Dudette came home from Sunday school with a questionnaire she had filled out as part of a lesson. It was something that was supposed to help the kids see whether they were open and accepting of everyone they meet, no matter how different.
One of the questions on the sheet was,
“If your family went to a restaurant with food from a country you had never heard of before, would you: A) refuse to go; B) Be excited to try new food” or C) Be kind of excited and kind of nervous to try something different.”
Dudette didn’t circle an answer to that one. When I asked why, she said it was because she didn’t understand what it meant. It’s not surprising considering the food she eats at home. Even though her palate may be picky in areas like zucchini and mushrooms, she rocks at her willingness to try new things.
After all, how many six year-olds do you know that would claim basketti carbonara as their favorite meal?
There are so many tostada recipes out there, but I wanted to make one that was a bit easier to eat, which meant that my meat couldn’t be falling off the tortilla with every bite I took. That’s why you’ll see a bit of tomato paste in this mixture. It binds the meat together a little and adds flavor to boot.
Keeping the meat together is also why I made sure to mince the onion and garlic very finely. I wanted them to completely integrate with the ground chuck, which they did very well. Dudette never even realized she was eating onions, which she’ll say she doesn’t like if she sees them.
Since I am not a big fan of corn tortillas, opted for flour instead. I baked them until crispy, poking the pockets with a knife to deflate some of them, but letting a few grow for added crispiness, because I think it looks cool and because Dudette liked the pillows.
What you use as toppings on the tostadas is totally up to you. I was the only one that had avocado on mine; Dudette tripled the amount of cheese on hers. It’s all good.
Ah, this was an outstanding dinner from another country (does Tex-Mex count as another country?). It’s one of those meals that looks so simple, but has such complex flavors, especially with the cumin-dusted tortillas and chipotle pepper in the meat. Multiple tostadas were eaten by all.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 medium onion, finely minced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 pound lean ground chuck
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely chopped with about a half teaspoon adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup beef broth or water
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Reduced fat refried beans (canned or home made)
- 6 flour tortillas
- Toppings (grated Cheddar, diced tomatoes, shredded Romaine, diced avocado, sour cream)
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.
- Add the beef and cumin, breaking up the meat while it cooks until it is completely brown and crumbly, 10-12 minutes. Add in the chipotle, adobo, salt and pepper.
- Pour in the beef broth (or water), then add the tomato paste and stir until completely integrated. Cook the meat at a simmer until the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or so.
- Heat the refried beans.
- Lay the tortillas on a cooking sheet. Spray the flour tortillas with nonstick cooking spray, dust them with a little cumin and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake the tortillas in the oven until crisp and brown, poking the pillows that develop with a sharp knife, if desired.
- To assemble, spread refried beans on baked tortilla. Add a spoonful or two of meat, then top with desired extras.