MANILA, MARCH 15, 2008
(STAR) EATíS EASY By Ernest Reynoso Gala - The sweetest honey is loathsome in his own deliciousness and in the taste confounds the appetite. ó William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Romeo and Juliet

Last week, we all decided to go early to watch the Maroon 5 concert at the Araneta Coliseum, knowing it would be jampacked, as the tickets were sold-out. Traffic was heavy, but we managed to arrive two hours before the concert. We were hungry and one of my friends suggested that we eat at Taco Bell, so we proceeded to Gateway Mall. Itís been awhile since I had Mexican food and I really miss eating tacos and quesadillas, some of my favorite snacks when Iím really hungry. The order was quick, the service fast, and we all enjoyed as our group bonded, catching up on each otherís current affairs.

Tacos originated in Mexico and have a U-shaped shell (for easier handling) originally made from corn or wheat with filling consisting of ground beef, lettuce, cheese, and tomato. The shell is molded and deep-fried in hot oil though ready-made shells can be bought in supermarkets, making the process easier and faster. In Mexico, various parts of beef are used to make the ground meat and other ingredients such as onions, guacamole (avocado-based sauce), salsa, and cilantro are added to make the taco extra spicy and special. Oaxaca cheese, a semi-hard Mexican cheese that melts like mozzarella, is used to add flavor and give it a creamy texture.

Quesadilla in Spanish literally means small or little cheesy thing, and consists of two tortillas made from corn or wheat combined together like a flat sandwich with cheese in the middle. It can be panfried in little oil, baked in the oven, or grilled for a few minutes. Chicken, pork, beef, or seafood is sometimes added to make it special and is cut into wedges for easier handling. In some South American countries, quesadillas are transformed into a dessert, with a thick batter consisting of milk, eggs, flour, cream, sugar, queso or parmesan cheese combined together, placed on a pan, baked in the oven, cut into wedges, and served to guests.

I hope you will like the recipes below. The concert was fun and everybody had a great time. Good music and Mexican food, you canít go wrong!

Laurence Sy Tacos

1. 20 to 24 store-bought six-inch taco shells

Reheat 2 minutes in an oven toaster before serving.

2. Filling:

1/4 cup oil

1 tbsp. crushed garlic

1/2 cup each of diced white onion, red and green bell peppers

button mushrooms

canned sweet corn

1/2 kilo (500 grams) ground beef or 500 grams chicken giniling

1 small can (2/3 cup) Huntís tomato paste

1 cup tomato sauce

2 small chilis (siling labuyo), chopped

2 tsps. rock salt

1 tsp. chili powder

3. Topping:

200 grams bar grated Quickmelt cheese or Cheezee cheese

250 grams shredded lettuce leaves.

Optional: 1 cup pork and beans

4. Procedure:

Heat oil in a 12-inch frying pan. Add garlic and onions, and cook until light brown. Add chili, beef or chicken, salt, chili powder, and cook until meat changes color. Stir in remaining ingredients in No. 2 and cook until boiling.

5. To assemble:

Put 1/4 cup filling into reheated taco shell. Top with a tablespoon each of pork and beans, lettuce, cheese.

Coco and Pat Mauricioís Quesadillas

1. 1 package (10 to 12 pieces) corn or flour tortillas (vegetable chiller of supermarkets, eight to 10 inches in diameter).

2. Filling:

Mix in a bowl 1/4 cup each of softened butter and chopped button mushrooms, 1 cup grated Quickmelt cheese, two cans 184 grams hot and spicy tuna or 1 cup corn beef.

3. To assemble:

Arrange six tortillas on two 14 x 16 x 1-inch baking trays. Spread 1/3 cup of filling to within one inch of edges of tortillas. Top with remaining tortillas. Press top and sides to seal.

Bake at preheated 400įF or 200įC oven 12-15 minutes or until brown. Put on chopping board. Cut into eight wedges each. Serve right away.

Ernís top 4 tacos restaurants

1. Taco Bell. Great tacos, spicy but not too hot, very filling. The quesadillas are also delicious. Located at the ground floor, Gateway Mall, near the entrance facing Araneta Coliseum.

2. Pancake House. One of my favorite tacos in town. Great meat sauce, lots of cheese. Located at various outlets.

3. Tia Maria. Very heavy, with lots of filling and not too spicy. No need to order anything else ó itís a complete meal in itself.

4. Marie Villalonís Tacos. When Tita Marie makes tacos, this is an event; friends and relatives flock to grab a bite. Her special chili/Tabasco sauce is one of the best and her homemade tacos are unrivalled. Her takitos or little tacos are truly memorable. Sorry, folks, she doesnít sell, but if you get to try it, it is truly delicious.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved