In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds.
In a small saucepan, combine olive oil, coconut oil, sliced garlic, and cinnamon stick and place over medium-low heat and cook until the oil starts to bubble around the edges of the pan and the garlic is lightly golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in curry powder, turmeric, maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
Pour oil mixture over the oat mixture and toss to combine. Spread the oat mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is golden. Stir in the coconut flakes and bake another 5 to 7 minutes until the flakes are toasted. Stir in red pepper flakes and sea salt.
It’s the end of summer, the final days of beach weather, and full-on back-to-school season for millions of kiddos out there. And whether you’re packing a Star Treklunchbox or some kind of modernist bento box, you need to fill that thing with snacks. So for this month’s food horoscopes, find the snack that fits your sign and purchase in BULK.
Aries We know how important your freedom is, so whether you’re going back to school or work after a summer vacation, now is an optimal time to design a new routine. Gym class was your favorite, so make sure to incorporate fitness into your day. But leave room in your schedule to play and bust out some Fruit-Roll-Ups at lunchtime. The tie-dye stretchy snack doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither should you.
Taurus You’ve been a homebody this summer, but luckily all the redecorating has inspired your artistic side! Find your back-to school groove by signing up for that painting class. There could be some changes in your professional world, so funnel that creativity into your new business cards. While you’re networking and charming potential new employers, don’t forget to eat lunch. In it, pack some Ants-on-a-Logbecause you appreciate a snack that doubles as modern art sculpture (plus peanut butter is really, really good).
Gemini Your interests are vast, and you love learning new things, but this month you’ll turn inward. You might reconnect with a friend you’ve lost touch with, or remember how much you used to love skateboarding. Nostalgia reminds you how important friends and family are, so you are ready to deepen relationships this month and pay attention to them—one might lead to an exciting opportunity. Bond with your friends by smashing some Dunkaroos (which you might have to buy imported from Canada but whatever!)—the ideal sugar high for binge-watching cartoons.
Cancer You’ve felt pulled in two different directions lately. You’ve been busting your hump to make your dreams come true, but now you’re ready to rebalance your life and focus more on your relationships. Big changes are happening in the lives of your loved ones and you want to make the time to show up and share it with them, but at the same time, you’re reluctant to step back and say no at work. What you need is a snack that gives you courage. Snag a pack of chocolate Pocky so that no matter where you show up, you’re looking sharp. These chocolate-coated cookie sticks are perfect for crunching an entire box of, one by one, as you cross things off your to-do list.
Leo Your favorite part of back-to-school season is shopping for new clothes. You always made sure that you’d turn heads on the first day of school (and every day after). Prosperity is on your side this month, so you’ll be tempted to splurge more than usual. This is a great time to tie up all of the loose ends in your life. Clean out the junk drawer, schedule a dentist appointment already, and update your IOS. When the snack craving strikes, turn to your cherished friend, Goldfish, who’s been there your entire life—consistent, like a Leo. And it probably matches those new silk patterned pants just perfectly.
Virgo Few people appreciate a freshly organized pencil box as much as you, but your favorite part of back-to-school season is being the first to celebrate your birthday! Who to invite? Right now, you’re wearing rose-colored glasses, so everyone is on your good side (for once). Take advantage of your extra magnetism and voice your ideas; you’ll be happy you did as the rewards trickle down. One of those rewards might be a pack of some Handi-Snacks, the crackers with bright orange cheese spread, complete with a little red spatula to ensure that each bite meets your standard of perfection.
Libra For you, the highlight of going back to school is meeting new classmates. You scope out who your close friends will be, but you’re good at convincing the entire class to like you. There may be some exciting changes in the realm of home and family this month, and it will be a challenge to stay on task, but you must! You carry a renewed optimism and are feeling more creative than usual. With so much to be joyful about, you suddenly have a sweet tooth. Satisfy it with some Gushers, the gel-filled snack that will stain your mouth blue. Sharing is optional but necessary if you have one more heart to win over.
Scorpio You don’t give in easily, not even to yourself, but sometimes it’s okay to change your mind! If you have to redo something at work and it seems annoying, know that your endurance and focus will pay off in the long run. Because there is bountiful potential in your career this month. Expand your reach and join a poker group, volunteer organization, or book club, where you’ll munch on Famous Amos. These cookies are as hard as a rock, but you love a challenge.
Sagittarius Whether you’ve been remodeling the kitchen or caring for a loved one, you’ve been giving much of your energy to your home life these days. Stick it out because recognition may be just around the corner. It looks as though there may be some changes in the realm of finances, so now is a great time to ask for a raise—if you’ve earned it—or plan your next move. Since you love keeping your options open, Chex-Mix will be your favorite back-to-school snack. The infinite combinations will make you feel full of possibility.
Capricorn You always try to have the highest GPA in the class, and back-to-school season is time to begin the climb to the top once more. In fact, you already feel like you’ve reached the summit; this is going to be an excellent month for your career. Your excitement for the next adventure may inspire you to book your next vacation. It’s time to expand your horizons and there’s no better time to trade in that Chewy bar you somehow eat every single day for a pack of Oreos. You’ll finally experience the sweet exhilaration of change everyone’s been telling you about.
Aquarius While you don’t normally take anything too seriously, this month you are ready to commit yourself to something long-term. Meditation helps you see a clearer picture of what you’d like to attract, and it will also help you stay cool if a bill from the past comes back to haunt you. You are especially busy this month, so make sure to arm yourself with a big box of Ritz Bitz peanut butter sandwiches. (Enough to toss in the air to try to catch with your mouth and a few to throw at your friends in the lunchroom.)
Pisces With the extra responsibility you’ve been handed, work has been busy, and you’ve been caught up in the routine. Now you realize how much you miss your friends! You’ll be surprised how casual hangouts can alleviate some of the pressure on you, and all you have to do is show up! This is an excellent time to reprioritize so that you can simply enjoy more. And nothing will help you enjoy more than a nostalgic snack shared with friends: How about Keebler cheese and cheddar sandwich crackers? If your fingers aren’t stained orange by the time you’re done, you’re not doing it right.
In The Grocery List, Bon Appétit invites some of our favorite people to share what they bought and cooked in a week. Below,Difficult Peoplestar Julie Klausner shares what’s on her list. Season three of the Hulu comedy is streaming now.
I buy most of my groceries online. Sometimes it’s because I’m lazy, but sometimes I have a hard time getting out of the house. I’m first and foremost a writer, and I have a cat. I know it’s a stereotype, but we are kind of introverted and like to have our little space. I have a very cozy apartment and so sometimes, especially when I’m on a roll or I hit some sort of a flow, I’m not gonna break it up by going to the grocery store and waiting in line at Whole Foods.
My only holdup to grocery shopping online is my intense love of fruit. It’s in my DNA! My grandpa was a fruit vendor and my grandmother had very specific rules about picking out a cantaloupe. Here’s the secret: You have to smell it. I mean, you reallyhave to smell it, you have to hold it in your hands. It can’t be too firm, and the smell has to be really fragrant and attractive, but not cloying. So the problem with buying groceries online is that you’re not getting your hands on the fruit. My grandmother would have no idea what to do with that information if I told her, “Oh yeah, no, I order my fruit from the internet.” My family would look at me like I was insane, saying, “What’s next? You’re gonna order shoes from the internet?” Well, yeah, grandma… but, you know what, nevermind. I’m still gonna use FreshDirect, or expensive-but-fast Max Delivery here in New York. Because of them, I never have to leave my apartment. That’s the dream.
It’s actually harder than you’d think to avoid impulse purchases online. I saw these little single servings of chocolate-covered cranberries from Dylan’s Candy Bar and was like, “Oh, helloooo.” But then it was a very satisfying experience. They’ve got that fabulous waxy consistency on the outside, where you bite into them and you really feel like you’re getting your chocolate on. It’s better than when I end up with Sour Patch Kids and I’m like, “What’s wrong with me? I’m 40!” For me, it’s either gummy candies or frozen dinners. I think it’s a good idea to have a Weight Watchers Chicken Parmesan dinner in my freezer, but I never eat it. Anything that’s frozen and savory is not gonna get eaten, and I should know that by now.
I feel guilty about eating meat, so I keep things mostly vegetarian for “cooking”—I put that loosely, because I mostly mix things together—at home and rely on the important things, like Kozy Shack rice pudding. It’s fantastic. It’s from God above! The extent of my cooking is probably eggs (when I have the energy), pasta, and putting cinnamon applesauce when I reheat meat and it’s dry. Try it!
Here’s what I bought and “cooked” this week.
I grocery-shopped today, which means then I’ll end up eating out instead afterward. I had brunch at The Smile, which has a really great ricotta on toast with tomatoes and the best chocolate chip scones in New York City. They’re just layered chocolate and biscuitty texture and it’s unbelievable how good their scones are. I had scrambled eggs and bacon, too. Life’s simple pleasures.
My one true love is Temp Tee whipped cream cheese. I wake up craving it. I go to bed craving it. I think of it in the shower sometimes. I have to stop. I have to rein myself in. But I’m just a Jewish girl who really appreciates whipped cream cheese and its flavor and consistency and spreadability! I eat it with everything but it’s better with starches, obviously. But have I dipped baby carrots into it? Yes. Yes, I have. Have I tried to dip Carr’s water crackers in it? I sure have. The crackers break, and that’s completely fine because I will recover them and I will make sure they have the right proportion of cream cheese on them. Even when I’ve been either sick physically or really depressed and can’t eat, I will always make room for a Carr’s cracker with cream cheese on it. That will be something that even when I’m on death’s door, I’ll still eat it.
But the best thing in the world is Temp Tee on challah, whether a roll or a thick slice, with a little bit of jam. That will cure anything that ails you that day. It’s better than any stupid danish or apple turnover. And that’s what I had for breakfast. So the rest of the week can’t be so bad.
I don’t cook, but I do prepare food by combining things. I made myself a Caprese-ish snack of mozzarella balls, cut up tomatoes, and basil and ate it off the cutting board. I had some melon and prosciutto off of the same board. It’s a fancy snack that makes me feel like I’m in Florence in August.
Later that night, I went to a premiere for Fun Mom Dinner, so I had a bunch of hors d’oeuvres, which is also my favorite dinner. They had one of my favorites: potato pancakes with smoked salmon and a dollop of creme fraiche. That’s heavenly to me. We also had those little pouches with chicken inside of them that are kind of like dumplings. Those were a goddamn delight.
During the day, I was doing color-correct and sound mixing for Difficult People, which meant midday takeout. I got a yellowtail scallion roll, a cucumber roll, a piece of salmon, a piece of shrimp, and a few other random ones from a spot I love called Mottsu on Mott Street.
From there, I went to see Groundhog Day on Broadway and knew I wouldn’t have time to grab dinner. So I put a string cheese and a Balance Bar in my bag to eat during intermission. Let’s be honest with ourselves: cookie dough Balance Bars are candy. They have a milk chocolate outside and the inside is obviously vitamin-enhanced cookie dough-like substance. It’s starchy and it’s got those little crunchies instead of chips.
When I got home that night, I had cereal. I let Grape-Nuts sit in milk so they get mushy for as long as I can bear it, and then put some DIY trail mix on top (pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries). Even though I’m not lactose intolerant, I buy Lactaid. It’s sweet and lasts at least a week longer than regular milk!
Another day of takeout. I got a chicken quesadilla from the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, but really I was there to go to town on the free candy around the studio. My weakness is a Twix. The crunch and the chewiness is wonderful, then there’s the integrity of the milk chocolate wrapper. If I had a choice, baked goods are my favorite kinds of dessert. I want a Blondie and a Rice Krispie Treat. I grew up with Duncan Hines box cakes and brownies and cookies, so to me, a Twix candy bar is the closest thing to something that you get at a bake sale.
One of my favorite easy meals is spaghetti with cottage cheese and salt and pepper. I don’t care if that sounds disgusting to you—growing up, that was my family’s Cacio e Pepe! It’s cheese and noodles and it made me very happy as a little girl, so I eat it when I want some comfort. It’s usually between that or some random pasta salad with chopped vegetables, gemelli pasta, olive oil, salt and pepper. Sometimes lime or vinegar for acidity plus scallions and dill for more flavor. Sometimes I add tuna. But today it was single-serving cup of Breakstone’s cottage cheese mixed into spaghetti with a lot of pepper, and that’s fine by me.
If my spatulas could talk, they’d be pretty mad at each other (and me, honestly) right now. I’ve already written an ode to my mini-spatula, and here I am trying to tell you why you should actually buy a fish spatula instead.
So let’s be clear about the stakes of the situation. In a dream world, you can all the many spatulas that your heart desires. (What, you don’t have dreams about kitchen equipment and storage?) But in reality, your utensil crock has limited space. So if you had to choose just one to take with you to a desert island, it should be a fish spatula—and not just because you’ll probably be cooking and eating a lot of fish on said island. Allow me to explain.
While most spatulas are only good for flipping or cutting or stirring, the fish spatula is the unicorn of kitchen utensils in that it’s actually quite multi-purpose. It has a thin, almost-sharp edge, which makes it great for sliding under delicate pancakes without messing them up, but also has enough heft to flip them over easily—the same goes for latkes, all kinds of fritters, and even hefty, American-style omelets. The thick handle helps you get a good grip, allowing you better dexterity when you’re trying to, say, flip burgers in a slightly-too-small skillet. It’s also great for cutlets, bigger vegetables, and anything that needs a little more effort to flip.
But wait, there’s more! Because of it’s slotted shape, a fish spatula can work in a pinch if you’re frying and don’t have a slotted spoon or spatula. AND it’s sturdy and sharp enough to scrape up whatever crusty bits that end up stuck to your cast-iron or sheet pan. Did we mention that it’s a lot easier to clean than most plastic spatulas?
You know that cheap (often black) plastic spatula that comes in those all-in-one utensil kits? Yeah, I don’t even think I own that anymore. Just throw it out and buy a fish spatula already—you’ll thank me later.
For the record, when you brown ground meat in a pan, it should be, well, brown and crispy. If it’s gray and mealy like mom’s taco meat used to be, you’re not really browning your meat. Those are just the facts. Learning how to brown meat the right way will leave you with a crispier, juicier, more interesting protein. Here’s how to show that ground beef, pork, or lamb the respect it deserves.
1) Dry the raw meat on paper towels and let it come up to room temperature. This prevents it from steaming in the pan and moving from cool to hot too quickly. It basically ensures that it cooks more evenly.
2) Add the meat to a hot, lightly oiled cast-iron pan and smash it into an even layer—then don’t touch it. You don’t want to break up your ground meat before it has time to gain some texture.
3) Once you see crisp edges, use a spatula to divide the patty and flip it in pieces. Brown the other side, then break into bits and season. Getting a full brown on both sides is what you’re aiming for. That will give you the flavor, texture, and juice factor that will take you straight to the top of the ground beef game.
Now it’s time to actually use the technique. Ground meat is extremely versatile, shining in salads, tacos, lettuce wraps, casseroles, and just about everything else. Well, maybe not smoothies. Here are a few dishes that benefit from perfectly browned ground meat:
When I stop by a farmers’ market this time of year, the kaleidoscopic array of vegetables is overwhelming. It’s almost impossible to know what to reach for. So, recently, I’ve just been getting a bunch of everything.
It’s not that I’m a vegetarian. Far from it. I like meat. As in, I really, really like it. I post still lifes of beautifully marbled, bone-in Berkshire pork chops on Instagram. I yammer on (and on) in videos about how to properly grill a dry-aged ribeye. But, more and more, I want my well-sourced rib chop or steak to be a co-star at the table; I want vegetables to shine just as brightly.
The best meals I made this summer are the ones that I like to call a “meat and two”—one awesome cut of meat, served family style, flanked by a pair of bold and bright vegetables sides. No need for potatoes or pasta or rice or bread. I want to be full at meal’s end, not stuffed.
Last week, I grilled up some tender lamb ribs, riffing on this Seamus Mullen recipe from Bon Appétit. I rubbed them with fennel and coriander, then, once I brought them to crispy goodness over a charcoal fire, I glazed the ribs with with chile-spiked honey. Back in the day, I would have served them with roasted potatoes or a big pot of basmati rice. But, this time, I opted for a medley of peak-season heirloom and cherry tomatoes, dressed simply with olive oil, basil, and sea salt. Then I chopped up a gorgeous, peach-hued watermelon and tossed it with some feta, quinoa, a mess of fresh herbs, and a basic shallot vinaigrette.
Neither of these sides required much technique or time, just a few layers of flavor. Zippy and fresh, they proved the perfect complement to the rich, unctuous ribs. When dinner was over, my friends and I got up from the table feeling satisfied, not like we needed to fall asleep on the sofa immediately.
Now, I’m not saying I’ll ever swear off roasted potatoes or even French fries, but I no longer need to swear by them. In my house, at least, that’s what “healthyish” looks like.
There was a time, before any of us can remember, when you didn’t have to think twice about what was in your food. An apple was an apple that you picked off your tree. The bread you baked had a handful of ingredients, all with pronounceable names. Now, food science allows us to bend the rules. Our bread doesn’t have to have gluten and our apples can be turned into chips. But trading simplicity for novelty has meant longer ingredient lists, more unfamiliar words to decipher, and more uncertainty about what we’re eating and whether it’s actually, well, food.
It’s good to question what’s going in your body, and choosing fresh, whole foods over the processed stuff is certainly a worthy goal. But, it’s also a relief to know that not all additives are evil. “Just because a word is unfamiliar, doesn’t mean it’s always bad,” says Lisa Lefferts, senior scientist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “There are a few additives that we caution against such as synthetic food dyes, but the biggest risk for consumers actually comes from added sugars and salts. Ironically, these are ingredients we do recognize.”
So, in the interest of helping you chill out, here are a few of the additives you can probably stop stressing about.
Find it in: Protein bars, dairy, frozen desserts
What’s the deal: Usually derived from the chicory root plant, inulin is a fiber substitute that gives food a smooth and creamy texture. It’s harmless and even helps maintain good bacteria in the gut. The only thing to keep track of is how much you’re getting. “Inulin is in a lot of products, so it’s easy to go overboard, especially since it doesn’t have the texture or taste of fiber,” says Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “And, like any fiber, too much can bring on constipation, gas, and bloating.”
Find it in: Baked goods, chocolate
What’s the deal: Lecithin is an emulsifier that comes from soybeans or egg yolks. It helps make cakes and muffins more pillow-y and prevents oil and water from separating. Though most varieties currently come from soy, “it’s generally considered safe, even for people with soy allergies,” says Robin Foroutan, MS, RD, an NYC-based integrative dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Find it in: Bread, grated cheese, sauces
What’s the deal: Remember reading headlines about sawdust in grated Parmesan cheese? Cellulose is the ingredient everyone was calling out as shredded wood. But, even though some types of cellulose do come from wood—others from cotton or corn husks or even produce—experts aren’t concerned about it. “Cellulose is a type of fiber used to prevent caking, modify texture, and can be used as a filler. It’s not only in food, but some supplement capsules as well,” says Foroutan. “The thing to keep in mind is that, unlike fiber from whole foods or inulin, cellulose doesn’t fill you up.”
Find it in: Flour, breakfast cereals
What’s the deal: It’s just a fancy name for vitamin B2, which is added to fortify foods. “Riboflavin used to be chemically synthesized, but more manufacturers are testing alternative methods like producing it through fermentation or with microbes,” says Lefferts. Riboflavin is one of eight B vitamins that help the body metabolize fats and protein and keep the nervous system running in top shape. You’ll find it in whole foods too: almonds, mushrooms, eggs, and spinach.
Find it in: Cheese, yogurt
What’s the deal: This antimicrobial additive kills off mold in certain dairy products. While some of our favorite cheeses thrive on funk and spores, there are a few types of mold that can make cheese spoil—natamycin tackles those.
Find it in: Oil, chips, sauces, frozen meals, vitamins
What’s the deal: An antioxidant that prevents oils from turning rancid, ascrobyl palmitate comes from combining vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and palmitic acid from fat. “When you eat it, it breaks down into vitamin C and fat, which can be converted into energy,” says Lefferts. “But the amount of fat is very small, so you don’t have to worry about it impacting your cholesterol.”
As Hurricane Harvey continues to devastate the Gulf Coast, Houston and the surrounding region are only beginning to reckon with a recovery process that experts are saying could take years. With first responders and government agencies consumed by immediate, life-saving rescue operations, civilian volunteers have played a crucial role in assisting the thousands of Texans who have been displaced by the storm. Unsurprisingly, the Houston restaurant community has stepped up as a major leader in relief efforts, donating meals to first responders, hosting fundraisers, and simply comforting members of the community—even as they face the repercussions of the storm for their own families and businesses.
A number of Houston chefs, from Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of The Pass & Provisions to Chris Shepherd of Underbelly and Hay Merchant, have jumped at the chance to help fuel the exhausted staffs at police stations, firehouses, and hospitals. In most cases, the policy is to feed the community “until we run out,” since delivery interruptions have limited supplies in the kitchen.
When Oxheart chef Justin Yu finally managed to reach his restaurant Theodore Rex, which was due to open this fall in the old Oxheart location in Downtown Houston, it was completely flooded. “When I saw a trash can floating through what was basically a river outside and helicopter airlifting someone out of a nearby building,” he says, “I knew I had to turn around and find a way to help.” Two of his three businesses were flooded, but the one that remained dry (the recently opened Better Luck Tomorrow) immediately redirected its kitchen operations to provide free meals to first responders. “I could sit here feeling bad for myself,” says Yu, “But I then I see people who have lost their houses, their jobs, their mode of transport… at least I can rebuild.”
It’s not just first responders who are grateful for the services provided by restaurants whose staffs are braving harsh conditions, limited resources, and a citywide curfew in order to keep their doors open. With grocery stores either closed or stripped bare and power shut off in many areas of the city, restaurants have become a welcome refuge for Houston residents seeking a hot meal. “People have been stuck in their homes for days on end,” says Ryan Pera of Coltivare, “so there was an incredible conviviality when things finally started to let up last night. It’s been incredibly moving to see the reconnections happen with friends and neighbors. That is what a restaurant is all about.”
And the restaurant community’s bond isn’t limited by city or state borders. “We’ve had so much outreach from chefs and restaurants from around the country,” says Shepherd, “My phone is blowing up with like 50 texts a day.” José Andrés and his non-profit World Central Kitchen have traveled to Houston, where they are recruiting chefs from around the country to join them in preparing meals for those affected by flooding; Austin-based Salt Lick BBQ has set up “Operation BBQ Relief”, while In-N-Out Burger has set up a mobile kitchen outside the downtown convention center; and restaurants across the country (see list below) have set up fundraisers.
Even after Hurricane Harvey’s immediate challenges have subsided, the economic and emotional tolls will be longlasting—and the Houston hospitality industry will face a particularly difficult road ahead. But as Shepherd says, “We’re Houstonians. We’re strong, we’re resilient, and we stick together.”
We’ll be updating this list of restaurants where you can eat and drink in your city to support Hurricane Harvey relief throughout the week.
(For details, click the links. And if you’re hosting a fundraiser you’d like us to add, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
For all of September, the In Good Company Hospitality will donate 100% of cocktail sales from a series of Harvey Wallbanger cocktails to Team Rubicon. Participants include: Park Avenue Tavern Parker & Quinn Winnies Jazz Bar Trademark Taste + Grind Refinery Rooftop The BLVD Project
Eli Kulp’s High Street Hospitality Group will lead a group of restaurants in crafting a special dish, served every night, from which 100% of proceeds will be donated to victims of the devastating storm. Participants include:
The Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar is planning a fundraising night on Friday, 9/8 called Help Houston, where restaurants throughout the city will donate a percent of proceeds from lunch, dinner or the whole day to Red Cross. Participants include:
When I think about college, I think about tortillas. Every Tuesday night during freshman year, after I definitely did not consume alcohol (because that was illegal, and I was and am a law-abiding citizen), I’d buy a late-night cafeteria chicken quesadilla, made on a panini press by a man named Orlando. It cost four dollars, and yes, it was delicious, whether I was stone-cold sober or…not stone-cold sober.
But once I moved out of a dorm and into a house with a kitchen, that quesadilla craving turned into something else entirely. I started studying tostadas and frying my tortillas. I never looked back.
Crispy, casual tostadas—basically just crunchy fried corn tortillas with a variety of toppings—are meant for Rent Week. My tostadas are better than my college-era quesadillas, so I felt the need to improve upon the dance music as well, with this Quick Dance Party playlist(slightly more refined than sweaty basement EDM and free of charge). Crack a beer, turn the stereo way up (seriously, way up), and get in a real big mood. We’re making Fifth-Year Tostadas.
Dice ½ white onion and heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook ⅔ of the chopped onion. Don’t hold back. Once they’re soft, keep cooking. We want color on those onions. You’re the sheriff ‘round these parts. Take them out of the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil behind.
Fifth-Year Tostadas need salsa. Some would use a food processor to make a salsa verde, but I don’t have one of those. (And I work for a food publication. And I’m doing just fine.) I just use a very sharp knife to make a chunkier salsa. Either way works. Take the remaining (raw) chopped onion and put it in a small Tupperware. Finely chop 1 jalapeño, ¼ cup of cilantro, and 4 tomatillos, and add them to the Tupperware. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the mixture and season with salt. Put the lid on, and shake that Tupperware like a certain Andre 3000 lyric. Hey ya: We’ve got salsa verde!
Now, the fun starts. De-case 4 links of chorizo (you can increase the chorizo, but this is by far our most expensive ingredient, so that’s your call) and dry it off with a paper towel (removing moisture allows it to get super crispy). Heat the leftover oil in your pan to medium heat. Brown your chorizo in the skillet (for a refresher on how to do that perfectly, head here) until it’s crispy as hell, then take it out with a slotted spoon and leave the rendered fat in the pan. That, folks, is flavor for our beans.
Rinse 2 cans of pinto beans and dump them in your skillet with all that tasty chorizo fat in it. Add those aggressively cooked onions, turn the heat to medium, add a small glug of oil to the pan, and mash the hell out of everything with a potato masher (in this case, a bean and onion masher). They don’t have to be supremely smooth. Rough around the edges is just fine (food imitates life, after all). Add a ¼ cup of water to the beans to loosen them and season with salt, pepper, and cumin. If you don’t have cumin use a little bit of chile. If you don’t have either, whatever. You’ll survive. Fry the beans, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes.
Cover the bottom of a pan (maybe the one you just cleaned, or maybe a fresh one) in ¼” oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Working with one corn tortilla at a time, fry until crispy (about 1 minute on each side). Don’t be scared of color. We don’t want them burnt, but they should be hard enough to support the weight of beans and chorizo without folding. Transfer each one to a paper towel-lined plate when it’s finished and season with a little salt.
Spread a nice spoonful of beans on the tostada. Hit it with a sprinkling of that crispy chorizo (you don’t need to pile it on). If it’s a prosperous Rent Week, shred some purple cabbage or iceberg lettuceand scatter some over the chorizo, and drizzle on some of that dank salsa verde. Let some cilantro rain down like it’s monsoon season. We’ve arrived at Tostada Town. Man, this place is rad.
The truly great thing about this recipe (and tostadas in general) is that you can leave things out, depending on the week’s budget. Seriously, these are great with just refried beans (use lard or leftover bacon fat instead of chorizo fat) and salsa verde. It’s not about excess; it’s about the 2:00 a.m., fresh-off-the-dance-floor feeling. You don’t need a keg to throw a rager. Just a playlist and some fried tortillas.
You’ll get all the traditional flavors of the classic takeout dish by using a marinade made up of oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, and soy sauce, but the steak and broccoli are grilled for a fresh summertime variation.
6 garlic cloves, grated
1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled, grated
¾ cup oyster sauce
¾ cup Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine)
¾ cup soy sauce
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1½ pounds flank steak
2 medium heads of broccoli (about 1 pound), stems peeled, heads halved lengthwise
Sliced scallions, toasted sesame seeds, and cooked white rice (for serving)
Whisk garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, wine, soy sauce, oil, molasses, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Place steak in a large resealable plastic bag and pour in 2 cups marinade; set remaining marinade aside. Seal bag, turn to coat, and let steak marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour and up to 12.
Prepare a gas grill for 2-zone heat; set one burner at medium and one or two burners at medium-high. Alternatively, prepare a charcoal grill for medium-high heat. Grill steak over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until charred, 3–5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Slice against the grain into ½”-thick strips.
Meanwhile, stir ½ cup reserved marinade and ½ cup water in a small bowl to combine. Brush broccoli all over (crowns and stems) with some of the thinned marinade. Grill over medium heat, turning occasionally and basting frequently with thinned marinade, until charred and tender, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plater and let cool slightly before breaking into large pieces.
Divide steak and broccoli among plates. Top with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with rice and remaining marinade alongside.