By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
It’s hard to write a happy post when many of my blogging friends live in Florida and hell is raining down on them with unrelenting fury right now.
I’d seen news reports of mandatory evacuees being turned away from shelters or left standing in unending lines for five hours or more in sultry Florida heat, still not safely inside as the first outer bands of Irma start passing through. It is very hard to think of food in the midst of such disturbing reports that just leave me in tears.
Florida used to be my home. I lived in Satellite Beach in the late 1980’s. Back then, all they talked about was David, which was a cat1 and really only grazed the coast. It hadn’t been very long before that I’d watched as Gilbert, a cat 5 storm, tore through Jamaica leaving nothing but devastation. So living on the barrier island there always left me obsessed with weather reports and tracking possible storms, fearing the worst. But it never came.
But it was what Floridians did. Watch storms. Some friends of ours left Florida for work in Boston- all that time watching storms in the Sunshine State with nothing going on, yet within weeks of arriving in Massachusetts, they were hit by an extratropical storm. Go figure.
While I share my recipe for finger food for the big game, while others perhaps eat cold mush out of cans with the return of power nowhere in sight, it is with sober regard.
While we cheer our teams and live it up with yummy food and drink, let’s not forget that not everyone gets to do this. That it is only “there but by the grace of God go I” that we do anything at all. Let’s keep our Florida friends in our thoughts, and also our Texas and other gulf coast friends recently ravaged, and as well, hope and pray for a quiet hurricane season hereafter.
So don’t mind me not talking about the food—the weather is all that has been on my mind. Take care friends, and stay safe.
Beef Seasoning Ingredients (Taco Seasoning for half pound of ground beef):
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely minced onion
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- pinch salt
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 32 ounces frozen Tater Tots
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup chopped tomato
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced pitted black olives
- 1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapenos
- Mexican crema or sour cream (as needed)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Place tater tots on a baking sheet and bake as directed (20-25 minutes) or until crisp (mine took a full ten minutes longer for some reason).
- Brown beef with beef seasonings and drain any fat.
- Pit the avocado and mash the fruit, mixing with the seasonings for guacamole.
- To make the Totchos, spread half the baked tots on a baking sheet (I used an oven-proof platter but turn the oven temp down to accommodate max temp for that).
- Top with 1 cup of the cheese and half the toppings except the crema and guacamole.
- Bake for a few minutes until the cheese melts.
- Top with the rest of the Tots, another cup of cheese, the other toppings except the guac and crema then finish with the last cup of cheese.
- Bake some more until that melts (doing this twice makes sure the middle cheese gets all melty-gooey).
- Finish by topping with the guac and crema (and a few bits of scallion for color). I also added a little salsa at serving time.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
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