Tuesday, March 9, 2010

MUCHO GUSTO!

We went for a walk to the grocery store about noon on Friday, for the ingredients for Sis’ famous chicken Enchiladas---I’ve had them at her house before, and when she said “How about I make Enchiladas one night?” I was right on board with that. We picked up a few items, then I asked if she’d like to stroll on around to the tiny Chinese buffet for a bowl of soup.

We had the nicest walk in the sunshine, with our few grocery items in a big purple market-bag, and I was surprised that the restaurant was practically FULL on a weekday. We usually go for an early dinner, just on a whim, and week nights are rather sparse, leading us to wonder each time if the place will still be there. NOW I see---proximity to several rather large office buildings is the key---those tables of nicely-dressed folks, plus a few soldiers in uniform---well, word has spread, and I think the future of our little eatery is fairly secure.

We sat there for more than an hour, just talking over soup and several other items from the buffet---they make THE BEST General’s Chicken in town---bar none (that I’ve tasted).

When we came back, we just relaxed for a while, for all the folks weren’t due here for dinner until six. We had a leisurely afternoon---I put on seven chicken thighs in the fat red Le Creuset with chunks of celery and onion and carrots, and the scent filled the house with the promise of a good dinner to come. She boned out the chicken and shredded it, and put away the stock to be used for soup or dumplings later in the week.

And in the manner of the theater, getting all the bit players out of the way so that the REAL STARS can take the limelight: The Unfried Beans, just sorta scroomped around in a dry non-stick skillet, with a little sauteed onion, cumin and garlic:





I washed cilantro while she chopped onions and got her mise all set out, then I started the onion sauté for the Spanish Rice.

I made it sorta slapdash, with a glug of salsa thrown in, as well as chopped peppers and garlic, a little cumin, a little cilantro, and then, when it didn’t smell QUITE seasoned enough, I went prowling in the pantry for a likely seasoning. I noticed a rolled-up half-used pack of Knorr Vegetable Soup---I’d made dip with the first half---and tossed in a tablespoon or so. You can see the little bits of carrot and pepper and maybe even peas for all I know, but pay no attention to the little brown flecks. They’re where I scraped the pot a bit after I got so involved in everything else and let the rice cook WAY too long---you coulda served that stuff to die-hard BiBimBap fans.



And butterbeans, of course. We always laugh at our favorite Mexican place, for we’ve decided that they put a pack of frozen veggies into each night’s immense pot of rice, for color, and we always check to see who got the good luck by getting a butterbean. So I opened a package of frozen ones and tossed in seven, since there were six of us, to even the odds. And I think everybody got one.

We had plain old store-bought salsa and sour cream, but Sis made the Guacamole---her recipe is outstanding. She also took great delight in diving into the dish cabinets and getting out just the right bowl for each dish---YELLOW!!!! Guacamole looks goooood in YELLOW!!



Tomatillo Sauce, right out of the container:



Her special Pico de Gallo, with jalapenos, cilantro, sweet onion, tomato, lime and salt, then you just imagine Splenda in its direction, to smooth the tart tomato. Wish I coulda smoothed the transition from picture to page, but you know how obtuse jalapenos are.

The Condiments and Kickshaws: (I’ve always wanted to say that---probably from reading too much Irvin S. Cobb as a child).




And the Enchiladas----I cannot tell you. She fried the corn tortillas, then rolled each one around handfuls of chicken, some grated Pepper-Jack, and a bit of onion, laid them neatly into the Pammed pan (cutting one in half down on the side end, to make it fit JUST SO), and ladled on her special Enchilada sauce---don’t ask me---I saw only cans of green chiles and lots of cheese.
MUCHO QUESO on top, then into the 350 oven for 30--45 minutes til bubbly and golden.



Her plate, with some of everything---she likes plain beans, and beans with topping.
I knew we’d find a use for those heavy crockery platter/plates I got at Goodwill years ago. Taken out of the hot dishwasher and set on big old flannel coaster-mats, they made the experience even more authentic.



Lovely meal, good company, and dessert was Carrot Cake WAY later, with strong café’. OLE!

3 comments:

Keetha said...

Ole is right! MY does that sound so good. Now I've got a hankering for Sis's enchiladas.

L Vanel said...

6 at the table is a very good number. It looks like you had a great time. I am craving enchiladas now.

Kouign Aman said...

Ole!