The dependable ones. Fried rice. Spaghetti. Enchiladas. Anything stir fried. Those are the meals that never fail to please in our house, and can be prepared with odds and ends from the pantry and fridge. All of these are based on rice , pasta, or tortillas. I can't imagine life without tortillas. They're so useful--ready to be used in many different ways. I always say that you can wrap almost anything in a tortilla and it will taste great. Well, maybe not Jello. Yesterday, I looked into the fridge and saw a smidge of this and that--a little cooked chicken, a quarter of yellow sweet pepper, a chunk of cabbage, and a package of corn tortillas. I knew that it was tostada time.
The best thing about tostadas is the way they taste. The second best thing is that you put all the ingredients in bowls and let people assemble them the way they like. So everyone is happy. These weren't fancy, but they were enormously satisfying. I made a slaw with the cabbage, bell pepper, and cilantro, dressed with a cumin vinaigrette. It added a delicious tang to the tostadas. Of course, you can skip frying the tortillas and turn this into soft tacos. Heat the tortillas in the oven and let everyone make their own tacos.
I think that tostadas should be made with small tortillas, so you can pick them up easily and convey them to your mouth. So many of them now are huge things, that are only edible with a fork and knife. Your choice. Whatever size you choose, they will be great fun to eat. These tortillas are a bit smaller than normal.
To cook a tostada, simply heat some oil in a skillet until it's very hot. Cook the tortillas, one at a time for a minute on both sides, or until they have colored some and are crispy. Set on paper towels and put them in a warm oven as you cook as many tortillas as you want to eat. Set out the bowls of meat beans, salsa, cheese, lettuce or slaw, etc. Then take the tortillas out of the warm oven and let people have at it. They are great party food. And what child doesn't love them?
Cabbage, Pepper, and Cilantro Slaw
About 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
About 1 cup thinly sliced yellow, green, or red bell pepper
A handful of whole cilantro leaves, stripped from their stems
2 Tablespoons lime juice
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin (or more to your taste)
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the lime juice, oil and cumin in a bowl and whisk until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the cabbage, pepper, and cilantro in the dressing.