Food Buzz

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

Monday, April 17, 2006

Enchiladas at last

After my last fiasco with enchiladas JaneAnne was kind enough to scan and e-mail an article on enchiladas from Cooks Illustrated. (You people with scanners -- what a bright, shiny world you live in.) In this article Elizabeth Germain comes up with a few brilliant shortcuts that streamline the process without sacrificing flavor; if anything, they're more flavorful than the enchiladas I'd been trying to make.

Rather than cooking the chicken separately, shredding it, and then making a sauce (and if you make the sauce the authentic way it'll take you all day) she cooks the chicken in the sauce. You slice some boneless chicken thighs and cook them in onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and tomato sauce. Then you strain the sauce, setting the chicken aside for the filling (combined with fresh cilantro and grated cheese) and resulting in a rich, smooth sauce.

The other innovation is with the tortillas. Usually to make them pliant enough to roll you would heat each tortilla briefly in hot oil. This is messy and time-consuming. Instead, Germain sprays each tortilla with an oil and then heats all of the tortillas on cookie sheets in the oven for a few minutes. I cannot abide aerosols and couldn't find an oil pump spray, so I just dipped each tortilla in a shallow dish of oil before baking. Just be careful to leave them in only a couple minutes -- I turned the first few into tostados. Lucky for me the "one dozen" package of tortillas had closer to 15.

These were delectable and I wish I could post photographs. But of course, the camera batteries ran out yesterday (just in time for our egg hunt!) and I forgot to recharge them. Doesn't it figure! Now no one will believe me, just like with Mr. Snuffalupagus... Unless I can charge them overnight and photograph the leftovers. If you want a copy of the recipe let me know, and I'll e-mail you the article.

Anyway -- the egg hunt was loads of fun. We got together with some friends who are fortunate enough to have a back yard, extremely rare in Brooklyn, and to have a two-year-old son of their own (someone was just telling me about a Danish article that said every home ought to have a two-year-old around). Because it was spectacularly sunny and warm we had the hunt and holiday luncheon outside. Jasper and I had colored eggs earlier in the week just for this. The dads hid the eggs and then the boys set out to find them. Jasper's first egg hunt! It was one of those magical occasions that are half the reason I became a parent. Jasper was unspeakably handsome in a crisp, robin's-egg-blue button-up shirt as he smeared chocolate and garden soil on it. Lucky for us our friends had a camera; when we get around to it we'll download a few images for you.

Someone recently asked me to describe Jasper. The first thing I said was that he is a little scientist. But it would be just as accurate to say his is mischievous. Aside from a post-holiday no-nap meltdown Sunday night he does not conform to the tantrum-throwing stereotype of the terrible two. But he sure does love to make messes -- or as an educator might put it, exploring materials. What happens if I put half-chewed broccoli and some noodles into my seltzer water? What will it taste like after I stir it all together? If I drop it on the floor will Mom and Dad finally stop talking to each other and pay attention to me? He's especially fond of fluids and loves pouring liquids from one container to another. We've learned to give him milk and (the occasional) juice in sippy cups instead of open cups.

Because he's my son, most of his messes involve food. He's a skinny little guy who eats sparingly. So when he asks for a snack I give it to him in the hopes that he'll actually eat. About half the time he's asking for something just to play with it. He opens the refrigerator and pulls out some string cheese. Will he gobble it up or will he grind it into the rug, pretending it's a rocket? I have to keep an eye on him to make sure it's not the latter.

How many more times will I explain to him that we don't do that with cheese? That peanut butter goes in your tummy, not the wall? That we don't fling plates like flying saucers at the table (here he is below, his hand a blur as he throws my cell phone on the ground)? It's all probably just preparation for the time when I'll have to tell him that we don't set off bottle rockets indoors.


Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm glad it worked out for you. Sounds a bit greasy, though. What's your problem with aerosols? They don't have CFCs any more, so no environmental issue, and I think you can even get them without weird stuff (ie. lecithin) added. And don't you have a fill-your-own pump sprayer? Gee, I have an extra one--maybe I should just send it to you.

I love the description of Jasper as scientist! Anders is smart and all, but doesn't really have that curious/creative spark most of the time. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog! I am new to this, but enjoy your food comments and family thoughts. Would love a copy of the recipe for this enchiladas.
Thank you!