Monday, November 06, 2006

Fusion cooking at my house

I got home from running errands tonight and Sam had scarfed down the roasted sweet potatoes sitting on the counter. I can't really blame him since they are tasty nuggets but they were a crucial ingredient in my roasted vegetable enchiladas.
I have wanted to make enchilada sauce ever since we got back from the honeymoon. While in Homer, Alaska we ate at the Cosmic Kitchen three times and I fell in love with their over the top Huevos Rancheros con Chorizo.For some rason their ranchero sauce seemed more like enchilada sauce to me and I thought I could recreate this (in a smaller I'm-not-on-vacation-anymore serving size).
Sadly, by the time I got around to making the sauce, we'd eaten all but a little of the chorizo. Sigh.
There's no meat in the house and no time to cook beans so I figured roasted vegetable enchiladas was the way to go. Now, sweet potatoless, I was back to square one. That's when I remembered a dish I had in Oaxaca, Mexico. They take tortillas and dip them into a sauce made of beans (enfrijoladas), tomato (entomadas) or chiles (dobladas). It is essentially an unfilled enchilada and I wasn't that impressed with them even when I ate them at the source. But what's a girl to do if her filling is gone?
I scoured the fridge for tasty sides and came up with roasted sunchokes, fennel salad, and mexican rice my way. This was definitely not a cohesive menu but who cares!If you haven't tried sunchokes yet, what are you waiting for? If you are unfamiliar with them check out wikipedia. The picture of the plant in that entry shows young plants. They grow to be about 10 ft. tall with an itty-bitty sunflower at the top. When I lived on the farm we liked to hide in the sunchokes. A field of them makes a pretty picture.
Anyway, I've found my favorite way to prepare them is to cut them in half and lay them on a greased pan. Sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven. Bake until they are really soft and the cut side is very brown. You don't have to peel them so the skin becomes chewy and the insides melt in your mouth (they are made of a different starch than potatoes which accounts for this intriguing mouthfeel). They also make excellent chips if you're in the mood for deep fat frying.
For the salad, I shaved the fennel on a mandoline and dressed it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the juice of half a lemon and half a blood orange.
I have no photos of the finished items because I was tired of my amateurish attempts, but aren't these baby fennels cute?
I am in love with my rice cooker. I used to scoff but no more. I put in some oil, a little ground annatto seed, 1/2 an onion, 1 c. fire roasted tomatoes, one cup rice and water. I think this was my favorite part of the meal.
Sam was a little disgruntled with the empty enchiladas until I reminded him that it was totally his fault. By the end of the meal though, he was wishing we could eat such healthy and delicious meals every night. I think it was the Negro Modelo talking.


At 7:11 AM, Blogger Ali B. said...

Lee, you're the cutest. also, my kitchen inspiration.
p.s. i think i should be counted as #5 in the comments race of yesterday's post. hmm? hmm?

At 10:08 AM, Blogger allisonmariecat said...

I love fennel/citrus salads, especially in winter. They really brighten up a meal. Sunchokes are one of those vegetables that I never do anything "interesting" with because they're just too good roasted with a little salt.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger lee said...

Ali- Okay, you can have it. It's not fair of me to change the rules mid-contest. What flavor do you want?

Allison- I know! They caramelize so well.


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