Sunday, September 20, 2009

Prom Night 1985: Enjoying the Ride with Taco Bakes, Gremlin Cookies, My Gold Mask, Kim Carnes, The Drums and Diamond Rings

Happy Birthday Eliza! Eliza, my co-worker and friend, is the type of person to go all out on her birthday. Last year it was a week of festivities. This year she decided to condense her celebration into one evening, an 80's prom. We would dress up, have dinner and appetizers at her house, and then head out to the beach front for some dancing fun.

My attire was a combination of two styles, a Billy Idol cut off shirt meets Don Johnson's ugly patterned, button-down polo. I bottomed it off with some skinny jeans, yellow pumas and a pair of police sunglasses. It wasn't the powder blue suit I had hoped for but it was ridiculous just the same.

For the dinner I cooked up a main course and quick dessert in honor of the decade of excess. The main dish was my own version of something my mother used to make all the time, the Hamburger Helper Taco Bake Dinner. According to the Food Timeline,General Mills introduced both Tuna Helper and Taco Bake in 1985. I've yet to create a vegetarian version of Tuna Helper, but the Taco Bake is covered.

Taco Bake inspired by 1985
(printable version)
-1 Bag of Vegetarian Burger Crumbles
-1 packet of taco seasoning (I used this recipe from Closet Cooking)
-olive oil
-1 bunch of scallions, chopped
-2 Tbsp. flour
-1 cup of veggie stock
-2/3 a cup of dried pinto beans, soaked
-1 can of enchilada sauce
-12 corn tortillas
-1 cup of shredded colby-jack cheese
-3 stemmed green chilies
-1 cup of crushed tortilla chips (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a bowl, mix the burger crumbles with taco seasoning until crumbles are thoroughly covered. Set aside.

3. Heat a tiny amount of olive oil, over medium heat, in a skillet. Add the scallions and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Add the stock. Stir until the flour and stock have combined to create a smooth consistency. Add the pinto beans and set aside.

4. Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking pan (or a lightly greased metal one) with half a can of enchilada sauce. Layer in six corn tortillas. Put all of the pinto bean mixture on top of the corn tortillas. Top the pinto bean mixture with part of the cheese, green chilies, and remaining enchilada sauce.

5. Layer six more corn tortillas followed by the burger crumble mixture and remaining chilies. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover the baking pan with tin foil and cook for 30 minutes.

6. For an added crunch, after thirty minutes take off the tin foil, top with crumbled tortilla chips and cook uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. Sometimes I add this step but I did not do it for the one pictured at the top.

Hamburger Helper Taco Bake, just like my mother didn't use to make it. That's a good thing.

For dessert I used this recipe from recipezaar. I picked it because my favorite 1980's character is Gizmo from the Gremlins movies. I tried my best to shape the cookies like him. They don't work but they don't not work either. The only modification I made was replace the miniature M&M's (which were launched throughout the United States in the 1980's) with full size Reese's Pieces (which were).

Late last month John O'Regan (of the D'Urbervilles) made an appearance on Pitchfork's track reviews with "All Yr Songs." This song, released by his side project Diamond Rings, is super infectious and poppy. Thanks to the 80's inspired video, I can't think of a better post to associate "All Yr Songs" with.

One of my favorite track's of the 80's comes from J-Fur's mother's work out record. You read that right, record. How anyone ever thought it was a good idea to do jumping jacks and running in place near a record player is beyond me. But skips and scratches aside, she made it work as best she could. Here's the video for the 80's version of "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes.

Recently "Bette Davis Eyes" was covered by My Gold Mask. They haven't done a whole lot to it but when a song is super catchy in the first place, I guess you don't have to. Thanks to My Old Kentucky Blog for posting the new version.

Another new song that owes a lot to the eighties is The Drums and their song "I felt Stupid."