Cranberry beans in tomato-fennel sauce over polenta with Parmesan

I haven’t had time to cook in the past week. The sketch comedy show I’m in is happening this weekend, so we’ve been rehearsing almost every night. The one night off I went to two yoga classes, back to back, trying to find my center again. I had gotten super stressed, just a ball of anxiety, feeling guilty because I wasn’t excited about the show, kinda hated this group of people who I ordinarily love without reservation. It was a difficult week. But one upside is that I had prepared by cooking and freezing food. Including these beans. Which I ate yesterday. And OMG–I still can’t believe how good it is. For reals. This time I skipped the polenta, because it was just me, and instead had the beans and sauce over sausage. Specifically, the black pepper sausage from Big Fork, a local company that makes sausage right here in my neighborhood. It’s delicious. Highly recommend. Here’s the link for more info. (http://www.bigforkbrands.com/) Okay. Now off to meditate, try to get as calm as possible before more rehearsal and then a performance. Eeeeek!!!

dreamsofmyfava

I made this last night for a very small dinner party with two trusted friends. cranberry beans with tomato fennel sauce over parmesan polentaA safe environment for a gamble, in case it didn’t turn out. The photo is terrible because we didn’t eat until late, after talking for two hours while drinking wine, so the photo was an act of duty, without regard to aesthetics. But omg — all I can really say is yum. Which is what I said at least three times while eating. Because I was trying to restrain myself. It is, after all, somewhat unseemly to freak out over the goodness of your own cooking.

To balance things out a bit, my praise was not entirely self-directed. Unfortunately, this is not an original recipe. I got it from theKitchn, who in turn took it from Rancho Gordo. Here’s the link. (http://bit.ly/17RQGQ4) And here’s the recipe, which I followed almost slavishly. My only departures were…

View original post 698 more words

Vegetarian variation of Rick Bayless’s “Classic Mexican Fried Beans”

refried beansIn his classic guide to Mexican cooking, Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen, Bayless writes of this recipe, “this is one place where pork fat makes an enormous flavor difference.” It’s true. Like most things in life, these beans are even better with some bacon. But this version, made with pinto beans cooked in the slow cooker with kombu, is quite good. Thick, rich, and, well, meaty. Yet clean.

In fact, my original plan for this weekend’s post included meat. I had planned to make  an elaborate steak chili based on one that an intern in my office made for the fall pot-luck. (Yes, my office has a pot luck. I am very, very lucky.) But then I noticed that my bank balance was a bit off after my first post-divorce, new federal filing status paycheck.  Less than it was supposed to be. Apparently the single-person tax is higher. So I now have even less money. Which isn’t great. But it could be worse.

I don’t always appreciate everything that I have. Because I’m a hopelessly flawed human. Usually, though, if given sufficient time to ponder, I manage to come up with something reasonably positive. At least in writing. It’s my strategy for avoiding misery. So. The upside to my new financial reality.

First, I really like beans, which are notoriously affordable.

Second, while I would prefer to have more money, I still have enough. And I have so much more than many, a fact that I’m reminded of every day that I spend out in the world. I may not be wealthy, but I am not poor. Indeed, I’m quite insanely over-privileged. And grateful.

Third, this little shot of reality forced me to be flexible. Which is something I need more of. Yesterday morning, in yoga, the intention was to explore what happens when we let go, go with the flow. Anne used another word, which despite persistent efforts, I have not been able to remember. And, sadly, she did not record this class, so, unlike many of her other classes it’s not posted on her Soundcloud. But, while I may not be able to remember the specific word that Anne used, I got the gist.  Oh, and as an aside, Anne has been posting a whole bunch of her Forrest yoga classes, for free! She’s an incredible teacher.  Generous, creative, and wonderfully clear. Her adjustments are also out of this world, so you should really try to see her in person. But these classes are a nice second best. Check it out. (http://bit.ly/1akRqxh)

Getting back to now, the lesson I’ve been learning, the lesson Anne emphasized yesterday, is to allow space. To do this, I’m learning to listen to my body. Separating experience into individual components–thoughts, feelings, and sensations. I’m starting to be able, in moments of overwhelm, to focus on sensation. Stay in my body. Which permits everything else to slow down and shifts the experience into a process of allowing rather than forcing. Eventually I come back to thought with a new calm. The power of mindfulness is not overrated. (http://bit.ly/5YxQvx)

Of course, this process is a lesson I am only just now beginning to learn. It is very new. So I fail, again and again. Yet each time I fail, I do so with more grace, as I slowly learn that this is what it means to live. To breathe into and from the space in between moments, letting go of the illusion that anything is ever under control. The reward is resilience. Quickly realizing that it’s okay to not make the steak chili. There’s always another option. Just don’t freak out. And, if you do freak out (I always freak out), don’t freak out about freaking out. It will be okay.

The cool thing is that now, almost a year after I went from once or twice a week yoga to a more regular practice of 3-7 days a week, I generally live in a more resilient place. So it was pretty easy for me to let go of the steak chili, think about what food I had, and decide to keep it super simple. So, yesterday morning, even before I went to yoga, I started the beans.

I cooked them in the slow cooker with a 3″ piece of kombu. In case you don’t already know (if you do, please forgive the repetition), kombu is a sea vegetable that “lends a delicious, meaty flavor to the beans (not at all fishy) and is mineral-rich, with additional B vitamins and trace elements, as well as a digestion-soothing gel that literally melts into the bean sauce.” (http://bit.ly/reIsZA) Note that the Weston Price article that I just linked to calls for pre-soaking for optimum digestion. My digestive system is pretty well acclimated to beans, so I don’t bother. But if you decide to soak, note that the beans will cook faster. Also note that the beans may fall apart a bit after long cooking. For this recipe, that’s a bonus. But if that’s a problem for you, try brining. (http://bit.ly/1hEnp2Q)

Assuming you are neither soaking nor brining, start by sorting through and rinsing one pound of dried pinto (or any variety of) beans. Discard any that are broken or discolored, rinse, and put in the insert of your slow cooker. Cover with about three inches of cold filtered water, add a 3″ piece of kombo, place the lid on the insert, and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the beans are tender. You want them to be on the soft side, so if you aren’t sure, cook a little longer. Once they’re done, salt liberally and allow to cool. The cooling period lets the salt fully permeate the beans. This amount will be enough to double the following recipe. If you’re making less, freeze the extra beans, making sure they’re covered by cooking liquid, or reserve for another use.

Now for the recipe. The following amounts make about 2 cups, enough to serve 1-2. Feel free to double if you’re cooking for more.

1 T. butter, olive, or vegetable oil
1 sm. yellow or onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 c. undrained, seasoned cooked beans, ideally slightly warm to facilitate mashing (if you’re using canned beans, drain and rinse well)
salt, if necessary

1. Heat the fat in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for a minute or two, and then add approximately one cup of beans, using a slotted spoon. Mash the beans coarsely using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. When they’re mashed to your liking, repeat with another spoonful. Continue until you’ve incorporated all of the beans.

2. Once all the beans have been mashed, add about 1/2 cup of the bean cooking liquid or, if you’re using canned, water. (Bean cooking liquid alone is enough reason to make your own beans. It’s so good!) Stir the liquid into the beans and continue to cook until the beans are just a little more soupy than you want them to be. They will thicken once you take them off the heat.

refried beans and eggsSalt to taste and serve, either as a side for fried eggs, as I did this morning, as a filling for burritos, or as a side. Or, if you’re feeling incredibly lazy, eat them as is, with tortilla chips, as I did last night. It’s true that this doesn’t rate super high on the scale of excellent single person self-care, but, well, there are more shameful suppers.

black bean tacos w/ sauteed kale, chevre, and tomatillo salsa

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about space. For example, so far my favorite of the sketches I’ve written with my comedy ensemble is almost entirely silent. This despite countless hours of writing and rewriting and working on other, more densely worded pieces. The space of silence. And I’m pretty sure the reason my garden isn’t as productive as it should be is because I filled every single square. The plants don’t have enough space to reach their full potential.

Of course, as seems to be the norm of my life lately, the place where the concept of space has been most profound is yoga. One of my teachers has also been fixated on the concept lately. I don’t know if I got it from her or she got it from me or if we both came to it separately in the way that ideas float around the universe and land on people who are in the same place. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is this realization that growth requires space. I’m slowly learning that the insistent pushing and tight control I’ve always thought was necessary actually inhibits growth. Instead, it happens when I stop trying so hard, when I let go. Which does not come naturally, at least not at this point in my life.

Yesterday I finally unpacked the last of the boxes left over from my move, including the ones marked “random,” which I’d left so long because I just couldn’t deal. Up til now my tendency has been to hold on. Not obsessively. I am no hoarder. But I find it difficult to let go, both physically and emotionally. So, yesterday, as I faced the boxes full of journals and photos and letters and a million tiny fragments of who I used to be and lives I used to have, I decided to practice this new concept of space by getting rid of everything.

Of course, because I’m me, that didn’t happen. I had to go through it all first to make sure there was nothing essential. Which meant that my unpacking of these few boxes wound up being an all-day trip. I traveled through time, looking at snapshots and reading journals and letters that spanned decades.  I succeeded in letting go of some things, but I kept a lot. And by the time I finished putting everything away I was spent, definitely not up to cooking. Yet I needed real food, something nourishing. Not cheese and crackers or chips and dip.

My original plan for the day was to make frittata. With cauliflower and Swiss chard, something that I eat very, very happily every couple of weeks. Because It’s super easy and delicious. But, when the dinner bell rang, I had no taste for eggs. And no desire to cook. Although I had beans in the fridge, that was not what I wanted. Because, as much as I love them, one can only eat so many beans in a week. It’s true that I haven’t written much lately, which could be interpreted to mean that I have not been cooking and eating beans. But my silence means only that I have not cooked or eaten beans worthy of writing about.

So it was with great reluctance that I pulled out some beans. Black ones. Then, behind the black beans, I found a small container of leftover kale that I’d sauteed a couple of days before and forgotten. In a flash of inspiration I remembered that on a whim the day before I’d picked up chevre. And suddenly, just like that, I was totally excited about dinner. In the space of letting go of my plan, I made up something new. Which turned out perfectly.

black bean taco w kale, goat cheese, and tomatillo salsaThe amounts listed below make a single serving. Multiply as needed.

1/2 cup cooked, drained black beans (canned are fine)
1/2 cup sauteed kale
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
chevre
2 flour tortillas
1 T. grapeseed oil
salt to taste

1. Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. (If you don’t have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, rub a tiny bit of oil on the skillet before you heat it up) Warm the tortillas, turning, until lightly browned. Roll the tortillas together, put them on a plate, and cover with a kitchen towel or another plate so they’ll stay warm.

2. Add the greens to the skillet for a few minutes, until they’re hot. Put the greens aside and wipe out the skillet.

3. Return the skillet to the heat and add the grapeseed oil and a couple of tablespoons of water. Let it heat for another minute, then add the garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until the garlic is very soft and the liquid has evaporated. Add more water if necessary. When the garlic is soft, add the black beans. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash some of the beans. Stir, adding a bit of water to keep the beans from drying out, until heated through, another 3-5 minutes.

To assemble the tacos, divide the black beans between the two tortillas. Add the greens. Then top with goat cheese and tomatillo salsa. You could certainly make your own salsa, and perhaps one day I will post a recipe. But this time, being lazy, I used a jarred version. Frontera. It was good.

Chickpea tomato soup with Swiss chard

I first discovered this soup several years ago. chickpea swiss chard soupI promise you that it tastes much, much better than it looks. But it isn’t for those of you with food sensitivities, unless you’re only avoiding dairy–the creaminess comes from bread. Which makes the final result thick and unctuous, with a texture similar to ribollita. (https://dreamsofmyfava.com/2013/04/07/ribollita/) The flavor, however, is completely different, very bright and summery, with an almost citrus-like tang. It’s addictive.

The original recipe is from Skye Gyngell’s  My Favorite Ingredients, which at the time I had out from the library. So I had the book, which contained this recipe. And I had planted my first ever garden, in a 4′ x 6′ plot at the Peterson Garden Project. (www.petersongarden.org) It didn’t produce much that year. But for some reason, the Swiss chard grew like mad. I couldn’t keep up with it. Especially because I learned that I really don’t like it all that much. At least I didn’t before I tried this soup.

Truly, I still don’t love Swiss chard. But I grew it again this year in large part because I need a steady supply for this soup. Which I now crave. Indeed, this soup is so astonishingly delicious that after making it the first time I immediately ordered the book. If you don’t already have it, I recommend that you do so as well, especially since I just noticed there are a bunch of great deals on Amazon. (www.amazon.com/My-Favorite-Ingredients-Skye-Gyngell/dp/1580080502) Every recipe I’ve tried has been one of the best things I’ve ever made. And the book is beautiful.

Unfortunately, I have not yet unpacked my cookbooks. This moving in process is taking much, much longer than moving out. Which, while not ideal, has unexpected benefits. Like realizing that I did not actually need to buy a cabinet from IKEA for the bathroom. It’s true that my bathroom items aren’t perfectly organized and things aren’t as convenient now as they were before. But they’re completely fine. Good, even. Just different.

What does my bathroom have to do with soup, you ask? Thankfully, not much. Just that like my bathroom, when I decided to make this soup I had to make do, to be flexible, deal with what is. Which ended up with a similar lesson. That I can adapt. Look it up online. And then make it your own. What follows is my modified version of Skye Gyngell’s soup. Mine isn’t quite the same. It has double the Swiss chard and isn’t as lemony. But, like hers, it’s nourishing, comforting, and quite delicious. Here’s what I did.

2 c. cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I had some in the freezer but you could also use canned)
1 sm. can plum tomatoes (or half a 28-oz can–freeze the rest or use for something else)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 c. chicken broth
1 dried chili
2 springs rosemary
salt
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 slice of day old, chewy bread, crusts removed
Parmesan cheese
1 bunch of Swiss chard

1. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Crumble the chili pepper into the oil, add the garlic and rosemary, and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, using the back of a wooden spoon to break them up. Add a pinch of salt, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the chicken broth, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and simmer for 40 minutes.

2. Wash the chard and remove the stems. Tear the leaves into small pieces. You can either dice the stems or discard.

3. Just before the 40 minutes is up, remove the rosemary and add the bread and about 3 T. of grated Parmesan to the soup. Stir until the bread dissolves into the soup. Add the chard and cook another five minutes or so, until the chard is tender. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle a little olive oil over the top.

This recipe makes two generous servings. After all, I’m cooking for one. So this is perfect: dinner one night, and lunch the next day.  The original recipe makes a larger amount, enough for a family. If you’re cooking for more than one, you can easily double this recipe using the same amount of Swiss chard.

Ayocote Negro (Black Runner) Beans in Rick Bayless’s Brick-Red Mole

Mmmmm. Mole sauce. Good. Before moving to Chicago, I don’t believe I’d ever heard of, much less tasted, mole sauce. And when I tasted mole, good mole, I didn’t imagine being able to make it. Such a deep, complex flavor seemed impossible to recreate at home. Because I knew it wasn’t really just chocolate. Then I found Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen. (http://www.powells.com/biblio?inkey=1-0684800063-26)

I’m not sure whether I would love this cookbook quite as much if I didn’t livechilies 3 in Chicago, where all of the ingredients, including these beautiful ancho and guajillo chilies, are available down the street, at least in all the neighborhoods I’ve lived in. The recipes are time-consuming and call for about a million ingredients. But man–I’ve never been disappointed by the results, including what I made today.

This time-consuming dish is traditionally reserved for special occasions. In the past, back when I was partnered up, I made mole for a few dinner parties and once as holiday gifts. But today? There’s no special occasion. Not really. It’s just me, at home, cooking for myself. Yet I had the day off, to celebrate presidents. And I feel celebratory. Filled with gratitude. Because here I am, working every day to build a meaningful life on my own, in a way that brings me joy. Which is really cool. Plus I love all-day cooking projects. Lots of dancing in kitchen. So what the hell. I decided to make my own special occasion by making mole sauce, celebrating myself, in my new life, with some of my fancy heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo. (www.ranchogordo.com)

black runner beans2Rick Bayless’s original recipe for this particular mole sauce calls for scarlet runner beans, which I didn’t have. But I had two bags of Ayocote Negro, or black runner beans, which, according to Rancho Gordo’s Steve Sando, is supposed to be “the perfect salad bean.” This is because they’re quite starchy, I think. But it also makes sense because they’re absolutely gorgeous. So I’ll definitely save the other bag for a salad some warmish day. However, since Steve Sando tells me that all of the different varieties of runner beans can be used interchangeably, it worked out perfectly to use one bag for this dish.

Tonight, I served the mole over rice with cauliflower steaks and sauteed kale.  mole(Here’s a bad photo, which perfectly demonstrates why one should not include photos of food unless they’re good. But I digress.) Bayless suggests “a good cheese, hot tortillas and a salad.” He also says that the beans in mole make a good taco filling if you simmer the sauce longer, until it is thick. I think next time I’ll take this advice, as honestly, the kale and cauliflower weren’t perfect matches. You could also skip the beans entirely and use the mole as a sauce for enchiladas, tamales, grilled chicken, braised pork loin, etc. But whatever variation you choose, if any, read the recipe through a couple of times first. It’s not difficult. And it’s really very satisfying. But there are several steps. Including the sneaky non-step step of stemming and seed the chilies beforehand, which is only noted in the ingredient list yet takes some amount of time. So you’ll need to plan accordingly.

12 ounces (about 2 cups) scarlet or black runner beans
2-1/2 t. salt
6 medium dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
3 medium dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
1 med-small round or 3 small plum tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 T. sesame seeds
1/2 t. cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela (I didn’t bother)
1 generous t. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
Scant 1/2 t. black pepper, preferably freshly ground
3 T. (about 3/4 oz.) coarsely chopped Mexican chocolate
3 to 3-1/2 c. chicken broth
1-1/2 T. olive oil or lard
1 T. honey (original recipe calls for 2-1/2 t. sugar)

1. Rinse the beans, transfer into a large pot or slow cooker. Add 1-1/2 qt. cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer gently for 2-3 hours. Alternatively, cook in the slow cooker on high for about 5 hours or until tender. Check the water level and add more water as necessary to keep the liquid a generous 1/2 inch above the beans. Season with about 1 t. salt.

2. Make the mole while the beans are cooking. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle over medium heat. Toast the chilies a few at a time by laying them flat and pressing down with a metal spatula for a few seconds, until there is a crackle or perhaps a thin wisp of smoke. Turn and toast the other side. Transfer the toasted chilies to a medium bowl, cover with hot water, and allow the chilies to rehydrate for about a half hour. Drain and discard the water.

3. While the chilies are soaking, toast the sesame seeds for about two minutes, being careful not to burn. Transfer the seeds to a plate to cool. Toast the garlic and tomato in the skillet or griddle, turning, for 10-15 minutes, until soft and blackened in spots. Cool slightly, peel off the skins, and transfer to a blender (ideal) or food processor (adequate but won’t grind up the sesame very well). Add the sesame seeds, chilies, cinnamon, oregano, pepper, chocolate, and 1-1/2 cups of broth. Process  until smooth. The original recipe says to strain the sauce in a medium-mesh strainer. I didn’t strain the sauce today, because I don’t have a medium-mesh strainer and I don’t really care about perfectly smooth sauce. But you may. Mine definitely had texture, mostly sesame seeds.

4. Heat the oil or lard in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan over medium-high. Once the oil is hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle, add the puree all at once and stir for 3-4 minutes, until it’s thickened a bit. Add the rest of the broth, stir, partially cover, and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1-1/2 teaspoons, and honey or sugar.

5. Stir the drained beans into the mole. Simmer for about 20 minutes, for the beans to absorb the flavors, adding more broth if necessary.  Taste for salt and serve.

Quesadillas with Great Mother Stallard beans, sauteed cauliflower, and roasted butternut squash

Yes, I know. This post begs for a photo. I feel terrible not posting one. But I fell down on duty last weekend, abandoned ship, did not build light box. And it was dark last night. So, even though this dish turned out beautifully, the image I captured made it look like something (as my father would say when I was growing up) that I wouldn’t even feed the dog. In reality, I’d feed these quesadillas to anyone. They’re gorgeous AND delicious. Which means this is a perfect example of when no photo is better than a bad photo.Because a bad photo might make you decide against trying this recipe. Which you should.

I can also justify no photos here because I know I will make some version of this again soon, by which time I will have a light box. Because in addition to the fact that quesadillas make a super quick lunch or supper, they’re also a great vehicle for reinventing leftover ingredients into something completely new. I did have to cook the cauliflower last night, but the beans and squash were leftover from Saturday. Which made this come together super fast.

I’m a little obsessed with this cauliflower preparation, which I learned about in one of Alice Waters’ cookbooks. Seriously. I make it almost every week, so that I always have some in the fridge. It’s super easy and delicious, essential qualities, but I think the real reason I love it so much is its versatility as an ingredient for other dishes. I’ve made up so many crazy delicious things because of this cauliflower always being there. And I bet you will too. Here’s what you do.

Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Then trim out the core of the cauliflower, wash, and slice it horizontally into pieces that are about 1/2″ thick. Although the edges will fall apart, the centers will look like cauliflower “steaks.”

Pour 1-2 T. of olive oil into the skillet. Add a single layer of cauliflower, arranging the steaks in the center, where the heat is probably concentrated, and placing the smaller pieces around the edge. Leave enough space to prevent steaming the vegetables and sprinkle generously (although maybe not quite as liberally as I always do) with salt. If you have a spatter guard, you’ll probably want to use it now.

After about 4-6 minutes, when you start to smell the cauliflower carmelizing, use tongs or a spatula to turn the pieces. Cook for another 3-6 minutes, until the other side is browned. I usually have to rearrange a bit to account for hot spots. And sometimes the process takes more or less time. Use your eyes and your nose. The point is that you want the cauliflower to be well browned but not burnt.

I love to serve (and eat!) this cauliflower as part of a composed plate, usually with kale and maybe a lentil salad. But it’s also a wonderful ingredient in frittata. And, obviously, quesadillas.

Quesadillas
4 flour tortillas
1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
2 T. cooked beans
2 T. diced, roasted butternut squash
2 T. diced, sauteed cauliflower

Heat a cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a tortilla. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the top and then evenly distribute half of the beans, squash, and cauliflower. Cover with another tortilla. Cook for 1-2 minutes, spinning once or twice. Turn carefully with a spatula and cook for another 1-2 minutes on the other side. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

If you like, you can serve this with guacamole, salsa, and Greek yogurt or sour cream. Mango salsa might also be nice. But I thought this particular variation, with the sweetness of the squash and cauliflower against the spicy cheese and earthy beans, was very good plain. Again, I apologize for not having a photo. Fingers crossed that I’ll get it together to build a light box next weekend.

beans for breakfast

Breakfast tacos! With beans! breakfast taco with Great Mother Stallard beansThis is a standby, not just for me, but, apparently, in general for many newly single people who are trying to nourish themselves, find happiness, and recreate a life that makes sense without a partner. At least that’s the impression I got from reading the odd, sweet, witty, and at times super insightful A Working Theory of Love, by Scott Hutchins. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/books/review/a-working-theory-of-love-by-scott-hutchins.html) I promise I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that the newly divorced main character begins each day with a breakfast taco. His taco, which he prepares in the same way each day, consists of “scrambled egg, a slice of pepper jack, a corn tortilla, salsa verde.”

Thankfully, while I sympathize with this fictional depiction of routine as self-care, my version of the breakfast taco (like my life) is a bit different.

First, I’m a fan of flour tortillas, at least for tacos. Unlike corn tortillas, they don’t crumble, and the unassertive flavor provides a nice backdrop for the filling. I also prefer the texture of flour tortillas here.

Second, I think srichacha works better than salsa verde with this combo. The sweet spice cuts nicely against the earthy beans and rich egg.

Third, avocado is key, at least in times like these, when big, fat, perfectly ripe avocados are in season at my local market. (Yes, it seems likely that avocado will be a recurring theme over the next few posts.)

Finally, beans! I was inspired to make these tacos not by a fellow divorcee, but by what I had in my refrigerator. Which, thankfully, almost always holds something good.

Today’s breakfast was inspired by the leftover Great Mother Stallard beans that I made for dinner on Saturday night. While I still have a tendency to make more food than I can eat, I’m getting better. In addition to cooking less, I’m getting more creative about repurposing. As in these tacos. Which are delicious. Here’s the recipe:

3 sm. flour tortillas (I like El Milagro brand)
2 large eggs, ideally free-range, as fresh as you can get them
1 tsp. Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 or 1 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 c. chopped cilantro (optional)
srichacha sauce

1. Heat about a cup of beans, with some of their pot liquor, over low heat.

2. Heat a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When hot, cook each of the tortillas for about a minute per side, giving them an occasional spin, until lightly browned and pliable but not crispy. Wrap the tortillas in a kitchen or paper towel to keep them warm, set aside, and reduce the heat under the skillet to medium low.

3. Whisk the yogurt and salt into the eggs. Cook the eggs in the same skillet that you used to heat the tortillas, turning occasionally, until light and fluffy. Serve with the avocado, salsa, and, if desired, cilantro. You could also add cheese and yogurt (or sour cream), but I don’t think you need either.

breakfast taco ingredientsI still haven’t made a light box. But here’s a naturally lit photo of the separate components. And my place mat. Which I love.