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Courtesy of Chef Troy -

Taco Town

Posted: Friday, Apr. 26, 2013

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

CChef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season. For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

Everyone likes tacos in some shape or form, and I mean everyone. No matter if you are gluten free (use a corn tortilla), don’t eat red meat (use fish), or don’t eat meat at all (use vegetables).

You see, tacos, like pizza; is a blank canvas for anything you can imagine. Whether it be smeared, sliced, stacked or crumbled anything can make a taco great.

Here are a couple of my favorites and a killer side of black beans to round out the meal, not that tacos need anything to help them along. Feel free to substitute anything you like to be as creative and flavorful as you can. Keep these in mind for your Cinco de Mayo party coming up and check back on here next week for more Latin flavor party snack ideas.

Spicy Pork Taco with Pineapple/Serrano Salsa


• 2 Each-Pork Tenderloin-cubed
• 1 Can-Chipotle Peppers-packed in adobo sauce
• 3 Tablespoons-Soy Sauce
• Wooden Skewers
• Corn Tortillas
• To Taste-Quesco Fresco
• To Taste-Pork Rinds-crumbled


• 2 Each-Avocados-ripe, slightly soft when squeezed
• 2 Tablespoons-Cilantro-leaves only, rough chopped
• 1 Clove-Fresh Garlic-chopped and smashed into a paste
• 1 Each-Chipotle Pepper deseeded and fine dice
• 1 Each-Limes-juice of
• To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper


• 2 Each-Roma Tomato-cored, deseeded and fine dice
• 1 Cup-Pineapple-stem, skin remove, sliced into rings, cored removed
• 1 Each-Serrano Pepper-stem removed, deseeded and fine diced
• 2 Tablespoons-Onion-dice fine
• 2 Tablespoon-Cilantro-chopped
• 2 Each-Lime-juice of about ½
• To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper


1. Place cubed pork in a zip bag.
2. Remove chipotle peppers from can, scrape off and retain all adobo sauce from can.
3. Deseeded and dice a chipotle pepper and reserve for guacamole.
4. Add adobo, soy sauce to bag with pork, seal and message marinade into pork.
5. Let pork marinade for at least 4 hours.
6. Combine tomato, pineapple, serrano, onion, cilantro, lime and season with salt and pepper.
7. Cover and set aside while preparing guacamole.
8. Cut avocados in half, remove seed and scoop out flesh.
9. Place in a mixing bowl and use a fork to smash avocado.
10. Add cilantro, garlic, chipotle, lime juice, salt, pepper.
11. Mix until ingredients are well combined.
12. Cover with plastic wrap directly on surface of guacamole to prevent air getting to it.
13. Store in refrigerator until ready to assemble tacos.
14. Preheat grill for direct heat grilling.
15. Remove pork from marinade and place on skewers.
16. Place on grill and char on all sides until just cooked through, about 1-2 minutes per side.
17. Remove pork from grill, place on a plate and lightly toast tortillas on grill until pliable.
18. To build taco, smear on guacamole, add pork, top with salsa and garnish with Quesco fresco/crumbled pork rinds.

Black Beans with Green Chili and Crispy Bacon

• 6 strips-Bacon
• ¼ Cup-White Onion-small dice
• 3 Cloves-Garlic-fine chopped
• 2-4 Ounce Cans-Green Chili
• 4-15 Ounce Cans-Black Beans-drained and rinsed
• 1 ½ Cups-Chick Stock
• To Taste-Lime-juice of
• ½ Cup-Quesco Fresco-crumbled
• ¼ Cup-Roma Tomatoes-halved, deseeded and small dice
• To Taste-Cilantro
• To Taste-Crema


1. In a large oven safe pan/skillet add bacon and cook over low heat until starting to crisp.
2. Remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
3. Raise heat to medium, add onion/garlic and cook to soften, about 2 minutes.
4. Add green chili’s, stir to combine and add beans.
5. Stir to combine, raise heat to medium high and add stock.
6. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
7. Lower heat and cook for 15-20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half.
8. To Serve, place in individual bowls, squeeze a little lime in each.
9. Top with cheese, tomato, a squeeze of crema over the top and garnish with bacon/cilantro.

Steak Tacos with Peanut Cilantro Crema


• ¾ Pound-Skirt Steak
• 1 Each-Lime
• 3 Tablespoons-Olive Oil
• 2 Tablespoons-Cilantro-rough chopped, leaves and stems
• 2 Cloves-Garlic-smashed
• To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper
• Corn Tortillas
• 1 Cup-Refried Beans


• ¼ Head-Red Cabbage-leave core intact
• To Brush-Olive Oil
• To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper
• 1 Each-Poblano Pepper-roasted, peeled, deseeded and sliced into strips
• 1/4 Cup-Carrot-shredded
• 2 Tablespoons-olive oil
• ½ Each-Lime-juice of

Cilantro Chipotle Cream

• 1 Each-Lime-juice of
• 1 ½ Cup-Mexican Crema
• 2 Tablespoon-Cilantro-leaves only
• 2 Tablespoons-Peanut Butter
• 1 Each-Chipotle Pepper-deseeded (from canned, packed in adobo sauce)


1. Combine lime juice, oil, cilantro and garlic.
2. Add skirt steak to a zip bag, add marinade and message into meat.
3. Let marinade for no more than 15 minutes, leave out at room temp while preparing slaw and crema.
4. Preheat grill for direct heat grilling.
5. Lightly brush cut sides of cabbage, season with salt/pepper.
6. Place on grill over direct heat and char on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
7. Remove from grill, slice thin and place about 2 cups in a bowl with poblano and carrots.
8. Add lime juice/oil and toss to coat, place in fridge to keep crisp.
9. Make cream by placing all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
10. Place one cup of crema in a mixing bowl and rest in a squeeze bottle.
11. Add refried beans to crema in bowl and mix to combine.
12. Season steak and place on grill over direct heat.
13. Grill until slightly charred on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
14. Remove, place on a plate and let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.
15. Lightly toast tortillas until warm and pliable.
16. To assemble, smear refried beans on tortillas.
17. Slice steak very thin across the grain and place back on plate with juices, toss to coat.
18. Top each tortilla with steak, slaw, a squeeze of crema and serve.

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