I’m not really a snack kinda guy, but the continuing live EuroCup coverage on TSN has given me a serious case of the munchies.
I’m no Dorrito whore. The crap I crave must be remotely healthy, high in fibre, low in sodium, and taste good to boot. After a quick survey of the contents of my fridge looking for some quick relief, I come up with Natchos from Scratchos.
20 five-inch corn tortillas 1 lime 1/2 lb pinto beans bottled salsa yogurt ½ lb cheese tomato lettuce Spanish onion
To make tortilla chips:
I use the fresh corn tortillas from La Tortilleria (68 Wales, at Leonard, 416-546-5516) in Kensington Market. You get about 40 for three bucks and they’re freezer-able, though you want them to at their best fresh. With scissors cut them in half, then quarters, then eights and lay them out on a cookie sheet.
Juice a lime and put it in a spritzer bottle with an equal amount of water. Lightly spritz tortillas. In a preheated 350F oven, back tortillas for 10 minutes, flip, spritz and bake another 10 minutes. When baked, place aside to cool.
To make refried beans:
Place the pinto beans ($1.25 at Emporio Latino in the Market) in a microwavable container, cover with an inch of water and nuke for 10 minutes. Cover immediately afterwards and leave the beans in the microwave with the door closed and allow to steam for an hour. Rinse, put the beans into a 2-quart saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beans are soft (about an hour). Remove, and drain, retaining the bean liquid. Put the drained beans and mash. Add a cup of the thickened cooking liquid and heat over medium-low heat, stirring as the beans thicken and adding more liquid slowly if needed.
At this point, you can add salt to the beans. Traditional Mexican recipes call for lard, though I find that Worcestershire sauce adds an appropriately salty tang. And lots of freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
To assemble nachos:
Spread the baked tortilla chips over an oven-proof plate. Top with a layer of refried beans and half a cup of grated cheese, the sharper the better. Score: I found a 900 gram block of aged Black Diamond cheddar at No Frills the other days for under four bucks.
Put back in the pre-heated oven for three minutes till the cheese melts and remove. Spoon on a layer of store-bought bottle salsa — I had a large bottle of President’s Choice Extra Chunky I bought on sale at Loblaws for three bucks killing time in a cupboard — and another of Hewitt’s insanely rich and locally sourced goat (!) milk yogurt ($2.49 at most health food stores).
Garnish with shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped tomato and diced raw Spanish onion. Goal!
(Note: this makes about three times the amount of refried beans as you'll need. Make enough tortilla chips in advance, and you can throw a plate of nachos together in less than five minutes!)