For once this week, my cooking endeavors did not involve me alone and stressed out in my kitchen, swearing profusely as I attempted not to puncture my hand or royally overcook everything because I just can’t seem to find that sweet spot. No, dear reader, this time it was a group effort, where my impatience and forgetfulness was met with a little more accountability. If I managed to make a flop out of it, only a small group of people would hate me instead of just myself. No pressure. After a long day at work, a friend and I decided chicken and cheese flautas would be a solid way to end our very Monday-esque Monday. During a trip to the grocery store, we stocked up on the simple ingredients we would need: corn tortillas, avocados, pico de gallo, rice, black beans, chicken, limes, and cheese. Pushing past other shoppers in a competitive race to find avocados that weren’t so under-ripe that they could be weaponized, and limes that weren’t organic, proved to be our greatest challenges as we dodged our way through the grocery store. Who needs organic limes anyway? To start, my friend and I stood warily over our individual roasted chickens, plucking off the white meat and shredding it into a bowl. As both of us are freaked out by meat, particularly touching it, you can imagine the plethora of sighs, side-eyes of disgust, and general whininess. On a positive note, we both agreed that at least we weren’t having to touch raw meat. Once we had decided we were over tearing apart our little birdies, we sprinkled in Señor Gusto shredded cheese (not an ad, just love the name and the fact that Señor was emphasized with a tiny mustache) and mixed it in with the chicken. Next came what ended up being one of the most challenging parts of the evening, aside from trying to avoid being singed by our vat of oil: wrapping the tortillas. My first attempt was a pretty good indicator of how the rest of mine were going to look, as it fell apart instantly. We quickly figured out that if we didn’t toothpick this shit together, we might as well not have wrapped them at all. Not my prettiest work, but hey. As I took over the tortilla wrapping (and tearing), my friend bravely championed the role of cooking the flautas in a pan of hot oil. It was probably for the best that I was kept far away from handling what was essentially boiling lava on our stove, though my friend ended up getting burned due to the spitting oil. Clearly, neither of us should be near hot things. Warned not to get “avocado hand,” (barf) I took on the task of slicing up the avocados and scooping them into a bowl so my friend’s family members, who were waiting on the outliers of the kitchen for dinner, could begin the process of mashing and stirring them into holy guacamole. I next moved on to cooking up the beans in a pot, which I diligently kept an eye on until I wandered off to find myself a hard cider and completely forgot that I had left the poor beans to incinerate on the stove. Thankfully, my friend is far more responsible than me and flipped the stove off as the black beans began to boil. Once the rice had finished cooking, dinner was served. I dished up two flautas and doused them in guac and even more cheese, followed by a side of beans and rice. I gotta say, I don’t have any complaints on this one. It was a simple meal shared with friends containing all the delicious Mexican ingredients a lady could want. Shockingly, I had never attempted to cook up these little bastards before, so we’ll see if they turn out nearly as well should I attempt this feat again. The crispiness of the tortillas combined with the gooey, salty cheese, guac, and warm chicken made for an excellent way to end the first day of the work week. With a hint of jalapeño, the black beans had just enough of a kick to keep from being bland. The evening was a great reminder that sometimes sharing food with others is far more filling than sitting by myself on a dirty futon trying to decide whether to finish the disgusting slop I just made or throw in the towel and go get Taco Bell.
Amanda Push is a writer who wishes she lived with a cat and just wants to learn how to not eat like a college student anymore. Contact her at [email protected]