corn and black bean weeknight nachos – smitten kitchen


I’m currently in a swarm of many behind-the-scenes things that I genuinely couldn’t be happier about even if it would also be okay if they didn’t all fall in the next few weeks (the deadline on the next cookbook, the launch at-last-so-overdue-hooray site redesign, a hopefully very cool new project or two, the first birthday of this fiesty love, all of the end of the year chaos that comes with a school-aged kid), that if there were a textbook definition of Bad Times To Take a Vacation, my June might be under it. Thank goodness I am not married to anyone burdened by such trivialities. Thus last weekend, when he surprised me with a birthday weekend away in Mexico City, a place I’ve been telling him I wanting to go to for the better part of a decade, but briefly expressed concern that this wasn’t the “best” time to get away, I was like “SHUT UP WHICH AIRPORT I ALREADY CALLED AN UBER.” The more dramatic the mess, the more dramatic the escape hatch required, right?

Untitled Untitled

But seriously: Maybe this could be a new life rule. Because of instead of working bleary-eyed through the weekend and diligently ignoring the big birthday in the middle of it, I sipped mezcal, ate all the tacos (also panuchos, tostatas, flautas), the actual nectar of the gods (not just a saying, apparently), ate fruit in every color of the rainbow, wandered old streets, saw ancient ruins, and ate a tlacoyo that had been kneaded from blue corn masa right in front of me minutes before, and was back in time to take the kid to school and resume my chaos exactly where I left it on Tuesday morning. I’m a lucky, lucky human.

Untitled pulpo tostada
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This is where I’m supposed to recreate the pulpo tostata that might have alone been worth the airfare. We should really talk about the thin, red sopas you’d finish with lime, the salsas at all of the taco stands (no two alike and all less about screaming heat than they are about nuanced flavor), the way the guys throw corn tortillas all over the simmering meat and then one by one, use them to scoop it up, creating a glorious mess that you do not dare ask for a fork to eat, the perfect margarita, why aguachiles should be everyone’s new summer dish, plus all of the glorious intersections of eggs, tortillas, avocados and chile sauces, i.e. my happiest food place. This is not the time to talk about hopelessly inauthentic foods such as tortilla chips and cemented with cheese but I fear a weekend in the motherland did nothing to cure me of my craving for weeknight nachos, and thus they happened here first.

first, we char and grate
layer this up
ready to bake

You could argue that adding vegetables, seasonal vegetables like blistered sweet corn and charred poblano, no less, to nachos is a violation of the central tenets of baking chips with cheese — i.e. never healthy, never sober. But I’ve been trying to figure out how to pass nachos off for dinner for most of my adult life and if two vegetables and a lot of fresh, salad-y toppings does the trick, if this means we get to have more nachos in our life, and not just at 2am before the regret sets in, well, I think we all win.

taking fixings very seriously
corn and black bean weeknight nachos

Notes From a Weekend In Mexico City: Where we ate and what we did, plus a few tips. Hope you find it helpful. (You should go!)

One year ago: Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie
Two years ago: Valerie’s French Chocolate Cake
Three years ago: Bowties with Sugar Snaps, Lemon and Ricotta
Four years ago: Chocolate Swirl Buns
Five years ago: Rich Homemade Ricotta
Six years ago: Crushed Peas with Smoky Sesame Dressing and Chocolate Doughnut Holes
Seven years ago: Pickled Sugar Snap Peas, Springy Fluffy Marshmallows and Spanikopita Triangles
Eight years ago: Dead Simple Slaw + 6 Heat Wave Reprieves and Pistachio Petit-Four Cake
Nine years ago: Strawberry Tart

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Eggnog Waffles + A Few Favorite Things
1.5 Years Ago: Jelly Doughnuts and Endives with Oranges and Almonds
2.5 Years Ago: Eggnog Florentines and Linzer Torte
3.5 Years Ago: Cashew Butter Balls
4.5 Years Ago: Peppermint Hot Fudge Sauce

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