Tex-Mex Grilling

I'm a partisan of Mexican cooking. It has been one of my favorite cuisines due to its variety and assortment of flavors. Of course, I'm talking mainly of that variation that most Americans eat north of the border. By that I mean Tex-Mex cooking, that hybrid that combines American products (such as processed cheese) with the culinary artistry of Mexican-Americans living in the U.S. It began in southern Texas and has spread throughout the continent. It's hallmark is heavy use of cheeses, pork, beef, beans and spices such as cumin (which is of Indian origin). It's basically Americanized Mexican food. Did you know that nachos, fajitas and chimichangas are all Tex-Mex inventions?

I've discovered that this type of cooking is also very applicable to the ole summer grill. In fact, grilling enhances the natural flavors. Below are given two tryout recipes, each easy to make and delicious. With a bottle of Corona or Dos XX, it makes a perfect summer barbeque.


8 flour tortillas (6-inch)
1 can (16-ounces) refried beans
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I've also tried it with blue cheese for a more pronounced smoky flavor)
1/2 cup chili sauce or picante sause (if you really want it hot you can substitute Sambal, a hot sauce found in Asian markets)
3 scallions, sliced thinly in rings

1. Whether using coals or gas, preheat grill for 5 minutes.
2. Place tortillas on a plate and spread a portion of beans on half of the tortillas, but being careful to come to at least 1/2 inch from the edge. Top with cheese, chili sauce, and green onions. Moisten edges of tortillas with water (if desired, you can use a kitchen brush for this). Top with remaining tortillas and press the edges closely together. Then cut each tortilla into halves.
3. Place tortillas on grill. If it's a small grill you may have to do it in 2 or 4 apiece. Close lid and grill 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from grill. You can have it as is, or cut each half into 3 triangles for what we call "finger food."
    Yield: 4 servings.


1 pound lean ground beef, ground chicken, or turkey
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 package (1 1/4-ounce) taco seasoning mix
12 taco shells
As much as desired: shredded lettuce, tomatoes (regular tomato slices or halved cherry tomatoes), and shredded Cheddar cheese
Sour cream to taste

1. Wheather coal or gas, preheat grill for 5 minutes.
2. Place a piece of aluminum foil on grill. Crumble beef on foil and top with scallions. Sprinkle with the taco seasoning. Close lid and cook 6 minutes or until beef is brown and no longer pink.
3. Place a portion of cooked meat on each taco shell. Then top with lettice, tomatoes, and cheese.
4. Add a dollop of sour cream on top and serve.
    Yield: 4 servings.
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