Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole with Chipotle Slaw and Corn on the Cob with Chipotle-lime Butter




Reflections and Transitions 

S'mores with mom, Justin and Zsuly 
Have you missed me? My apologies for my absence and for not getting up any new recipes in the last week or so. Last week I was on vacation. A little extra respite and relaxation before starting a new job yesterday and a new school year teaching.
My brother, Justin, who lives in LA, was east on vacation before he started his new job, Mr. Vice President of an Insurance Company based in Pasadena and London. Maine was his fourth stop after tasting the Mediterranean.  A week in Greece and another in Spain, then on to a Wedding in New Hampshire. Having the opportunity to spend time with him at our childhood home and share stories about our adult lives is always cherished. 

Reflections

Webb Lake, Mt. Blue 
It was also during the past week and a half that I have really been able to reabsorb and appreciate the beauty of the state I grew up in, and where I now have come to call home once again. There is something about August in Maine.
Embden Pond 
Hot, humid days, filled with the shrill notes of Dog Day Cicadas, who hide high in the tree tops. Nights humming with the drone of crickets, setting the mood for the smear of the milky way, which stretches across the inky night sky, bleeding out to the leaf framed horizon.  Knowing that these days won't last much longer, as autumn begins to show her face in the forgotten swamps, trying to creep in unnoticed, are all part of the
Tumbledown Mountain 
uniqueness of this month.  As if there is no choice but to let every drop of the heavy humidity, honey scented golden fields, velvety emerald leaves, silken ruby tomatoes, sink into the essence of your senses and reserve them there until next year.  In this time I have been able to enjoy some of the most precious gifts Maine has to offer. Crystal cool lakes, rocky faced mountains, sandy shored beaches, smokey campfires, camping in the rain, and more fresh vegetables and berries than one family can eat. 

Each of these moments reminds me of what life is truly about and fills me with gratitude to be so blessed. 


Transitions

Ferry Beach, Scarborough, Maine
Although it has been quite a number of years since I was enrolled in college or attended school, each fall it seems I return, fresh and new, with a little more experience in my grip, to a new school and grade level to teach. I am excited to begin my new position this year, as a Spanish Teacher for grades K-2.  It will be a place to incorporate my own talents of art, music, cooking, while teaching young children Spanish. It isn't easy transitioning from the freedom I have had this summer to working again; planning, rushing, having less time with my daughter, learning a whole new environment, not to mention the names of 500 students, but it is also exciting to feel the positive energy at my new school, and surrounded by a number of talented, dedicated teachers and staff. As I make this transition, I aim to keep true to the things I enjoy outside of teaching, including weekly entries on this blog. I already have a handful of fall recipes I can't wait to share, including Roasted Root Vegetables, which will forever remind me of my dear friend Debbie out in Nevada. 



With reflecting and transitioning, here are two great recipes I have always enjoyed, and are great end-of-summer recipes to help you transition into any new season. 


Enchilada Bake

It might not be the prettiest looking casserole, but it is such a flavorful comfort food , whether on a hot summer day, crisp fall evening or frigid dark winter night, it really hits the spot. 

Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 can of organic black beans
  • 1 can of organic red kidney beans
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 stalks of organic celery
  • 6-8 fresh corn tortillas
  • 1 cup of tomato puree
  • 3-4 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 oz of extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup low fat greek yogurt





Step 1: 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Wash the cilantro well and the  celery. Rinse and drain the beans and set aside. 

Chop the onion finely. Remove ends of the celery, cut each stalk in half lengthwise, and then chop. Chop half a large bunch of cilantro (1/4 cup chopped). In a medium size pan, add in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the onion, heat over medium heat, stirring regularly. When the onions begin to soften, add in the cilantro, cumin, chili and salt. Sauté another minute or so and add in the celery. Sauté another 2 minutes or so. When the onions are soft. Add in the tomato puree. Stir well. Add in the beans and stir well. Let cook on medium low heat for about 4-5 minutes. While the bean mixture is cooking, go on to step 2. 

Step 2: 

In a small bowl or glass mixing bowl, combine the sour cream and the yogurt. Mix well until creamy. 
Cut the tortillas in half. Grate the cheddar. 

Step 3: 

When the bean mixture is finished cooking, remove from heat. layer the bottom of a loaf pan with the tortillas. Layer on a generous, but not too much, amount of the bean mixture over the entire surface of tortillas, sprinkle on cheddar, then dot on the yogurt and sour cream mixture. Repeat this process until you have reached the top of the pan. Ending with a layer of the bean mixture, yogurt mixture and then topping with cheddar. 

Step 4: 

Put the casserole in the oven, cook for 10 minutes at 425, then turn down to 375 and cook for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is browned and the casserole is bubbly. 


Chipotle Slaw


Ingredients
  • 1 small cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp chipotle
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, chopped finely

Step 1: 

Wash the cabbage and peel off outer layers. Remove thick stem at bottom. You can shred the cabbage using a food processor, but I slice it thinly by hand. Toss shredded cabbage into a large mixing bowl. Chop cilantro well. Add to the cabbage. Mix. In a glass measuring cup, add the sour cream and mayo. Mix well. Add in the salt, and the chipotle. Finely chop the jalapeño, and add to the sauce. Mix well. Squeeze the lime by hand or using a squeezer. Add to the sauce. Add the sauce to the cabbage and cilantro mixture and mix well. 


Step 2: 

Cover and let chill in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour.