I come from a land of sun and rain and moderate temperatures, and I have to admit that the sojourn at my parents’ home in far-from-temperate Ontario is kicking my butt a little. We all have dry, chapped skin and a bad case of the whines when the snow blows into our faces at so far below freezing we’ve stopped checking the temperature. Wind chill, my friends, is a very real thing.
Gemma, as you may recall, is fairly impervious to cold. She packed her dresses and wears them faithfully – would you ever guess there’s a blizzard outside?
This unawareness of temperature was on display when we ventured out to the library the other day. A busy place, you can’t get a parking spot anywhere near the door, so we gamely slapped on scaves, hats, mittens, and assorted other layers and emerged tentatively from the warm van, ready for a mad squint-eyed dash through the blinding whiteness to the beckoning automatic door.
Except for Gemma, who noticed a couple discarded beer cans on the ground a few meters away in the parking lot.
Gemma: “Mom, look, there are CANS. Someone didn’t put those in the garbage!”
Me: “You’re right, that wasn’t very good. Let’s go!”
Gemma (wandering in the opposite direction): “No, I need to get those! We need to take CARE of our EARTH.”
Me: “Gemma, not right now! It doesn’t matter, come on.”
Gemma: “Just a minute, we need to take CARE of our EARTH, because that’s imPORtant.”
Me: “I know, you’re right…maybe in the summer…”
Gemma (already at the cans): “Listen, if I shake them I can hear something frozen inside!”
Me: “Yes, I guess that’s frozen beer. Let’s go.”
Gemma: “Ok, it’s just – hard – to – get – these…they’re too slippery – with – mittens on…”
Me: “LEAVE your mittens on! Ok, I’m leaving you with Grandpa to find a garbage can, me and the boys will be inside. You got that, Grandpa?”
He lives here, so he’s acclimatized better than me, right? :) And if I ever find the person who left those cans so carelessly in the parking lot…beware.
She’s learned something at least, and I admire her dedication – if all her generation is so aware of the need to take care of the earth, I think we’re in good hands. But I am hoping the snow keeps any other litter buried until spring.
So let’s talk about something warmer. Something with fresh herbs that make spring seem not-too-distant, something healthy and hearty and involving cheese.
If you’ve had Baked Chicken Taquitos or Taco Taquitos, you know how easy and handy and oh-so-delicious baked taquitos are. These are the same thing, with a different filling, starting with beans, garlic, rosemary, and olive oil.
Whir that up to whatever texture floats your boat (it’s basically just good hummus), add some ham and cheese, and you have a delicious hearty filling for your taquitos. Or you could dip tortilla chips in it.
My boys are both, for some unknown reason, little vegetarians, so I’ve been wanting to incorporate more protein into their diets in other ways, which is how this recipe was born. I used ham in ours because I had leftover ham around, but this is such an easy meal to make meat-free – just leave the ham out of some or all of the mixture. For delicious appetizer options, you can use smaller tortillas and roll them nice and thin, or spread the filling mixture on toasted baguette slices. Like any taquitos, these can be made waaaay ahead and frozen, unbaked, in an airtight freezer bag. If baking from frozen, add a few minutes to the cooking time – these are a perfect make-ahead meal or meal that can be doubled to share or save for later, exactly the kind of meal I like to have in my repertoire :) Enjoy!
- 1 can (19 oz) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
- 3 stalks fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stem
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (+ more if needed)
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- 2½ cups cooked, chopped ham
- 1½ cups Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 10-12 small (6") tortillas or 6-8 large (8-10") tortillas
- Combine beans, garlic, and rosemary in food processor. Pulse to combine, then blend on low until as smooth as you like, drizzling in olive oil to bring it together and reach desired consistency.
- Transfer mixture to large bowl and stir in lemon juice, ham, and cheese. Taste and add seasoning if desired - with the ham I found no salt was needed, but for the vegetarian version some salt and pepper are both good additions.
- Divide mixture evenly over centres of tortillas, roll tortillas up tightly, and place seam-side down on foil-lined baking sheet. They can be frozen at this point or baked: to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, spray taquitos lightly with baking spray, and bake for 15 minutes (increase time by 5-10 minutes if baking from frozen).