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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Collegiate Cuisine, Volume Two: Faux-Meaty Burrito

Sometimes, I'm not so desperate for supplies that I have to break down and make the aforementioned Broke Toast. It is at these rare times of plenty that I am apt to make my standby manna, which left to my own devices I will consume on a daily basis. It's meaty and substantial, but also vegetarian friendly, for those of you who lean that way.

What You're Going to Need:
  • a tortilla (the bigger the better, you're going to want to stuff this until it's practically bursting; also, you can go the whole wheat route if you want to be a touch healthier and add some extra flavor)
  • fake meat crumbles
  • black bean and corn salsa (Newman's Own is pretty good. It's not the cheapest but they give their profits to charity, though I'm pretty sure you can't use the salsa as a tax deduction.)
  • shredded cheese (I prefer Mexican blend or Cheddar; be sure to buy the two-pound store brand bags, because that will save you a ton of money in the long run, as well as allow you to be very generous with the addition of cheese)
  • a piece of paper towel
  • a microwave
  • about 5 minutes of prep, 3 minutes of patiently waiting
Step One: Pour out a hamburger patty-sized amount of crumbles onto a plate with a piece of paper towel on it. Nuke 'em for about 45 seconds. If you do it for much longer than that, they'll start exploding and just generally make a mess of your microwave, and you don't want that.

Step Two: Lift up the paper towel with the crumbles on top from two ends. Slide tortilla underneath. Pour crumbles onto center of tortilla. You'll probably have some stragglers that stick to the paper towel, but since being poor AND wasteful is a dangerous combination, be sure to get as much of those crumbles off the paper towel and onto the tortilla (or alternatively, you could just pick them off the paper towel and eat them to tide you over).

Step Three: Pour a generous amount of salsa on top of the crumbles. If you want to get fancy you can use a tablespoon to dish it out in dollops, but you should just pour it out of the jar liberally. Salsa is really a miracle food. It's not all that bad for you and you can even count it as a serving of produce that helps stave off the scurvy.

Step Four: Throw at least two good handfuls of cheese on top. Really go to town with it. However, you should be mindful that you want to be able to fold this burrito up eventually, unless you're into consuming the south-of-the-border cousin of the open-faced sandwich (if you have any common sense at all, you'll fold that thing up and save your microwave from becoming a shrine to filth). [Bonus points if you throw in sauteed peppers and onions, but who are we kidding, if you're reading this recipe you're probably not going to go to that kind of trouble.]

Step Five: Fold that tortilla up. Pull two sides towards each other, with one folding over the other (make sure there's at least a solid inch of overlap, or this burrito is going to fall apart very, very quickly). Then fold each remaining end so that there's at least an inch and a half or two inches of overlap. Flip burrito over while grasping the ends so that it doesn't fall apart. If the burrito is as stuffed with fillings as it rightly should, this should be a delicate, borderline arduous process.

Step Six: Almost there, slugger! Microwave for around a minute, especially if the salsa was in the fridge. If it wasn't, you probably won't have to microwave it for nearly so long. Keep in mind that the longer you microwave the burrito, the hotter it's going to be when it comes time to eat it.

Step Seven: Give that thing a few minutes to cool off, or you're going to burn the bejeezus out of your mouth. And neither of us wants that, right?

Step Eight: Dig in. If you didn't follow my instructions well enough and the burrito falls apart mid-consumption, use a fork to salvage the remains. But you should be striving to keep the plate as clean as possible. It's a labor-saving policy, really.

Buen apetito!

Rumbleseat - California Burritos


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