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Since Halloween is coming I thought I’d give you, gentle reader, a voyage through one of the most spine-tingling, terrifying places that I know.

My mind.

I developed this week’s recipe well before I could cook, but it’s one we still all enjoy.

It’s a savory Mexican torte.  But that’s not how it began life.  And the mental journey on which I’m taking you is how and why I made changes, from the discovery of the original incarnation’s recipe to dinner last night, when we ate slices leftover from the torte I made a few days ago.

Even before I had any cooking skills, I was fascinated by cookbooks.  They were books about food—with pictures.  I might not have been much of a cook, but I’ve always been a champ at eating.I especially loved going to garage sales and the library sale to snag those little cookbook magazines from the checkout line at the supermarket.  The older the issue better, with a special interest in the Pillsbury Bake-Off editions.

In one from the 70s, was a Mexican pie built in a pie crust and layered with hamburger, sliced tomatoes, lots of cheese and sour cream.  I decided to make it.

It was tasty, but it was also so full of fat that after a few bites one felt the need to go for a run, followed by a few hours of calisthenics.  I needed to lighten it up.To make for a dramatic, attractive presentation, I make it in a spring form pan.  I layer it with flour tortillas which I dredge in a sauce.  Between the tortillas I’d put a couple different Mexican ingredients.

For the sauce, I mixed a mild green salsa, some chicken stock, and sour cream.  I put it in a pie tin and coated both sides of the tortillas before I laid them in the spring form.

I took the topping from the original recipe but lightened it.  After the torte had cooked (covered in a parchment round and foil) at 350 to an internal temp of 165, I uncovered it, spread 2 tablespoons of low-fat sour cream on top, and sprinkled ½ cup or so of cheddar.  I then put it under the low broiler until browned.mexi-torta-1After experimenting, I settled on filling.  The center layer was 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken mixed with ½ cup of store-bought queso, like what you eat with chips.  The layers above and below the meat would be my deluxe homemade cantina-style rice.

Super Lucky Happy Fun-time Mexican Rice


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

½ yellow onion, chopped

1 ½ cups Jasmine rice rinsed under water until water runs clear, then drained

2-4 ounce cans chopped green chiles, undrained

1-10.75 ounce can low-sodium tomato soup

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons dry thyme

2 teaspoons Goya adobo powder

2 packets Goya Sazon with achiote

½ cup white wine

2 ½ cups chicken stock

1 cup frozen shoepeg corn

Heat oil in large, heavy pot with lid.  Sautee onions until they start to caramelize. Add the next seven ingredients and cook, stirring frequently until the rice is very lightly toasted.

Add wine and let cook out.  Pour in chicken stock and corn.  When it comes to a boil, lower to medium-low and cover.

Cook, covered, approx. 17 minutes or until liquid has just cooked in.  Take off heat, leave covered, for 15 minutes or so.  Serve, or use as layers in torte.

I hope this trip through my thoughts hasn’t been too traumatizing. I have one last thing to say.Boo!

Thanks for your time.