In the Kitchen: End of the Month "Mexican" Mess

Tonight in the kitchen: It's the end of the month, so food's running low in our house. Translation: time to rummage through the cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer to see what I can find. 'Cause I'm sure as hell not going to the grocery store. Here's what I found tonight:

  • can of black beans
  • a lovely summer squash (a friend brought some over the other day)
  • a half jar of salsa
  • red onion
  • a couple of slightly desiccated green peppers
  • garlic
  • some decobbed corn (out of the freezer)
  • some corn tortillas (also in the freezer) and some flour tortillas

I cut quartered the squash horizontally and then sliced those pieces. Minced a quarter cup or so of the red onion. Minced a clove of garlic. Chopped the green pepper. Drained and rinsed the can of beans.

Heated some oil (canola in this case) in a deepish pan. Added the squash and cooked it for six or seven minutes. Added the green pepper; cooked that a few minutes. Ditto the onion. Ditto the garlic. Added the beans, salsa, and corn. Cooked it over medium-low heat for about fifteen  minutes.

Turned the heat off. Covered it; let it sit. In another pan, I heated more oil (maybe a half inch or so in the ten-inch pan). Let it get hot.

While it heated, I cut the tortillas into wedges. When the oil was hot, I added three or four of the wedges at a time. It only takes a few seconds to cook them, so pay heed. T

hat's it. We had dinner tonight; we'll eat the rest of it Friday night. NOTE: Frying tortillas is no big deal, and certainly cheaper (and better tasting) than buying them.

There's only one "trick" to it: the oil must be hot. By hot, I mean turn the heat up high and let the pan sit on the heat for six to seven minutes. Yes, six to seven minutes. That's using gas. Electric might be faster. But test a wedge before you start loading the pan. The wedge should sizzle instantly and it should only take about fifteen seconds to cook. Then use your tongs to flip it to the other side. Cook for about five seconds.

The oil is HOT. You don't want small kids or babies anywhere near it. Okay?