Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Friday, November 11, 2005


But first, pie! Yes, I finally used that good lard. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find my lard pie crust recipe (or my second glass pie pan). So I modified the pie crust recipe in the current issue of Saveur (they don't have it online yet). I also used their pumpkin pie recipe. The crust called for Crisco. I used half lard and half butter, as per my usual. I also used fresh, steamed pumpkin instead of canned. Actually, canned pumpkin will give you a more refined pie. My fresh pumpkin pie was what could be euphemistically called "rustic," but I love that fresher flavor. And anyway, after a lifetime of canned pumpkin pie it's nice to have pumpkin pie that's a little bit different. My crust came out exactly as I wanted it to -- flaky and savory, but not porky.

In the picture you can see where Jasper stuck in his finger. Don't you love that part of the pie along the edges where the filling meets the shore of the crust and carmelizes?

But back to dinner. I wanted to make enchiladas but I ended up with something closer to tortilla pie (or, shudder, a casserole). I started off well enough. I poached four chicken thighs with a bay leaf and salt, reserved the broth, and shredded the chicken when it was cool enough. I grated about 1 1/2 cups of jack cheese and chopped 3/4 of a large onion. I mixed all of this together.

Then I made the sauce, which is a cinch. I heated 2 T of olive oil (forgot to infuse it with a garlic clove this time) and added 1 T flour and 1 T chili powder. I cooked this for a couple minutes and then added the broth slowly, stirring as I added. Then I simmered it, still stirring, until it thickened. I added salt.

Usually I'd heat some additional oil and cook the corn tortillas one by one in the oil, just until soft. But I was running late and still had the pie to deal with. Plus, Lane was late getting home. So I took a shortcut. I dipped the tortillas into the sauce instead. Then I tried rolling each tortilla with the chicken mixture, but the tortillas were tearing (because they were so old -- about a week old). So after making one row in my souffle dish (why not?) I just dumped in the rest of the chicken mixture in and layered three tortillas on the top. Then I poured the sauce over it all and baked it for about fifteen minutes. It was scrumptious. Instead of salad I just served a whole comice pear on the side.

By the way, I said in yesterday's post that I "was Mexican." I was never Mexican. I am and have always been Mexican American. But you all knew what I meant, right? Also, I did not mean to imply that all former beauty queens and cheerleaders have a sense of entitlement or that Mexicans never do. I was just capitalizing on the reputation Mexicans have for being humble, unassuming, self-deprecating people. In other words, poor and underprivileged. Mormon readers, the next time a return missionary goes on and on about how humble the people were in the Latin American country they just returned from, could you please poke him in the eye for me? Thanks.


Swizzies said...

Aaaaaa!!! You must HELP ME! I have to make pumpkin pie 'over here' where there is no canned pumpkin. I am no baker to begin with - where do I start now that I have to factor in strange squashes with which I have next to zero familiarity?? I'm freaking out...

Adriana Velez said...

You can use almost any squash except spaghetti squash. I’m sure that’s not what it’s called in Switzerland, but Google it to see what it looks like. It’s usually yellow or orange and shaped like a giant pill, about 6-10 inches long. Otherwise, if there are no traditional pumpkins see if you can get what’s called a cheese, or sugar, pumpkin. It looks like an albino pumpkin that has been flattened somewhat. And if you can’t find one of those, just pick any old squash and go for it. It will be pretty darn close.

I would get something like 3 pounds just to be safe. Cut into large chunks, scoop out the seeds, and steam until very soft. You could also boil the squash. Simmer in a covered pot, again until very soft. Once the squash is soft, scrape it off the rind and strain off any accumulated juices.

To use, find a can about the same size as a pumpkin can. Seriously – most recipes call for a can of pumpkin rather than giving cup sizes. If you need a recipe try Good luck!