I certainly hope that you’re not trying to dig into the depths of my culinary prowess this week. If that is indeed your intention, you may be greatly disappointed as I have nothing of great import to share with you on the forefront of food and entertainment.
Rather, I have a tale of nonsense and nuance; a sordid fable of another Halloween come and gone. For, as the kids slowly drift into slumber after another masterful haul of sugar-laced treats that no human should ever consume, I sit down to think about the many evenings on this very date that have preceded tonight.
We have never really been “Halloween people.” I mean, when I was a kid, I would get dressed up to get some free grub, but beyond that it was always to win a bar contest or some other type of festivity. It simply wasn’t my thing. Nor was it my wife’s thing.
Over the past 21 years, though, things changed. As the kids grew, we got more and more into the spirit of things and would go with the flow. As the kids would ask us to dress up, we would oblige, often making fools out of ourselves and for good reason.
Tonight, as we headed out to trick-or-treat, we all jumped in to the golf cart that I rented; I had every intention of making this a splendid Halloween for the tykes since it’s been a rocky year, to say the least. Needless to say, the damn thing’s battery was dead, despite being plugged in all day.
Taking a deep breath only after practicing my British vernacular (I admire their propensity for swearing), we regrouped and loaded into my daughter’s VW Vanagon to take care of business. I would stop in accordance to any good mission-insertion SOP, the kids would jump ship and bolt up the driveway, stopping only long enough to be asked why they were still trick-or-treating at their age, and then make their way back to the van, yelling “clear!” when all were in and safe.
It was a strange combination of feeling like high-speed Halloween shenanigans and robbing people, with me piloting the getaway van. Either way, we had a great time and I’m sure that it will be a tradition that we will continue. Of course, it won’t be for the candy, but rather for the nostalgia of the evening.
One of my favorite parts of the evening was when Gabbie, my 16-year old, said that she wanted to just go through the neighborhood and trick-or-treat right around Christmastime … just to see what people would do.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a splendid idea, and the fact that it came from my teenaged daughter makes it all the better. I’m proud to say that they’re growing up strange, like me.
And as we finished our silly night, the kids came home to the most Pinterest-inspired drivel about which I’ve ever written. But the pico and guacamole were fresh, and the chicken was top-shelf. Sometimes it’s about the memories and not the food. But if the ingredients are good to start …
for 4 servings
8 eight-inch Tortillas
1.5 pounds Cheddar blend (sharp, mild et al)
1.5 pounds Grilled Chicken breast (recipe follows)
Butter, as needed
2 cups Pico de gallo (recipe follows)
1 cup Guacamole
1/2 cup Crema fresca (or sour cream … not the same)
- I have sunk to new depths in my recipe creation with this one. If you can’t figure this one out, then there may be an opportunity to hire me for basic cooking classes; of course, at a premium
- Smear some of the butter on a baking sheet and place four of the tortillas flat. If they don’t fit, simply use two sheets
- Spread the cheese over the tortillas evenly and top with chicken
- Stack the four top tortillas (if you’re saving this recipe for next year) and carve out uniform jack-o-lantern patterns in them
- Put the top tortilla on and bake until toasty and the cheese is melted
- Simply cut each quesadilla into 6 portions and serve with guacamole, sour cream (preferably crema fresca which you can purchase at la Sierra in Selbyville) and the pico
Grilled Chicken Breast
for 4 servings
1 1/2 pound Chicken breast, cleaned
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Hank’s Hot sauce (your preference)
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
1 Tbsp. Granulated garlic
1 tsp. Black pepper, ground
a pinch dry rosemary
a pinch dry thyme
- all ingredients and allow to sit for at least an hour
- When ready, simply grill until done and cut into strips
- Keep warm until service
Pico de gallo
makes about 2 cups
2 Medium tomatoes, diced with seeds
1 Jalapeno or serrano chile, seeded and minced
1/2 red onion, diced and purged (see below)
1/2 cup Cilantro leaves, whole but not packed
2 Scallions, sliced
1 large Garlic clove, smashed and minced
- To purge the onions, simply estimate about 1 Tbsp. of salt per cup of onions. Sprinkle this on top of the diced onions and cover with hot water (not boiling)
- Allow to rest for 15 minutes, and then rinse very well and pat dry before using
- Combine all ingredients and allow them to sit for at least two hours to marry