Thursday, January 14, 2010

On simplicity (Bean Soft Tacos with Tomato and Avocado Salsa)

I will admit the sordid truth: Hello, my name is Kellye, and I am an over-spicer.

I believe this is a response to my father's training in the kitchen when I was younger; while making spaghetti, he would throw in wine, spices, and all manner of other things into the pot with enthusiasm. My mom, who has simpler tastes and likes her food more bland, was less than enthusiastic.

But I don't like my food bland. I put in every seasoning I can find that will concievably marry well into my dish. My roommate, R., takes an entirely different approach to seasoning.

He's the one who cooked dinner last night, giving me a much-appreciated break. Using his mad quasi-Hispanic skills, he whipped up fresh homemade tortillas (recipe NOT to follow, since he doesn't use one) with mashed kidney beans, quesadilla cheese, Spanish rice, tomato and avocado salsa, and Tofutti's Better Than Sour Cream.

These were seriously the most delicious(and most simple) tacos of my life. When I asked him, "By the good of all that's holy, Batman, what did you put in the tomatoes and avocado?" his response boggled me.

Salt and pepper. That was it. To a kitchen sink vegetarian, this borders on blasphemy.

It was a revelation.

Grocery List:
flour tortillas
a can or two of pinto beans or black beans
2 avocados
white or yellow onion
white rice
vegetable oil
Taco toppings: lettuce, salsa, taco sauce, tomatoes, quesadilla cheese, mock sour cream
a lime or two
salt and pepper
Optional: cumin, taco seasoning, extra chili powder, Coronas (sling 'em if you got 'em)

Simple Soft Tacos:

- Flour tortillas. You can make your own if you have a recipe handy, or you can just pick up a package of them at the store; either way, these will be delicious.

- A can or two of pinto beans or black beans, heated on the stovetop and mashed with a spoon (add spices like cumin or taco seasoning if you want, but I'm pretty sure that R. didn't)

- Avocado and Tomato Salsa: Chopped tomatoes, cubed avocado, and chopped white or yellow onion. Mix it all up good, then add salt and pepper. (THAT'S IT.)

- Any other taco toppings you like: shredded lettuce, sour cream (or mock sour cream), salsa, whichever.

Also integral to this meal is Spanish rice, which is made as so:

- Toast however much white rice you feel like you're going to need, putting a little bit of vegetable oil in the bottom of the pan. Stir the rice in a hot pot (or wok) until the rice begins to brown (but don't let it burn!) When it starts to develop darker brown bits and smells toasty, it's ready.

- Add water (twice as much water as rice), chopped tomato (however much you want in proportion to the rice - we use a few handfuls), chopped white or yellow onion, a dash of chili powder to taste, and a generous squeeze of lime juice. Give this all a good stir and put a lid over it; let it simmer about twenty minutes, or until all the water is thoroughly absorbed. Fluff and masticate!

Assemble however you deem necessary and heartily enjoy. This meal is a Mexican masterpiece!

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