Hello and Crispitos

Well, I know that you’ve all been on pins and needles today; waiting and waiting for me to put this post up. But, some things are worth waiting for. And, as my mother will tell you, communicating with a medical student is one of those things: difficult, but worth it. Hopefully, you will feel the same.

I’m just gonna get right down to it: my name is Griffin and I LOVE food. I love everything about food. I love eating food, cooking food, reading about food, shopping for food, growing food, pretty much anything you can do with food. So my job on here is just to talk about whatever I want to about food.

I also do some other stuff…mostly medical school. It’s not as glamorous as Hollywood would have you think, but it’s not too bad either. So I’ll try to throw in some tips on how to eat well on a budget (I’m already about $20,000 in debt–thanks, America) and with limited time (that’s self explanatory). But, I like other things, and occasionally they will probably come up, too.

But today, I thought I’d just start simple and share a recipe from this week. There’s also a story behind the recipe. First the story.

For me, a meal is more than just food (at least I try to make it that way), this particular meal is basically all about nostalgia. While I was in high school, the state of Alabama decided that the reason we were so fat was that kids could eat food with fat and sugar in them at school.

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Here is Alabama being the third fattest state in the nation in 2007!

The Alabama state legislature is FAMOUS for making excellent decisions, see this law for instance, so they passed a law limiting the amount of fat and sugar that could be in our food at school. This was a problem, because our school did have pretty good food (for school food, at least) before this law. But after the law, one thing was still good: crispitos. A crispito is basically a fried (I guess they started baking them…) bastardized enchilada covered with canned nacho cheese sauce with some salsa and lettuce. And my friends and I ate them almost every day. We loved them. A couple of years ago, my friend Taylor told me that he was craving some crispitos just like we had in high school. I decided I could do better than that and make my own for us to eat. So I did. And this is what I came up with. They are better tasting than the Hoover High School cafeteria ever made them, and better for you than the Alabama legislature could mandate. I hope you enjoy them, at least the pictures.

A word of warning: I never really measure anything when I’m cooking. I do everything by sight and taste. And I think you should to. You’re the one who’s gonna have to look at the food while you serve it, and you’re the one who’s gonna have to taste the food. But, I will do my best to give appropriate measurements.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 5-6 jalapeños
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • a lime
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 10 tortillas
  • 3 T butter or oil, plus more butter or margarine
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 lb grated cheddar cheese, approximately
  • chopped spinach
  • 1 bottle of beer, whatever type you have, optional
First, I like to make my own pico de gallo. You need to make it a couple of days in advance. You just chop the tomato, one of the onions, about half the cilantro and some of the garlic cloves (2-3) and jalapeños (2-3) into small, even pieces. Mix them together, add about a tsp of salt and pepper and squeeze the juice of about half of the lime in there. Let it sit and work it’s magic.
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You'll end up with this

Be careful when you are chopping jalapeños, or you can end up with this:

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not cool

I prided myself on never having rubbed jalapeños in my eye. Rule of the kitchen: don’t get cocky.

Next, to make the crispitos:

Chop up the other onion, and the remaining garlic and jalapeños.

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In a large skillet begin to sauté the vegetables. This is where I added the beer. I poured about a half a cup of the beer into the vegetables and poured the rest in the beans I was making. Once the vegetables are soft, add the beef and cook until it is brown and crumbly.

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Vegetables, beans, and beer

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I couldn't get a photo where the meat didn't have this weird color. My lighting options are limited. I swear this meat was not this color.

After the meat is done, drain the mean and vegetables with a colander. This is where I like to season the meat. I used salt, pepper, cumin and coriander. But use whatever you have and make it taste how you want it to taste.

After the meat is drained and seasoned, place a few tablespoons of the mixture in the middle of each tortilla and roll them up tight. Place the enchiladas in a lightly greased 13×9 inch baking dish.

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Spread softened butter or margarine over the enchiladas. This puts the “crisp” in crispito. Bake the crispitos at 350° for about 15-20 minutes. Then turn the broiler on low and let them brown and crisp up for just a few minutes. Be careful, because broilers go from really fun to really bad really quick. You will end up with charcoal if you don’t watch it.

Now for the cheese sauce.

I guess you could just buy cheez whiz or something. But, that’s kinda gross. I like to make my own sauce. And it is easy. I just make a roux with cheddar. If you’ve never made a roux before, don’t worry, it’s super easy, and then you can impress people by using words like roux (pronounced “roo” for you non-francophiles). All you have to do is melt 3 tablespoons of butter (or heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil) over medium low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of flour and mix well. This should make a paste. You want to cook this over medium heat for about a minute. Now, pour in 2 cups of milk and whisk like crazy. The only things you really have to look out for are cooking the roux too hot and not whisking enough, both of which will mess up the texture of the roux. Now add the cheese. I like a lot of cheese, so I added almost a full pound. You can add as much as you want. After you add the cheese and stir it in, season the sauce with salt and pepper. I also added some coriander and cumin here, too. And you’re done. Super easy.

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I LOVE CHEESE.

Now, top the crispitos with the spinach (because it’s better for you than iceberg lettuce), some pico, and the cheese. I served them with rice and beans.

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I hope you enjoy them! See you in a month.

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About griffcollins
I'm trying to follow the Great Physician while learning to be a physician. I also like to cook every now and then, and I love watching 30 Rock.

2 Responses to Hello and Crispitos

  1. Pingback: Fried Green Tomatoes! « Tellurian Things

  2. Pingback: Chicken Cordon Bleu « Tellurian Things

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