Probably the most discussed topic in my college courses was “globalization” — primarily the troubling forces that create and accompany it, from colonization, to corporate exploitation and international debt, to the blurring and outright loss of distinct languages and cultures. Certainly, my education left me skeptical of the bold claims of development through “free trade” agreements, and wary of the dangers and inequalities that can accompany a global flow of resources and ideas. But growing up in Oakland, surrounding by neighbors, friends, and food from around the world, I deeply appreciate the incredible opportunities I’ve had to enjoy so many glimpses and tastes of the dazzling diversity of our planet.
I found these nachos noteworthy not so much as a culinary feat (even though they are an absurdly quick, simple, and tasty way to jazz up leftovers) as much as a celebration of the sharing and bridging of cultures. I’ve been amazed at how wonderful all sorts of beans are on nachos, not only the classic pintos or black beans, but even mung or adzuki or white beans, seasoned in all kinds of ways, even a curried daal and Ethiopian wot. I hope that this nation and this world never lose sight of the strength, beauty, richness, and joy that comes from our differences, and the endless possibilities when we come together.
I also celebrate my uncle, who relished the sights, literature, and cuisines of this globe, and political and philosophical conversations, and being alive, more than just about anyone I can think of.
UPDATE (2/24/17): Nachos are the perfect candidate for homemade tortilla chips! Just takes a few extra minutes. I purposely made extra tortillas yesterday, saving the thinnest ones to turn into chips. A great way to revive stale tortillas! I cut each tortilla into eighths, coated the wedges lightly with olive oil, then placed them on a baking sheet for 6 minutes at 350°F, flipped them — you could also probably just bake them straight through on one side — and baked another 5 minutes. I then pushed them together on the pan, tossed some seasoned mung beans and grated cheddar on top, and stuck them right back in the oven to broil for two minutes before throwing them over a big plate of arugula. So good! Thanks to Elise at Simply Recipes for the guidance.
To be clear, you don’t want to bake your chips until they are as firm as regular tortilla chips, as they will crisp more when they broil. The first time I tried this, I continued baking them until completely crisp and let them cool before proceeding, and just about broke a tooth with every bite!
Tortilla chips (hard to beat homemade, see update above)
A couple scoops of leftover beans
Salsa or hot sauce (optional)
Sour cream or yogurt (optional)
Salad greens (optional)
Arrange a layer of tortilla chips on a baking sheet, then top with whatever beans you have on hand and a generous dusting of cheese. Broil on low for a couple minutes — careful or they can quickly turn to ash — or bake at 475°F until melted and bubbly. Top with sour cream, salsa, sprouts, or whatever you desire. Tuck salad into any free edges of the pan to round out the meal and enjoy!