This Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Southwest offering is a mother-daughter collaboration. The authors explain their goal as wanting to present authentic dishes in taste and simplicity so that one’s guests will believe the cook to be a master chef. “Discover the colors, flavors, and the flair of Mexican cooking,” they say encouragingly.
Those who love spicy salsa will appreciate the impossibly spicy pepper, the habanero, displayed in living color with a note that it is “for the fearless.” The authors advise quite wisely that one should “…start out mild and work your way up…always be careful not to rub your eyes once you’ve handled peppers…” Learn this lesson well.
There are Shabbos recipes, dishes for a Melave Malkah, for a Summer BBQ (with Argentinean influences), for scrumptious Side Dishes, Desserts and Beverages, including the Hispanic “Flan” so popular in South America and Europe, along with “Mexican Wedding Cookies” and “Mexican Brownies.” I wanted to sip the Margarita off the page’s photo. In this book, the Margarita is alcohol-free for all ages to enjoy.
Recipe: Cheese Enchiladas
A personal childhood favorite. As an adult, I love enchiladas even more.
Yields: 8 enchiladas, serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
6 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
2 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 ‑2 tablespoons bottled diced jalapeño peppers (optional) or
1 – 2 teaspoons fresh Anaheim chili, seeded and diced (optional)
1/4 cup canola oil – for frying the tortillas
8 corn or flour/corn-blend tortillas (Plain flour tortillas get too soggy)
3 1/2 cups of orange cheddar, Monterey Jack, Muenster, or mozzarella cheese (or mix them together) for the filling (reserve 3/4 cup of cheese to top the enchiladas at the end of baking)
In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, 2 – 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another thirty seconds to a minute. Add tomato sauce, salt, cumin, oregano, and jalapenos. Heat thoroughly and stir. Allow the sauce to sit while you prepare the tortillas. In a frying pan, heat 1/4 cup of oil over a medium heat. Place one tortilla in the pan and let it heat for approximately five seconds. Then flip and do the same on the other side. Drain each tortilla on a paper towel. Repeat with all of the tortillas. This is only to soften tortillas, not to fry them crisp. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
To assemble enchiladas:
Pour most of the sauce into a baking dish. Place one tortilla in the dish; cover it with the sauce on both sides. Place 1/3 cup of cheese evenly across the bottom third of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla up, away from yourself, as tightly as possible. Then place
the enchilada, seam side down, into the pan in which you will bake the enchiladas. Repeat until all of the enchiladas are prepared. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
Bake at 350 for 20 – 30 minutes. If the sides of the enchilada break, don’t worry about it. After they are baked, cover enchiladas with 3/4 cup of cheese and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.
Enchilada Stack – refer to the enchilada recipe above. Prepare the enchilada sauce. Then fry tortillas in oil for 5 seconds on each side. Remove them from the oil, and drain them on a paper towel. Next dip them in the enchilada sauce, making sure both sides of the tortilla are covered in sauce. Place a tortilla in a shallow, ungreased baking dish. Add 1/3 cup shredded cheese and enchilada sauce to the tortilla. Add another tortilla and cheese and sauce. Repeat the layering until all of the tortillas are in place. Pour remaining sauce over the stack of tortillas and top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes. Cut in pie-shaped pieces to serve.
Serve with shredded lettuce, sliced black olives, diced tomatoes, fresh tomato salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.