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Pick Your Pocket- Asian Tacos

How do you define a taco? Let me count the ways!

When you make a commitment to eat the right foods in America, it doesn’t take long for certain realities to surface. Country fried steak, loaded nachos and double cheeseburgers weren’t quite what you had in mind when you made the pledge to eat healthy, huh? American food is…well…American.

Whenever I’m at the register of my Asian grocery store, I shake my head in amazement. I look at the contents in customer carts. There are no donuts, large cuts of beef, cereal or misc. boxes of stuff. I see colorful vegetables, teas, bags of rice, beans and other legumes, and spices. I look around and nobody in the store is fat. I am not saying there are no overweight Asians but in general, I’m immersed in a completely different culture– one that is grounded in an entirely different mindset about food.

One other aside. I tough it out in the cold to run and usually see no other runner or walker. That is, I see no other Caucasian American. You know who I do see? A little elderly Asian woman with a limp. I see an Asian gentleman in the park doing some sort of Tai Chi accompanied by various sun salutations. I have one route where I consistently run into an Indian couple holding hands while she walks in a sarong and complete headdress. These folks inspire me. They value movement and make no excuses. Breathing the fresh air doesn’t seem like a duty to them but a privilege.

So how does this relate to my Asian tacos? America is a melting pot of ethnicities and so should be your food. Combining foods from different cultures adds variety. It expands the palate of your family, including children, and broadens their horizons. While I wouldn’t mix curry with pesto, I would make a Mexican lasagna (click for recipe) or a Chinese inspired tomato soup.

Don’t wait on America to get real with food. Bring the melting pot into your kitchen today.

THE FABULOUS 8
Spiced Dry Tofu*
Olive oil
Fresh mushrooms, sliced
Jar of sliced pimentos
Fresh mixed greens
Whole wheat pita pockets
Sesame sticks
Makoto Ginger Dressing

*This type of tofu (or similar) can be found at Asian markets. It is relatively inexpensive, requires no draining, and is extremely firm and meaty. Or ask for five spice bean curd which is essentially the same. Buy several packages and freeze them for later use.

This is one of the first products I recommend to meat-eaters who want to try tofu but don’t think they’ll like it. This product is nothing like the white marshmallow blob you’re used to seeing. Try dipping one piece in mustard for a high protein snack!

Slice up the tofu into thin strips and stir fry for 3-5 minutes in a tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside and allow to cool.

Slice the mushrooms and drain the pimentos. (If you don’t like raw mushrooms, you can sauté them with the tofu).

Stuff the pita pockets with the tofu, mushrooms, pimentos, and mixed greens. Add a little ginger dressing and top with sesame sticks.

Makoto Ginger Dressing is available at many Targets and Wal-Marts in the produce section. Feel free to make your own or use an alternative brand at the Asian grocery. Sesame sticks can be found in the bins at Whole Foods or in Asian sections of stores.

If you spend 10 minutes making these, I’d be surprised it took that long! Super fast weeknight meal for the family!

 

Stay tuned tomorrow for a Pocket Pizza Finale!

 

"Experience is the child of thought, and thought is the child of action." Benjamin Disraeli

 

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