Ok, I know that isn’t how the “dad” saying goes. I live with a dad who is constantly coming up with new twists on old phrases. It’s just kind of rubbed off on me.
Seriously, though, this recipe is just the thing to bridge the civilian and military kitchens. It’s not quite simple enough that service members on deployment or in training can whip it up out on a mission, but it is simple enough that even if you aren’t a “kitchen magician” you can pull this off. Your military service member will very likely recognize the Chipotle Tortillas as coming from an MRE.
If you’ve never made a Galette before, then this recipe is a great way to break into what is really very simple and elegant. Galettes are most often fruit-based, but I love this twist of savory flavors! What’s not to love about fresh tomatoes, basil, and feta? It can only get better with the addition of kick from the Chipotle Tortillas in MRE Menu 24.
What is the benefit of bringing the civilian and military worlds together in the kitchen? Glad you asked! Admittedly I’m a romantic at heart. Me and Anne Shirley who believed that “the culinary arts also feed the soul”. I don’t want to go too deep here, but I do think there is merit to be found both for civilians and military members in bringing the culinary worlds together.
May I suggest a couple of ideas of how to use MRE Remix recipes?
First, if your special service member is on deployment, you can eat some of the same things they are eating. Just by the act of preparing them in your kitchen, you have the opportunity to gain a greater appreciation for what they experience.
Notice, I didn’t say you get the same experience. There simply is no way for that to happen. And instead of beating ourselves up over that, how about we do something more pro-active that puts us in a position to speak, ask and act in ways that show that we appreciate what our service members experience?
Second, if your service member is nearby you might have access to extra MRE’s they’ve acquired. Ask if you can prepare some dishes using the MRE’s. When you serve them your MRE Remix, they may come back with something along the line of “I could never pull that off in combat/training/in the field”. To which you sweetly reply “That’s not why I made this. I’m not trying to be you or teach you, I’m just trying to understand and relate to you in terms I understand”.
This can easily segue into conversations where they tell you about experiences eating MRE’s. Be warned, the situations they share may not be pretty. But be sure to let them know it’s ok to share things that aren’t pretty. You want to connect with them, and that means accepting the pretty and ugly equally.
A military take on Tomato Galette using MRE Menu 24 Chipotle Tortillas for the base.
- 1 packet MRE Chipotle Tortillas (Menu 24)
- 1 each Red and yellow tomato (Could just use red or yellow. The combination is pretty, but use whatever is available.)
- 4 leaves Fresh Basil (Could use dried. Fresh is prettier and has a more pungent flavor.)
- 1 clove Garlic (Garlic powder works in a pinch.)
- 1 tsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Feta (I highly recommend French feta if you can find it. It's milder in flavor. Other Feta's will work fine though.)
Cut parchment paper into 2-3" strips. Lay in a criss cross direction inside pans. This will provide easy removal after they are baked. Set aside.
Warm tortillas in either a microwave or conventional oven just enough to make they pliable. Right out of the package they will be too stiff to work with.
Press garlic or mince finely and stir into olive oil.
When tortillas are warm, nestle tortillas in pans. Drizzle garlic olive oil inside tortillas.
Slice tomatoes, about 1/4" thick. Layer inside tortillas alternating yellow and red.
Sprinkle with Basil chiffonade and Feta.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove galette from pans using parchment paper to lift out. Slice, if desired, and serve immediately.
Food is a powerful memory trigger. This can go either way – positive or negative. If you see it going negative be sure you are ready to either take it on, or redirect the emotion that comes up. Whatever you do, don’t blow it off. The memories are valuable both for them to verbalize and for you to listen to and work at understanding.
If you’re lucky the conversation might go beyond food to other experiences that might not come up if you hadn’t shared the MRE Remix dishes together. It’s been my experience that many military members are hesitant to talk about their military experiences. You can’t just jump right into “Tell me about your day” as you do with children coming home from school. You have to move closer to something that feels safe and builds trust and conversation from there.
If you’re up for something a little sweet and a little more challenging, then check out Blueberry Brie Galette on Pinterest. You can even cheat and buy a pre-made crust if making pastry crust is too daunting.
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