Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mexican pile-up and love

This summer it will have been 9 years since Jamie and I met, working at a summer camp called Camp Medley.  He worked in the office and I was a camp counselor.  I was seventeen, he was twenty-four, the handsome older guy who was way out of my league.  I had a crush on him all summer.  But, oh joy, he did eventually notice me.  There was some flirting.  

Jamie and I on backwards day at Camp Medley

Then one night we had "The Talk" out on the picnic table under the stars, and floated our way through the last two weeks of camp before we started officially dating.  The first time we held hands was while walking down to the wharf for fireworks on the last night of camp. The rest is history!  

One hallmark of that summer was a meal we had every week which quickly became everyone's favourite: Mexican Pileup.  All the deliciousness of tacos, all the joy and abandonment of a pile of food on a plate.  
For us this meal is a staple of our regular menu and it goes all the way back to that summer when we first fell in love.  Excuse me while I go reminisce...

Ah, young love.  He's my man and I love him even more than I did then.  Like a fine wine, love really does get better with time.  

So, back to the totally un-romantic recipe, making this meal is easy as making rice, cooking hamburger and chopping veggies.  It's essentially tacos but without bothering with trying to keep it all in the taco.  Everyone knows it all falls out anyway...  Its a losing battle. Just make it a Pile. 
Here is what you do:

Mexican Pile-Up

1 tbsp olive oil (use this spicy oil if you like)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb hamburger
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 cup rice
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
5-6 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup grated cheese
sour cream

refried beans
nacho cheese sauce

Put your rice on to cook, however you usually do that.  Brown rice is healthiest.
Heat oil in a skillet, toss in the onions. Brown for a few minutes then add the garlic, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add beef and spices and mix well.  Cook until brown and deliciously taco-ey.
While your beef is cooking, chop your pepper, tomato and mushrooms. Oh and grate your cheese while you're at it.

There are those who prefer to put a layer of chips first, but my husband believes he has perfected the art of the pile-up by putting rice first, so it doesn't slide around.  I for one find the chips get soggy underneath and prefer to use the chips to scoop it up.  So, rice, meat, then cheese so it will melt a bit.

Now top with veggies. 

Generous dollops of salsa and sour cream complete this pile of Mexican awesomeness.

Jamie likes to mix his up.  I prefer the un-sullied look of a clean pile.  This really is a subjective science, but a science nonetheless.

Enjoy with tortilla chips or homemade pita chips like we did the other night!

No comments:

Post a Comment