January 11, 2012

Tostada Bar

Does anyone else feel like they are still in post-holiday decompression mode?  Maybe it's because I had a cold last week and a cough that's still hanging on.  I am just tired and don't feel much like cooking when I get home from work. Thankfully, some meals come together quickly. 

Last night I used two "quick meal" techniques to throw together a tostada bar.

First Quick Meal Technique: I used the Crockpot to cook a pound of black beans while I was at work: just rinsed black beans, a minced onion, some garlic and seasonings (cumin, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, Italian Seasoning and a couple bay leaves) with water in a Crockpot set on low for about 9 hours.  When I got home, the beans were done.

Second Quick Meal Technique:  I made use of leftovers.  We had a little bit of shredded chicken and some shredded cheese in the fridge, and a mixture of lettuce and green onions from a salad that didn't get finished the night before.

All I had to to was fry some corn tortillas in oil and, in the time it took to fry them, prepare a few more garnishes. (Is there anything more delicious and versatile than a freshly fried corn tortilla?)  For the garnishes I chopped cilantro, crumbled cojita cheese, sliced a lime in half, and--I know I might be in the minority in craving this combo--I roasted some cubed pumpkin.  (I bought the pumpkin at the farmers market already peeled and seeded, so it didn't take nearly the effort that breaking down a whole pumpkin would have.)

We didn't have any salsa on hand, so I put my trusty jar of jalapeno carrots on the counter next to the other fixings, and within less 30 minutes we had ourselves a tostada bar.  I put a crisp tostada shell on each plate, topped it with beans, and each family member topped their tostada with whatever toppings and garnishes they preferred.


The farmers market in January has plenty of produce that would top a tostada beautifully.  In addition to the lettuce, green onion, cilantro, lime and pumpkin mentioned here, a couple different vendors sell avocados, many vendors sell different varieties of colorful radishes, and at least one vendor sells beans.  They are cranberry beans and, according to the vendor, they cook up beautifully in a Crockpot.  They are not dried, so if you were cooking them on the stove, no pre-soaking would be required.

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