June 4, 2010

Around the 'Hood

There is precious little that could convince me to move out of my current neighborhood.  For a twenty-something (What am I saying twenty-something for?  Am I already ashamed of my age, of feeling old?  I'm 26.  There.  I said it.) this little place I call home has it all, and all within walking/biking distance.  Bars of the beer, wine and serious cocktail variety, a killer pizza shop, a cute neighborhood market, amazing street tacos, more Mexican tienditas than you can shake a stick at, even some specialty shopping and all of it local businesses.  Golden Hill is fantastic.  Except for maybe the planes that fly overhead every few minutes from 6am to midnight, but nothing's ever perfect and I've learned to tune them out anyhow.  It's a neighborhood full of families and young creative types, it was even cited recently in Sunset Magazine as a "town of the future".  I really love this place.  Sure, I may live in an apartment and have to share walls with my neighbors and not have a yard and sometimes have to park 2 blocks away if I come home after 6pm.  But I do have some plants right outside the front door that go a long way to brighten things up and there's big shady magnolia trees planted around the building and really, 2 blocks isn't so far to walk.  At least I know I'll never own a condo, sharing walls with neighbors is for the birds.

I'm not sure what any of that has to do with this recipe or plate of food.  Good neighborhood, good food?  I bought most of the ingredients a mere few blocks away?  It was made in my very own kitchen?  Anyway, it was a good meal for a warm evening; made even better with this sauce drizzled over the top - but that's a post for another time, although I can say we're pretty addicted to the stuff around here.  Simple enough to make with minimal time spent over the stove, and really endless opportunities to customize it to your own tastes.

Black Bean Gorditas with Feta and Cabbage Slaw
Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2009

4 servings

The originally published recipe had you make these as 4 corn tortilla tacos, stuffed with the beans and cabbage slaw and feta and then crisped up in a pan.  And while tortillas are by no means hard to come by, I didn't feel like having to use up the remaining few dozen in the package.  So having a 1 kilo bag of maseca in the pantry, I upped the ante and made my own smaller, fatter tortillas (and skipped the step where you would usually fry up the cooked gordita).  I also doubled the cabbage slaw because one) I love cabbage and two) it turned into an all in one meal with the slaw as a big salad piled on top of the gorditas and beans.

1- 15 oz can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups coleslaw mix
2 green onions, sliced at a deep angle
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 cup maseca (instant masa harina)
2/3 cup warm water
pinch of salt

In a bowl, combine the coleslaw mix with the green onion, cilantro lime juice and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a small sauce pan heat drained black beans, add cumin and mash leaving just a few whole beans.  If you want you can thin the beans out with a little bit of water, broth or salsa.

In another bowl, mix the maseca salt and warm water with a spoon.  Once it starts to come together, knead in your hands for another minute.  The mixture should be easy to handle and not stick.  Flatten the dough on a cutting board and cut into 8 equal portions.  Roll each portion into a ball and flatten into a disc in your hands approximately 4 inches across, set aside.  Repeat with the remaining 7 pieces.  Once you've formed the gorditas, over medium high, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet and cook the gorditas 4 at a time for 3 minutes on each side, they won't brown much, but they'll be a noticeably darker yellow.  If the oil has been all sucked up, add a little more for the second batch.

Plate each dish with 2 gorditas, topped with 1/4 of the mashed beans and 1/4 of the cabbage slaw and feta.  Serve with your favorite hot sauce.


  1. Your blog always makes me hungry. I'll have to make a trip to SD and try and convince you to make me a home-cooked meal. :)

  2. Girl, it wouldn't take much convincing. I highly encourage a visit to SD, and to the beaches!