Weeknight Tostadas

One of my favorite go-to recipes for a quick dinner, tostadas are both easy and filling. If you’re a Real Texan™ like me, you probably usually have most of the ingredients on hand. The staples are: tortillas, a can of beans, and salsa. Beyond that, go crazy with whatever you have in the pantry or fridge. I’ve made breakfast tostadas, tempeh tostadas, squash tostadas, and tostadas that were really nothing more than giant nachos (and how!).

Last night, I threw together some nice, mostly local tostadas using El Milagro corn tortillas, canned black beans, homegrown lettuce and jalapeños, both homemade and bought* salsa, and a little cheddar cheese. My partner, who is usually meagre of appetite, requested two!

Weeknight Tostadas

4 fresh corn tortillas
1 can black beans (or pre-cooked from dry)
4 Tbsp butter
~2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp bacon fat
1 clove garlic, minced
dash onion powder
dash salt
~1 cup fresh mixed greens of your choice
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 fresh jalapeño, thinly sliced
salsa of your choice, to taste

1. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 of the butter and a dash of olive oil over medium high heat. Fry each tortilla (you may be able to do more than one at a time if you have a large pan) on each side until nicely browned and crispy, adding more butter and oil as necessary. As each tortilla is fried, remove it from the heat and place it on a paper towel to drain excess oil.

2. Meanwhile, in a smaller skillet or saucepan, warm beans and bacon fat over medium low heat. Drizzle in a little olive oil to taste (about 1 teaspoon). As they warm up, add the garlic, onion powder, and salt, and continue to stir occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.

3. Lastly, assemble your tostadas by spooning out the beans and spreading them on each tortilla, about 1 heaping tablespoon at a time. Top with salsa of your choice, lettuce, and jalapeños, and, voila!, a quick and tasty dinner.

Serves 2. Make as many as you want, though!

*I’d also like to take this opportunity to break with blogular tradition a bit and give a shout-out to my friend Shanna and her addictively ambrosial homemade salsas. I regularly purchase her amazing creamy garlic jalapeño salsita, Hal’s Hot Love (which I have talked about here before), and I recently bought two jars, as usual. I have a confession to make here. I am so addicted to Hal’s Hot Love, both jars were gone within 36 hours!

However, we have a garden allotment down the street (what’s up, St. Martin’s!) and thus have a large crop of jalapeños regularly ready for the pickin’. After a horrible first try involving the poolside BBQ grill a couple of weeks back, I successfully roasted and pulverized the peppers and created my own sad, sad imitation: the poor man’s Hal’s. It didn’t compare at all.

As I’ve said before, Hal’s is really something special. It’s like Tacodeli’s Doña sauce, but hotter, creamier, and richer. Better. Anyway, what you see pictured here is my weak imitation salsa, which I won’t be making again, and her new flavor, a tangy garlic chile salsita called Kī’s K.O. Instead of suffering my last-minute impostor salsa again, I will be placing an order for more Hal’s (a case, perhaps?), and you should, too. Check out Shanita’s Salsitas here and place your order today. You can thank me later.


Eric’s Amazing Breakfast Tostadas

This one is a real winner. We’ve already eaten it for three breakfasts in three days.

4 corn tortillas (preferably El Milagro)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp olive oil
4 tsp Hal’s Hot Love jalapeño salsa
4 leaves of arugula, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 tsp crumbled parmesan
1/2 small onion, finely diced
4 eggs
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Heat the butter and oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Fry the tortillas until crispy and golden (about one minute on each side), and set aside on paper towels to absorb the grease.

2. Sauté the onions in the pan until fragrant and cooked through. Remove to drain alongside tortillas. Lower heat to medium and crack eggs into the pan. Allow to cook through to taste (I prefer them over-medium, especially for this dish).

3. Meanwhile, assemble tostadas as follows: smooth a teaspoon of salsa onto each; top with 1/2 tsp of crumbled parmesan and a quarter each of the onions, oregano, and arugula. When eggs are done, remove each one separately from the pan with a spatula and sit on top of the tostada. Top with black pepper to taste; serve immediately.

Serves 2-4, as a main or side dish.

When he’s not serving up amazing al fresco breakfasts, Eric works for a local education non-profit, digs around in his urban garden, and writes about politics, history, and other things that strike his fancy for Deemable.

Eric’s Amazing Breakfast Tostada with Eric’s amazing papaya smoothie.

Review: Burrito Factory

The Burrito Factory in Dobie Mall is a hidden gem. Their tacos and burritos are affordable and delicious.

My regular order for lunch is two tacos al pastor on corn tortillas with cheese, cilantro, lettuce, onions, sour cream, and avocado. The enthusiastic cook will assemble your meal right in front of you, as you choose from among the many fresh toppings, such as chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, and crema. The Burrito Factory has two or three different salsas every day, so I usually request one with salsa roja and one with verde. Despite the bland ordinariness of Dobie Mall, dining here is an enjoyable experience because they get the combination of well-prepared food and colorful presentation just right. The extensive menu also includes quesadillas (crisp, oozing with cheese, delectable), enchilada plates, and a variety of tortas, with your choice of filling, including everything from shrimp to lingua. And their burrito suiza is a monster.

A wide selection of Mexican and American drinks is also on offer: Mexican liter Cokes, Topo Chico, aguas frescas, and regular fountain drinks.

The service is always fast and friendly, and the Burrito Factory is both convenient and affordable. If you’re looking for a quick but tasty lunch in the southwest campus area, check this place out!

Burrito Factory
2025 Guadalupe St.
Dobie Mall
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 480-8680

Two tacos al pastor on corn tortillas with cilantro, lettuce, onions, sour cream, avocado, and salsa verde. Perfection!

Chicken and Mushroom Enmoladas

Enchiladas baked in mole are properly called enmoladas, especially if you are in Oaxaca. I decided to use the term for these to mix things up around here!

I’m still a mole amateur, and I sort of make it up as I went along; this mix of flavors turned out great, though. I love the dark richness of the sauce and the tart richness of the feta. Mole also lends itself easily to creative presentation; the deep color looks striking with a spiral of sour cream and some slices of bright, fresh avocado (which I forgot to add for the photo!).

¡Buen provecho!

Follow my recipe for Stella’s Homemade Mole, and set aside.

For the enchiladas
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup shredded chicken, cooked (can be poached, grilled, or baked)
1 cup chopped portobello mushrooms
1 cup finely diced onion
2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup crumbled fresh feta cheese
3 tbsp minced garlic
8 corn tortillas
extra olive oil or butter for pan greasing
2 cups mole sauce
1 avocado, sliced

1. Preheat an oven to 350°. In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Sauté mushrooms for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the onions, cumin, and cilantro and sauté for a couple of minutes, until all are tender. Pour mushroom mix into a medium-sized bowl and stir in the feta and garlic, then set aside.

2. Warm the tortillas by covering them in paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and microwaving them on medium for about three minutes.

3. Grease a baking dish or deep pan with butter or olive oil. Have mole sauce in a shallow bowl or pan to the side, and chicken ready in a separate bowl – make a little assembly line. Carefully dip a tortilla in your mole sauce, then place in dish. Fill with about 1/8 of your mushroom mix and 1/8 of your chicken, then roll up, seam side down. Continue until all tortillas have been rolled and filled. They should fit snugly in your dish.

4. Pour the mole sauce over the top. Bake for about 10 minutes or until browning and bubbling. Sprinkle feta and avocado slices on top and serve immediately with rice and beans.

Makes 8 enchiladas. Other optional garnishes include sour cream, crema mexicana, more feta crumbles, salsa, and leftover peanut or sesame seeds.