I spent part of my growing up in El Monte, CA, a city known for being "friendly" (if you live there or near there, you will know why I put that in quotation marks) and for its Mexican food. Later, I took three years of Spanish in high school and even passed the Advanced Placement (AP) exam, knocking off a year of language studies in college. Qué bueno...
In all honesty, I have fond memories of being in elementary school there and developing a taste for Mexican foods. I ate enough Lucas (chili powder seasoning) and watermelon chili candies until I got mouth sores.
This entry was a result of a random craving I had for Mexican food. Once I announced this craving, "The Ukrainian"'s gears started turning, and I knew we were going to have a good meal on our hands.
Of course, this isn't the first time I've cooked meals of this genre... check out my tostadas and tamale pie. These next two recipes were a step above that, and this time, I got to cook with "The Ukrainian."
1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 4 oz can of diced green chiles
1/2 cup or so of frozen corn
6 oz. of firm tofu (about 1/3 of the entire block pictured), crumbled
1/2 tsp (or more) of ground cumin
1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tsp ground parsley
dash of sea salt (or regular)
dash of chili powder (optional)
12 or so corn tortillas (depending on the size of your casserole dish; I used 9x13)
1 can (or more!) of canned enchilada sauce
shredded soy cheese
We picked up these ingredients from Trader Joe's and Vallarta. I joked that this Mexican grocery store, Vallarta, was the closest I'd ever get to ANY Vallarta, if you get my drift. [insert vacation-deprived sad face :(] This store was the cleanest and most organized Mexican grocery store I've ever seen, and it even sells fully-cooked meals to-go. *drool*
Here are all the filling ingredients mixed together. As you can see in the recipe, I kind of just made up some seasonings, but the end result tasted good.
My enchilada rolling skills were blah, but I fit about 11 rolls in my pan. I had extra filling, so I kind of just dumped it along the gaps. I wasn't trying to score appearance points. ;)
"The Ukrainian" decided that he wanted to be the one to grate the (soy) cheese. Note that 1 can of enchilada sauce was NOT quite enough for our tastes (though we like very soppy enchiladas). A lesson learned.
We baked this at 375 for about 20 minutes and then let it cool for about 5 minutes. Here is the end result:
Sopes (not vegan due to cheese):
While I was whipping up the enchiliadas, "The Ukrainian" started making this salsa mixture... onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and the other half of my can of diced green chiles.
I tried to document his cooking process while I was busy cooking, managing to get this shot of cooking sopes (think of a cross-breed between a corn tortilla and an English muffin) and heating a can of refried beans (I recommend vegetarian versions like Rosarita if you can find them).
Top sopes with refried beans, lettuce (we used romaine), salsa, and queso fresco (Mexican cheese). This has to be my favorite picture of the day:
I loved them so much, I had to get a photo with them :$ :
The only way to enjoy these things is like this... no forks, Dos Equis, and a soccer game on the TV.