15 June 2012

Bean Tacos

After making the below taco salad, my refrigerator overflowed with taco-friendly leftovers: sour cream, scallions, cilantro, lime, and avocado. So I bustled over to my local Mexican tienda and purchased fresh hand-made corn tortillas, a can of black beans, and some fresh tomatoes. As soon as I had laid taco fixings out on my kitchen counter, hungry neighborhood people began mysteriously drifting by, needing food. Luckily it takes only about a minute to make a nice bean taco once you have the fixings ready for degustation.

Five-Minute Bean Tacos

Makes up to 12 tacos

1 can of black beans, mostly drained but not rinsed
juice of 1/2 lime
a handful of freshly-washed cilantro
a few shakes of Old Bay or other preferred spice

Lightly purée the above ingredients together in a blender until cohesive but still chunky. Meanwhile, in a toaster over or in a dry frypan on a stove or in the oven, heat:

a bunch of corn tortillas

When the tortillas are pliable, warm, and cooked, spread the black bean mixture on them and top with any combination of:

chopped tomatoes
sliced scallions
sour cream
some ripe avocado

Fold and serve immediately with plenty of napkins.

13 June 2012

Father's Day Taco Salad

When all six people in our family really enjoy a dish…well, that pretty much never happens. Except for this recipe. Imagine Tex-Mex taco innards, without cheese but with much more lettuce than usual, dressed simultaneously with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. In your mind's eye, crush the taco shell in your burly fists and crumble it on top. That is this salad: crunchy with lettuce and tortilla chips, gooey with avocado, sweet with corn, tangy with scallions and sour cream, fresh with cilantro, and earthy with beans.

I found a version of this salad recipe in an old Vegetarian Times issue for a bygone Father's Day. While I doubt their seitan Carolina 'cue sandwich made ol' Dad's dreams come true, this salad will definitely please men, teens, children, and man-children, depending on your family makeup. You won't find any odd or trendy ingredients here, and you can whip the whole salad up in about a half hour or less. The only downside is that it won't keep well, so you need to serve it fresh.

To please the largest number of people, purchase a very mild salsa. Tortilla chip shards can jab tender gums, so allow people to decide for themselves whether they want crushed tortilla chips on top; they are best added last in any case to keep them crunchy.

Taco Salad
Serves 8

2 Cups (approximately) chopped crunchy lettuce, such as romaine or iceberg
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 Cup or 1 small container grape tomatoes
1/2 Cup defrosted frozen corn kernels
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup cilantro, chopped
20 tortilla chips, hand crushed (optional garnish)

Dressing: 1/2 Cup sour cream, 3/4 Cup prepared non-chunky mild salsa, 1 ripe mashed avocado, and juice of 1 lime

1. Slice each grape tomato in half lengthwise, then into quarter lengthwise, then slice all four pieces in half to make eight small pieces.
2. In a large bowl, mix together lettuce, beans, tomatoes, corn, scallions, and cilantro.
3. Mix together dressing ingredients.
4. Add dressing to salad right before serving and mix thoroughly.
5. Either top with tortilla chips or pass around a bowl of crushed tortilla chips for people to add as they like.

6. Tell the father, happy father's day! Please enjoy this salad.
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