Last week while waiting for the elevator in my apartment building, I spotted a bouquet of flowers leaned up against the wall with a note marked ‘Free’. Now, you know I like my good deals, but free! Maybe a result of a bad date, maybe had something to do with the next line under ‘Free’ read: “poisonous for cats”. None the less, these sunshine lilies look perfect atop my kitchen table. And knowing they were free makes them all more beautiful.

And trust me we can use all the sunshine anything here, especially these last couple of days where we’ve had pouring hard rains, thunder and lightning! The rain is so drenching, the wind so powerful the tap tap on the windows keep me up at 3am.

In other news, these black bean tostadas. Literally took maybe 2o minutes to whip up and if summer had a taste it would be these. I saw Rick Bayless’ cooking show recently on PBS, he was assembling tortas, which are similar to a tostada only take out the crunchy corn tortilla and add some soft buttery bread. Some oil, a few chopped cloves of garlic and a can of black beans is all that’s needed to assemble the beans. And the toppings, oh my Mary, the toppings are my favorite part. It’s like creating an ice cream sunday only with jalapenos, avocados, red onion and fresh cilantro. Give these a try if you wanna know what summer tastes like.

Black Bean Tostadas
Recipe adapted from Rick Bayless

  • 1 T canola oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • corn tortillas
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • jalapenos, chopped
  • avocados, cubed
  • tomatoes, diced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • red onion, diced
  • fresh squeeze of lime

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place fresh corn tortillas directly onto oven racks and turn every 5 minutes or so until the tortillas are crisp and crunchy. This look a couple of turns for me and about 25 minutes of cooking time. (Although this will vary with the humidity levels) In a medium pan warm up canola oil and add garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Next add the whole can (juice and all) of black beans. Turn the stove to low and allow to simmer until it becomes slightly thickened. With a potato masher (or in my case a pastry cutter!) begin to break up some of the black beans for a smooth consistency. Remove from pan, place in bowl and begin assembling your tostadas. Add whatever toppings you like. I’ve listed our favorites, make sure to squeeze some fresh lime juice on top.

Images: sammyw