It was an adventure destined for greatness. My culinary quest of the evening was to create a plate of delicious nachos. Considering my only previous experience with this mysterious dish was the passable example set by the local hipster dive, Lovin’ Cup (whose sandwiches, unlike their nachos, are exceptional), I was feeling a little unsure of what exactly I was supposed to do. The boyfriend and I had been putting off getting tortilla chips for the past few days (for no good reason, really), so I dragged him to the gas station, just hours before the real adventure began. One thing nobody really ever tells you about making nachos is how much of a balancing act it is. I started with the ingredients, set out on the counter:
Ground beef (which I seasoned with pepper, onion powder, and red pepper flakes)
Spicy jalapeño pepper slices
Medium (oops) salsa
and, of course, tortilla chips
After cooking the beef, the adventure began. It was like playing some weird culinary Jenga with myself. First I laid down a base layer of chips. Easy. Then I sprinkled on jalapeños, salsa, and beef. Then I added cheese to the nachos.
And the counter.
And the floor.
After spending five minutes cleaning up the cheesealanche, I started on the next layer. It was the same layering process, but this time, I was playing on level two. The chips were probably the hardest part of that layer, as I hadn’t yet realized that I could use my hand to keep them on the plate, so they ended up, as the cheese had, all over the counter and the floor. I started swearing.
“You okay in there?” the boyfriend asked, clearly concerned. I grumbled in response as I cleaned up the chips.
Finally, after the third layer, I stepped back from the plate of well-piled nachos and admired my handiwork. Though I wished I had realized the hand-corralling trick sooner, I was starting to feel less agitated and more confident in my ability to make nachos. The plate was ready for the oven.
I had the foresight to put the plate on a baking sheet before putting it in the oven.
While the nachos baked at 375°, I cleaned up the prep dishes and wiped down the countertops. I probably took a grand total of ten minutes to clean everything, but for some reason, I hadn’t thought to keep track.
I watched through the little window on the oven door as the cheese slowly continued to melt. After about five(?) more minutes of waiting and picking up various out-of-place objects from around the apartment, I decided to take the nachos out of the oven.
They smelled delicious and looked fantastic.
At the sound of the oven door opening, the boyfriend sneaky-walked over to the kitchen, like a nosy puppy, trying to catch a glimpse of his dinner. He grinned and confirmed my thoughts about the appearance and smell of dinner.
Surprisingly, nothing had rolled off of the pile… probably because the pan was there.
I carried the plate to the table and we dug in.
“These,” boyfriend said between passionate bites of nacho, “are probably the best nachos I have ever had.”
He’s an honest critic, so hearing him say such a thing was really quite flattering. I guess this is a dish I will definitely be making again!