So who’s Jason Wyrick? Chef Jason Wyrick is the executive chef of The Vegan Taste, a cooking instructor, caterer, a former diabetic, and founder of the world’s first vegan food magazine, The Vegan Culinary Experience. Jason was the first vegan culinary instructor in the world-famous Le Cordon Bleu program through Scottsdale Culinary Institute, and has catered for many corporations. Jason has taught hundreds of vegan cooking classes around the world. His work as been featured in the New York Times, Vegetarian News, and on both local and national television. Not to mention, he’s a darn good photographer, providing all the pictures in the book including those shown in this posting. Check out Jason’s website too: thevegantaste.com .
I really love all the fresh ingredients that Jason’s recipes use. Mexican food can be made a thousand different ways. Some good, some not so good. But Jason takes it to a new level of healthy deliciousness with such a wide range of ideas for meals. He gives us the basics like salsas, tortillas and tacos of course. Then you can venture into toppings, sides or drinks even, all with a vegan twist to keep them healthier than most traditional Mexican fare.
I particularly learned so much from Jason here on making your own tortillas. I’ve never ventured down that road despite enjoying homemade Mexican meals my whole life. Jason has a full gamut of tortilla ideas; black bean tortillas, chili-flavored, garlic, beer, lime. With step by step instructions and lots of pics to show you the way. Such a wonderful encyclopedia for any Mexican food lover.
Once you have his book full of all kinds of Mexican dish ideas you can start creating some of these delicious, healthy meals and throw a little fiesta! Here’s a little help from Jason on that plan too:
How to Host a Taco Party – from Jason Wyrick
I love to entertain and tell stories. For me, food isn’t just a tasty bite, the food experience is a story waiting to be told and a good one always gets a smile. It’s fun making people happy and one of the best ways to make your friends and family happy is to host a taco party. That social experience is part of the story of food. These can be informal gatherings of just a few people on up to big events with music, lights, dancing, and more. These taco parties even have a name: taquiza.
Most taquizas are informal with just a few people standing around a grill or kitchen table with tortillas in hand, but some of them can get quite large. While it’s easy to put together a taquiza for four or five people, putting one together for thirty is a big production and requires logistical skills to pull off. Here are a few tips to pull off a large taquiza.
Serve Three Fillings and Three Salsas: I generally serve three fillings, three salsas, and a variety of toppings. With just three fillings and three salsas, you can create nine different tacos. Plus, if you reserve the number of fillings you make, you’ll have people asking you to do it again and you can create a completely different taquiza. My ideal choice for the three fillings is a bean filling, a taco de comal or cazuela filling, and a taco de asador so I can get my grill going.
Start a Day Ahead: Start cooking a day ahead of time. That’s when I usually make beans, pickled onions, condiments that will last a day, and the salsas. The day of the event, I make my other fillings, the guacamole, and the tortillas.
Enlist Help: I used to try and pull off large events by myself, but it meant I didn’t get to participate in the party as much as I would like and I denied other people the pleasure of giving back by helping out. If you have some friends that are willing to help you make a few ingredients or do some shopping, take them up on it! No one wants a stressed out host and cooking with your friends is fun. Even if they aren’t perfect cooks, a joyful experience is more important than perfect food.
Ask People to Bring Drinks and Other Goodies: Cooking for a lot of people can get expensive. Don’t be shy about asking people to bring drinks, beer, tequila, salsas, chips, a salad, or anything else you think will go well with your tacos. Just tell them specifically what brands you want and where to get them so you don’t have something show up at your vegan taquiza that isn’t vegan.
Set Your Salsa and Condiment Bar away from Your Grill or Cooking Area: Don’t set up your taco “assembly” bar near your cooking area. You want to divert traffic away so you have some space to play. On a related note, you don’t want a lot of other stuff going on around your taco bar. It’s no fun trying to put together a taco while you’re getting bumped and jostled.
Don’t Use Your Best, Breakable Serving Vessels and Dinnerware: If you have a lot of people trying to make tacos, someone may accidentally drop something that you really don’t want broken. This is especially true if you are serving alcohol, so don’t set everything out in expensive bowls and plates.
Let People Make Their Own Tacos: It’s part of the experience! Let people assemble their own tacos. Not only do they get a personalized taco, they do all that work.
Work That Grill: If you have a grill, I encourage you to use it when you are hosting a taco party. The smoke and open flames are intoxicating and you look awesome when you are working it.
Find a Friend to Make Tortillas: If you are at the grill, you probably don’t have time to make fresh tortillas and there is nothing like a fresh tortilla just off the griddle to lift your taquiza to a state of soul-satisfying extravagance. Ask a knowledgeable friend to make the tortillas during the taquiza. If you need to make them ahead of time, make sure the tortillas stay moist and warm and try to make cooking the tortillas the last bit of cooking you do.
The Big Cheat: One of my local Mexican markets makes incredible salsa fresh every day. If I am going to be pressed for time, I purchase my salsa from them instead of making it. If you are in the same position, I highly encourage you to purchase your favorite salsa instead of making it.
Have fun!: As the taquiza host, your job isn’t just to serve good food, it’s to provide an enjoyable experience and you enjoying yourself is part of that. It rubs off on your guests, so relax, make some good food, eat some good food, and spend some time with your friends.
If you are hosting a small taquiza, many of these tips still apply. You probably won’t have to worry about traffic issues and crowding, but even if I am doing a taquiza for four, I still ask people to bring drinks and help out in the kitchen. And if they’re not willing to contribute? I become the Taco Nazi. No taco for you!
The first recipe that caught my eye when I flipped through Jason’s book was a delicious version of my absolute favorite salsa. I am a chips and salsa fool and Jason’s Mango Salsa is sweet and tangy citrus, and then the spices………….Oh, yeah!
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1 cup diced fresh mango
- 1 serrano chile, minced
- 3 tablespoons minced cilantro
- Juice of 2 limes
- Pinch of salt
- Rinse the onion, then transfer it to a bowl. Add the mango, chili, cilantro, lime
- juice, and a pinch of salt and stir it all together. Let this rest for about 10 minutes
- before serving.
- From Vegan Tacos by Jason Wyrick. ©2014 Jason Wyrick. Used by permission
- from Vegan Heritage Press.
Jason has graciously offered one of my readers a chance to win a copy of his new book, “Vegan Tacos”
To enter the giveaway, click below and select as many entry options as you’d like.
Contest ends September 30th. U. S. residents only.
I was given a copy of ‘Vegan Tacos’ for review although I was under no obligation to do so.
More from my site
- Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck Week 12
- Kristy’s ”Spiced Orange Cacao Nib Waffles with Fig Compote” from Keepin’ It Kind is ‘Breakfast In Bed-Fest’ entry #9