Beginner’s cooking with Meg & Palmer: Tacos

I’d taken a break from my culinary escapades — I had a few bits of luck and some serious misses. But Palmer and I were feeling adventurous the other day and decided to make . . . homemade tacos! He’s a serious Mexican food fan, and I’m pretty fond of it myself. Plus Mom was busy, Kate was working on an essay and we were loose and fancy free. So off to Safeway we went!

Palmer makes a winning choice

img_4741Of course, my improvisational skills when cooking are pretty thin. Palmer’s much more of a seasoned chef than I am — though I would never give him the satisfaction of admitting that! — so I let him take the lead. He figured we needed onion, tomatoes, red peppers, fresh lettuce for a salad and an embellishment and, of course, the taco meat. We try to eat as lean as possible at my house, so we went with frozen ground turkey — two packages. That turned out to make a ton of meat, but more on that later!

Armed with our ingredients — we grabbed shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream and tortilla shells on our way out the door — we headed home. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how incredibly bossy I am as a whole, so I pretty much tried to commandeer the cooking of dinner . . . but I was unsuccessful. Right around the time that I realized I was in over my head trying to saute stuff together! I know, I’m lame. But I’m getting there . . . that’s why it’s still beginner’s cooking!


 Yes, I was left mostly to chop — and even that I didn’t do terribly well. Palmer wanted a sharper knife, I found one and he took over my station! If this was “Hell’s Kitchen,” I would have demanded to be left on my own project. But hey, he was a much better chopper. So much better, in fact, that he took over the red pepper chopping as well.


I made my peace with that . . . and moved on to moving things around in the hot pan. Palmer had added in our chopped onion and red peppers, along with some olive oil and the seeds of the pepper. I’m really afraid of popping oil, so it took every ounce of my trepid enthusiasm to stand there and not run away from the loud simmering noises. I guess if I’m going to be a culinary master, I’ll have to stop being so terrified of hot stuff! Eventually, maybe.


And, at some point, I was put back on the chopping station . . . this time to cut up carrots for the salad that I hand-shredded. Yes, it was interesting! But I had a bigger knife now, so things went a little smoother. Don’t mind my evil expression:


And then we just had to add in our meat! Palmer rinsed everything off and threw it in the skillet. I kept everything stirring to prevent any sort of burning, we put the finishing touches on our salad and set the table. And voila!


This might be a classic “it tastes better than it looks” moment, because it was actually pretty delicious. I was proud that I managed to slice up some stuff, let Palmer direct me without pouting and had dinner ready early for the family. Another successful cooking adventure to help bolster up my limited confidence! I’m a much better baker, I think . . . and I made Christmas cupcakes last night. Another post to come!