Sitting at my computer, I glance half-heartedly over a line of text that I will delete, rewrite, edit and then elaborate upon, before finally scrapping entirely. The minutes of my afternoon tick away, and as I finally get this very sentence on the proverbial page, I realize that my incessant tapping of the delete key has transitioned from merely annoying to appropriately symbolic.
This is silly, my dear reader. All I’m trying to do is write a brief anecdote.
Perhaps, therein lies the problem. Perhaps a meal such a as this can not be contextualized by some ridiculous little story: one cannot merely putter away at the keyboard in the misguided hope of capturing the essence of ridiculous excess inherent herein. Such an endeavor would be a waste of time.
No. I must let this dish speak for itself. I must allow you – dear reader – to make a choice. Like the Spartan youth left shivering in the wilderness with nought but a spear, I must allow you to find your own way. For, like the Spartan youth, you are being presented with a choice: either endeavor to take upon yourself the challenge with which you have been confronted, and live out your life reveling in the glory of your success, or die (eventually) taking to the grave the knowledge that you could have made a delicious, excessive meal for yourself, but simply chose not to.
I strayed from the metaphor a bit at the end, but I think I made my point.
As the school year gets rolling, and my teacher-brain is finally forced to lurch back into action, the marginally creative culinary lobe of my noggin tends to take a backseat for a while. In an effort to stem the eventual onslaught of dull midweek meals involving bottled pasta sauces and packets of taco seasoning, I’ve been trying to come up with simple recipes that don’t take too much thought or effort, and leverage convenient kitchen tools, like my slow-cooker.
Yay, it’s taco Tuesday! A fact that I only remembered this morning while browsing my Instagram feed, and while it caused me to wonder why someone was eating (and ‘gramming) a ground beef taco at 9 AM, it reminded me that I could use this alliteration-based recurring holiday to share with you one of my new favorite foods: TortillaLand Uncooked Tortillas.
This simple product from Circle Foods out of San Diego, CA is the ultimate in taco-delivery systems. They’re easy to cook, much more flavorful than normal store-bought tortillas, and add a special – made by an abuelita – flavor to your dinner. These little babies are so flaky and delicious that you’ll never go back to the pre-cooked kind.
Though they’re supposed to be cooked in a skillet, I just throw ’em on the grill as whatever else I’m grilling is at the one-minute mark.
Try them. You won’t be sorry.
The following recipe is an easy combination of sweet, spicy and savory that uses similar flavors in each element of the dish to create a cohesive whole. It’s really good.
As my summer draws to a close, I have to admit that I have not yet accomplished all of my goals. Yes, I made our patio furniture (an 8-person table with built in drink coolers and a matching coffee table), I taught summer school for four weeks, and my wife and I purged nearly two truckloads of our unused stuff, but for some reason, I feel like there’s more to do. I have an entirely new curriculum to plan, of course, and I obviously have to work with my colleague to re-vamp my AP Literature curriculum for our incoming classes. On top of it all, my blog has not yet sold for millions of dollars. Can you imagine?
And yet, a modicum of emotional appeasement floated my way late last week when the good people over at Rufus Teague featured a picture of this post’s titular meal on their Instagram feed.
See? Pretty cool, right?!
Apparently it doesn’t take much to appease me emotionally. Anyway, having been particularly happy with the meal itself, not to mention the *ahem* immense fame I’ve now had showered upon me (OMG 478 likes!!!), I thought I’d share my recipe with the world, or at least with the 15 people who will read this.
Ahhhh, the Reuben, the simple combination of smoked meat, cheese, dressing, sauerkraut and bread commonly found lurking on menus of delis and bars across the country. These crunchy, buttery, gooey, smoky, sweet and – of course – salty conglomerations of meat and cheese are one of my absolute favorites.
The Koreuben – Just look at all those luscious layers
It was part way through my first year of teaching high school Language Arts. It was early in my career, meaning I was still planning lessons for 4-5 hours at a stretch, and writing and re-writing them until the minute before class started. In fact, for the first few years of full-time teaching, I was burning 2-3 hours of planning time for each hour spent in the classroom. As you can imagine, I didn’t have a lot of time for other things, in reality, I was thinly-spread, overtaxed and under-rested, and relied relatively heavy on black coffee and junk food to keep me going.
At around 11:30 this morning, I had a student approach me to beg for an extension on an already-late assignment. I was eating my hastily-assembled lunch at the time, and as he came up to my desk he had the privilege to watch me unceremoniously slurp dressing-soaked spinach from the open end of a piece of foil.
I know… it’s ok to be jealous.
When he saw the foil, I saw a flicker of enthusiastic recognition cross his face, and before he could investigate further he exclaimed “Aw damn yo…” (not the most articulate of young men, I’ll admit) “… you got yourself some Chipotle?!?”