Pot O’ Beans, Mediterranean-Style

Pot ‘O Beans, Mediterranean Style

We left you hanging in October, due to a swarm of continuous activity gearing up for Discretion Brewing’s opening in January. Our apologies. Now here we find ourselves in early December. We hope you had a warm, festive, delicious Thanksgiving with the people who are dearest to you. Are your holiday decorations up? Have you checked any gifts off your list? The temperatures are dropping, the rain is coming, and it’s the perfect weather for a big pot o’ beans.

Beans are a versatile protein that can be thrown in a pot with any cuisine’s flavor profile. Think of them as a blank canvas. As they cook, your house will smell fantastic and make you feel good about yourself. It’s true.

Photo from the Rancho Gordo website.

Photo from the Rancho Gordo website.


The beans
– If you’re going to make beans the star of the meal, you’ll want to use dried beans. Quality is key –  I love using Rancho Gordo heirloom beans. Soak them the night before you want to cook them.

The flavor base – Heat olive oil in deep pot. Add diced onion, garlic, and whatever cubed veggies fit with your theme, along with the spices that you think might compliment them – think fennel, carrots, oregano, rosemary, thyme. Or Jalapeño peppers, cumin, coriander, chile powder.

The cooking liquid – Nothing beats home-made stock. We roasted a chicken a couple days ago in anticipation of this dish, using spices and ingredients that we thought might compliment it. Don’t have time to roast a chicken? Store-bought chicken stock will do. Or beer (good beer) is a wonderful cooking liquid (says the girl who’s involved in opening a brewery).

The finish – A squeeze of lemon; a squeeze of lime; a splash of vinegar. A little acid adds a bright finish to your pot o’ beans.

The accompaniments – Did your beans take a turn towards Mexico? Serve with warmed tortillas and cubed avocado on the side. Did curry make its way into the pot? Try store-bought naan (Stonefire naan is a great brand) warmed in the oven and brushed with melted butter. Did you go the Mediterranean route like we did? Serve with crostini.

By all means, use this recipe as a guideline. Feel free to experiment with ingredients. Serves 4-6.

Pot O’ Beans, Mediterranean Style

Pot O’ Beans, Mediterranean Style

(This is a recipe we’ve made several times without measuring anything, but this time I referred to this recipe from Martha Stewart, in order to give you some correct ratios. Enjoy!)

1/2 lb. dried heirloom beans (such as pinto or cranberry)
extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a fennel bulb, diced
1 large carrot, diced
rosemary (about 2 sprigs, chopped)
dried oregano
dried thyme
cumin
cayenne
salt & pepper
4 cups chicken stock (preferably home-made)
1/2 a large lemon (we used a Meyer lemon from our tree in the front yard), zest and juice.

  • The night before you want to make your pot o’ beans, don’t forget to soak them! Place the dried beans in a bowl and cover with cold water (by 2 inches or so). The next morning, drain and set aside. Oh crap! You forgot? It’s ok – for a quick soak, cover beans in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain. Phew.
  • Heat 2 TBS. of olive oil in the bottom of a deep pot. Cook onion, garlic, fennel, carrot, 1/2 tsp. salt, freshly ground pepper, and any other add-ins until onion and garlic are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add beans, 4 cups broth, and another 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, until tender, 1 to 2.5 hours, depending on type of bean (our cranberry beans took 2.5 hours). Add more liquid during the cooking process, if necessary.
  • Add the zest of half a lemon (we used a vegetable peeler and added several big pieces of  zest that we removed before serving). Taste and add more salt to taste. Add the lemon juice if you desire. Serve with crostini on the side – we rubbed slices of sweet baguette with garlic, brushed them with olive oil, and threw them in a 350 degree oven until crispy and golden (turning once), about 12 minutes.
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Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta


When the December issue of Bon Appetit introduced me to shakshuka, a popular dish in Israel, it screamed comfort to me. You crack eggs over a simmering aromatic tomato sauce, seasoned with paprika, cumin, jalapeño, and garlic, and then transfer the skillet to the oven for them to poach. Chickpeas add substance, crumbled feta adds creaminess, and chopped cilantro adds brightness. Place the hot skillet (carefully) in the middle of the table and dig in with pita bread for dipping. If you succeed in poaching the eggs just right, the whites will be set and the yolks will be nice and runny. I was not so successful. After the suggested 5-8 minutes of cooking time, my whites were still clear, so I let them go a little longer and then they overcooked. Alas. It was still delicious, however, and I’ve been blogging long enough to feel comfortable admitting my screw-up. The next morning I redeemed myself. I fried two eggs (perfectly over easy, I might add – I’m more comfortable cooking eggs in a pan than in the oven) and placed them over the leftover tomato sauce/chickpea/feta mixture. Amazing. There are not many meals that I’d gladly eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but this is one of them.

The holidays can be a time of stress, whether it’s menu planning for your first Christmas dinner, braving the crowds downtown to find the perfect sweater for uncle so-and-so, or entertaining last minute out-of-town guests. Or in my case, maybe you have a 20 month old who can go from being the sweetest boy in the world to screaming at the top of his lungs when Mommy decides it’s time to leave the children’s section of the bookstore to pay for our books. In the midst of this kind of week, may I suggest this meal as a quick (and more importantly, comforting) weeknight dinner. In 30 minutes it can be on your table, and as soon as you tear off that first piece of pita and dip it into the bubbling sauce, you’ll be reminded of what matters. There is good food to be had. And look at the people sitting around your dinner table – you’re truly lucky to have them. Looking at my own (grown-up) baby reminds me of that baby in a manger, oh so long ago, who embodied love and grace for the world; I don’t know about you, but I could sure use some of that right about now.


Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta

(From the December 2011 issue of Bon Appetit)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded, finely chopped
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, juices reserved*
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely crumbled feta
8 large eggs**
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Warm pita bread

*I used one 15 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes, and one 15 oz. can of Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes (had to make use of what was in my pantry).

**For the 3 of us (yes, Levi actually counts as a whole person now when it comes to serving sizes), I used 5 eggs. I kept the amount of tomato sauce the same, even though the original recipes says it serves 4-6. It makes wonderful leftovers, and you can always fry an egg (or 2) the next morning and place it on top of the sauce.

  • Preheat oven to 425°. Heat oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeños; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add chickpeas, paprika, and cumin and cook for 2 minutes longer.
  • Add crushed tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle feta evenly over sauce. Crack eggs one at a time and place over sauce, spacing evenly apart. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 5–8 minutes. Garnish with parsley and cilantro. Serve with pita for dipping..

Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad with Cherry Tomato-Black Bean-Corn Salsa


As I’m writing this it’s drizzling, and since we can’t play outside, Levi is entertaining himself with a drawer filled with various kid-friendly kitchen implements (the “decoy drawer,” as I call it, because it keeps him away from the dangerous stuff and buys me a few minutes here and there to write blog posts, fold laundry, or answer the phone). I swear that just yesterday we were enjoying the warmth of the early evening sun, grilling chicken in the backyard, and sipping icy pints of IPA. Levi was playing in his shark sprinkler — the perfect summer scene. How the weather changes on the central coast! And how we as mothers adapt as far as activities go for our kids.


Speaking of adaptation, meals take even more planning-ahead these days. Not only is Levi walking; he’s running and climbing — onto couches, chairs, boxes, whatever he can. You have no idea how many distractions I had to have in place in order to make this cherry tomato-black bean-corn salsa. It’s hard when every 20 seconds you have to look up from whatever you’re doing to make sure your son hasn’t scaled the bookshelf. But somehow I made it work and we ended up with this beautiful salad for dinner, which was perfect for a warm evening, but also sounds delicious now as I hear the pitter-patter of rain against the window.

The chicken is seasoned with a delicious spice mixture of chile powder, brown sugar, cumin, and coriander before being grilled to perfection. Then it’s sliced and set on top of crunchy romaine lettuce, along with a spoonful of the salsa, and sliced avocado, and dressed with  a slightly sweet/slightly tart lime-cilantro vinaigrette. My slight adaptation to this Fine Cooking recipe is that we decided to grill some corn on the cob and add the kernels to the salsa, which added a nice sweet flavor and seemed to fit in with the southwestern theme. We also used romaine instead of Bibb lettuce, omitted the pine nuts (because we didn’t have any) and substituted chicken thighs for the chicken breasts. Our changes are reflected below. We hope you enjoy this dinner salad this summer. Its bold flavors will not disappoint.


Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad with Cherry Tomato-Black Bean-Corn Salsa

(Slightly adapted from the Aug/Sept 2010 issue of Fine Cooking)

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 TBS. chili powder
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt
1 large ear of corn, husked and lightly oiled
6 TBS. extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBS. +  2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 TBS. + 2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
2 tsp. honey
Freshly ground black pepper
Tabasco (optional)
1/2 of a 14-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (save other 1/2 for another use)
4 oz. small cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or halved (about 3/4 cup)
1 small clove garlic, minced
1  head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 medium firm-ripe avocado

  • Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire.
  • In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the chicken thighs (you’ll have some left over, but it’s a great spice blend for another use). Let chicken sit at room temp while the grill heats.
  • Grill the corn until tender and the kernels are charred in spots, about 6 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool. Grill the chicken thighs until done, about 6 minutes, flipping once. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
  • Using a knife, carefully cut the kernels off the cob (this is easier when done in a large bowl so the kernels don’t go flying everywhere) and transfer to a small bowl.
  • In a small jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, lime juice, 1 TBS. of the chopped cilantro, the honey, 1/2 tsp. salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a few shakes of Tabasco (if using). Shake well to combine.
  • To make the salsa, add the beans, tomatoes, garlic, remaining 2 tsp. cilantro, and a pinch of salt to the small bowl with the grilled corn kernels. Add 2 TBS. of the dressing and toss gently.
  • Put the lettuce in a bowl, season with a little salt, and toss with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat. (Reserve a little to drizzle on the chicken.) Arrange the lettuce on a platter or two dinner plates. Slice the chicken thighs. Pit and slice the avocado. Arrange the chicken slices, avocado, and salsa on the lettuce. Drizzle a little of the remaining dressing over the top. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Feta Baked in Olive Oil with Marinara, Red Onions & Oregano and a Simple Chickpea Salad


It’s the end of a long day, and you want a simple meal that brings you back to a happy time and place; Something like softened feta cheese bathing in bubbling-hot olive oil, accompanied by crusty bread. When we first made this baked feta, we were re-creating an appetizer that we enjoyed in a dimly-lit taverna on the first night of our honeymoon in Santorini. You place a block of feta in a baking dish, pour olive oil over it, scatter some chopped onions, peppers, and tomatoes (when in season), season with salt, pepper, and oregano, and let it bake until the oil is bubbling and the cheese is softened. So simple. Then you spoon the hot cheese, olive oil, and vegetables over your slices of bread and try not to burn your mouth as all those simple ingredients come together in one delicious bite after another.


On this night we had some jarred marinara sauce to use up, so we decided to spoon it around the feta before baking. It ended up being a great addition, and a good substitution for the fresh tomatoes we used in the original version. We also added some fresh chopped oregano and red pepper flakes on the top, which added beautiful color and bright flavor.


I wanted something cool to accompany this hot appetizer and turn it into a more substantial meal, so I tossed together some canned chickpeas, baby spinach, sliced red onion, grated carrot, fresh oregano, and crumbled feta (to echo the flavors in the main dish), and then dressed it with a simple lemon vinaigrette. The baked feta and the salad were a great combination and a comforting dinner. Bring a little piece of the Greek Islands into your home with this dish and allow it to comfort you. What comforts you at the end of a long day?


Feta Baked in Olive Oil with Marinara, Red Onions & Oregano

(Serves 2)

1 block of feta
extra virgin olive oil
jarred marinara sauce
red onion, diced
fresh oregano, chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the feta in a shallow baking dish. Pour olive oil on and around the feta so that it almost covers the feta, but leaves the top of it exposed. Add spoonfuls of marinara sauce around the feta, on top of the oil. Scatter the onion and fresh oregano on top. Season with a little salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bake until the oil is bubbling and cheese is softened, about 20 minutes. Serve with sliced crusty bread.


Simple Chickpea Salad

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
a couple handfuls of baby spinach
a couple handfuls of grated carrot
some crumbled feta
chopped fresh oregano
juice of 1 small lemon
olive oil
agave nectar
salt & freshly ground black pepper

  • Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, a few good drizzles of olive oil, a drizzle of agave nectar (or honey) for sweetness, and salt & pepper to taste. Toss everything together. Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Better yet, make the salad as the feta is baking so the flavors can really meld.

Black Bean Tostadas


First order of business: I need to share these pictures of Levi in the snow. Last month we went to Utah for a weekend to celebrate Dustin’s Great-Aunt’s 90th birthday. It was a quick trip, but we still had time to visit several micro-breweries, (the highlights were the Elephino Double IPA from Red Rock Brewing in Salt Lake City, and the Winterfest from Wasatch Brewery in Park City), as well as stick Levi in his snowsuit and plop him down in the snow to see his reaction. It was a mixture of confusion and delight. Then he tasted it 🙂


You know, traveling to other places, whether it’s a few states over or all the way to Japan, really makes us appreciate the abundance of Mexican food that we have here in California. Especially Japan. I think that’s why we used to make quesadillas every day for lunch (with our extremely expensive imported cheese and tortillas), in an attempt to fill that Mexican food void. Now that we’re back at home, any Mexican-inspired dinner feels like comfort food to us. This meal was both comforting and light (aka it didn’t give us that “OMG I just ate 3 chili rellenos and a side of rice & beans; I’m going to die” feeling). Our version of a tostada is a crispy corn tortilla, a thin layer of beans, a thin layer of guacamole, some shredded cheese (next time we’ll use queso fresco, but we didn’t have that on hand this time), and a lightly dressed salad of mixed greens, cilantro, and carrot.


Black Bean Tostadas

(Makes 4 tostadas)

1 TBS. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
a couple splashes of medium-bodied beer (no Coors here, people)
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
ground cumin
1 lime, zested + the juice (divided)
1 avocado
a spoonful of your favorite spicy salsa (here is ours)
2 small handfuls of grated cheese (we used colby jack)
2 handfuls of mixed greens
1 handful of grated carrot
1 handful fresh cilantro
your favorite vinaigrette (we just used olive oil, red wine vinegar, a little agave nectar for sweetness, and salt & pepper)
4 corn tortillas
canola oil for frying

  • Begin by making preparing your “refried” black beans. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 the garlic and cook over the low heat so that it can really infuse the oil with flavor, rather than browning too quickly, about 4 minutes. When it starts turning golden, add the black beans and stir to combine. Turn up heat to medium and add a few splashes of whatever (good) beer you’re enjoying while you cook (come on, I’m not the only one who does that), and season with salt, pepper, and cumin to taste. Allow beans to cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the lime zest and stir to combine. Start to mash the beans with a wooden spoon (a “rustic mash” – some of the beans will remain whole-ish, but that’s ok) and continue stirring. Add a little more beer if the skillet becomes dry. When the beans are mashed the way you like them and are seasoned to your liking, turn off the heat and stir in the juice of 1/2 the lime (reserve the other 1/2 for your guacamole). Set aside.
  • Prepare your guacamole. In a small bowl, mash the avocado together with the remaining minced garlic and a spoonful of salsa. Season with salt & pepper. Nice and simple. Set aside.
  • Now, prepare the salad: Combine the mixed greens, grated carrot, and cilantro. Lightly dress with olive oil, red wine vinegar, a little agave nectar (or honey), salt & pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat enough canola oil in a small frying pan so that it reaches a depth of a 1/4 inch. When hot, fry the corn tortillas one at a time, using 2 forks to hold then below the surface of the oil. After a couple minutes, carefully flip the tortilla and continue frying for 1-2 more minutes or until crispy. Let drain on paper towels.
  • Assemble your tostadas: Place a crispy tortilla on your plate, spread a thin layer of black beans, followed by guacamole, a little handful of shredded cheese, and a handful of the salad. Sprinkle with a little more salsa on top of the whole thing if you want a little more heat.


And here was Levi’s version. He had some of the black beans, some guacamole (before I put the salsa in) some corn tortillas (not fried, just heated on the burner), and some carrots that I simmered in a little water with cumin and black pepper until soft. Bon Appetit, little boy!

Some sliced oranges were the perfect accompaniment for our tostadas.

Turkey & Black Bean Quesadillas with Spicy Guacamole (and Thanksgiving ’10 Recap)


Bring on the Turkey leftovers!  Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving? We did too, but we didn’t get around to photographing all the food this year between taking turns holding a teething baby (both his top teeth are coming in right now and he’s less than thrilled about it) and cooking two of the vegetable side dishes. So regardless of the lack of pictures, here is a Thanksgiving recap:

My dad made his usual smoked turkeys like last year, and we snacked on spiced nuts and two varieties of cheese (an aged goat cheese and a cheddar). Once again, my brother provided some awesome beer to wash everything down. We had stuffing two ways – one with cornbread, and one with roasted lemon. There was the usual cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, creamed onions, beets, and butterflake rolls from Gayle’s Bakery, and we contributed roasted brussels with chanterelles and cream, and a sweet potato gratin. My mom made a fresh kale salad with pomegranate seeds and sliced persimmon. Lastly, my uncle Rick made four amazing pies for dessert: pumpkin, pecan, coconut cream, and “crack pie” — a recipe from Momofuku in New York. It’s an oat cookie crust with a filling mainly consisting of butter, brown sugar, and egg yolk. Here is the recipe that was featured in Bon Appetit. Yum.


Despite teething-fussiness, Levi enjoyed his first Thanksgiving! He even added beets to his food repertoire (delicata squash, butternut squash, yellow zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes, pears, apples, bananas, rice cereal, and oatmeal cereal. He has also tried cinnamon and nutmeg). I can’t believe he’s 7 months old already!


My favorite thing about Thanksgiving turkey is the leftovers. When there’s so much on your plate, it’s hard to truly appreciate the turkey, but later in the week it can take center stage! We enjoyed our annual turkey sandwiches at the Christmas tree farm last Friday (we found the perfect little picnic spot in between the trees), then last night we thought that the smokiness of the turkey would pair well with black beans, so we decided to make turkey-black bean quesadillas with spicy guacamole.


Turkey & Black Bean Quesadillas with Spicy Guacamole

  • Combine 1 ripe avocado, 1 small clove of minced garlic, the juice of 1/2 a small lime (reserve the other half), and 1/2 a minced serrano chile in a small bowl. Mash and combine. Taste and season with salt & pepper. Set aside.
  • In a small sauce pan add 1 can of black beans, drained. Then jazz them up a bit — add whatever spices you want.  We added some cumin, chile powder, coriander, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt & pepper to taste. Add a splash of water, too. Heat, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, until beans are hot. Turn off the heat. Squeeze in the other half of your lime.
  • Assemble your quesadillas with flour tortillas, grated Monterey jack cheese, a few spoonfuls of black beans, and some leftover sliced Thanksgiving turkey. Cook in a skillet over medium high heat. When one side is nicely browned, flip and cook on the other side. Transfer to a cutting board and slice. Serve with spicy guacamole and a salad.

Black Bean Tortilla Soup


Even though it postponed our trip to the pumpkin patch, the rain last Sunday was refreshing, and it put us in the mood for soup! We have so many dried beans in the pantry, I finally decided it was time to make a conscious effort to remember to soak them. I was envisioning a black bean soup that was brothy and had whole beans (because a pureed soup sounded like a pain in the butt because I don’t have one of those hand-held immersion blenders). Pleased with the aroma from adding some chopped chipotle chiles in adobo, I decided that some crispy fried tortilla strips and cool avocado would be the perfect topping – transforming my soup from plain black bean soup to a Mexican-inspired black bean tortilla soup. It’s definitely not a quick dinner, but with some planning ahead, it’s definitely worth the comfort that it brings! Levi loved “helping” me stir the soup occasionally throughout its 2 1/2 hours of cooking time. It serves 3-4.

Black Bean Tortilla Soup

(Adapted from this recipe on Epicurious, originally from the Dec. 2004 issue of Gourmet Magazine)

3/4 cup dried black beans (5 oz), picked over and rinsed
2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 small leeks, trimmed, and white and light green parts chopped
3 small carrots, diced
1/2 a large red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
a California bay leaf
dried oregano
ground cumin
ground coriander
paprika
freshly ground black pepper
6 cups broth (1 1/2 quarts)
3 small tomatoes, diced
(skip this unless you can still find good, sweet, end-of-summer tomatoes)
1/3 cup dry pasta (small shapes work best; we used small shells)
2 corn torillas
vegetable oil for frying
salt
1 avocado, cubed

  • Cover beans with cold water by 3 inches in a bowl and soak at room temperature  for at least 8 hours or overnight. (You can also use this quick-soak method: Cover the dried beans with 3 inches of cold water in a large saucepan, bring it to a boil and cook, uncovered, over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and cover pan. Soak beans, covered, 1 hour).
  • Cook bacon in a large pot over medium high heat until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Remove some of the bacon fat from the pot, but leave enough (about 1/2 a Tablespoon) so the bottom of the pot is lightly coated.
  • Return pan to medium-high heat. Add the bacon back to the pot. Add the leeks, carrots, bell pepper, garlic, chipotle chiles, bay leaf, oregano, cumin, coriander, paprika, and pepper, and saute, stirring frequently, until leek is softened, about 5 minutes. Add a little olive oil if the bottom of the pan begins to look a little dry.
  • Add beans, broth, and tomatoes. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, about 2 1/2 hours. In the last 6 minutes of cooking time, add the pasta (if using), as well as 1 cup of water. Bring soup back up to a simmer and cook until pasta is done.
  • Cut the corn tortillas into strips and fry in vegetable oil over medium heat until crispy. Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with a little salt.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls, and top with the fried tortilla strips and cubed avocado.