one man's ceiling
Saturday, May 05, 2007
  das Fünftel von Mai
doesn't really matter what language it is, the fifth day of the fifth month is cinco de mayo. many american prefer to remember this as mexican independence day because, being american, who could find fault another country declaring their independence.

except that mexican independence from spain was declared on 15 september 1810.

no, the deal is cinco de mayo is when 4000 mexican soldiers beat down an army of 8000 french and traitor mexican troops at puebla, mexico, just east of mexico city in 1862.

history lesson's over, let's talk food.

it's been a while since i made enchiladas, and i decided this year we were celebrating with platos mexicano, or at least my version of family-style mexican comfort foods: traditional red and mole chicken enchiladas with sour cream and guacamole, spanish-style rice (couldn't get tomatillos to make the green rice i wanted to make), refried black beans, chips and salsa. i made so little of this from scratch, though i could have made it all. but it's spring, the girls have sports and music lessons on the weekends, they each have had sleep-over playdates and to top it all off we did a jaunt during the day to get some free loot because it also happens to be free comic book day nationwide.

what? you missed free comic book day? mark your calendars: first saturday in may next year. i hear it also happens in certain places around the world -- lambiek in amsterdam? -- but you deal with what you've got. i got some unseen peanuts, some lynda barry, the girls made off with a haul as well. who knew they liked the archies? but i digress.

here's the deal with enchiladas: they really are very easy. you need tortillas, sauce and filling. for the red enchiladas i simmered some chicken in chicken broth and green salsa with red onion and chopped black olives until the chicken fell apart into shreds and the water had mostly evaporated. for the mole, simmered the chicken in broth until it broke down and added enough bottled mole sauce to let it simmer and thicken. again, if i had a full day for prep and a full day to cook i could make the mole and sauces from scratch, but this isn't supposed to be a big stress meal. sure, it might be easier to just go local and eat out, but there's no reason to pay $15 a plate (as is the case in this area) for family style eats like this when you can get it in the barrio for a third that. with soup and chips and whatnot.

there are different kinds of mole (it should have a tilde over the e so you pronounce it "mol-ay") but i'm partial to the mixture of ground nuts and chocolate. it's worth seeking out and trying if you haven't, it's got a smokey, rich, sweet flavor that melds well with the bite of the spices. often when i eat spicy or garlicy foods i almost instantly crave chocolate; with mole that isn't the case (though i'd never turn down a bit of chocolate no matter what the occasion). today, i was working with a very good jar of stuff from trader joe's.

though i prefer the traditional corn tortilla my zuska prefers the flour, and this time i was able to find lower carb whole wheat tortillas that actually worked out very well. i did use corn for the red enchiladas, flour for the mole. they both tasted great.

i hate sitting back and saying aloud (as i did, feeling a bit overstuffed after the meal) "that were some good eats" because, honestly, it's arrogant for the chef to compliment themselves. but i wasn't fishing for compliments, it was good, and i liked it, and i don't see why i can't just say that once in a while.

and now i've crowed twice.

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recipes and musings on food -- and anything else for that matter -- from a guy with a sticky brain who likes food. perhaps he likes food too much.

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