Man, I love Spring Break. Sure, I still have readings to do and data to work with and a bridal shower for a very special lady to plan, but it’s a whole week of not having to drive 40 minutes to campus, go to class, or sit in meetings. And consequently, I’ve been able to make dinners and tell you about them! These are still quick, easy recipes that are doable for busy weeknights, but I feel relaxed enough to think ahead and take pictures while I’m cooking, and write about them afterwards.
So, Bon Appetit claims that this recipe takes 25 minutes, but I bet that if you use pre-shredded coleslaw mix, or if you have one person making the beans and tacos, and another making the slaw, you could have this whole thing together in 15 minutes. Of course, if you’re making rice or some sort of grain to accompany the tacos, that will take a little longer. But my point is that this has the potential for being the fastest dinner you’ve ever made without using a microwave.
I followed the recipe exactly, so I’m not going to copy it. I’ll just give you a link: Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw and share some notes.
First, serving size/number of tacos… The recipe states that it makes four servings, but it really means four tacos. I don’t know anyone who eats just one taco, so I think this recipe is really good for two or three people, unless you’re supplementing the meal with some other dishes. Also, if you use taco-size corn tortillas (like 6-inch), the bean filling can really be stretched among at least six, if not seven or eight tortillas, rather than four. Since you have to flip the folded tortillas in the skillet after filling them with beans, you don’t want them over-stuffed.
And speaking of tortillas… Be sure to use corn tortillas. I usually prefer flour tortillas, but they just won’t get crisp the way corn tortillas will.
Cooking strategy… Unless you have an industrial kitchen with an industrial-size skillet you probably won’t be able to cook all the tacos at once. There are a couple ways to handle this. You could just wait until they’re all finished and then have a plate of half hot tacos and half cold tacos. Or you can channel my dad’s Sunday morning pancake-making approach where he would throw hot pancakes on our plates while he continued to cook them, and then we’d all be finished by the time he sat down to eat. But why not just keep them warm by sticking a paper towel-lined plate in the oven and transfer finished tacos to the plate while you cook the rest? And if you happen to have a spare tortilla warmer hanging around, say, from a Mexican-themed wedding buffet, that works pretty well, too.
Accompaniments… Cabbage, cilantro, and lime slaw? Wonderful. Topped with feta cheese and hot sauce? Even better. But I don’t think anyone will complain if you offer sliced avocado and jalapenos as well.
Rice is nice, but farro is awesome… Do you remember me mentioning a new favorite blog, Attempts in Domesticity? She recently presented a compelling argument for Why I Think Farro is the Shit and I must admit she convinced me. I’ve wanted to try it for a while, but she inspired me to finally follow through. My plan was to do something a bit more elaborate with it, but since I needed something to take up some space on my plate (so I wouldn’t fill it with four tacos), I decided this was as good a time as any to try it. So, I just cooked it plain, and threw in a little lime juice and cilantro, and oh, I love it. Since it’s plumper and chewier than rice, it reminds me a little bit of Israeli couscous, which I love, but far more nutritious. I’m converted.
Finally, another nice thing about Spring Break? I don’t have to worry about doing school work after dinner, so there is no reason not to enjoy some tequila with dinner. Well, technically, we had Scorpion Mezcal. And yes, it has a scorpion in the bottle. It also comes with a tiny sombrero. Unfortunately it’s too tiny for a real cat.