Tostada literally means “toasted” in Spanish. It’s a corn tortilla that’s fried until crisp, drained and then used as a base for toppings. It’s a nice little twist on a crunchy taco because it’s more versatile and you can fit more toppings on it! The best part about tostadas is they’re quick and great with leftovers. If you’ve made a big batch of frijoles, make these and use up some of that pinto beany goodness.
Can I also just say that these are amazing when made fresh? They’ve got nothing on those stale-grease pre-made shells from that old-company-that-shall-not-be-named.
Ingredients you’ll need
Corn tortillas (I get the 10pk Woolies home brand and they’re fine.)
A cast iron pan for frying
Your choice of topping
Have all your toppings ready and set aside. Get your pan nice and hot, then add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom, maybe 1cm deep.
Add your first tortilla to the hot pan with some heat-proof tongs and flip immediately, then back. Keep turning occasionally after this, and carefully, until it’s golden brown evenly on both sides. As long as your pan is hot enough, they should only take a couple of minutes until golden. Pick them up with your tongs delicately, as they should be crisp and prone to cracking now and place on a plate prepared with paper towels to drain. Set aside and repeat process until you have enough shells for your guests.
Once they’re all done and are cool enough to handle, spread a thin layer of refried beans to the base. You want to do this because this will act as a tasty adhesive for more toppings. After this is done, get creative! Add your favourite crumbly or shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, sour cream and hot sauce. Try them with shredded chicken, carnitas, seasoned beef mince, avocado, onions, salsa, prawns, the possibilities are endless!
How easy was that? The only thing left to do, is eat and enjoy your delicious tostadas.
(Pictured: hubby @wombat1974)
Rice is such a classic staple in many cuisines. It’s tasty, it goes with everything and yet tricky to get right if you don’t know how. Once you do know how to make it, it’s one of the easiest dishes to cook. When done right, it should be light and fluffy, not gluggy and sticky.
1 cup of long grain, white rice
finely minced or granulated garlic
minced fresh red or dried onion
1 tsp (and a bit) tomato paste
salt to taste
chicken stock or bouillon
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup frozen veggies (optional)
Heat a non-stick stock pan with medium heat until water rolls on the surface. Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil or enough to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. Add the rice and let brown until golden. (It will first become translucent and then will start turning opaque white and finally golden.)
Add garlic, onion and 1 heaping tsp tomato paste. Stir until evenly coated and just combined. Add 1 cup of chicken broth and give it another good stir. This will be the last time you stir so the rice turns out light and fluffy. Keep the heat on medium until the liquid begins to reduce. Depending on your heat, 5-8 minutes. Then add another cup of water and turn the heat down to a low simmer for the next 10 minutes.
Add a grind of salt if desired and half a cup of frozen veggies if using. Cover. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. When it looks like there’s no more steam coming out, check the bottom to make sure it’s dry-ish but not stuck. Turn the heat off and leave covered for another 5ish minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and fluff with a fork if needed.
Serve in burritos, tacos, as a side with slow cooker dishes. Versatile and delicious!
The word frijoles means beans in Spanish. Now, we’ve all heard the schoolyard melody;
Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you toot. The more you toot, the better you feel. So let’s have beans with every meal!
Beans are delicious, but let’s face it, they make for noisy seconds. (See: blog title) Usually. Unless you know the trick my mother taught me. Once they’ve come to a boil for several minutes, throw out the first boil, add more water and continue to cook until done. Bam. Gas-less beans! (Or close to. Some people can’t be helped.)
I haven’t found that pinto beans are easy to come by in Melbourne, but I do know of two places where you can get them easily. I’ve seen them occasionally at the Queen Vic Markets at the dry legumes stall closest to Victoria St. and also in Murrumbeena at Oasis Bakery.
My pride and joy tool for cooking beans is my bean pot–bought in Mexico by my parents and given to me as a gift just after I was married.
Don’t be afraid to cook beans from their dry form. They taste better and have less salt than the refried canned slop in the international food aisles in grocery stores.
My recipe for refried beans will (hopefully) make you never want to buy store-bought bean dip again!
1 cup pinto beans
ground cumin to taste
granulated garlic to taste
salt to taste
1/2 cup milk
ceramic bean pot or equivalent (small/durable stock pot)
strainer or slotted spoonvegetable masher
large cast iron skillet
Fill your pot with 1 cup of pinto beans and the rest water and heat on medium. Once they have begun to boil, strain the beans and rinse. Put back in the pot and refill with water. The best way to cook them is on low for a couple hours. Check and stir your pot every little while to make sure they still have plenty of water covering them. Burnt bean smells are horrible! You’ll know they’re ready by their tenderness and peeling skins. In my bean pot, depending on your heat, they should be done anywhere from 2 hours.
Have your cast iron skillet and slotted spoon ready. Heat to medium/hot and then add 1/2 cup oil to start. Refried beans are pretty oil-hungry, but at least you’re in control of how much goes in. Begin straining the beans from the pot into the pan with the slotted spoon until they’re all in and let fry whole for a minute. Then begin mashing. If they feel too dry, add more oil. Remember, they should be a watery paste. You can also add milk and some of the water from the bean pot in lieu of more oil. Continue mashing until all the beans are mashed. If they still feel too dry, add more oil, milk or bean-water. Season with salt, garlic and cumin to taste. If it still tastes grainy, it needs more oil. The final product should be a smooth tasting paste. If it’s too watery, keep it on the heat and reduce until desired consistency is achieved. Keep in mind that they will thicken a little once they begin to cool.
Serve immediately. Freeze for several weeks or refrigerate and consume within a few days.
(For more flavour, you can cook a ham hock with the beans in the pot. Just remove before mashing, then shred, add and mix once the refried beans are done. Or shred the pork and eat with the beans whole!)
Dish ideas with refried beans.
Refried beans are delicious in burritos, naked burritos, tacos, as a side for enchiladas, on tostadas or toast with slices of avocado or parmesan cheese or a crumbly feta sprinkled on top, mixed with spanish rice or by themselves!