Category Archives: Cuisine

Homemade Tostadas

Homemade Tostadas

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You know how you have a vision of what something is going to look like before you make it? Well, our vision of this post was thin and crispy perfectly folded hard taco shells spilling over with our favorite toppings but standing up on their own like the brilliant Old El Paso “Stand and Stuff” shells. The reality was so, so different. Our corn tortillas came out brittle and thick and when we went fry them they either broke or folded into a ‘v’ shape that only provided space for a couple wedged-in pieces of cilantro. Being the creative people that we, however, we stayed positive and improvised. I remembered the tostadas that I sometimes ordered at Taco Bell as a kid and we grudgingly decided that our tortillas would work for flat shells if not the folded ones.

Our second challenge came with the taco seasoning. We have made our own taco seasoning since we got married almost 4 years ago and we love our taco beef. However, when Nathan makes it he goes by intuition, feel, and sight and when he was constrained to documenting measurements he created a seasoned beef that was equal parts seasoning to beef and thereby…inedible. Yes, we literally had to throw our first batch of beef away and I was relegated to the second attempt that was a bit closer to what we’re used to. In the end we had a good meal and tasty margaritas but were exhausted by how much more challenging this meal was than the Mexican fiesta that we had anticipated. Ironically, the most successful part of the meal was Nathan’s least favorite…the refried black beans! If you only attempt one part of this post make a big pot of the refried beans!

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Homemade Refried Beans:

From this recipe

Prep time: 1 hour, 10 minutes Cook time: 3 hours Yield: Serves 6.

Ingredients for cooking the dry beans:

1 lb dry black beans
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 large white onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
Additional ingredients for frying the beans after they’ve been cooked:
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 large white onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions:

1. Place dry beans in a bowl and add enough water to cover the beans by two inches. Let sit overnight.
2. Once the beans have soaked, they should have expanded noticeably. Drain the soaking liquid. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot on medium high heat. Add the cumin. Once the cumin is sizzling, add the chopped onion. Cook for 5 minutes or so, until translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the drained beans and 2 quarts of water. Bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 2 hours. At the 2 hour mark, add 2 teaspoons of salt. Add 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro. Let cook uncovered for another half hour, or until the beans are tender.
3. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. Add the chipotle powder, chili powder, and cumin. Once the spices are sizzling, add the chopped white onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.
4. Add the cooked black beans (and liquid from the pot) to the frying pan. Use an immersion blender or potato masher to mash the beans in the pan. Let them cook approximately 10 minutes longer. If the beans are a little soupy for your taste, just let them cook longer. If too thick or dry, add more water. Adjust seasonings to taste….make sure you add enough salt!

Corn Tortillas:

From this recipe

Makes approximately 12 tortillas

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups masa harina
1 1/8 cups water

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, mix together masa harina and hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead for about two minutes. If dough is too sticky, add more masa harina; if it begins to dry out, sprinkle with water. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high.
3. Divide dough into 12-15 equal-size balls. Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of plastic wrap.
4. Immediately place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on second side for approximately 30 seconds more, then transfer to a plate. Repeat process with each ball of dough.

Hard Taco Shells:

From this recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups corn oil for frying
Corn tortillas that you just made!

Directions:

1. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat to 365 degrees F (180 degrees C). Use tongs to place one tortilla at a time into the oil. It should start to sizzle right away. Cook for about 15 seconds, then flip over. Drain on paper towels. Use for tostadas right away, or they may become chewy. Leftovers may be heated in the oven for crisping.

Taco Seasoning:

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, mix all the spices together. Use as much or as little as you like depending on how much beef you’re using and how spicy and flavorful you like it!

Taco Meat:

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. olive oil
½ large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ lb. lean ground beef

Directions:

Heat olive oil in skillet. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add beef and saute until brown. When beef is almost cooked through and as much taco seasoning as you like. If beef seems dry add a little water.

For the tostadas:

Take a shell and spread with black beans. Layer beef over the beans and then top with guacamole, cheese, tomatoes, olives, cilantro, sour cream and salsa. Enjoy!

 

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