Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian mexican’

Black Bean Enchiladas and a Startling Revelation from Gwyneth Paltrow

June 1, 2011 2 comments


This is a rant post. Those that know me well understand that when I get fired up about something, I get, well…pretty PO’d. The cause of this fury was located in my mailbox. Being a person with a passion for cooking, I subscribe to Bon Appetit magazine. I adored Gourmet magazine and was devastated when it folded. Well apparently BA has a new sheriff in town (editor/sheriff/crapmaster) and the format has changed. The editor was the former editor of GQ and is looking to shaking things up other than martinis. The new format reads like Maxim magazine with short attention span articles that are the length of a visit to the toilet. I always enjoyed the at-length adventure stories that whisked me away to other cultures with interesting, tasty recipes to follow.

Now what do I get? I get Gwyneth Paltrow telling me how to cook. Nu-uh. Not going to happen my friend. I won’t even put a link to show you my disdain for someone who dabbles in a bunch of everything and is mediocre at best (okay, I did like her as an actor, but her singing, blogging, cooking – ugh!).  What fired me up was that her recipes were beyond blah and that the magazine actually printed her “advice” when cooking:

“Drink while you cook!”

“Clean as you go!”

“State the obvious for those that cook all the time!”

Okay, the last one was mine, but REALLY – “Drink while you cook!” What a startling revelation!  Why didn’t I think of that?

So in summary, thumbs down to Bon Appetit and the new hazmat…oops, I mean format. So in response, I will post a recipe for Black Bean Enchiladas that I modified from America’s Test Kitchen, one of the few sources I still trust. Now if Christopher Kimball starts appearing on Glee, we’re all in trouble.

Black Bean Enchiladas
Makes 12 Enchiladas, serving 4 or 5

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
3 medium cloves of garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 cans black beans, drained, rinsed and mashed
2 cans tomato sauce (8 ounces each)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 can diced green chilis
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese , grated (2 cups)

Tortillas and Toppings
12 corn tortillas (six-inch)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup sour cream(optional)

1. FOR THE SAUCE AND FILLING: Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beans and cook, stirring constantly, until coated with spices, about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce and 3/4 cup water; and stir. Bring to simmer. Pour mixture through medium-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on beans and onions to extract as much sauce as possible; set sauce aside. Transfer mixture to large plate; freeze for 10 minutes to cool, then combine with cilantro, green chilis, and cheese in medium bowl and set aside.


2. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Have a margarita! (Because we all know drinking while cooking is fun!)

4. Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 45 seconds. Get a 11x 14 baking dish and spread 1 cup of the reserved sauce on the bottom. Fill each tortilla with 2 tablespoons of filling, roll it up and place in dish. Top with 1 cup of cheese (or more if you have it!). Cover baking dish with foil. Bake enchiladas on lower-middle rack until heated through and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and serve immediately, top with sour cream if wanted.

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A Walk on the Mild Side: Red Pepper Tamales

April 28, 2011 4 comments

I was raised in a middle-class suburban town with little exposure to any different cultures and heritages.  We grew up eating a meat and potatoes type diet with the occasional walk on the wild side.  Betty Crocker Chop Suey and Ortega taco night was as crazy as it got.

My first exposure to authentic Mexican cuisine was at my first job out of college.  There was a potluck lunch and a co-worker brought homemade tamales that his mom spent the better part of a day making.  If you are not familiar with tamales (as was I at the time) the actual edible part of the tamales is wrapped up in a corn husk.  The filling is encapsulated in the corn husk and steamed to cook it all up and add some yummy flavor imparted by the corn husk.  Well, my first time eating a tamale, I was not aware of the fact that you don’t eat the corn husk! I thought to myself…”These are terrible! It’s like chewing, well…on corn husks!” Someone spotted my foodie faux pas and immediately let me know I was doing it wrong.


Put the tamales in vertically so they'll all fit

Fast forward many years later, I became smitten with trying something I have never cooked before. I enjoyed making these oh-so yummy Red Pepper Tamales – a vegetarian version of the tamale.  The feta cheese, red pepper, corn and awesome corn meal flavors blend very well and are addictive. They do take about 1 1/2 hours to prepare and another 1 1/2 hours to steam, but me and my nine year old had a fun mother-daughter cooking moment. These would be great to make ahead of time and steam when you need ’em.

red pepper tamales

Doesn't photograph well, but sure are tasty!

A few notes:

– Start off the recipe by soaking the corn husks (I really hate when you read a recipe and halfway through the recipe, they say “meanwhile, you should be doing XXX”.  Why don’t you just tell me that at the beginning?)

– Masa Harina and corn meal are NOT interchangeable. I found it at Walmart of all places. It’s got lime in it, that’s what makes it a completely different product than corn meal.

Soaking the corn husks (yep, that's a rock)

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