How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Nachos Flambés

Tonight was another double-leftover success. This happens at Casa Hayesboh when we use leftovers from one meal to make another, and then do it again. Like a game of "Telephone" the third meal has little resemblance to the first. Pam gets credit for executing stages one and two in this case, and for suggesting the third, though James executed it. As you will see below, that might be an especially apt choice of words.

Image from
Flambé Gourmet,
which I am not!
This began two days ago, when Pam made spaghetti with an excellent marinara sauce, using some organic ground beef as the base. To the leftover sauce, she added some kidney beans yesterday and -- voila! -- delicious Sloppy Joes! After two servings of that, however, we still had a bit of the hybrid filling. Pam suggested nachos, which is one of our guilty pleasures when out and about. In fact, we should have mentioned nachos at the long-gone Pargo's in suburban Baltimore in the recent New York Times article about the success of our marriage.

I am a good critic of nachos, but realized only this evening that I have not actually prepared them much, at least not lately. But lack of experience has never been a deterrent in our house, so I plunged right in to the preparations.

I started by putting the leftover Sloppy Joe filling in one of our indispensable cast-iron skillets; noticing that it had thickened, I added some plain tomato sauce -- we usually have some in a glass jar in the fridge. In another indispensable cast-iron skillet, I heated some lime-infused olive oil from Lebherz. Regular readers of this blog will know that this oil is becoming as indispensable as the pans themselves. I sauteed some sliced, white mushrooms, and then poured over some Cuervo. I often do this with butter and sherry, but lime-oil and tequila seemed more appropriate.

The Cuervo was only 80 proof, but somehow the pan quickly became involved. I was flummoxed for a moment, because I have never had anything like this happen in my cooking. Fortunately, I reached for the knob rather than a camera, so I have no photo of the flare-up, which ended -- with cool, blue effects -- as quickly as it began. The photo above is from the web site of someone who does this kind of thing on purpose.

I gave some thought to broiling the assembled nachos, but it has been a muggy week, so we opted for the microwave. I covered a plate with organic tortilla strips, spread over the meat/bean/tomato mixture, and topped with a generous layer of freshly shredded mozzarella and very sharp cheddar. I sprinkled liberally with the mushroom slices and canned sliced jalapeños. I microwaved the entire dish for 90 seconds and placed it in the center of the table.

The trickiest part of this meal -- aside from kitchen safety -- was getting all of the cool parts of the meal ready at the same time as the hot parts. I put together a simple salad with fresh greens from Colchester Neighborhood Farm and a bit of tomato and cuke from Hanson Farm (yes, friends, Hanson already has tomatoes!)  With the healthy part taken care of, we felt free to dig into the nachos piled between us.

Drink pairing? Frozen margaritas with some fresh lime, of course. The perfect end to a summer's day.
We still have not seen this film, though nachos were mentioned
in the opening scene of our evening selection,
Parker Posey's Price Check.  

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