Mmmmm, cheeeeese

23 06 2009

A follow up: Before I implemented my Fordist approach to lunch production, I did make a stove-top version of the mushroom/cheese/tortilla thingamajig.

It’s similar to the, um, m/c/t thingamajig, but good to eat right then and there!

For a single serving, I simply saute mushrooms & peppers (no tofu), season, then scoop onto mustard-smeared and cheese-strewn tortilla, roll, then return to pan (low heat), to allow cheese to melt and produce a nice, crispy exterior (I flip the roll when one side is golden; I also flatten it—because that’s how I roll [sorry, couldn’t resist]—but it’s your lunch: do what you like).

I eat eat it by hand, but do note that  juice usually drips out of end. Oh, and I do use hand-rolled tortillas for the EatRightNow version—I do notice the difference.

Other cheese-tortilla variations:

If I want to be neat, I combine a sharp cheddar and decent mozzarella cheese on an olive oil-smeared tortilla, add salt & pepper, fold into neat package, and toast on stove top (low heat) flipping once.

Sometimes I add a thin slice of tofu; sometimes I smear tortilla w/pesto; sometimes I add marinara sauce internally; sometimes I use marinara sauce as a dip.

If I want to be messy, I simply turn this all into a quesadilla, smashing the torts as flat as possible and causing cheese to ooze out of the sides and bubble into a crispy golden deliciousness.

Hot cheese and tortillas. You really can’t go wrong.


Feeeeeed me!

23 06 2009

Comin’ home on the train tonight, I had a coupla’ ideas for a blog post.

Got home, pooft, gone.

Still, here’s something I can contribute: Lunch!

I don’t really enjoy cooking, but as a cheap bastid, I prefer to bring my lunch to work rather than eat out. Thus, the cheese-and-mushroom wrap, easy to make a bunch ahead of time, handles freezing-and-thawing well, and, post-thaw, ready in 2 1/2-to-4 quick nuker* minutes!

  • 2 packages mushrooms (I buy pre-cut, since I’m too lazy to chop ’em up, but if you like slicing fungi, go for the whole ones; alternatively, you could use an egg slicer.)
  • Approx half a package of firm tofu, sliced into 1 cm cubes
  • 1 large fresh hot pepper, or generous tsp of hot pepper flakes
  • Approx 2 cups cheese, coarsely grated
  • tortillas
  • spicy brown mustard
  • salt
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat oil in large skillet, along with pepper flakes. (If using fresh chilis, wait until oil is hot to add).

When oil is hot, add chilis, mushrooms, and tofu. Season liberally. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally.

While mushrooms and tofu are cooking, grate cheese.

Prepare tortillas: spread mustard liberally around tortilla, then add the desired amount of cheese in middle of tortilla.

When the liquid has evaporated or nearly evaporated from the skillet, the mushrooms & tofu are done. Remove from heat.

Ladle mushroom/tofu mix over cheese in center of tortilla. Add more cheese to top, then fold and roll tortilla.** Repeat until shroom/tofu mix gone. (If using a medium sized tortilla, this should yield about 9 wraps. Burritos. Whatever.)

Wrap each rolled tortilla in plastic (works better than waxed paper to keep stuffed tortillas together). Double bag and toss in freezer.

If having for lunch, remove 1 or 2 from freezer the night before to thaw in fridge. Remove plastic, set on decent microwave-proof plate (i.e., not styrofoam or any sort of material which will melt upon contact with hot cheese), cover with waxed paper or paper towel (to keep tortilla from drying out) and nuke* on high 2 1/2 to 4 minutes (depending upon strength of microwave). Do note that it is highly likely the mushroom roll will at least partly come apart, so make sure you have a big enough plate.

Oh, and you’ll need a fork for this baby.

*If you don’t have a microwave, reheat on stovetop, in a small covered saucepan, on low-to-med-low heat. The point is to give the innards a chance to heat through before you burn the tortilla.

**Handy roll technique: fold tortilla in half over shroom/tofu/cheese mix, then pull top half toward you with fingers. Roll, either folding in sides as you roll or, if you have space for another roll, after the first one. Set aside, fold down. Or just go to Chipotle and watch how they roll their humungous burritos—same idea.

A few additional points:

  • I buy the cheap button shrooms because they’re, well, cheap. And in this dish, I prefer them to the so-called ‘baby bella’ shrooms.
  • Similarly, I forgo the more expensive hand-rolled tortillas in favor of regular ones—since they’ll be frozen, you won’t really notice the difference, anyway.
  • That said, you will know the difference if you use fresh tortillas over those that have been sitting around in your fridge for a coupla’ weeks: fresh tortillas roll soooo much easier.
  • And, continuing the cheap/frozen theme, no need to use expensive cheese. I like a sharp or extra sharp cheddar, but monterey jack, brick, colby, or any other good melty cheese will work. (I’m not a fan of American cheese product, but hey, if that’s your thing. . . .)
  • Ditto with the mustard: save the grey poupon for your fresh sandwiches.
  • Since I commute near a Trader Joe’s, I use their sliced button mushrooms, firm tofu, and regular tortillas. (I also buy my cheese there.) Why? Cheap. If I could find something cheap and more local, that’s what I’d go with, but in the meantime, this works.
  • Finally, it’s painfully obvious that you can swap ingredients in or out as you see fit. I like spicy mustard and the kick from the peppers; if you don’t, then leave them out.

As I mentioned, I’m not really a big cook, so I like that in about an hour I can prepare a bunch of meals, to be eaten over the course of a week or a month. And, as a bonus, these wraps/burritos/rolls actually taste better eaten the next day or after having been frozen & thawed than if eaten that day. I don’t know if the flavors get a chance to meld or something funky happens in the cold dark, but there it is.

And there it is. Relatively fast, relatively cheap, relatively hard to mess up, and pretty darned tasty.

Good eatin’!