I have mastered the art of cooking for one, I make fantastic meals, plan to use my leftovers and always try new things. There is a bit of a thrill when I get to share my creations with a friend, roommie or loved one, but mainly it’s a solo effort and appreciation.
Taco’s are one meal that I have always had a very hard time envisioning for one. It takes a lot of effort to cook up meat or beans, chop up and spoon out all of the wonderful toppings. The solo-taco-cook sits down to a table of beautifully displayed, nutritious ingredients, but perhaps can’t help but feel alone. There is a fundamentally social aspect to a taco dinner. There are conversations to be had while assembling, differences in technique to ponder between friends and laughs to be had while someone inevitably ends up with sauce dripping down an arm or gathered into a puddle on their plate. But with no one to share, the lonely diner of this delicious Mexican inspired food is amiss.
Tonight I took on the taco dish with my heart and mind already full of sadness, not because of anything in particular, just having a rough day. As I have told you before, my time in the kitchen is meant to refresh, to calm and to heal. Lonely tacos seemed like the last thing I should be making, but when a craving hits, it hits! Preparing them boosted my mood a bit. Only a few tears were shed while the kitchen became my canvas. I had all of the ingredients to make a very healthy and very unique dish. I know for some artists making art is emotional and therapeutic, it can rip them apart and put them back together in the time it takes to complete a piece. In this way, my sharing of this recipe is a presentation of art… an intrepid acknowledgement that beautiful, intricate things can be made for the lonely. Plus its Yummy!
Here is what I did to prepare this awesome meal… As a (new) vegetarian I decided to make bean tacos!
First – The Refried Beans:
- Chop a ¼ C of onion (or more if you like more) and 2-4 cloves of garlic (or more if you like more) and sautee with 1-3 tsp of fat of your choosing
- Add in the spices you like for tacos I chose a heavy dose of hot chili powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper. I also had half a pack of pre-made taco seasoning on hand and I sprinkled a bit of that for fun.
- Add in a can of rinsed pinto beans and sautee on medium for a few minutes, add a bit of water as the pan starts to dry out, continue to add water and when the beans seems to be softening take a potato masher (or fork) to them, I added more water (about 1.5 cups in total for the whole recipe) but you can add more to the consistency that you like and if you add too much you can cook it a bit longer to let it evaporate.
- Remove from heat when you are satisfied with the texture and taste
Second – Sweet Potato “Toast”
I found this idea on Pinterest this morning and had to try it here is the original link (http://littlebitsof.com/2016/05/sweet-potato-toast-3-ways/)
I was so surprised that it worked, but it does!
- Slice sweet potato into toast-like slices (1/4 inch thick) toast as many times as necessary (my toaster took 2) to cook through.
- I also warmed up some white corn tortillas just in case I didn’t like the sweet potato
Third – The toppings
Be creative! I chose the following:
- Yogurt (great low fat, probiotic sub for sour cream)
- Green Onions
Then you are ready to assemble… like this:
If you are a solo eater and have leftover beans or toppings just put them in a container for tomorrow! There are plenty of things you could do with leftover refried beans, I might put them on an egg sandwich as a dressing, eat them alone with some of the leftover toppings on top or make nachos (or more tacos)!