I’ve recently discovered the wonderful world of rice paper and all the magical things you can do with those gluten-free rounds. You can steam them, you can bake them, but I prefer frying them. It’s really the only way. And what can you put in them, you ask? Butternut squash. Mashed potatoes. Mushrooms. ANYTHING!…or so I thought. See, it worked out so well for my Butternut Squash Dumplings!
Well, Saturday morning I had a terrible experience with a gluten-free empanada, at a bakery I had been pining away for from afar for months. Every week they send me updates on what’s baking, and I could practically smell the savory goodness emanating from my computer. I finally made the trek out. I was quite disappointed. So maybe it wasn’t terrible, but I can still remember what real empanadas taste like, fresh out of Venezuelan friers and stuffed full with deliciously greasy salty ground beef, beans, and cheeeeeese. So, naturally I thought, “I can do this. With rice paper. It will work. I shall make it work.” I embarked Saturday afternoon on making a pre-dinner fried snack with my cute little rice papers, perfectly sized for empanadas, right? The answer is a resounding “no.” I shall never again attempt to put cheese inside of those delicate rice paper wrappers. And neither should you.
Marco: Ummmm what’s that smell? It’s terrible.
Me: Quick, plug in the fan!
My empanadas came alive, expanding until poofing uncerimoniously and oozing out all that yummy cheese that I’m not supposed to eat anyways. And there was all that yummy cheese that I’m not supposed to eat anyways, burning in my oil, wasted and sad. Now I have all of these seasoned black beans and a heaping pile of beautiful shredded mild Wisconsin cheddar (scratch that, half a pile plus a few cat hairs).
Marco: Chester! What are you doing? Is he supposed to eat that? Get down!
Me: Nope. He’s lactose intolerant, too. But he likes cheese just as much as I do.
Well…taquitos it is. I grabbed the corn tortillas and got to rolling. For those of you interested in real recipes, see below. And for those of you just interested in my kitchen disasters, you can now look for another post. I have plenty.
Bean and Cheese Taquitos
10-12 corn tortillas
1 can of black beans, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese of your choice
Seasoning (I prefer cumin and garlic powder, just sprinkle until you’re satisfied)
Place the corn tortillas on a plate and cover with a bowl. Cook in the microwave, regular power, for 30-45 seconds. (You’re steaming them so they’ll be easier to roll.) Once warmed, place a tablespoon-worth of seasoned black beans close to the end of a tortilla, top with cheese. Begin the delicate pressing of rolling your taquitos as tightly as possible. My advice: good luck. Some will be perfect. Some will look terrible but still taste good.
Back to cooking. Heat a thin layer of oil in a good skillet, medium heat. I usually drop a crumb of something in my pan to see if it’s hot enough. Good way to clean up around the stove. KIDDING!
Place a few taquitos in the pan, seam side down, and let cook for about 2 minutes. (Who am I kidding, I never watch the clock. I just keep checking the underside until it looks browned enough.) Then begin the delicate process of flipping your taquitos. My advice: good luck. (It’s really the only advice I have.) I struggled with this for some reason, but I have faith in you. You can do it. Flip those taquitos!
Anyways, fry up all those taquitos, drain them on paper towels, we don’t need all of that oil, right? And then try to refrain from eating them until they’ve dropped to a reasonable, won’t-peel-off-your-skin temperature.
Note: If you’re following us you might notice that Jen is slightly more health conscience than I am, and she has aptly pointed out that you can also bake taquitos. If you prefer the less fun route, then crank your oven up to 350 degrees, place your taquitos seam side down on a baking sheet with parchment paper (or oiled aluminum foil), brush the tops with oil, and bake for about 20 minutes or until desired crispness. There.