Sunday, July 19, 2009

Plan B: Tortilla Lasagna Dish TM

I was excited to have lunch with Vanessa So yesterday. Everything was planned out that not even a mild rain could get in the way. When I got out of the shower, the mild rain morphed into a wild beast. The trees were swaying and the drizzle came into a unison of patter. I quickly called Mitch to ask if he would still push through with his photowalk in Greenbelt and frankly I wasn't that surprised when I got his answer. He practically tried to say "What rain?" I would've adapted that kind of thinking only that my lunch date was pregnant. This weather is unforgiving for anyone most especially for emancipating women. I texted to cancel and she agreed.

But I still wanted to go out. It's a mood I sometimes harbor when it rains. Rain could either make me a hermit or force me to make a nomad out of myself. So I ended up calling a few friends, but most of them can't be reached, some weren't answering and few had other plans. There was also an option to follow Mitch at the Greenbelt photo walk, have coffee there and write, but it seemed pointless going there on separate cars. I wanted to do something productive, something relaxing and something that I really want, until I thought of planning for Harvey's upcoming birthday party.

I quickly got my pad and wrote a few stuff when the initial desire to cook possessed me. I wanted to invent a new dish that I could possibly serve up for the party. With a positive and creative mood, I decided I was going to shop for ingredients and cook for the rest of the afternoon. Cook what? I have a couple in mind, but I didn't have any specifics.

When I got to the supermarket it was crowd galore. Was it especially crowded because it's a weekend or because of something else, like panic buying? I might even find my father there, always famous for panic buying. Maybe I got that from him because I am famous for panic buying as well without the proper reason for panicking. I buy stuff I don't really need at the moment. People say I'm wasteful. I say it's thinking long term. Hence, panic buying. But when spending on my own money now I look at labels and size. I've learned to think twice and budget.

So I found myself buying ground beef, four cans of sauces, cheese of different kinds, seasoning, mushrooms, pepper, cream, milk and initially put cans of fruit cocktails and packs of graham crackers for my ref cake dessert. But eventually I had to put it back because I estimated my bill had ended up to be more than a thousand bucks. It was simply too much for experimentation on a single dish.

With the possibility of financially ailing me further, I forced myself to line up at the counter after which I bought Goldilocks Polvoron (my current fixation), my brother's churros, Cafe Latte Zagu and Mitch's sugarfree mamon at Red Ribbon. In 15 minutes, I met the driver at the other building and decided to pass by Pan De Manila to buy pandesal and cream cheese before going home. I was on a rampage.

As soon as I unloaded the stuff, I immediately got to work. I sliced off onions, enlisted the help of our two helpers who cook better than I do and played with Harvey in between (washing my hands of course). Instead of making the usual Pasta Lasagna, I invented a Soft Tortilla Lasagna, a much healthier and mexican-tasting version. Unlike Lasagna which is heavy, tortilla is lighter and it's easier to do. You don't have to cook the lasagna and the tortilla wrapper costs cheaper. A pack of 12 pcs of Tortilla Wrapper could amount to filling 1 square of Pyrex dish and it woud only cost 80 bucks. It's more organized and composed than the usual lasagna.

After cooking all the meat, the sauce, adding the mushroom, cheese and mexican seasoning, I did my art work in piling up the tortilla in the dish. Aside from just putting cheese on top, I cooked a white creamy, milky sauce to smother the top of the lasagna. I put it on the microwave for 5 minutes and letting it cool down for more than 30 minutes. In an hour, I have my Tortilla Lasagna Dish ready for consumption.

Ideally, I should have let the dish cool down overnight to thicken and absorb the sauce, but I wanted my housemates to try and tell me if it's any good. I served it up to everyone in the house piping hot and thankfully verdict was heavenly. They all loved it. Aside from the side dish of pandesal with herbed cream cheese, they all loved the Tortilla Lasagna. For them it has a more distinct meaty taste and the dish isn't that heavy. The consistency is doughy and soft. Plus they love the garlicky and milky contrast to that of the Italian-Mexican flavor. My sister, who is more of a pasta expert than I am, loved the dish and bowed down to it. Mitch also dropped by from the photo walk and loved it as well. After he had his helping, he asked me to save some for him when he gets back in a day or two.

It was a good decision to stay at home. then stay at home. I achieved my thirst for creativity and made people happy. I also applied my planning stages for Harvey's upcoming birthday party. Nevermind the expense and the effort, because everything was worth it. When canceling a plan, we shouldn't fret because plans Bs are sometimes funner and more productive.

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