Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Alison and I recently welcomed a new roommate into the 884 collective. Ironically, she used to live in my room when Alison first bought her house, then moved away from Philly for work, and now she's back! To celebrate we hosted a small Mexican Fiesta in her honor.
We started with some homemade guacamole, one of my all time favorite dips.
For the guacamole you'll need:
4 Haas avocados
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 small red onion, chopped finely
1 small poblano pepper, chopped finely
1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
Juice of a lime
Cut the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Scoop the flesh into a large bowl. I like to chop my garlic a little bit, then add about half a teaspoon of kosher salt and use the side of my knife to turn it into a paste. Add the onion, garlic paste, peppers, lime juice, and cilantro and use a large fork or a potato masher to mix it all up. I only mash a little bit as I like to retain some integrity of the avocado.
Thanks to Sher over at What Did You Eat?, I was inspired to make my own refried beans! I took a shortcut or two as I was pressed for time, but I promise to try a more authentic version from dried beans next time.
For the beans, you'll need:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 green onions, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can refried beans
1/4 cup water (you may not use all of it)
Heat oil in a medium pot, add onions, peppers and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent and everything smells ready.
Add the refried beans and stir. At this point, I had to add a few tablespoons of water to thin the beans to the consistency I desired. Ultimately, I added 1/4 cup of water total. Then I added the drained and rinsed black beans and let the whole pot just hang out on low heat until I was ready for them.
As my friends were munching on the guacamole I put together a huge tray of Nachos for them. I layered good quality tortilla chips with the beans, sauteed peppers & mushrooms, hot sauce and cheese and then baked them in the oven for about 10 minutes until all the cheese was melted. I would have liked to cook them a few minutes more so that some of the cheese could get golden brown, but we were starving and impatient. Nothing compliments a cheesy appetizer quite like a good beer. This night we were lucky to have friends who brought over a variety case of Magic Hat. This variety case was quite good. It had my favorite, #9, a pale ale with hints of apricot; HI.P.A, a hoppy but not too bitter pale ale; Circus Boy, a light hefeweizen, and finally a "mystery beer". I have to admit, I didn't try the mystery beer. I think that's totally bizarre to not identify the beer they're selling. I mean, really, it works for Dum Dums and Airheads, but beer? I don't think so.
For the main course, I made enchilada stacks. Most of our guests were serious meat eaters, but we had a vegetarian and others that liked meat a little less, so I made two versions. For the veggie version I sauteed red, green, and yellow peppers with mushrooms and garlic. For the meat version I cooked fresh chorizo and ground turkey together.
For the enchilada sauce:
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 can crushed tomatoes with green chilies
You'll also need:
1 package of 12 soft taco size tortillas. I used flour tortillas because my store was totally out of corn tortillas (boo hoo) and while it wasn't my preference, the results were equally tasty.
Cheese (lots of it if you're like me, and whatever kind you like) I used pepper jack and cheddar.
Spray the bottom of a 13 X 9 glass casserole with cooking spray and ladle in a little bit of the enchilada sauce. Lay down one layer of tortillas. I cut some of the tortillas in half to fit better in my dish. On top of the tortillas place a generous layer of the chorizo/turkey mixture (or the veggies!) cover with grated cheese and a few ladles of enchilada sauce. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas, chorizo/turkey mix, cheese and sauce, but the final layer should be tortillas covered with sauce and cheese (see picture above). I got three nice layers out of my ingredients.
After baking for about 35 minutes, all the cheese is melted and the sauce bubbles up around the sides, making a cohesive lasagna-like pie. This is the finished vegetarian version, spruced up with a little fresh cilantro at the end.
Everything was well-received by my friends and the new roomie!