Well, I will admit to technology troubles tonight. I had composed the blog and was proofreading when my computer suddenly crashed. Alas, all was lost and now I am starting from the beginning (again). Just a warning, the second round will be somewhat abbreviated as my bedtime is swiftly approaching.
The theme this week was Mexican with a twist; a few fresh ideas to enliven the otherwise ordinary and predictable comfort cuisine.
The appetizer this week was homemade tortilla chips enhanced with cumin and chili powder. The chips were dipped into refried black beans flavored with garlic and cumin and refreshed with the addition of a little goat cheese. YUM!
The main course was an Epicurious.com recipe. This take on enchiladas revived the classic by using two salsas. In addition to the typical tomato salsa, the green salsa was comprised of sauteed pumpkin seeds blended with cilantro. The nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds truly was the refreshing "secret" ingredient in the enchiladas.
- 1 large white onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 2 red bell peppers, quartered
- 3/4 pound medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 12 (6-to 7-inch) soft corn tortillas
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 6 ounces crumbled queso fresco or ricotta salata
For pumpkin-seed salsa:
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh serrano chile, including seeds
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/3 cups raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups chopped cilantro
- 1 1/2 cups water
For tomato salsa:
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh serrano chile, including seeds
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Garnish: cilantro leaves
Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium heat; see Grilling Procedure .
Preheat oven to 350°F .
Secure each onion round with a wooden pick for grilling. Oil grill rack, then grill vegetables, covered, turning occasionally, until tender (6 to 8 minutes for bell peppers and zucchini; 10 to 12 minutes for onion), transferring to a bowl.
Wrap tortillas in stacks of 6 in foil and heat in oven, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make pumpkin-seed salsa:
Cook chile, garlic, cumin, and pumpkin seeds in oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until seeds pop, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer 3 tablespoons seeds with a slotted spoon to a bowl and reserve. Purée remaining seeds and oil with cilantro, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth.
Make tomato salsa:
Stir together tomatoes, onion, chile, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Assemble and fry enchiladas:
Cut vegetables into strips. Spread 2 teaspoons pumpkin-seed salsa on each warm tortilla and top with some of grilled vegetables, then roll up. Heat oil (1/2 cup) in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Fry enchiladas, seam side down first, in 2 batches, turning once, until lightly browned and heated through, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer enchiladas to plates, then drizzle with remaining pumpkin-seed salsa and sprinkle with reserved seeds and cheese. Serve with tomato salsa.