[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Lenten Burrito
7 March 2013

This week, I continue to smash traditional foods into dishes that, while entirely appropriate for a Medieval-style Lenten observance, bear almost no relation to actual Medieval food. Along the way, I'm doing collateral damage to a wide variety of world cuisines in the name of keeping myself and my wife from getting bored with what we are eating. Up on the chopping block this week, burritos.

While it's pretty easy to get a vegetarian burrito, just make it with beans or rice-and-beans, it's a little harder to make it Lenten, since the usual garnishes often include cheese, sour cream and so on. Of course, you could simply leave those bits off and have a perfectly adequate burrito.

Or you could make your own refritos and use tofu! It's like a breakfast burrito with tofu instead of eggs! And exclamation points will convince all you tofu-haters to try it, right?! [Lots of pictures]

Lenten Burritos

Part One, Refritos

Making your own refritos, refried beans, is not the only way to make sure that your beans are Lenten (or vegan, for that matter), since you can usually find vegetarian refried beans in the store. But if it is something that concerns you, and you go that route, do be careful since many "standard" refritos contain lard.

If you're going to make your own, here's what I do. Soak your beans overnight. I put a pinch of baking soda in the water, which may or may not do any good, but doesn't seem to hurt anything. It changes the pH, of course, but ... so what? You can use any sort of bean you like, although some are more traditional than others. This time around, I used red kidney beans, although I've used pintos in the past.

In the morning, drain the beans, rinse them, put them in a crock pot, cover them well with water and let them cook on low until they are tender - I just let them go while I'm at work. If you are home and don't have a crock pot, you can do them on the stovetop, naturally.

When they're cooked, drain them again. Cut your onion and garlic into small bits. Splash some olive oil in a skillet and start it heating and add the onion and garlic. I aim for a sweat, rather than a browning of the onions and garlic. When the onions and garlic are done to your liking, add the beans and the cumin and a bit of salt. Mush them up - I use a potato masher, myself. You will probably need to add more olive oil, unless you went overboard with it when you started the onions and garlic. Mash and stir and swirl until it gets to the texture you like.

Note that I gave no measurements at all. That was intentional, since you can make this in batches as large or as small as you like, and the seasoning is an intensely personal matter. I tend to think the cumin is critical, but you can also add anything else you think is appropriate. I also tend to think that the beans themselves probably should be left fairly simple and sort of bland, since this allows your diners to adjust the seasoning tableside if you provide a good selection of condiments.

In any case, the refritos are done. You could make your burritos with them as is, if you want, or steam up some rice and use that as well. Or you can do what we did, and go into left field ... the soybean field.

Add the tofu to the refritos and keep mixing over low-medium heat. When it's well mixed, take a large flour tortilla and drape it over the top of the skillet for a minute to warm up. Then drop it on a plate, put some of the tofu-refritos on it. Load it with salsa and peppers and you're good to go. If the salsa is kind of bland, or if you just like the heat, add some hot sauce as well.

As noted before, if you leave the beans, both simmered and fermented, fairly bland, then a wide variety of people can still eat the burritos, whereas if you load the beans up with chilis and so on, some people will be unable or unwilling to eat them.

Oh, and the leftovers can go in the fridge and be reheated easily enough. I recommend a microwave for the reheating.

© 2013 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite