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number 5

Chiliquiques (for two)

by Ivan Lerner

This recipe is inspired by the delicious Mexican breakfast meal “Chilaques.” Because I’ve strayed from “the text” (and because I’m an egotistical tyrant), I’ve renamed it, but if you’re in a Mexican restaurant and you see chilaques on the menu, try them.

Chiliquiques [pronounced “chill-ee-chee-kways”] are pure comfort food, and because tortilla chips are a prime ingredient, I think that kids would especially go for this recipe. Kids dig it when you use “junk” food in a “regular” meal. But why should kids get all the fun? My friend Rachelle came over last Friday and we had some chiliquiques for dinner, and she said she loved them. The recipe below is enough to feed two people well—meaning that with small portions, you could feed four. If you want to increase the size of the meal, just use your common sense. I’m sure that doubling the size of the ingredients would probably double the size of the meal. I think…

But anyway: after dinner, Rachelle and I watched DVDs of the documentary Hell House. I think it’s safe to say that both of us highly recommend the film; it was the second time each of us had seen it. Then I popped in Mad Monster Party—Rachelle had never seen it, and was awestruck. Produced by Rankin & Bass, the same team that brought us Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer, Mad Monster Party is a stop-motion puppet animation musical starring all your favorites: Frankenstein, Dracula and the Mummy, to name but a few. With a fabulously jazzy score, a script by Mad magazine creator Harvey Kurtzman, character designs by Mad cartoonist Jack Davis, catchy tunes and vocal work by Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller, the movie is an obvious inspiration for Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas. Mad Monster Party’s animation isn’t as smooth as Burton’s movie, but its humor is broader (very Borscht belt—mmmmmm, borscht...), it’s sexier (the character of Francesca is a knockout), its “hero” is a mega-nerd (a catastrophically clumsy cross between Jimmy Stewart and Wally Cox), and there’s a pervasive sense of total anarchy. (Not to mention some beautiful artistic flourishes, like the image of a soap bubble dissolving into the shape of the moon.) It’s like the whole movie is the “Oogie-Boogie” scene from A Nightmare Before Christmas. If you haven’t seen Mad Monster Party, try and rent it: it was recently released on DVD by Anchor Bay with a crisp transfer and fine-tuned soundtrack. It’s perfect to watch after eating some delicious chiliquiques!

For the chiliquiques, you’ll need:
5 eggs
2 Goya chorizos (the kind that come in a pack)
1 onion
1/2 red pepper
chopped garlic
spices: curry powder, garlic powder, black pepper, parsley, oregano, chili powder
olive oil
tortilla chips (use the plain kind)

Chop onion, red pepper and chorizo finely. Keep separate.

Sauté onions in olive oil until almost translucent, then add chorizo. Stir well. In about a minute, add chopped red pepper. Stir well, mix together, then add a handful of semi-crunched tortilla chips.

(Crunch up the chips in your hands when taking them out of the bag.) Stir everything together well.

Add chopped garlic. Lower heat.

Beat the 5 eggs together, after adding a splash of milk and the spices (flavor to taste, but make sure and use LOTS of curry powder). When cooking with so many eggs, it behooves the budget conscious chef to crack open the eggs in a separate dish or cup (I use a coffee cup), and then add the eggs to the larger bowl for mixing.

Mix thoroughly! Really beat together the eggs and the spices---whip it into a froth! (I use a fork, although I probably should use a whisk…)

Stir the onions, chorizo, etc. one more time, then add a couple of handfuls of tortilla chips, then pour over the eggs. Mix thoroughly, add another handful of chips, then keep stirring and mixing until the eggs are cooked. You’re going to have to cook the chiliquiques a little longer than you would an omelet because there’s so much raw egg in the nooks and crannies of the chips. But don’t dry it out too much either, this is a process to keep your eyes on! But it’ll cook soon enough and then you can divvy it up and set down to eat.

An aside: The tortilla chip isn’t just for snacks, you know. I like throwing in a handful when I’m reheating some of my bean stew. I like the chips’ texture when soggy. Tortilla chips also added texture to some cream of chicken soup I’d made.

In the future, I intend to use this recipe with scallions and either shredded sausage or stir-fried tofu.

Ivan Lerner keeps trying to work for gigantic, soulless Megacorporations – but “they” won’t let him!

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