Monday, September 6, 2010

Roasted vegetable enchiladas

So the thing is, for me, enchiladas are just another way to make tortillas and cheese and salsa, but to Kristen they are apparently something sacred. Not to be trifled with. In what must have been another life, we had a little tradition where she would make these amazing enchiladas with flour tortillas and shredded chicken for my birthday every year.

Since then, we have tried lots of variations with middling success, cheese and black beans, one time with tofu, cashews, lentils, and chard. These all tasted fine but had a real problem with texture, falling apart with the filling spilling everywhere when you cut into it, if not as soon as you tried to take it out of the pan. I suppose I had always resisted a vegetable filling because of that horrible oily mess of grilled fajita vegetables at places like Baja Fresh, but vegetables are definitely the way to go... It just doesn't have to be soggy onions and green peppers! We adapted a bit from this great Rick Bayless recipe and ended up with some of the best enchiladas I think I've ever had anywhere.

Kris added some roasted anaheim peppers to the sauce because we have a ton of them growing on the porch and never know what to do with them. I liked the bitter spiciness they added, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy them if we didn't already have a surplus. We also opted to skip the crema because that's how we roll.

Roasted vegetable enchiladas
Tomatillo sauce
1 lb tomatillos (about 6)
2 serrano peppers
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium onion
2 anaheim peppers (optional)
1.5 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups of vegetable broth (I like Rapunzel bouillon)

4-6 oz. Button mushrooms, quartered
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 small onion + 1 small shallot (or some similar combination)
1 crown of brocolli
12 tortillas
Small handful grated cheddar

Start on the sauce; broil the tomatillos, peppers, onions, and garlic for about 2-3 min on each side. At this point I was a little nervous that they were turning so black so we opted to turn the oven to 400 degrees and move them down to the center for about 10 more minutes. When everything's getting nice and soft, peel and seed the anaheims if you are using them (if you put them in a ziplock bag for a few minutes while they're still warm, the steam will separate the skin for you). To make the sauce, toss everything into a blender or food processor, and puree. Then add the vegetable oil to a medium pot over medium-high heat. When that's heated up, add the puree and stir constantly for a few minutes until it darkens and thickens up a bit. Finally add the vegetable broth, reduce the heat to medium low, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, put the filling vegetables, except for the mushrooms, on an aluminum lined baking pan, drizzle with a little oil, and a healthy dose of salt and pepper. Let these roast in the 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, stirring a few times to prevent them from burning. We sauteed the mushrooms on the stovetop (in a small dry cast iron pan, adding a little splash of tamari when the mushroom liquid all dried up) while this was happening.

Finally, assembly. Warm the tortillas in the microwave with a damp cloth covering them, for about one minute. Pour a thin layer of the tomatillo sauce in the bottom of a 9x12 baking pan. One by one, fill the tortillas with some of each vegetable, roll, and line them up in the pan. Top with the remaining sauce and a little cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes, mostly just to melt the cheese. Garnish with sliced onion and cilantro.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Strawberry icebox cake for Labor Day

I wanted to share a recipe appropriate for American Labor Day, our hallowed end-of-summer celebration (as opposed to Real Labor Day, which they observe everywhere else on May 1st). It's a frozen strawberry cheesecake that you can whip up with minimal labor. Plus it's dairy-free and relatively healthy. And delicious, duh. The recipe is adapted from Green Kitchen Stories (looove this blog).

Strawberry icebox cake

2 c. almonds
10 fresh pitted dates
2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted to liquid
a generous pinch of salt

2 c. fresh or frozen strawberries (blueberries and raspberries would work too)
juice from half a lemon
1/2 c. honey
1 c. soy cream cheese (I used Tofutti, but make sure it's free of hydrogenated oils)
1 c. plain or vanilla soy yogurt (can substitute Greek yogurt)

Grind up the ingredients for the crust in a food processor. Then flatten out the crust in the bottom of an 8-inch spring form cake pan. Stick it in the fridge while you make the filling. You can rinse out the food processor or use a blender to mix the ingredients for the filling. Pour the filling on top of the crust and freeze for 1-2 hours before serving. If you store it overnight, let it soften a little before eating (otherwise you'll get that horrible freeze-burn sensation on your teeth).