Monday, September 20, 2010

Cooking with Clay - Taco Tower

Clay's Taco Tower
Cooking with your kids can be fun if you have the right tools and a little patience. The hour before dinner can prove to be a little trying if the little man in my house gets hungry, so I like to involve him in the cooking as much as possible. It keeps him busy and he is able to enjoy his handiwork. It apparently has caught on as he prefers watching Giada De Laurentiis to Sesame Street. 
He really enjoys cutting his wooden play food, so I thought we'd try the real thing. I used a dough scraper (try Breed & Co and don't forget your Go Local Card for 10% off) and it was able to slice right through the young squash. I would make sure that whatever veggies or fruit they are cooking are soft enough and stable enough to push the dough scraper through safely. Make sure you supervise and walk them through the process by saying the steps and ingredients aloud as you're cooking. 

We laugh because now Clay turns on the oven light if he sees me cooking something and asks if it is "golden brown" yet. I love that kid. 

Clay's Taco Tower

1 cup brown rice
2 1/4 cup water
1 lb. Thunderheart bison (Wheatsville freezer case or Austin Farmers' Market on Saturdays) *There will be leftovers for tacos or pasta tomorrow!)
one small yellow onion, chopped (Johnson's Backyard Garden at Austin Farmers' Market on Wednesdays or Saturdays or CSA subscription)
3-4 small red or green bell peppers, sliced thinly (our garden)
one clove of garlic, minced
salt & pepper
green onion, thinly sliced (Johnson's Backyard Garden)
1/2 - 1 tsp cumin
Texas Olive Ranch olive oil
4 roma tomatoes, chopped (if not in season use peeled, canned tomatoes)
2 sweet peppers, sliced thinly (Johnson's Backyard Garden)
1 patty pan squash, chopped (Johnson's Backyard Garden)
2 small yellow squash, chopped (Johnson's Backyard Garden)

**You could add cilantro, cheddar cheese, queso fresco or even some tortilla chips, but it really was good just the way we made it. 
**It is great served with black beans, a favorite around our house!

1. Begin by filling a saucepan with the water, brown rice, a small amount of olive oil and a few pinches of salt. 
2. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 45 minutes. 
3. Prep your veggies and set aside. 
4. In a cast iron skillet heat a small amount of olive oil and add the onion, garlic, a little salt and pepper and bison. 
5. When the meat has browned, transfer it to a plate lined with a paper towel or parchment paper. 
6. In the same skillet, heat a small amount of olive oil, then add the squash, peppers, tomatoes and cumin. Saute until the squash and peppers are al dente. 
7. On a plate (or in a glass bowl so that they can see the layers), start with a cup of the rice, a cup of bison and layer the veggies on top. 
8. Finish off the tower with chopped green onion and sliced avocado.


  1. Love it! Tell Clay Collin ate tacos tonight too. (I only let him squeeze lime for the marinade though) Miss y'all!

  2. Simon loves cooking too. Perhaps he can come over and be Clay's sous chef one day.