Cheap Ass Monday: In the style of OJ Simpson

That is to say: I didn’t do it, but if I had, here’s how I would have.

Is that too many commas?  I’ve been debating for 45 minutes, and I’m actually starting to get a little dizzy.

Due to a series unforeseeable events involving a lengthy debate about fonts, a cranky old subway train and an evening of hardcore math-metal, I am not at home and am thus unable to make the super-cheap dinner I’d planned and to which I had been looking forward, so boo on that: chilaquiles.  I mean, boo on the situation, not on chilaquiles.  I have nothing but “yay!” for chilaquiles.

Stupid life.  ATTENTION, LIFE: I HAVE A BLOG.  GET OUT OF THE WAY.

It’s really a shame, because I finally felt like I could lift a finger in the kitchen again without getting sick to my stomach, following last Monday’s festivities.  Now, because of Life, I have to sit here and tell you about what the chilaquiles would have been like while I eat this really yummy coffee cake that is unfortunately sitting on my in-laws’ kitchen table within easy reach of the laptop.*  Someone should really do something about that.  And by “someone” I mean “me,” and by “do something about that” I mean “eat the rest of the cake.”

*In other exciting laptop related news: new MacBook Pro arrives tomorrow!  Unfortunately it’s not being shipped to my apartment since no one is home during the day to sign for things and the dogs refuse to wear the doorman outfits I got them, or to respond to the front door in a way other than frenzied barking, but I will still be one step closer to having it.

So: chilaquiles.  Since this is the first Monday of the month and the Hobo Monday Challenge is “$3 for 2 Eaters,” I’d decided to turn to my favorite non-pasta method of inexpensive dining: throw some shit together and put an egg on top.  I had to think pretty hard because I’ve put eggs on all kinds of crap, see previous sentence.

How can I milk this egg-on-top-of-crap thing for all its worth? Answer: chilaquiles, stale fried tortillas cooked or baked in a spicy sauce, either rojas or verde (that’s “red” and “green” for my fellow gringos), until kinda mushy.  Sometimes served with refried beans, sometimes fancified with some leftover chicken or vegetables and often served with egg; either scrambled eggs mixed right in, or a fried egg on top.  Great for breakfast.  Great for dinner.  GREAT for hangovers.  Not that I would know.

Thank you, Mexican peasants.  Thank you for bringing us chilaquiles.

What’s ironic is that I typically go to a restaurant and pay someone to make me chilaquiles and usually not a Mexican peasant, which just doesn’t seem right.  The only real difference I can think of between homemade chilaquiles – and the only real excuse for paying someone else to make them – is that at Taqueria they have my favorite Mexican apple soda. (Sidral Mundet!  Which: comes in GREEN APPLE now!  I love you, Sidral manufacturers. I am totally plastering my computer with the Sidral Mundet wallpaper I just found on your website.) Unfortunately for Taqueria, Pathmark also has Mexican apple soda.  Ergo, chilaquiles at home.

I’d like to say that I’m going to make the chilaquiles tomorrow night, but Brian rightly points out that I have an early meeting, a full day, a late meeting and am deeply, deeply hormonal, so the forecast for tomorrow is takeout with a 99% chance of Ben and Jerry’s.  Meaning chilaquiles night is probably more like Wednesday.  Hence this post: If I were going to do it tonight, here’s how I would do it.

I’ll warn you: it is highly inauthentic and includes the use of leftover tortilla chips because if I were going to do it tonight, I wouldn’t want to deal with frying up tortilla strips myself.

  1. Make a simple red sauce:  Canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, rehydrated dried chiles, Mexican oregano.  In the blender.  Whiz whiz.  Heat some bacon fat in a cast-iron pan.  Fry the sauce (à la Rick Bayless) to deepen the flavor.
  2. Cook leftover tortilla chips in sauce until desired level of mushification (toothsome but not crunchy or completely flabby) is reached. Mix a little sour cream with water or lime juice to loosen it.  Get some cilantro from the kitchen garden (so quaint!).  Chop it.
  3. Fry an egg.
  4. Heap saucy tortillas in bowl.  Drizzle with sour cream.  Sprinkle with cilantro.  Put egg on top.
  5. The end.

Voila!  A new kind of crap with an egg on top.  Truly, the possibilities are limitless.

AND I have now produced an entire post about chilaquiles WITHOUT HAVING TO DO ANYTHING.  I may blog like this from now on, it’s a real time-saver.  However, to appease you, here are some people who not only blogged about but actually produced chilaquiles. (Overacheivers.)

  • The Savory Notebook produced some unique black bean-sauced chilaquiles with no shortage of avocado.  Them’s good people.
  • The Gastro Gnome makes a chilaquiles casserole with goat, which I can pretty much guarantee I will never do.*
  • off the (meat) hook goes for a classic red sauce, but adds chorizo.  Therefore, I love her. (At least, I think it’s a her.**)

*Not that I am anti-eating goat. I also ate fake goat once, at a hippie vegan food stand at a music festival I once attended.  It was fake Jamaican jerk goat.  On one hand, it was good.  On the other, fake goat?  Could the fake goat R&D money not have been better spent elsewhere?

**Sex confirmed!  Thanks, meathook.  It’s okay if I call you meathook, yes?

14 thoughts on “Cheap Ass Monday: In the style of OJ Simpson

  1. MMM we loves da chilaquiles! the tricky bit is always getting the right amount of flop and slight crunch to the tortillas..

    mmmmmmmm

  2. Since I seem to have developed some kind of sickness that renders me incapable of eating a fried egg anymore without salsa on top, I think I would really like this. Except I find it much easier to just throw a corn tortilla in with the egg and not worry about the perfect texture.

    It occurs to me that the cost of this favorite breakfast of mine is, uh . . . 16 cents for the tortilla, because the salsa came from my garden and the eggs from my chickens. Living like Laura Ingalls Wilder is the ULTIMATE in cheap-ass.

  3. I have mixed feelings about living in a world where you can eat fake meats of real meats that you would rarely eat. But being un-pro-fake-goat feels like it would result in the terrorist winning.

  4. As deeply as I love the “just put an egg on top” philosophy, and employ it (too) often, I cannot get behind the chilaquile. Not only is there cilantro involved, it centers around sogginess. Granted, you did say that in a perfect world some toothsomeness remains, but no. Sog would inevitably result, whether in pan or within 5 minutes of hitting plate. *Shudder* I can eat tortilla chips for days, put an egg on top of most anything, but I cannot endure soggy, mushy bread or chips.

    On a brighter note, the sauce sounds delicious!

  5. I’ma HUGE chilaquiles fan, but I never thought to fry the sauce in bacon fat! How long would one fry said sauce in the fat of love? A minute or two?

  6. BLUEBERRIES ARE RIPE IN LOUISIANA AND PLENTIFUL AT THE FARMER’S MARKETS! I realize that has nothing to do with chilaquiles. Sorry. Not really.

  7. I’m actually stuffing my face with aforementioned blueberries as I type. If you’ll give me the address your new computer’s being shipped to, I’ll send you five or six pints.

  8. I love chilaquiles almost as much as breakfast burritos.. almost. I don’t do the Sidral though, I get the Mexico Coke with real sugar. My 10 year old loves Sidral, they have it at Target in a 2 liter here :), the hubby goes for horchata.

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