Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Mexican Martinis

I was out of town this weekend, so I didn't manage to cook tons. Which means I'll be posting some back-logged recipes this week. However, I *do* have some road-trip recipes, as I whipped up a few things to gnosh on for the car-ride. *AND* I have some brief restaurant write-ups that I'm gonna post here for VA Beach vegan-friendly restaurants that have been sadly over-looked by all the vegan restaurant databases out there. So stay tuned for those. But until then...

I guess this isn't really a recipe so much as it is some random tips and suggestions. On Sunday, my intent had been to try making some sort of mexican sushi (a black bean mixture wrapped in spanish rice and cilantro and cut up into little sushi chunks), but alas, my worst fears were realized when the rice wouldn't stick. I know that certain rices are stickier than others (like sushi rice, for example), but I'd been hoping I'd luck out and somehow my mixture of ingredients would be sticky enough. But no such luck. The rice rolled, stuck together for a few seconds, and then when I went to cut or pick it up, rice all over the place. MEH! Stupid rice!

So instead, to soothe my soul, I just decided to at least take the ingredients and make them look pretty somehow--so voila, mexican martinis.

Things always taste prettier if they look prettier. That's my tip of the day.

I could've just thrown my rice and beans and cilantro and salsa into a bowl and chowed down, but instead, I thought, what the hell--I'll layer them in a martini glass and then I won't feel quite so bad about f-ing up the mexican sushi. And its prettiness did make me smile.

I think this would be a nice alternative to the standard 7-layerish party dip that folks make, if you're having a small gathering. Layer those ingredients into a martini glass and let folks feel all hipstery and cool as they walk around and chow on mexican goods out of a pretty glass.

My other tip is one regarding black beans. I eat a TON of black beans--usually a can or two a week. I love them. I usually just toss some tvp and seasoning in with them and then top 'em with salsa and maybe some fritos for crunch. But for this recipe, I fiddled with them a bit and came up with the most zingy and fantastic (and fricking simple) black bean recipe ever.

Basically you just need a can of drained black beans, a deseeded and diced jalapeno, some diced canned tomatoes, and some spices. And that's fricking it! Toss the jalapeno and about 2/3 C. of diced canned tomatoes (1/2 actual tomatoes, 1/2 some of that reserved liquid stuff floating around in the can) into a pot and let simmer for a bit. Once they start to sizzle, toss in your black beans and a bit of garlic powder (I would've just used minced garlic, but I was out) and a tad bit of season salt. And holy mother of god, is it flavorful. You wouldn't expect it to be, given that it's so simply. But num num nummbly num.

Oh, and if you were just dying to know what exactly was *in* the mexican martini, here's the ingredients. And yes, that is a damn hair in the picture. But here be the source of the hair, so you can understand why I can't possibly be TOO angry about it:




And here be the Mexican Martini components:

A layer of pureed Fritos
A layer of homemade Mexican rice (invent your own recipe)
A layer of the black beans I mentioned above
A layer of cilantro

Top with a fat glob of salsa and/or guacamole and/or any other fantastical stuff that might be tasty.

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