January 26, 2013
I was craving tacos this week, but it didn’t make sense to make them with Zach away because I would never have been able to eat them all by myself. While I was contemplating the idea of making them, I decided tostadas would be more fun. We have never actually made them, but we’ve made tacos plenty of times. It’s usually our go-to when we don’t know what else to make. So when Zach got home we decided we would make a sweet potato concoction to top our tostadas with. In the end, they were perfect. Sweet potatoes, chicken and avocado all nestled atop a cilantro, lime queso fresco sauce were the basis of this dish. Despite the cheese and mayo, this was probably one of the lightest recipes we’ve ever made!
Queso fresco is traditional in many Mexican dishes and can be found just about anywhere, especially in the western and southern states. It is a creamy cheese with almost a feta-like consistency. It’s pretty much a staple in the area we live in and can find it just about anywhere. I think that those of you in the Northeast may have the most trouble finding it, but I’m sure any big box or specialty grocery store will have it. We made a delicious sauce with the queso fresco, combining mayo, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic and lime. It is a bit spicy though, so the sauce would be fine if you deleted the jalapeño. We just love spicy =).
What makes these tostadas so special is that they can be made for just about anyone. What I mean is that it’s great for a weeknight dinner option, or great if you are entertaining. They make a fantastic finger food and they are super easy to prepare. If you are looking for a dish to impress your friends with, this may be one of your best bets. It looks a lot harder than it is to make, and you get great flavors in the end. Not to mention that it is an extremely inexpensive recipe, which makes things all the better! I’m thinking this may become a superbowl favorite in our house. We haven’t quite decided on that one yet.
We may have mentioned before that IPAs go great with Mexican food, and this pairing will be no different. You can’t really go any other way. You don’t want anything too heavy as in a porter or a stout, but you don’t want to go as light as maybe a pale ale. You really want something robust with flavor that’s not going to kill your palate. I say go simple on this one and pair with Stone’s IPA. Anyone, anywhere should be able to get this brew because I think they are actually distributing it to the moon. It’s flowery and bitter and perfect with these tostadas. If perhaps you do live on Mars and can’t get this beer, try something that you can find in your area, but make sure it is an American-style IPA. There is a difference folks.
This week we are focusing on superbowl favorites and I’ve been waiting for this week for a while! Can’t wait to share some of the fabulous ideas we’ve come up with that will make your superbowl party the best in town. Enjoy your Saturday everyone!
Here is the way I assembled the tostadas, step by step:
- 1 cup mayo
- Zest of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 6-8 ounces queso fresco (saving 2 tablespoons for garnish)
- ⅓ cup cilantro leaves + 2 tablespoons
- 1 jalapeño, seeds and stem removed, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 8 corn tortillas
- canola oil
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided + ½ cup (for dressing)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, skin removed and cubed into ½ inch pieces
- 2 can black beans, heated and mashed with a fork
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed in ½ inch pieces
- 3 ripe avocados, pitted and diced into ¼ inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- First you are going to get your sweet potatoes ready. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, combine the cubed sweet potatoes and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss with a rubber spatula with salt and pepper until all ingredients are combined. Bake the sweet potatoes for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking prepare your queso fresco sauce. In a food processor or blender, combine the mayo, lime zest, 1 tablespoon lime juice, queso fresco, ⅓ cup cilantro leaves, garlic and jalapeño. Pulse until combined and smooth. Transfer to fridge until you are ready to use.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Once hot, add the chicken cubes with a dash of salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is cooked through and brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain any excess fat through a colander.
- Now you will prepare your dressing, in a blender combine the vinegar, cilantro and lime juice. Pulse until smooth. Slowly drizzle in ½ cup olive oil as the blender is turned on until all is incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, chicken, avocado and the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and toss until all pieces are coated.
- In a deep saute pan, pour enough canola oil to climb ¼ inch up the side of the pan. Heat over medium-high. Once warm, one at a time, start frying up your corn tortillas. Cook for about 1 minutes on each side, making sure the tortilla is completely submerge. When they are bubbly and stiff, remove from the oil and transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
- Now start assembling your tostadas. Top your tostadas with the mashed black beans. Then spread on the queso fresco sauce. Top with the sweet potato mixture, and garnish with cilantro and queso freso.