Refritos y Tostadas

A Fahy Family recipe since 2001, adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

Refritos (refried beans)

2 cans pinto beans
2-3 T olive oil
2  cups minced onion
6 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small bell pepper, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. salt
generous pinch black pepper

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onions, about half the garlic, cumin and 1/2 tsp. salt. Sautee over medium heat until onions are soft and translucent. Add the green pepper, sautee another five minutes or so, add the rest of the garlic and season with pepper.

Turn the heat to low, add the beans and mix well. Mash with a fork or potato masher. Cook for a few minutes more. Serve right away or store in fridge or freezer until it’s time to reheat – refried beans reheat beautifully.

Serve over plain cooked rice, stuffed into green pepper halves and baked, or in tostadas….


A tostada is an open-faced, multi-layered Mexican sandwich with many layers contrasting layers piled on a crispy corn tortilla. Spread a large table with dishes of tostada ingredients, and let everyone build their own creation, including but not limited to:

Refritos of course!
Hot sauce and or salsa
Deep-fried corn tortillas or tortilla chips – the round flat kind
chopped olives
chopped hard-cooked egg
chopped sweet pickled peppers or pimientos
grated cheese – mild white or cheddar
finely shredded cabbage or lettuce
sliced avocadoes
chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms…whatever
sour cream


Potato Skordalia

Greek. Garlicky. Delicious.

1 large russet potato, or 2 medium
1/3 c almonds
10 to 15 garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1/2 t salt

You can put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth or do it the old fashioned way:

Peel the potatoes cut in cubes and boil in water until soft. Drain and mash in a bowl.
Pulverize the almonds  in a mortar & pestle and mix into potatoes with a wooden spoon.
Add ½ of the olive oil and continue mixing. Press the garlic cloves and mix those in.
Stir in the rest of the olive oil gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until oil is absorbed, then add the red wine vinegar and blend well.



Potato Salad

This is my favorite, classic potato salad recipe I grew up on adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

    • 8 medium (around 3 lbs) white or new potatoes
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup vegetable olive oil
    • Salt to taste (not much if you boil potatoes in salt water as recommended)
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
    • 2 or 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
    • 4 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
    • 1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
    • 3 TBS cider vinegar
    • Paprika

Peel, quarter, and boil the potatoes. Start with potatoes in cold water and cook until just fork tender–DO NOT OVERCOOK!

Drain & cut the very warm potatoes as soon as you can handle them into 1/2 inch pieces. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, pepper, and salt and gently toss warm (the hotter the better) potato pieces in the resulting oil emulsion. Refrigerate until cool or until ready to assemble and serve, up to a couple days. This preliminary dressing improves the flavor and ensures the potatoes won’t absorb too much mayonnaise later.

Just before serving, put the eggs and celery on top of the potatoes, mix the mayonnaise (it’s got to be Hellman’s) & vinegar in a small bowl, then gently fold the mayo dressing into potato salad until all pieces are coated. Taste. Adjust salt and pepper seasoning and add a 1/2 to a teaspoon of sugar if too tart. Sprinkle with paprika, and serve.

potato salad


Black Beans over Rice

I worked as an artist assistant for artist Chuck Hinman in the 80’s; he and Jan lived in a huge loft on Bowery, next-door to where the New Museum of Contemporary Art is now. Use Arborio rice if you have it.

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil, add beans and orange rind and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve over rice topped with chopped scallions and drizzled with the best olive oil and balsamic vinegar you have.

black beans over rice

Butternut Squash “Pasta” with Ravioli

How to spiralize a butternut squash, with great illustrations thanks to Savory Lotus:

You’ll need quite a bit more than you might think because the “pasta” will shrink a lot as it bakes. Spread spiralized squash on a baking sheet and spray with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes at 400°, until al dente, stirring once half way through.

Meanwhile boil water and cook your ravioli (use the good ones!).  Drain and serve over the baked squash arranged on a serving dish. Topped with shaved Parmesan cheese.

ravioli over butternut



Sweet Roasted Squash & Parsnip

Recipe by Deb – (what to do with unused parts of a butternut squash after spiralizing part of it)

1 small butternut squash or 1/2 a large one
2 parsnips
2-3 tablespoons melted butter
1⁄4 cup light brown sugar
handful of pumpkin seeds
handful of pine-nuts
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Peel the squash, remove seeds, cut it into 1 to 1/2″ chunks and place them into a baking dish. Peel the parsnips, slice them into a similar size and add to the dish.

Add the melted butter, brown sugar, seeds, nuts, spices and salt and pepper, then mix well.

Roast for an hour at 400°F, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize.

While baking, remove from oven every 15 minutes and stir to coat the pieces with brown sugar and butter mixture.

Serve hot.

Butternut Squash and Parsnip roast


Trojan Carnitas and Avocado Salsa

This is a delicious and massive recipe I got from my roommate in Troy. It was a new style of cooking for me and cooking it by the book taught me a lot. Serves six hungry college students. You could also make the salsa by itself for a great dip for chips etc. -Connor

3-4 pound boneless pork butt, shoulder or loin
2 cups water
1.5 cups orange juice
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated orange peel (optional)
3 tbsp whole peppercorns (optional)
1/4 cup brandy or wine (preferably marsala)

Cheddar or mexican cheese blend
Regular tomato salsa

Cut the pork into thirds. Put pork, water, orange juice, garlic, salt, orange peel, and peppercorns into a large pot. Bring to boil, then turn down heat somewhat and simmer, covered, for about an hour and a half. stir occasionally and add more water if needed to keep the pork mostly submerged.

Between these two stages is a good time to start the salsa. (see below)

Uncover and boil pork until water is reduced by half. Stir in the alcohol and boil until liquid evaporates. Stir often while meat browns and crisps. Tear meat into strips with tongs (this can be done during the final stage of cooking or, if you’re a chicken, after the meat has cooled a bit)

3 ripe avocados, peeled and coarsley chopped
6 oz fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, coarsely chopped
2 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped white onion
2 tbsp fresh cilantro (optional)
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
salt to taste

Put all ingredients into a food processer or blender. process until a chunky puree forms.

Serve the meat and salsa over warmed tortillas with grated cheddar or a mexican blend of cheese.