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cooking alone

April 10, 2010

When Sara went to the Flatstock poster show at SXSW last month, I had a chance to revisit some of my favorite bachelor recipes. One of my staples from my long, long years of solitude is the frozen burrito:

On the blog today, I’m going to share my classic recipe for sprucing up these carbo-sacks. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a bag of frozen burritos. I like the El Monterey ones pictured above. They are your basic bean and cheese burrito, without all those distracting “roasted” vegetables and spices you find in upscale brands like Annie’s or Trader Joe’s (or is it Trader José’s?)
  • 3-6 slices of cheese, depending on size of cheese block. I like Tillamook for its distinctive graphic design
  • approximately 2 tbs. salsa, whatever kind you like
  • a squirt of BBQ sauce (again, whatever you have)
  • a sheet of aluminum foil
  • a toaster oven
  • eating utensils

Step 1: collect necessary items.

Step 1a: If you are living alone (or your counterpart is out of town), you may have to wash: one plate, one knife and one fork. If you have these, don’t worry about the dishes and skip to the next step.

Step 2: Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the counter, if available. Any flat surface will work here.

Step 3: Fold the edges of the foil. This will make it fit into your toaster oven, as well as catch stray drippings that would otherwise drop into the toaster and burn. You’d be smelling that stuff for weeks.

Step 4: Lay two or three burritos on the foil, then put your cheese slices on top of each one. Be careful to balance these as close to the center of the burrito as possible, as heating will cause excess cheese to slough off.

Step 5: Put a small amount of salsa on two of the burritos. I like to use a fork to scoop the salsa, to keep it from being too runny.

Step 6: BBQ sauce goes on the last one. This is sort of a “dessert” burrito.

Step 7: Taking care not to upend the burritos, lift the foil and place it into the toaster oven. Set the temperature to about 425°F, and run the toaster for 25-30 minutes, depending on the age and quality of your toaster. When my brother and I moved into our first Chicago apartment, the previous tenant had abandoned a few things that we decided to keep. Some things – like the three planters full of weeds on the balcony – we kept because we were too lazy to get rid of them, but the ancient toaster oven stayed on out of necessity.

It was dirty, full of old toast, and only half worked. I think it was a little dangerous, too, because it would occasionally blow a circuit when the toast was finished. When Rob got married, I got a studio apartment. My consolation prize: a toaster oven.

Sara would not touch the thing, though, so we have a lovely silver model today.

Actually, this one is too hot, and the cheese turns to brown flakes if you’re not careful.

Step 8: When the toaster pings, or buzzes, or blows a circuit, take the burritos out. The foil will be super hot, so maybe go down to the basement and flip the circuit breaker while it cools a bit. You’ll need to peel the burritos off of the foil, due to cheese adhesion, so hopefully you’ve spent the last 25-30 minutes preparing your plate, knife and fork.

Step 9: Get them on a plate, add some fried plantains, and eat the meal on the couch, while watching Star Trek or something.

(Sorry about the picture quality on this post, but Sara took the good camera with her. I would say that the pictures are inspired by this blog, but I like that blog, so I won’t.)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2010 5:28 pm

    I was all up on that dessert burrito. And then you had to ruin it by getting fancy with the fried plantains! Who are you, Martha Stewart?

  2. April 10, 2010 6:33 pm

    I thought this post was pretty hilarious until I got to: “This is sort of a ‘dessert’ burrito.” Oh man…


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