Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Tale of Two Enchiladas

Hey girl. how've you been these last eight months? in all this time, we could have almost produced a fully formed food baby.

So i have a new apartment now, and ive actually been cooking to some degree. i have a nice, huge kitchen, and i get food stamps now so i can actually afford to buy the components for almost any recipe. this led to some wild experimentation in the first two months, with many failures, and now im kind of back to that sad state of only cooking what i know i can make with some reasonable guarantee of success. youve burned me one too many times, Rachael Ray! fuck your italian tuna casserole, fuck your crab and corn mac and cheese!

honestly i find that most recipes need at least a little tweaking. i hate to think its because i cant handle strange new flavors, but there always seems to be some element thats slightly "off." maybe Rachael Ray is just a terrible cook [highly possible]. ive had a little bit better luck with The New Betty Crocker Cookbook i borrowed from my mom, where i got the recipe for these cheese enchiladas.

general ingredients:
2c shredded monterey jack cheese
1c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c sour cream [plus more for garnish]
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley [i used dried, because walmarts fresh parsley looked gross]
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can tomato sauce [more discrepancies below]
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 can chopped green chilies, drained
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2/3c water
1 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
8 corn tortillas, 5-6" round [as you can see mine somehow made like, 11 enchiladas]

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In medium bowl mix cheese, sour cream, onion, parsley and pepper. refrigerate. ok, so an entire medium onion seems like a metric fuckton of onion to me. but i was trying to be good and follow the recipe so thats what i did, and skeptically mixed it in with my precious cheeses.
3. In two quart saucepan, heat tomato sauce, bell pepper, chilies, garlic, water, chili powder, oregano and cumin to boiling, stirring occasionally. reduce heat. simmer uncovered 5 minutes. so instead of the can of tomato sauce i bought a can of actual enchilada sauce, and then doctored it up with the chopped bell pepper, garlic, cumin and probably some other crap. i dont really like regular red or green bell peppers, so i bought these adorable mini sweet bell peppers and finely chopped a couple of them. highly recommended! theyre so cute! they dont have that super juicy crunch that for some reason i dislike about regular peppers. 
4. Spoon just enough of the sauce into the bottom of a 11x7" glass baking dish to thinly cover the bottom. then take each tortilla, dip it in the pot of enchilada sauce, and fill with a line of the cream cheese mixture. this is an extremely messy process, no way around it. roll up each enchilada and place in baking dish seam side down. repeat until you run out of filling. pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. the recipe doesnt call for cheese on top, which i think is pretty weird because thats how enchiladas always roll in my [extremely not mexican] family. so i covered them with some additional cheese. if you bought a whole bag of shredded cheddar, you should have a cup left and that should be about enough. 
5. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until bubbly. garnish with sour cream, hot sauce, lettuce, whatever.

Or in my case, serve along with spanish rice with a fried egg on top, because FUCK YEAH and thats way too much food. these are topped with Mrs Renfros jalapeno green salsa, which is awesome. i think green sauce goes really well with the straight up cheesiness of the enchiladas, cutting it with spice and slight acidity.

So, my verdict on the enchiladas: pretty good. when i think "cheese enchilada" i usually think straight up melted cheddar cheese, like that little bonus enchilada you get along with combo meals at mexican restaurants. or the crappy yet delicious lowbrow enchiladas in my $2 El Charrito meals. so it was odd to adjust to the addition of sour cream in these, but it was good. what i couldnt really get used to was the abundance of onions. just kind of weird. maybe i just dont like onions that much that i want them to be like 50% of my enchilada filling. but i did pass some of these along to my boo jackie and asked if the onions bugged her too, and her response was pretty much just "i dunno. i wolfed them down. they were good." i think she might have called herself a human garbage disposal. *thumbs up*...?

Were i do make these again id definitely cut down the onion, and probably do green sauce all over instead of the red sauce. this also makes way more than one person could conceivably eat in a normal time period, so i suggest you cut the recipe in half, or freeze half of it, or give some away to a hungry friend like i did. 

The first enchiladas were like two months ago. i think it was the first thing i cooked in the new apartment. i even had to go out and buy the casserole for it [WHICH, if youre in the market for one, go to TJ Maxx, i got this one for like $6. i was also followed around by what i can only describe as two teenage groupies who caressed my tattoos and told me how cool i was. seriously. that actually happened. i was like, IM JUST TRYING TO BUY A CASSEROLE WHY DO YOU THINK IM COOL. so maybe also check out TJ Maxx if youre in the market for groupies]. anyways, a couple months later and i was hungry for enchiladas again. i decided to wing this recipe, kinda based off the first one. 

enchiladas take two:
approx 3c of shredded cheese. i used a bag of mexican three cheese, half a bag of extra sharp cheddar and a pinch of something else that was languishing in my fridge. lemme say... when in doubt, always buy more cheese. i have this pathological fear of not having enough cheese.
1lb ground beef
1 can enchilada sauce, i got the spiciest one i could find
1 can chopped green chilies, drained
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can RoTel or similar diced tomatoes with spices etc
1 packet of enchilada seasoning mix
approx 5 large flour tortillas
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
spices as desired:
garlic [i was too lazy to chop a clove, and i got this new dried garlic grinder so i used that]
mccormicks montreal chicken seasoning [or meat seasoning of your choice]
mccormicks fiery 5 pepper blend [or red pepper flakes, cayenne, chili powder etc]
Worcestershire sauce
fresh ground pepper
a little water
hot sauce and sour cream for garnish
*i wanted to add chopped onion to the beef and some diced peppers for the sauce, also some shredded lettuce for garnish. unfortunately it was about 2am  [when i like to shop] and the entire produce area of Coborns was roped off for floor cleaning. WTF! nocturnal shoppers need produce! so, thanks to Coborns, there is literally nothing healthy in these enchiladas at all. 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Season the ground beef with the garlic, montreal chicken and five pepper seasonings, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, as much as youd like. i ususally just cover the top surface of the beef liberally and then mix the spices through and it comes out okay. brown the beef over medium-high heat. when its just about done add half of the can of diced green chilies. when the beef is browned, drain. add 3/4 of the can of RoTel and the packet of enchilada seasoning. stir, and then add a little water as needed until seasoning is blended in and the mixture is moist but not soupy [you dont need to add quite as much water as called for on the seasoning packet, since the RoTel adds some moisture as well].
3. In a bowl, mix the can of enchilada sauce, cumin, oregano, remaining diced chilies, the remaining RoTel, a little pepper, and a little hot sauce. 
4. Spoon just enough of the sauce into the bottom of a 11x7" glass baking dish to thinly cover the bottom. Then take a tortilla, add a spoonful of pinto beans in a thin line, then cover the beans with a line of the ground beef mixture. aaaaand the fun part... top with a handful of shredded cheese. roll up and place seam side down in the casserole. repeat until all filling is gone. pour the enchilada sauce over the top, then top liberally with cheese [hell yeah]. 
5. Bake uncovered 20 minutes until bubbly. garnish with sour cream, hot sauce etc. lettuce if Coborns will let you have it. 

The finished product. apologies for the weird, radioactive looking green substance atop the enchilada. i was going to buy some good guacamole to go alongside these [with the lettuce and the olives... sigh] but unfortunately that is in the PRODUCE SECTION as well. so this is Dean's zesty guacamole dip, found in the dairy section, which is yummy with chips but not really what i was going for, and might not contain any actual avocados. 

I think i went a little heavy handed with the fillings. these became like, Chipotle burrito weight. everything, really want a little heavy handed... a little too much sauce [and i dont think the sauce benefits at all from the RoTel and green chilies, i concede that smooth sauce is the way to go], not really diggin on the beans at all [refried would maybe be better], and dareisay maybe a little bit too much cheese. SACRILEGE. it might be this diet thing ive been on lately... this is seriously the biggest, heaviest thing ive eaten in a long time. ive been doing slimfast shakes and one smallish meal per day, and then these gutbombs. i gotta say though, the seasoned beef was really good. overall not too shabby. im giving two of them to jackie :) [j/k i ate them myself]

Im seriously unhappy with like, EVERYTHING i make lately. i think i actually like the act of cooking more than eating. even though i love the things other people cook for me. maybe im a terrible cook! i dont know. its good for my diet though. i pretty much make things and throw half of them away. i lost seven pounds in the last month. i can feel it around my chin and jawline, its pretty sweet. 

Maybe if you're lucky you'll hear from me again soon. im going to the Vietnamese restaurant down my street with a bunch of friends tomorrow, so perhaps ill report back on that. expect copious amounts of bad jokes involving "viet nom nom." 

Love you! check out a relatively recently updated Last Nights Glitter to find out kinda what ive been up to these many moons. and you can see some more of this magic shit: 

You're welcome.

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