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'The heart of a great taco is the filling'

DETROIT — Mark Miller had a New England childhood but spent summers at a hacienda near Guadalajara, Mexico, where he tagged along with the family cooks while they shopped. They always had time for a taco, the country's ultimate street food, after they finished.

Now Miller has written Tacos: 75 Authentic and Inspired Recipes (Ten Speed Press, $21.95) The book has an array of recipes for such classics as pork carnitas, and rajas and cheese (poblano chilies and cheese) as well as ones with a twist, such as chicken with apples and goat cheese.

The recipes reflect what Miller, the founder of Coyote Café in Sante Fe, N.M., means when he says, "The heart of a great taco is the filling."

Most recipes are easy and have terrific color photos. When applicable, the level of heat is listed on each recipe, with 0 the mildest and 10 the hottest.

There also are detailed recipes for making your own corn or flour tortillas and shells for tostadas and crispy tacos. The recipes call for typical Hispanic ingredients, which you can find at area grocery stores or Hispanic grocers.Recipe

Skirt steak from Zacatecas

1 pound skirt steak, silver skin and most of the fat trimmed away

8 to 10 cloves garlic, roasted (see note)

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon red chili powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground, or ½ teaspoon cumin powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves

¼ cup corn or other vegetable oil

2 tablespoons red chili sauce

1 teaspoon chipotle purée

8 (5½ -inch) soft corn tortillas

Salsa, radishes, lime wedges, finely shredded green cabbage, chopped onions for garnish

Pound meat with a butcher's mallet until it is a uniform ¼ inch thick.

In a large bowl, combine garlic, Worcestershire sauce, red-wine vinegar, red chili powder, kosher salt, pepper, cumin, onion powder, cilantro, oil, and the red and chipotle chili sauces to make a marinade. Rub mixture over the meat, cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator (or less time, if you want more obvious beef flavor).

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Season meat with additional salt and pepper as you throw it on the grill. Grill meat over medium-high heat, flipping it once during cooking, 6 minutes total. Remove meat from heat and cut into ¼-inch-thick strips or ¼-inch dice.

To serve, lay tortillas side by side, open face and overlapping on a platter. Divide filling equally among the tortillas, and top with salsa and garnishes. Grab, fold and eat. Makes 8 tacos.

Note: To dry-roast the garlic, place unpeeled cloves in a heavy skillet over low heat. Cook until softened, about 30 to 40 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Or roast in a preheated oven until soft — about 20 to 30 minutes. When done, the garlic will be soft, creamy and sweet, and soft enough to slip out of its skins.

Nutrition information per serving: 169 calories, 7 g. fat, 12 g. carbohydrates, 14 g. protein, 174 mg. sodium, 32 mg. cholesterol, 30 mg. calcium, 2 g. fiber.

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