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Week 3 - Fantastic Frijoles and Tostadas

Earthy and unctious, a pot of Mexican beans is one of life's greatest simple pleasures.  Transformed into Refried Beans and smeared on a tostada, they lay the foundation for a vegetarian dish that's deliciously simple and unbelievably good.

Fantastic Frijoles!

A simple pot of beans requires only a few ingredients: onions, water, salt, a little oil.  

In the Adventure Kitchen recipe, we add onions to the pot at the beginning of cooking and leave them there ever after. They gradually fall apart into near-nothingness as they give every last bit of their flavor to the beans.

We started this class by peeling onions.

Then, we used a chef's knife to carefully chop the onions into large chunks to drop into our pot of beans. Great job being careful with the knife!

Making Frijoles de la Olla - a pot of beans

Mexican beans

Beans are central to Mexican cuisine.  To Americans they may seem humble - even boring - but they are one of the foundations of Mexican cooking.  They are simple, versatile, delicious, and they're even good for us! 

In Mexico, beans are traditionally made in a clay pot called an olla (pronounced "oh-yaw"), but you can make them in any pot you have.  Beans are definitely not fussy!

Beans take a long time to cook - 2-3 hours!  But while you wait, the enticing aroma of those beans simmering away will fill every corner of your home.

In class, after we started our own pot of beans, everyone tasted a bowl of beans from a pot Ms. Lynley made earlier.  Yum!

Turning Frijoles into Refritos - Making refried Beans

making refried beans

Refried beans are delicious - and very good for us!  The word "refried" is the Americanized version of refritos.  In Mexican-Spanish, refritos simply means "thoroughly sauteed," and indeed they are.  Sometimes, when Americans see the word "refried" they think it means that refritos are high-fat or unhealthy - but this is not true!  As you can see in the Adventure Kitchen recipe, they are simply beans cooked and mashed in a little olive oil.  Yum!

 

And now... Tostadas!

We used our refried beans to make Tostadas - a delicious, vegetarian snack or light meal.  Spread beans on a crispy corn tortilla, top with cheese, avocado slices or pico de gallo, and eat!

Click here to learn how to make Tostadas from soft corn tortillas.

Freshly made tostadas

Freshly made tostadas

Eating Tostadas in cooking class

Eating Tostadas in cooking class

Yum!

Yum!


Recipes

Frijoles de la Olla, topped with a sprig of cilantro and served with soft corn tortillas; made in the Adventure Kitchen in May 2015.

Frijoles de la Olla, topped with a sprig of cilantro and served with soft corn tortillas; made in the Adventure Kitchen in May 2015.

Frijoles de la Olla

Simple, brothy and delicious.  A humble pot of beans forms the foundation for much of Mexican cuisine. Click here for the recipe...

Frijoles Refritos - refried beans - topped with Queso Blanco and served with warm corn tortillas.  Made in the Adventure Kitchen in May 2015.

Frijoles Refritos - refried beans - topped with Queso Blanco and served with warm corn tortillas.  Made in the Adventure Kitchen in May 2015.

Frijoles Refritos - Refried Beans

Good for body and soul, and ubiquitous in Mexican food.  Atop a Tostada, refried beans are the basis for a great vegetarian light meal or snack.  Click here for the recipe...

Next Week:  Queso Fundido!