The more the merrier, the bigger the better, you can never have too many friends, etc…I love a house full of loved ones and children, friends new and old. I love hearing laughter, banter and deep conversations happening in chorus throughout my home. My favorite room in the house to eavesdrop from and stand around in is my kitchen. This is the room from which I love (verb) my family. This is the room from which I can be helpful, social and self-expressive, all at once. I can always be found getting lost in the kitchen. And when my home is teaming with activity and breathing with life, I am most happy. This all probably stems from a childhood spent among 6 siblings and a mother who showed her love with hugs, kisses, wise council and banana bread. A mother who listened to our angst-filled venting while whipping a huge pot of potatoes. Who put down potholders to break up fights. Who quietly rose in the dark, pre-dawn hours to warm the home with fresh baked blueberry muffins before busting into our rooms and singing our least favorite songs to wake us. Oh, sure, we’d be pissy and groggy, but we smelled love and sweetness in the air and what a great way to start the day. Whenever the warm fragrances of a lovingly-made meal hugged a house full of guests, life felt good. I felt cared for, proud of my big family, and loved. So, perhaps this is why I welcome any and all excuses to open my doors and pull out some chairs for a crowd of my favorite people. And why, when the crowd gathers, I head straight for the kitchen. And this, dear reader, leads me to the very thought that enters my mind upon entering my favorite room in the house: What the hell do I feed all of these people??
Fear not. Feeding a crowd really isn’t hard at all. You don’t even have to chain yourself to the stove for hours. Food doesn’t have to be hard labor to be delicious. This breakfast (brunch/lunch/dinner/anytime) meal is easy, delicious and fast.
Breakfast (Or Anytime) Tostadas
(Feeds 8, can be doubled, or tripled, or cut in half, thirds,etc…)
16 yellow corn tortillas
1 Cup grated cheese (cheddar, mexican blend or any melting cheese)
2 cups cooked black beans (2 cans, drained and rinsed, is fine, too)
6 green onions, chopped
2 limes, cut into small wedges
Handful cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, sliced
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 Teaspoon cumin powder
Sea salt/kosher salt & cracked black pepper
Two tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Preferred hot sauce, we like Cholula, but, to each his/her own
Preheat oven to 400
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add butter, green onions, cumin, a couple good dashes of cayenne and black beans. Stir and allow to heat through. Once hot, mash beans until semi lumpy. You can keep mashing until smooth, adding a bit of water or cream to get a thinner consistency. I prefer the semi-chunky stage. While still over heat, add tomatoes, cilantro and a couple pinches of salt. Fold to combine. Set beans aside and cover to keep warm and moist.
On a large cookie sheet, arrange tortillas in a single layer, as many as will fit without overlapping too much. Spray tortillas with oil and turn over, spraying both sides. Place cookie sheet in oven. After about 4-5 minutes, check tortillas. They should have hardened a bit. Pull out and flip tortillas. Allow them to toast and get crispy. They should take on a deeper color when ready. We’re not going for blackened, just toasted and crispy. Each oven is unique, so keep an eye on them. Remove and set aside. Toast remaining tortillas.
Once you toast the tortillas you can drop the heat of the oven to 175-200, allowing the heat to vent a moment. You can then place all tortillas back on sheet and keep warm in oven until ready to assemble. Be sure to allow the oven temp to drop first, lest you end up with hard little plates formerly known as tortillas.
If you have a large, stove-top griddle, your life is easier than mine is. Good for you, friend. Take that griddle and heat it up to medium. If you live in a griddle-less world, such as me, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add about 2 teaspoons oil, gently fry eggs, over-medium style. Every few eggs, add a little more oil to prevent sticking and to get a nice even fry. I find that “over-medium” is the most universally enjoyable among egg eaters. Some people hate eggs. I don’t understand these people, they are foreign and mysterious to me. But I accept their preference with quiet suspicion. Keep cooked eggs covered and warm while finishing the rest.
You can simply bring all ingredients to the table and allow your guests to assemble their own tostadas. This can be fun and helpful if you have a few picky-pickersons in the group. I do this for my kids, but for adult friends or family with diverse palettes I pre-assemble and place on a platter alongside a big heap of homefries or hash browns.
So here is your order of assembly:
Tortilla, a good spoonful of beans, plopped in center and pushed to edges. Sprinkle with cheese. Add egg, avocado slices, a few extra green onions on top, small squeeze of lime, tiny sprinkle of salt, cracked pepper, hot sauce. Platter up with lime wedges tucked around. You can sprinkle a bit more chopped cilantro on top, if you so desire.
What I love about this recipe is that it’s user friendly. You can decide to leave ingredients like cilantro and hot sauce as separate accompaniments, you can leave just the eggs on the side, you can omit tomatoes. Whatever you like. Easy, quick, and damned delicious.
Toast your guests with citrus lime mimosas if serving for brunch or a couple of salted and limed Coronas for lunch. Salud!