolerance or don't eat specific types of meat so I try to lean on recipes that allow diversity and tweaking.  In this case, I decided it was finally time to just go full veg. And while I -do- have a few other veggie tacos I will bust out eventually...in this rushed month I chose to just go fast and simple mushroom tacos.

Because I love mushrooms.  I actually in most generic taco with burger meat like to dice up mushrooms really fine and add it into the meat mix to not only pad it out but I like the flavor. So a mushroom centric dish? Sign me up!

The problem being...APPARENTLY the entire time I tried to find portobella mushrooms my local area had none in stock anywhere!  So in this case I had to sub out the portobella for the tinier cremini mushrooms.  I like creminis cause they tend to be a bit stockier than the whites (which make them ideal for stuffed mushroom caps. BTW, expect a stuffed mushroom cap taco recipe in 2017)

This recipe is ideal for folks who want to eat nice or have a dinner for vegetarian/vegan friends but also want to live their lives and not be complex and just want to buy a lot of ready-made stuff rather than spend the extra half hour-hour in prepwork.

Overview:   This recipe is actually closer to what most folks would consider are fajitas.  Which is why instead of my taco seasoning I used a fajita seasoning.  I personally think this was a good call.  If you have a mushroom loving family, this will likely go down very well cause it is one of those recipes that I personally didn't feel the lack of meat made a lack of tastiness.

Complexity:  Fairly simply!  You want a large sized ziploc bag (unless you have a tupperware that can hold stuff) since you will basically be dicing up your mushrooms, peppers, onion...and then adding seasoning, squeezed lime juice, and some oil (I used olive cause I had that on hand) and shaking it up before letting it sit for a bit. Then its just a matter of frying it up in a pan and serving it along with the customary other bowls of possible toppings.  

It's basically two and a half steps of cutting stuff up, waiting, then pan frying.

Dish consumption:  IN MY CASE I made a tactical goof that I underestimate how much stuff was in the plastic bag so I had to go into using a second skillet.  But generally speaking it is fairly low on dish consumption. Cutting board and knife, the skillets, and then bowls for the side items and a plate for yourself.  If you use the plastic bag you dont even have the tupperware you gotta wash.

Tastiness:  I'm a bit biased, I really like mushrooms.  So mushroom variant taco fajitas was up my alley.  I find the seasoning goes well with mushrooms in particular cause between the oil and seasoning you usually end up with the mushrooms absorbing a good bit of that for incredibly tasty bites.

I also find that since this one isn't even pretending to be any type of authentic, adding the sour cream and cheese if that is your thing is also a really good addition.  But if not, pico de gallo and guacomole is a good staple.

AS AN ASIDE...I can say that after a year of doing taco reviews and having to put cilantro on most of these recipes...I have noticed that I am growing more used to the stuff and am finding it less obnoxious and less 'takes over the flavor of everything'...and actually starting to add to the flavor rather than block it out for me.  So who knows...perhaps by next years end I will actually enjoy the stuff.

But at least I am at a neutral ground with it.  FOR NOW.

Spiciness?:  Pretty much none.  But very easy to add more.  Dice up a hotter pepper along with your red peppers?  Add some spicy seasoning in with the seasonings?  Its a recipe that should be incredibly easy to kick it up a notch.

Vegetarian Option?:   Well in this case it is likely more "meat option?" which I'd say yes.  The key would likely be think of it in terms of fajitas so swapping out mushrooms (or just adding in) small strips of chicken or beef or maybe even another meat would be easy. But be sure to compensate for cooking time since the nicest thing about veggie tacos is there is little health risk to not cooking them fully.

Stuff Used On Side:  We used a jalapeno monteray jack cheese that we shredded, we had sour cream, we had diced avocado, cilantro, and pico de gallo.  All in all the basic staples one would expect.

tl;dr Version:  This is basically your typical "fajita" but swapping meat for mushrooms.  But sometimes the simple classic stuff is just as good as anything extravagant and fancy!  It's tasty, it allows for folks to tweak to their own tastes...just an overall good recipe to have if you want a non-fuss recipe or have any type of friend with a dietary restriction or dietary preference.

Also, it may be a recipe that will cause every portobella mushroom within 50 miles of you to vanish if my experiences trying to buy ingredients is to go by. >:C