I recently heard the term “geographical vegetarian”. It was introduced to me by a man who eats meat but whose wife does not. He eats vegetarian in their home but eats meat outside of it. I was thrilled to hear this term because now I can attach a name to what my husband is. As in, Q: “Is your husband a vegetarian?” A: “My husband is a geographical vegetarian.” Aside from a little fish that he grills now and then (and mussels I make for him once in a great while), no meat eating goes on in our house. People are confused by this. How could a red-blooded carnivore be forced to eschew his meat-eating ways in his own home?
It’s simple really. I’m a good cook. He likes my food. He eats meat for lunch at work and when we go out. Food is not his be all end all as it is for me. And I make Mexican food, which is his favorite, often.
Truthfully, I could make the same Mexican meal three nights a week and he would be happy. As long as there is guacamole and some kind of beans – I would never hear a complaint. But I would complain. I need variety so I am always trying to mix it up.
I read about a salad on For the Love of Cooking that I was dying to try. The dressing featured lots of cilantro and lime juice and the salad had corn, beans, Cotija cheese, avocado, and all kinds of other yummy things in addition to romaine lettuce. I’m a sucker for a salad with lots of “stuff” in it. To go with it, I made these tostadas. They are relatively simple but with a powerful flavor punch from this sofrito. You will get more sofrito than you need for these tostadas, but you can use it to flavor rice, soup, beans, or anything else in your next Mexican meal.
Bean Tostadas with Sofrito
Adapted from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures
Personally, I don’t really like the taste of raw onion and using a whole onion in the sofrito was too strong for me. Next time I will use half. You could streamline this recipe by using canned re-fried beans thinned with a little water.
3-4 cups lightly packed cilantro, stems included
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small green pepper, cored and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz) can pinto or kidney beans, rinsed well and drained
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
8 small (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
2-3 tbsp. canola oil
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1. To make the sofrito, combine all the sofrito ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a container with a cover and set aside.
2. To prepare the beans, combine them with the chili powder, water, and salt in the container of a food processor and purée. Scrape into a bowl.
3. Preheat the broiler. Brush both sides of each tortilla with some of the oil, and place the tortillass on a baking sheet. (You may have to do this in batches.) Broil on both sides until golden and crisp. (The tortillas can be prepared up to this point 24 hours in advance.)
4. Divide the bean mixture and spread some on each tortilla. Top each with some of the grated cheese. Broil the tostadas until the cheese has melted and they are hot throughout. Serve with little spoonfuls of sofrito dotted on top of each tostada. (DT: I also topped them with guacamole.)