By Cary Peterson
Kohala Burger & Taco, Kawaihae Harbor Shopping Center, Hwy. 270, Kawaihae, 808-880-1923, www.kohalaburger.com
Makes 24 Tacos
2.5 lb grass-fed Hawaiian ground beef
1 cup Heinz Ketchup
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 cup McCormick Taco Seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh, Pico de Gallo Salsa (recipe below)
24 Big Island Corn Tortillas available at local grocers
Shredded cheddar cheese and lettuce for topping tacos
Place all ingredients, except beef and tortillas, into a heavy saucepan and stir well, making sure all dry ingredients have mixed with wet. Place pan on low heat and slowly add the ground beef crumbling as you go. Once beef is in mixture, simmer and stir often, not allowing meat to stick to pan. Add more water if necessary, while stirring use the backside of the spoon to break up larger pieces of beef. Heat beef until it has reached an internal temperature of at least 180 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to set for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. (optional: the beef may be blotted with a paper towel to absorb excess oils that may have come to the surface of the meat during set). Heat the tortillas in a heavy skillet and add a large pinch of shredded cheddar cheese, place hot Taco Beef into tortilla, top with shredded lettuce and tomato salsa.
Pico de Gallo Salsa
Makes 4 cups
4 ea medium ripe Hawaiian-grown tomatoes (diced)
1/2 ea medium yellow onion finely diced
1 ea jalapeno pepper
1 ea fresh lime (juice from)
1 ea bunch fresh (rinsed and dried) cilantro
1 T kosher salt
Dice tomatoes and onions and place in a large mixing bowl. Reserve tomato ends for slurry, place tomato ends in food processor or blender.
To make slurry: blister the jalapeno by placing in an oil-lined pan and turning until the skin blisters. Remove the skin and the stem, place in food processor with tomato ends, chop the leaves of the cilantro from the stems (reserve leaves), place stems in food processor with tomato and jalapeno, add the juice of one lime and half the salt. Blend the slurry until it is well combined and liquid, this should be pourable.
Roughly chop the cilantro leaves and combine with tomatoes and onions in large bowl, pour in slurry and stir, add remaining salt. More salt or lime may be added to taste.