Thank you all so much for your concern about Cookie. If her graceful three-legged leaps off the couch and romps through the snow are any indication, she is on the mend. I’m incredibly thankful for the sweet friends who helped me move and brought brunch to me after the accident, as well as the kind strangers who have left encouraging advice (from as far away as Uruguay!). Makes me think I must be doing something right.
Cookie’s accident has slowed us both down, but we are gradually getting settled in this new house. I’m feeling slightly less apprehensive after meeting with the behavioral specialist yesterday (more on that later) so I’m starting to allow myself to enjoy the amenities here. Did you all know that it is about one million times easier to keep a clean kitchen if you have a built-in dishwasher, disposal and ample counter space? It’s a whole new world over here. (I think they call it the First World.)
Now then, let’s talk tacos. I meant to get these to you before the game, but really, isn’t every day a good day for tacos? These tacos are the cold weather version of my summer squash tacos, an amalgamation of several of my favorite Mexican recipes, like my sweet potato burritos and spicy black bean soup.
The avocado-pepita dip is the love child of my avocado sauce and my cilantro-pepita pesto. The toasted pepitas add a savory note and some substance, but as all of my avocado sauce fans can attest, you really can’t go wrong. Throw avocados, herbs, lime juice and salt in a blender and you will undoubtedly get a mind-blowing end result.
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cans black black beans, rinsed and drained (or 4 cups cooked black beans)
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 avocados, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup cilantro, packed (mostly leaves, some small stems are ok)
- ½ cup pepitas
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped (or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes)
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 small lime, juiced or 2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 to 10 small corn tortillas
- Crumbled feta
- Toasted pepitas
- Optional: finely sliced radishes, quick-pickled cabbage, chopped green onions, cilantro, hot sauce, etc.
- Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the prepared sweet potatoes with olive oil, cayenne pepper and salt. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway, until the sweet potatoes are tender and caramelizing at the edges.
- Prepare the black beans: Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder and optional red pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds while stirring. Pour in the beans and ½ cup water. Stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and use the back of a fork to mash up about ½ of the beans. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and cover until you’re ready to serve.
- Make the avocado dip: First, toast the pepitas in a skillet over medium heat until they are fragrant and starting to make little popping noises. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. In a food processor or blender, combine the avocado, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, water and salt. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor/blender as necessary. Add almost all of the pepitas (reserve a couple tablespoons for garnish) and blend until the pepitas are chopped small (some remaining texture is desirable).
- Warm the tortillas: Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and warm each tortilla individually, flipping occasionally. Alternatively, you can warm them directly over a low flame on a gas range.
- Assemble the tacos: Spread black beans down the middle of the tortilla, top with sweet potatoes and avocado-pepita dip. Garnish with feta, pepitas, and anything else that strikes your fancy. Repeat with remaining tortillas and serve.
- Make it vegan: skip the feta. Chopped, pickled jalapeños would help make up for the feta.
- Make it gluten-free: make sure your tortillas are 100 percent corn/certified gluten free.
- Just skip the pepitas if you’re allergic/can’t find them/don’t like ‘em/whatever.
- If you’d like to serve a simple green salad with these tacos, try topping this lime-marinated kale with feta and pepitas.
- Leftover taco components should keep well for a few days. Store them individually in the fridge, covered. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the avocado-pepita sauce to help prevent oxidation. Add a splash of water to the beans if they dry out during reheating.