I really should get used to my life being a total roller coaster but nearly 30 years in and it still throws me off a bit when some new big change happens. So for the last 3 weeks I’ve been adjusting to the idea that in a week I’ll be a New Yorker. Yep, with a slightly sad heart and a whole lotta excitement I’m closing the Philly chapter of my adventure, packing up our home and heading to New York. It’s a big leap into a new position and life but one I am more than ready for – in no small part due to the super fantastic group of friends and family who await us there.
The job offer and decision happened rather quickly and I’ve had to be super patient -and quite- over the last three weeks while my clients and coworkers were informed. So I spent a lot of time doing what soothes my mind best; listening to music and cooking. Whether it was in the spirit of the Oscars or just because I find soundtracks to be excellent escape music but I have listened to the soundtracks to Beginners and We Bought A Zoo. The former is a supremely curated collection of old standards from the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, Josephine Baker, Maime Smith and others. It creates a wonderful audible narrative and totally sweeps you up. A great way to intro someone into the more obscure -but no less appealing- side of jazz. While the later is an album written by Jonsi and even though I haven’t seen the movie the score tells a beautiful story. I have tucked into Jonsi’s falsetto and the atmospheric orchestrations it swirls around regularly over the past three weeks and would recommend it highly to anyone in need of a mental check out.
Food wise, well there was the chocolate stout cake and this overhaul of a old family favorite- supper nachos. My mom used to make this as a substantial alternative to snack version. Instead of hiding all the chips underneath the mass of toppings she would bake it into a layered casserole and we’d each be given a bowl of chip to dig in to the warm dish of supper nachos. I made a few tweaks to her recipe – switching out the beef for turkey, using fat free refried beans and foregoing the sour cream – but I managed to keep the flavor. It was a fantastic distraction from all else that was buzzing around my head and made a damn fine dinner.
3/4 C yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 lb ground turkey
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 C tomatoes, diced
1 can refried beans, warmed in the microwave
1 small can black olives, sliced (optional)
1+ C cheddar cheese, shredded
3 green onions, minced
Preheat the oven to 400˚
1. In a medium sauté pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil and when it’s warm (with a slight glisten) add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onions just begin to caramelize, 5-7 minutes.
2. While the onions cook season the ground turkey with the cumin and paprika.
3. Once the onions are caramelized remove from the pan and set aside.
4. Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the warm pan then add the ground turkey and let it brown – breaking it apart into large chunks. Once the meat has a nice very light golden crust add the onions and oregano and let it cook for another minute or two.
5. Remove the turkey onion combo from the heat and into a medium casserole dish.
6. Sprinkle the diced tomatoes on top of the turkey and onions then spread the refried beans on top of that (this is where warming the beans is helpful because it makes it more spreadable). Then if you’re using the olives then top it off with the olives before you sprinkle the cheese over the top of the whole deal.
7. Place in the oven and let it bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling just slightly. Remove and drop the minced green onions over the top.
Serve with a pile of tortilla chips and if you’ve got it extra fix-ins like guacamole, salsa and sour cream.