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squash and two-bean enchiladas with mango-cucumber salad

Posted Jun 23 2009 6:43pm

I lost my notes for this recipe, which is unfortunate because I was really pleased with it. What's ironic about this is that I've never used notes before when making a dish on the fly. It's only in the last week that I decided to get more serious about my recipes and take down exact measurements and silly things like that. I made this decision after going back to old baking recipes and having a hard time making them work as I've written them. In principle, I start with a couple of cups of flour and then add from there, keeping track in my mind for the final recipe. But in practice, I don't really measure how much flour I add; I just throw in a pinch here, and handful there, and then I guess when it's time to sit down and write it out. I assume that everyone cooks by the seat of their pants, like I do, so you can interpret and substitute as needed.

But it would probably be appreciated if my recipes were a bit more succinct and accurate, especially the baked goods. So I bought a little notebook and committed myself to becoming more exact.

But then my little notebook got wet, and covered with oil, and dusted with cinnamon, and a little bit set on fire. And then my kids attacked it with compulsive ferocity, tearing out every page and fluttering them all about the house. (Did I mention that I'd only used this book for three days?)

The irony is that, were I not depending on written instructions, I would probably remember this recipe very well. But because I decided to use a pen instead of a brain, I can't exactly recall what I did to make this dish so awesome.


Here is a general outline. For the filling, I sautéed some onion, red jalapeno pepper, and lots of garlic before adding the squash (specifically, two zucchetta, but you can use any summer squash) and beans. I used kidney beans and black beans, but you can use other varieties. I added lots of cumin and coriander and a few pinches of ground chipotle. Then I seasoned it to taste with salt and black pepper.


I used salsa-cheese sauce instead of a standard enchilada sauce (which is cheesy sauce combined with about a cup of salsa, with some added cumin and chili powder for warmth). I briefly blended the sauce to make it smoother. And I used nine sprouted corn tortillas.


I like enchiladas made with corn tortillas, but it's a pain in the ass to roll them because they break all over the place. In restaurants, the tortillas are briefly fried to make them more pliable before rolling. I'm not afraid of fat, but that's a bit much, plus it's an extra step. So I create a sort of layered casserole. I pour a bit of sauce in the bottom of a well-oiled pan. (I use cast-iron, but you can use square glass dish instead.) Then I place three tortillas in a triangle on top of the sauce. On top of that, I put a layer of filling, and then I pour on some more sauce. I repeat those steps for two more layers, finishing with a layer of tortillas and pouring the rest of the sauce on top. Then I bake the casserole for 20 minutes at 400F. It doesn't come out looking very pretty, but it's a simple process and it tastes just fine. I like to sprinkle some cilantro over the top and add a dollop of unsweetened soy yogurt.


The salad is very simple to make. I cubed two mangoes and combined them with a cubed cucumber. I diced about 1/2 c. of red onion and toss that in, along with half of a seeded, minced red jalapeno. I juiced a lime on top of the salad and added plenty of salt and black pepper. Then I minced about 1/4 c. of cilantro and tossed all of the ingredients together with a drizzle of agave nectar.

I apologize for not giving more succinct directions, but this is the best I could do! I will definitely repeat this recipe soon and then I should have better instructions.
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