Friday, June 23, 2006


This is not chocolate. It’s savory, not sweet—in fact it has nothing to do with actual fudge, except that it is, in its own way, just as rich and tasty. One of my friends’ moms used to make it for neighborhood parties when I was a kid, and I always remember the grownups talking about how sinfully delicious it was. I, of course, was way too picky then to eat any food that contained anything remotely resembling a green pepper, but once I grew older and my tastes normalized, I sampled Mexican Fudge a few times when my mom made it. (I remember one Christmas Eve when Mom, Dad, and I prepared it as part of a sumptuous spread for ourselves, then all came down with a cold/flu that rendered us far too sick to enjoy any of it.) My mother passed on the recipe to me, but it never occurred to me to make it until I was called upon to throw a wedding shower for my friends P&R. My fellow bridesmaid, J, and I decided to serve a nacho bar of sorts, with my black-bean salsa, the awesome farmers’-market Holy Guacamole, and other things that can be eaten with tortilla chips. I remembered Mexican Fudge, saw how simple and easy the recipe was, and, flying in the face of one of the cardinal rules of hostessing (never serve anything you haven’t made before), whipped up a batch with some trepidation. And…it was a huge hit. I could have eaten half the pan myself, if I hadn’t felt a grudging compunction to save some for the actual guests. (I should have doubled the recipe—I only did 1.5 times the quantity.) This stuff is good, and easy enough for a small child (with good oven-safety skills) to make. After all, it’s basically just a big pan of jalapeno-infused melted cheese, with just enough egg to bind it into solid form.

2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
3 eggs
½ cup hot green taco or enchilada sauce (I used bottled salsa verde from the Mexican-foods aisle of the grocery store)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the grated cheeses and place half the mixture in a 9x9 baking dish.
3. Combine the eggs and sauce and pour over the cheese. Spread the remaining cheese on top.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, cool slightly, and cut into 1-inch squares. Serve (warm or at room temperature) with tortilla chips.


This recipe is from my college friend S’s mom. S used to make it when we lived together; I remember sitting and watching TV and eating it straight out of the bowl with spoons, like a salad. I quickly acquired the recipe and made it for myself as a summer meal when I lived alone; now that I live with A I don’t make it much, since he is prejudiced against raw black beans (and I sympathize with his prejudice, since I don’t like them much myself in any context besides this one). But if he tried this I think he would like it, because how can you not when tomatoes and garlic and cilantro and onions and delicious vinaigrette are involved? Anyway, I made this for a wedding shower on Saturday and it was light, tasty, and super-easy. We served it as a dip-like thing, with tortilla chips, but the next day I sat down in front of the TV and ate the leftovers out of a bowl with a big soup spoon, just like the old days.

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 cans black beans
1 cup chopped green onions
6 to 8 Roma tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes, as shown above)
1/3 cup cilantro
1½ teaspoons cumin
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine the first three ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Rinse and drain the black beans and add them to the bowl. Add chopped green onions. Peel, seed, and chop tomatoes and add them to the bowl. Remove stems from cilantro, chop, and add to mixture. Add cumin and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
3. Serve with tortilla chips.

Makes 4 cups