zucchinitacos

We eat tacos around here all of the time. We eat a lot of bean tacos, quite a few meat tacos, and a few egg tacos when the mood strikes. There is just no reason, in my opinion, not to eat tacos just about every day. I probably would have said that even before we moved to Texas.

Since I make tacos from whatever we happen to have around, summer squash seemed a good fit. We’ve got loads of it this time of year and our neighbors have dropped off a basket or two of their own. The problem is, not all of the children like it as much as Stewart and I do. But they do love tacos.

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So when I was shredding some up for zucchini bread the other day, I thought I’d just go ahead and shred a couple of extras and throw them into the meat mixture for lunch. The tacos were delicious, topped with avocado and radish. The best part was that my squash-loathing four-year-old didn’t even notice it and scarfed two big tacos before I even started on my own plate.

A word on fixings. While the taco filling itself is delicious and our favorite homemade corn tortillas from this masa could make any taco sing, fixings can also make or break a taco. We like something a little zippy in our taco, often in the form of a spicier sauerkraut. On this day Abram’s fermented carrots happened to be on the table and made a great crunchy, tangy addition alongside the radish and avocado.

But it’s hard to go wrong here.

Shredded Zucchini & Beef Tacos

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons lard or coconut oil
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 packed cups shredded zucchini or summer squash
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and cayenne to taste
  • juice of one lime

Directions

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the cooking fat and beef. Cook for approximately five minutes, breaking up the meat into small crumbles. Add the onion, zucchini, garlic, spices, and salt. Continue cooking for approximately ten more minutes or until the meat is thoroughly cooked and the zucchini has had most of its moisture cooked out.

Remove from heat and add lime juice. Stir and taste for seasoning. Add additional salt and cayenne as desired.

Serve with fresh tortillas and favorite taco toppings.

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There has been a long-standing joke between Stewart and I that we cannot grow carrots. In Michigan we did a very few in a back corner of the garden but they were sort of forgotten by the time we moved to Texas. One fall here I planted carrots, but then the temperatures climbed near the triple digits again and they never even germinated.

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Looking back, I guess there was one year we did grow a very small patch here. It was literally only one bunch of carrots but they grew, and it was Abram (probably five at the time) who sowed those seeds. But man, that one year I dug and shoveled and mixed in compost and planted a big ‘ol area with carrots and… nothing.

This year Abram decided he wanted to try carrots again, this time in his garden.

With his diligent care and all of the rain this spring, those carrot tops were soon growing beautifully. He then started to thin the carrots out and we threw baby carrots into salads and the snack repertoire. And then, one day when I was in the kitchen taking photos of something else, he ran in and I took this one blurry photo of him right after he said “Look, Ma, it’s a real carrot!“. I think I squealed.

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That was about six weeks ago. We ate halfway through that bed of carrots with salads and then the heat started to come. We were worried they might rot with as wet as the soil was so Abram decided to harvest the remaining carrots all at once. He washed them and fed the tops to the goats and placed them on the table for Mama to use.

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I had big plans for those carrots. But like that pan of cookies you leave out on the table, it’s hard to walk by without grabbing one to munch on. These truly are the best carrots I’ve ever had – sweet, crisp, and so full of flavor! And yes, I’m sure I am biased.

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But I wasn’t the only one grateful for the harvest, and certainly not the only muncher in the house.

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Eventually I did put up two quarts of everyone’s favorite fermented carrots, which was just a quart shy of what the original plan was. And Abram has big plans, Lord willing, to expand the carrot operation next year.

I’m more than okay with the fact that my seven-year-old can out-garden me.