\\PUPUSAS CON CURTIDO FOR BAILEY AND CHAD//

I haven’t cooked much lately because I’m trapped in the customary post holiday apocalyptico barren cupboard flabby brained hellscape of doom and I couldn’t think of anything amazing to try or share. But then! I was inspired by two close friends who love awesome snacks and now here we are. Pupusa town! 

So come on kids! Gather round, for one more story from the tales of how to cook AMAZing food that’s cheap and easy! 

Pupusas are corn cakes stuffed with treats like cheese, refried beans, and pork. I kept everything vegetarian but BY GOD add pork if you have it. Curtido is pickled cabbage and carrots and herbs and sometimes onion or radishes and is best the longer it languishes in your fridge, so make it the night before ideally or at least a few hours before serving. Off we go!

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CAKES!

2 cups masa harina (Maseca brand is cheap and at every tiny latin grocery you can find)

1 3/4 cups warm water

Pinch salt

Coconut oil for frying

FOR THE CURTIDO:

3 cups purple cabbage, thinly shredded

2-3 carrots, peeled and thinly shredded (just peel it into the bowl until it disappears in your hand

1 half red onion, sliced into very thin little half moons

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 tsps sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup water

1 tsp Mexican oregano (you can definitely just use regular oregano if you want)

BEAN FILLIN’!

Half can pinto beans

dash olive oil

Bay leaf

The other half of that red onion, thinly sliced

Cumin, achiote, salt, pepper, and garlic powder

CHEESE FILLING:

1 cup queso fresco, quesillo, or mozzarella, crumbled 

Salt and pepper to taste

Oregano to taste (IF YOU LIKE OREGANO); I think dried cilantro or parsley might do well here too, but any way you do it, try to squeeze something herby in the cheese

METHOD

Like we agreed, the curtido is best the longer it pickles, but there aint nothing wrong with a quick pickle either, so at least 4 hours before you want to eat, start dat curtido. Shred and slice up your veggies and put them in a heat resistant container. I used a glass wide-mouth quart-sized mason jar. Bring the vinegar, water, oregano, salt, and sugar to a boil and pour over the vegetable mixture. Let cool on the counter, then refrigerate.

Now that’s out of the way, the rest of the process is suuuper simple. First, pour the two cups of masa harina into a large mixing bowl and add the salt. Whisk quickly to combine, then add the water and knead until the dough is firm but malleable, like Play Doh. Add a little water if it’s too dry and crumbly, a little more masa harina if it’s too wet and sticky. Cover with a towel and set aside. Let the dough rest for fifteen minutes.

And set the timer! Because you’ll be amazed that the rest of this prep will take exactly fourteen minutes and it’s really satisfying when the planets align and you can pull off a goddamn meal seamlessly and perfectly timed. Which you will! 

Grate the cheese into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper and the herb of your choosing to taste. Set aside. Warm your extra virgin olive oil and a bay leaf in a small pan over medium. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the pinto beans and pour half into the pan. Let them warm through while you slice up the onion then add that too. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, achiote, garlic powder, and scoot everything around in the pan. When the fourteen minutes are just about over, use a handheld immersion blender to puree the beans into a paste. If you don’t have one, you can either transfer the beans into a food processor in small batches or even just mash them all up with a potato masher or a fork. Anyway, once it’s a paste set them aside as well. Time’s up! ‘Ssssgo!

Grab a piece of dough and roll it into a ball about the size of a lime. Gently make an indentation with your thumb, as deeply as possible without cracking or crumbling the dough or busting through the bottom with your giant fingers like I did. If you do make a crack or a hole, just smooth it over like you’re working with clay. Fill the hole with cheese or beans or both, pinch the hole closed, then GENTLY work the dough back and forth between your palms, patting it into a chubby disk. When you’ve got all your pupusas padded and patted, heat a large skillet with coconut oil to medium high and slip in two or three cakes. They need 4 minutes or so on each side, just until they get a bit gold with nice brassy burnished spots.

Serve warm with your curtido and some greens. Enjoy. Hooray! Yay. To Latin food. To something wholesome and warming and really cheap. To friends. To Chad and Bailey!

\\ SUPER SUNNY MID-WINTER ANTI-VORTEX DEVILED EGGYS //

There are so many ways to devil an egg, I could (and MIGHT) devote an entire book of recipes to them. The glorious egg. Little sparkling gems. Not a recipe as much as a suggestion, this one is another rattle-in-the-cupboard kind of deal, whatever’s on hand, no mayo, no yogurt, simple, fast, and healthful way to make something sunny in the middle of a vortex, the kitchen and this dish a bright pinprick of sunshine in a grey and snowy week.

 INGREDIENTS

Eggs

Spicy brown mustard

Lots o’ lemon

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Cumin

Achiote

Paprika

Cilantro

METHOD

My perfect hard boiled egg happens like this: place eggs in stock pot. Add enough room temperature water to just cover the eggs. Heat to boiling, then turn heat as low as it can go, and cook about 11 minutes for the first egg, adding one minute per extra egg. Strain and place in ice water, and let cool in the fridge. Voila! Your eggs are hard boiled.

Halve the eggs lengthwise (I wonder how much direction one actually needs here; I feel as though if you’ve ever even seen a deviled egg, you could probably figure this out. But onward we march!), scoop out the yolks and put the egg whites back in the fridge for a bit.

In a food processor, add the yolks. salt and pepper, cumin, spicy brown mustard, and lemon juice. I didn’t include specific amounts, mostly because I am embarrassed about how many I can eat in one sitting. But the point is, season it to your tastes. Begin to pulse the processor, drizzling olive oil as you blend until everything is mixed uniformly and the texture is creamy. I leave mine a bit rough, the texture a bit knubbly, but again, it’s your egg. Do whatever you want!

Anyhoo, refrigerate this mixture for at least an hour so it can set, then fill your egg whites, and shake on that achiote and paprika, rip up some cilantro leaves, and serve. Or in my case, eat all of them while standing up in the kitchen before anyone even knows they’re ready. Happy egging!