It was Jason’s birthday this past Saturday and we spent the entire day gallivanting around Ann Arbor, using this birthday deal Wiki page as a guide, and scored free cupcakes, cookies, and chocolates. He even got his lunch and dinner free! I’m sorta beating myself up for not discovering this goldmine sooner– we could have been milking this sucker dry for years! Oh well, I’m already planning out my birthday route and will have lots of goodies come August. Apologies if I sound like a greedy 12 year old.
I was initially planning on baking a chocolate yellow cake for Jason’s birthday (his favorite cake ever and probably would have been totally fine with a boxed mix but, eh…you feel me right?) and blogging about it today if it came out well. But since we have desserts galore in the fridge (did I mention all the free things we got?!) I thought to postpone until maybe next week.
So, instead I give you tacos. These are the kind I make for my clients all the time. They’re super easy, fairly healthy (don’t mind all that mayo sauce…), and totally good. They’re sorta sweet and spicy from the brown sugar and New Mexico chile powder and the queso fresco and cilantro-lime sauce gives it a yummy savoriness. I’m going to insist you make New Mexico chile powder a staple in your spice repertoire because it’s seriously so dang good and makes everything taste that much better. It’s got a wonderful earthiness and spice to it which I love and I always reach for it as a dry substitute for aji colorado, a Peruvian chile base.
New Mexico chile + cumin-spiced butternut squash tacos with cilantro-lime sauce
Serves 4 people
2 3/4 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 7 cups total cubed squash)
// Preheat oven to 375 degrees and arrange grates so that they’re closest to the center.
Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and divide cubed butternut squash onto them. Measurements for spices are per baking sheet. If you’d prefer, you can dump the butternut squash into a large bowl and mix the spices in there; just make sure to double the measurements I have specified below. I like to just do them straight on the baking sheet so I don’t have extra stuff to wash later.
[Measurement amounts are per baking sheet]
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
3/4 teaspoon New Mexico chile powder
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
// Toss butternut squash with spices until totally coated and spread out on baking sheets. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, give the squash a toss with a spatula and move baking sheets to the other grate. Cook for another 25 minutes. Toss again and let cool slightly.
For the cilantro-lime sauce:
Makes 3/4 cup
3/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons Cholula, or hot sauce of your choosing
1 tablespoon lukewarm water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
// Put all ingredients into a mini food processor and give it a whir until everything is combined. Taste for seasonings. This keeps in the fridge, covered, for about a week.
Corn tortillas, softened and warmed through on a grill pan
Sliced red onions
Queso fresco, crumbled
Fresh lime wedges
Fresh cilantro leaves
// Serve tacos with warm corn tortillas, cilantro-lime sauce, red onions, queso fresco and cilantro. Squeeze extra lime juice and Cholula on top too if you’d like.