Shameless Chef

The Shameless Chef: Tostada Burgers

We all know that the hamburger is one of God's most perfect creations. Somehow a fried patty of beef in between two doughy hunks of bread elevates every ingredient involved to a completely transcendent level of awesomeness. Even vegans have to accept the greatness of the hamburger; why else do you think they keep trying to duplicate it with various copycat forms of plant matter? They're all terrible, of course, but keep trying, guys! It's a noble effort, and you'll get there someday!

So since the hamburger is clearly so incredible, why screw around with perfection? Well, first of all A) no matter how awesome something is, variety is better, B) you may not have all the necessary supplies for actual burgers, C) you may not want all the carbs of a hamburger bun yet still wish to enjoy something burgeresque, and finally, D) because we fucking can.

You will need:

• Beef patties. I used frozen patties because I needed to get rid of them. • Refried beans. I used refried black beans because they're clearly the best type of refried bean, and I will kill anyone who disagrees. • Cheese. This would be a good opportunity to bust out that goat cheese you've had lying around. • Tostada shells. Any large, flat disc of crunchy tortilla will do, I suppose. • Whatever other Mexican toppings you like to eat on tacos and quesadillas, like lettuce, pico de gallo, tomatoes, whatever.

First, grease up your skillet, put it on a low-ish heat, and slap them burgers down. Side note: thawing is always a good idea. These patties have been in my freezer since just after the Reagan Administration, and were frozen into a solid block of icy beef. No icepick was able to help me, and in the end, I managed to whack two of them free with my spatula. They were still frozen together, so I just threw them in the skillet together until the cooking heat melted the ice that bonded them. So they got cooked a lot more on one side then the other. If you're asking why I didn't just defrost them in the microwave, it is because - this is true - my microwave is currently disassembled while I try to find a way into the digital display to kill the colony of roaches that have taken up residence there. I swear to Gregor, the Saint of Hamburgers, that I keep a clean kitchen, but we do live in Houston, which is equal parts swamp and rainforest, where life has learned to seek out hard-to-reach little nooks in which to flourish, especially hardy, disgusting little bastards like roaches. I hate them so much it actually hurts me in my balls. What was I doing again? Oh, right, the burgers. So they're on the skillet, then. Go ahead and spread some refried beans on 'em.

Now melt some cheese over that, and there's your basic tostada patty.

You're free to fill out the tostada with whatever you like; like I said before, ingredients that work well in tacos and quesadillas tend to go well with these things. I just used a little picante sauce, and they were delicious. Once it's all sandwiched between the tostada shells, enjoy. And eat them over a plate, because you WILL get pieces of shell and lettuce and whatever else all over the place.

One more thing real quick: Anybody wanna buy a microwave? Super cheap!