Spice is nice south of the border
Rice and beans, and just enough left over for quesadillas
The staple grains of the Americas, beans and rice, provide sustenance and comfort across many cultures. Served together, they offer nutrient-rich carbohydrates along with fiber and essential protein. Start by soaking dried beans overnight to ensure even and timely cooking. Here, the beans are black, simmered with dried whole oregano, found in many Latin markets (substitute 2 teaspoons regular dried oregano), along with orange juice. A zippy mojo condiment makes this traditional dish lively with a splash of Cuban flare.
The classic flavors of beans and rice transform simple cheese quesadillas. Choose medium flour tortillas, avoiding the jumbos meant for burritos. Lay them out on a work surface, add the filling in layers, and top each stack with another tortilla. Brown them, one by one, in a hot skillet, keeping the cheese layer on the bottom (when it melts, the filling will stick together, guaranteeing a mess-free flip). Keep them warm while you mash ripe avocados into a spicy guacamole. This tantalizing twosome is filling, thrifty, and vegetarian. Your budget and belly will love you.
Karoline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at Kgboehm@yahoo.com.