Happy Cinco De Mayo!

I don’t know about where you live, but it’s been nothing but rain, rain, rain here all spring in Vermont. April was the rainiest on record ever, and the first week in May hasn’t been any different. It’s eye-popping green outside, but no sunshine to enjoy it. My tulips sadly hang in the garden; I don’t think they dare to bloom for fear of drowning. Although Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on Thursday this year, I got home on Wednesday night, cold and wet. I needed something warm and spicy to shake the chills, so I came up with this.

I already had soaked and cooked a pot of black beans Saturday evening and had kept the beans with their cooking liquid in the fridge, but you can easily make this with canned beans and water. I mashed the beans with a potato masher for a more rustic version, but you leave them intact the dish will be even quicker to make! My version was on the table in just about 30 minutes. If you are vegan, just warm the tortillas and skip the cheese.  Served with a side salad and you’re good to go! Olé!

Black Bean Tostadas
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cups black beans
Cooking liquid from beans or water
Dash of oregano
Dash of cumin, coriander, or a mixture (to taste)
Salt and pepper

4 corn tortillas or burrito shells (whichever you prefer)
Cheddar cheese (I like sharp)

Fresh lime juice
Avocado slices
Salsa or sriracha hot chili sauce, if desired

In a skillet, heat olive oil until fragrant. Add garlic, onion, and carrot and sauté until just soft. While that is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees, slice or grate cheese, and place atop the tortillas. Pop in the oven when you’re ready and bake until cheese is nicely melted and bubbly, pull out of the oven and set aside.

Add the beans to the skillet and spices to taste.

Version 1: If you’re not going to mash them, stir to heat through and you’re done!

Version 2: Add a bit of water to the beans and stir. For a  more rustic version, like refried beans, take a potato masher and mash the beans. (This is also a great way to get out some of your aggression if you have any at the end of the day!) Eventually the water will get absorbed. Keep adding water until you feel the beans are done, or completed to how you want to eat it. With the still-warm tortillas, top with beans, lime juice, avocado, and sriracha, if desired.*

*My newest find these days is sriracha sauce. It is everything I’ve been looking for in one bottle! It is a hot chili sauce, with garlic, sugar, salt, and vinegar. I love anything spicy, so this brings a little kick to everything. Note, it took me a little while to figure out exactly how much to use, it is potent with a capital “P,” so start out with just a tiny bit and go from there. I made polka dots on my tostadas, so you know how spare you need to be, but it is so good! You can find this in the Asian food section at your grocery store; I find the font very faint, but you can identify it with a rooster on the front of the bottle.

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