Food & Drink | May 2021

By Abby & Kevin Tankersley

Saturday Morning Breakfast

IWe like Saturday morning routines in the Tankersley house. The beginning of that day can go one of two ways. I can get up early and go for a run, or we can all just sleep late. Recently, it seems that we’ve been doing the latter a lot more than the former. (In my defense, I have been going on a lot of evening walks in our neighborhood; it’s easier for me to get out of the house at 8 o’clock on a weeknight than it is to set the alarm for 5 a.m. on a Saturday.)

Still, however we choose to start our Saturday, and no matter how late we get rolling, we usually begin the day with a big breakfast. Abby will make pancakes or waffles or cinnamon rolls, and we’ll add some eggs, maybe fresh fruit and have a feast. Or we’ll actually get out of the house to buy a bag of breakfast tacos, which are pretty cheap and available all over town. The breakfast tacos at Stripes convenience stores are surprisingly quite good, by the way.

Recently, however, we’ve started making our own breakfast tacos, because they’re a pretty easy dish to assemble, and it’s a good way to get rid of leftovers. You can throw in last night’s brisket or heat up some sausage real quick, and then just add whatever you like and have on hand.

But the key to our breakfast tacos is the tortilla. Lately, we’ve been using flour tortillas from Flores Tortillas in Whitney for our breakfast meal. While flour tortillas are traditionally made with lard, Flores owner Michael Wyont said he uses smoked beef tallow, which is rendered beef fat. The fat from beef can be rendered on the stove, but Flores instead renders the fat in a barbecue pit, thus giving it a smoky flavor, which is then imparted into the tortillas.

“It gives a little bit of a hint of smokiness,” he said, “but not overpowering smoke.”

Wyont opened a barbecue restaurant in Whitney in 2016 and started making tortillas a year later. The restaurant closed in 2019, and that’s when Wyont got serious about making tortillas. That business was getting up to speed in early 2020 when the pandemic hit, but “oddly enough, we started picking up traction,” he said. “And so here we are a year later.”

When Wyont first started making tortillas, when the restaurant was still in operation, he would buy lard. Then he realized that he could just use the fat from the barbecue he was making for the restaurant. And then another thought hit him: Instead of rendering the fat on the stove, which used propane, which cost money, why not just do the same thing in the barbecue smoker? “It just kind of went from there,” he said.

Wyont said a lot of folks like to serve his tortillas with barbacoa. In fact, Matt Pittman, the “barbecue guru” behind Meat Church, a barbecue supply company in Waxahachie, created a video using Flores tortillas in barbacoa tacos.

“That actually helped us out a lot because people have been buying them to do his recipe,” Wyont said.

While the smoked beef tallow tortillas can be used for any recipe calling for a tortilla, Wyont said he’s partial to using them for breakfast tacos.

“You know, eggs and bacon, or chorizo and egg. That’s what I like them best with, personally,” he said. “But they’re really good for anything.”

Wyont said he and his “ride-or-die” employee Candice Autrey can make enough tortillas to ensure that Flores restaurant customers don’t go wanting.

Wyont said Helberg Barbecue, Guess Family Barbecue and Milo All Day use Flores Tortillas in some of their dishes, and packages of a dozen tortillas are available at both Helberg and Guess.

So while breakfast tacos can be created using any number of ingredients, they usually start with bacon, sausage or chorizo along with eggs and cheese. We’ve provided some recipes for taco toppings, including one salsa that might bring tears to your eyes as its chiles are being roasted on your stovetop. And while a mimosa is always a good idea for a Saturday breakfast, a tequila sunrise works just as well. If you’re a coffee drinker, there’s also a recipe for a coffee cocktail.

The Recipes

Quick Pickled Onions

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt and 1 cup water until the sugar and salt dissolve.

Place the sliced onion in a jar and pour the vinegar mixture over. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving. The onions can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Makes about 10-12 servings.

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Salsa Arbol

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dried chiles de árbol
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1/4 cup water, or more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar, or to taste

In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until shimmering, then add the chiles. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re toasty. (While they’re cooking, the chiles might emit some strong cough-inducing aroma. Take that as a sign that they’re cooking as they should.)

Add the cumin and cook for about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the seeds. Add the peeled tomatillos, garlic and 1 more tablespoon of oil. Stir to coat the tomatillos with oil, and add another tablespoon if needed. Cook until the tomatillos are starting to char, then add the water. Cook over medium heat until the tomatillos are soft.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the solid ingredients to a blender and blend on high until thoroughly mixed. Season with salt and add the vinegar, to taste. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Makes about 12-14 servings.

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Black Beans

For the dough:

  • 1 pound dried black beans, picked through to remove any small rocks or other debris
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • One strip of orange zest, about 2 inches long by 1/2 inch wide
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit or reduce if sensitive to spice)
  • 8 cups water, more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Place the beans in a colander and rinse several times very well. Pour the beans into a Dutch oven or saucepan with a capacity of at least 4 quarts.

Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, olive oil, salt, cumin, orange zest and red pepper flakes (if using) to the pot. Add in the water.

Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Remove the lid and reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Stir the beans to make sure none are stuck to the bottom of the pot, and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour. Leave the pot uncovered and adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.

After an hour, test a few of the beans by using a fork to press them against the side of the pot. If they’re easy to press through, let a few cool in a spoon and then taste to see if they’re plump and tender. If they’re not, cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, then taste them again. If needed, add more water to keep the beans covered.

Once the beans are very tender and cooked through, increase the heat a little to reduce the cooking liquid into a thicker, gravy-like consistency, about
5 to 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and remove the orange zest and bay leaves. Use a fork to press the garlic against the side of the pot to break up the cloves. Add the cilantro, if using, and lime juice. Stir to combine. Season to taste with more salt, if needed. Serve immediately, and allow any leftover beans to cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.

Makes about 12 servings.
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Tequila Sunrise

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 4 ounces orange juice (freshly squeezed, if available)
  • 1/4 ounce grenadine
  • Orange slice, for garnish (optional)
  • Cherry, for garnish (optional)

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the tequila and orange juice. Then add the grenadine, which will sink to the bottom of the glass to create a layered effect that resembles a sunrise. Garnish with the fruit, if using.

Makes 1 drink.
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Mexican Coffee Cocktail

For the dough:

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 6-8 ounces hot, freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • 3/4 ounce tequila
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
  • Cinnamon, for garnish (optional)

Spread the brown sugar out onto a small plate.

Dip the rim of a coffee mug into the brewed coffee, then into the brown sugar to coat the rim. Then, using a kitchen torch, run the flame over the rim of the mug to caramelize the sugar. (This should only take a few seconds.)

Pour the Kahlua and tequila into the mug, then add the coffee. Top with the ice cream, and garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon, if desired.

Makes 1 drink.
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