Review: Fox Run / Norpro / Colibrox Taco tongs

These taco tongs are sold under by a variety of places under several different names, with varying prices, and the reviews I’ve read show varying results. However, they appear to all be the same set from the same manufacturer (I haven’t verified this, I’m just going by the images they use). I bought a pair and here are my experiences, your milage may vary.

When I first received the taco tongs – taco press – taco form whatever you want to call them, the spread on them was wider than what I prefer, so I did modify them slightly by bending them gently inward about 10 degrees from stock. I wouldn’t advice bending them in too sharply, but this simple modification seems to have improved my pair.

Notice that one side sits flat in the pan, and one side sticks up. This has apparently caused much confusion in how to use them (based on several of the reviews I’ve read). I’m not claiming how I use them is correct or safe, but I have success making taco shells using the following method:

Materials needed:

  • Taco tongs
  • Skillet
  • Oil
  • Taco size corn tortillas
  • Meat filling
  • Toppings

Use a skillet big enough that the bottom of the tongs can lay flat along the bottom of the pan. My personal preference is for a heavy cast iron skillet.

Put about a 1/2″ (give or take) of oil in the skillet, doesn’t have to be exact.

Heat the oil to approximately 350 degrees F.

Open the jaws of the tongs and insert a tortilla. Gently close the jaws just enough to hold the tortilla in place in a taco shape. Do not mash the jaws closed or the tortilla will tend to break along the bend. The intent should be to hold the tortilla in place with the correct shape, and force beyond that is counterproductive. If the tortillas aren’t flexible enough, try warming them first to make them more pliable.

Place the flat side of the tongs (holding the tortilla) down to rest in the oil on the bottom of the skillet.

The boiling point of the moisture inside the tortilla is about 212 F, since the oil is 350 F, the moisture inside the tortilla will rapidly start to turn into steam, and bubble up out of the oil to be released into the air. When the tortilla is first put into the oil it has the most moisture, so will bubble the most.

The bubbles will gradually start to subside, and after about a minute there will be noticeably less bubbles forming. How long it will take each to be done will depend on how much moisture is in the starting tortillas, and how crunchy you want the final taco shells to be. If you wait unless it isn’t making any bubbles anymore, chances are they are burnt so stop before then. For best results judge doneness by the amount of bubbles being released and by color rather than by timing (unless you make them often enough to have that dialed in).

Remove from the oil, and allow the excess oil on the tortilla to drain back into the pan. Be vary careful as at this point, the pan is hot, the oil is hot, the tongs are hot and the bottom half of the taco shell is hot.

At this point the bottom half of the taco shell is cooked, but the top half (the half that sticks up) isn’t. This next step takes a little finesse, and should be done carefully to avoid burning yourself. Open the jaws of the tongs over a rack or plate, removing the shell from the tongs. Carefully grasp just the edge tip of the uncooked half of the shell (or use some implement to do so), turn the shell around and place back in the tongs, this time with the uncooked side of the tortilla facing down. Then return to the oil as before and cook the other side, completing the taco shell.

As each is finished, invert the taco shells on a rack so they look like little tents, and continue for each of the taco shells desired.

American style taco filling can be prepared in advance using a variety of recipes. I personally like a combination of ground meat, taco spices, diced onions and chopped jalapeño peppers, but chicken or shredded beef is also popular. Put a couple tablespoons of the prepared filling into the bottom of each taco shell.

Then top each with your choice of toppings. Popular additions include cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced olives, salsa, and/or a dollop of sour cream.

I hope you found the above helpful. Below is a link to amazon, it doesn’t cost you any more, but I get a few cents if you use the link to make your purchase.

Navajo Fry Bread

3 cups unbleached flour, sifted
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 ½ cup warm water or milk
oil for deep frying

Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead until smooth and soft, but not sticky.

Be careful not to overwork the dough, or it will become tough and chewy.

Brush a tablespoon of oil over the finished dough and allow it to rest 30 minutes to an hour in a bowl covered with a damp cloth. After the dough has rested, heat oil in a broad, deep frying pan at 350º-375º. Pull off egg-sized balls of dough and quickly roll, pull, and path them out into large, plate-sized rounds. They should be thin in the middle and about 1/4 inch thick at the edges. Carefully ease each piece of flattened dough into the hot oil. Using a long-handled cooking fork or tongs, turn the dough one time. Allow about 2 minutes cooking time per side or until golden brown, lift from oil, shake gently to remove bulk of oil, and place on wire rack to finish draining.

Serve hot with honey, jelly, powdered sugar, or various savory toppings such as for tacos.

Dutch Babies

1/3 cup butter
4 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1 cup Flour

Melt butter in a shallow 3 qt cast iron skillet in a 425F oven.
Blend eggs for 1 minute or until light and lemon colored.
Slowly add milk, then flour while mixing.
Blend for 30 seconds. Add to pan, return pan to oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Sprinkle a little powered sugar on top or with fruit, and serve immediately.

Grubbycup’s Peach Kuchen

Grubbycup’s Peach Kuchen

Crust

½ Cup butter

2 Cups flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 Cup sugar

Filling

8-10 peaches sliced

1 Cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 egg yolks

1 Cup heavy cream

 

Heat oven to 400F

Mix sifted flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Work softened butter into mixture. Press an even layer into bottom and up sides of pan (9’x 13’) with hands.

Put peaches into shell (crust). Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over peaches. Bake for 15 min. While baking, blend yolks and cream. Remove pan from oven, pour cream mixture over peaches, return to oven, and bake 30 min more.

 

Cinnamon Rosette Rolls

Cinnamon Rosette Rolls

This yummy cinnamon roll inspired homemade dessert needs two 1 hour risings, so planning ahead helps a lot. It starts with a dinner roll recipe.

 
Dinner Roll recipe
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp salt

1/2 cup warm water
2 packages yeast
1 tsp sugar

2 beaten eggs (or 1/2 cup of egg whites)
4 1/2 cups flour (and some for the rolling surface)

Oil for pans
Melted butter for drizzling

I have the Artisan, and I have been very pleased with it.
I have the KitchenAid Artisan, and I have been very pleased with it.

 

1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup of sugar
Scald 1/2 cup milk (bring just to a boil on the stove top or microwave.)

Combine the 1/2 cup scalded milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1 tsp molasses, and 1 tsp salt.

Add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar to 1/2 cup warm water. Read the directions on the yeast and make sure the water is in the correct temperature range (usually 115 F -ish). Yeast is a fungus, (like mushrooms) and alive. The warm water rehydrates the yeast, and the sugar gives them a starting food source. The yeast eats the sugars, and excrete carbon dioxide, creating gas pockets and causing the bread to rise. Let it sit for five minutes or so to make sure it starts to bubble and react to show “proof” it is working.

Combine the scalded milk mixture, the yeast mixture, 2 beaten eggs, and 2 cups of flour in a large bowl (or mixer). Slowly add from 2 to 2 1/2 more cups of flour as needed. The dough should be firm, but not dry.

Oil or flour hands and knead until somewhat elastic (knead well, but keep in mind that kneading too much will make for tougher rolls).

Coat lightly with oil or butter, and set in a bowl to rise (I quickly rinse out the mixer bowl and use it again with a little oil since I have to wash it at that point anyway). Cover the bowl with a clean cloth, and let rise until doubled (an hour or so).

The dough is allowed to rise for an hour. Then it is punched down before forming rolls.
The dough is allowed to rise for an hour. Then it is punched down before forming rolls.

I've divided the dough into two parts. One I'll cook plain for dinner rolls, and I'll make the Cinnamon Rosettes with the other.
I’ve divided the dough into two parts. One I’ll cook plain for dinner rolls, and I’ll make the Cinnamon Rosettes with the other.

The dough is separated into seven equal sized balls.
The dough is seperated into seven equal sized balls.

The rosette dough is rolled out to a finger width and about a foot long.
The rosette dough is rolled out to a finger width and about a foot long. Dinner rolls are tied as is or rolled in sesame seeds. Cinnamon Rosettes are first rolled in a brown sugar/cinnamon/salt mixture.

Brown Sugar Mixture
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
raisins and or nuts (optional)

Roll the dough in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt mixture.
For Cinnamon Rosettes, roll the dough in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt mixture.

Make a loop
Make a loop (plain version shown because it is easier to see).

Tie a "granny" knot by tucking one free end through the loop.
Tie a “granny” knot by tucking one free end through the loop.

Wind one free end around and though the loop, tucking the end against the bottom.
Wind one free end around and though the loop, tucking the end against the bottom.

Wind the other free end through the loop, leaving the tip as the center of the "flower".
Wind the other free end through the loop, leaving the tip as the center of the “flower”.

The coated dough is tied into the rosette.
Cinnamon mixture coated dough rosette.

Place in round tin, and top with raisins.
Place side by side in a round tin, and top with raisins. Drizzle or brush with melted butter.

After forming, allow to rise 1 hour in a warm draft free area.
After forming, allow to rise 1 hour in a warm draft free area.

Baked golden brown and ready for dinner. Large rolls can be made with a lighter dough and used for hamburger buns.

Bake in preheated oven at 375 F 20-25 minutes or until golden. Large rolls can be made with a lighter dough and used for hamberger buns.

This tasty treat is a spin on cinnamon rolls.
This tasty treat is a spin on cinnamon rolls.

Let me know if you try it, or suggest an improvement.

Peace, love and puka shells,
Grubbycup