In honor of Cinco de Mayo, my love of Mexican food, and my roommates of Margaritas, we decided to throw a little party to celebrate the holiday and bring our friends together!
One of my all time favorite foods is cheese enchiladas. In Milwaukee, where I’m from, the South side has tons of amazing Mexican restaurants, and I have yet to find place in DC whose enchiladas measure up to those at La Perla, so delicious.
So I figured I would attempt them myself. I combed through a lot of recipes for enchilada sauce, and for some reason, decided on one from Martha Stewart Living. Now Martha does not mess around. This had to be one of the most complicated and time-consuming things I’ve ever made, but I am happy to report that it came out tasting pretty good! And it made a ton, so I will have enchilada sauce for the rest of the summer.
The recipe called for a lot of different veggies, spices and flavors. But the most intriguing part to me was how you prepared the tomatoes. I brought a pot of water to a boil, then placed the tomatoes in the water for a few minutes, until the skin started peeling, then remove them from the water and placed them in an ice bath to cool. Then you peel the skins and chop the tomatoes. That was something I had never done before, but was a great way to prepare tomatoes for a sauce.
The sauce took a few hours from start to finish, so it is definitely a time commitment, but it was worth it.
I made the sauce the night before, so to make the enchiladas for the party, I simply reheated the sauce. To assemble the enchiladas, dip tortillas in the sauce, and place on a baking sheet. Spoon cheese down the center of the tortilla, fold up the sides, and place seam-side down in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Make two rows of 6 tortillas. Top with the remaining sauce and cheese.
Bake the enchiladas at 350° for 30 minutes, or until everything is melty. Now, I try to cook healthy and share healthy recipes, but with enchiladas, I say go for it! Splurge. These are definitely not the best thing for you, but the yummy factor outweighs all other considerations in my book.
For the evenings festivities, I also made my semi-famous among friends and family guacamole and some black beans.
I am not sure when I started making guacamole, or where I even got the recipe, but it has become the dish I usually bring to parties. I also spend my vacation with my extended family every year basically just making guacamole and margs, tough job I know.
And it even has its own special avocado bowl that my grandma gave me! So cute.
Everyone brought great dishes to pass too! There were some amazing salsas and Mexican wedding cookies, yum.
All in all, my first large-scale party was a success! Might have to have more theme nights…
5 long fresh red chiles
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cups water
4 large tomatoes
1 small poblano pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, cut into 1/2 in dice
2 scallions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp coarse salt
Cut chiles in half lengthwise and remove seeds and rib, set aside
Bring broth and water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add chiles; simmering for about 15 minutes until chiles are tender, set aside
Fill a large saucepan with water, bring to a boil
Fill a large bowl with ice and water, set aside
Cut an x in the bottom of the tomatoes and add to the boiling water one at a time
Simmer the tomatoes until the skins begin to peel and transfer to the ice bath immediately to cool
When cooled, peel off the skins, chop and set aside
While everything is boiling and cooking, place a poblano pepper on a piece of aluminum foil and put under the broiler
Turn every few minutes until the skin is charred
Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam for about 15 minutes
Peel off the blackened skin and discard, cut pepper in half, discard seeds and roughly chop, set aside
In a large, high-sided skillet, pour in oil and set on medium heat
Add onion, scallions and garlic, saute for about 10 minutes
Add tomatoes, tomato past, red chiles and broth liquid, poblano, cumin, oregano and salt
Stir to combine
Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 15 minutes
Remove from heat and cool
Use a blender to puree the sauce until smooth, doing in small batches
Return to pan and heat if assembling enchiladas now, or refrigerate up to 4 days
Yields 4 servings
12 6-inch tortillas
12 ounces cheddar jack cheese
Pre-heat oven to 350°
Heat up enchilada sauce
Dip tortillas in sauce, place on a baking sheet
Spoon in cheese
Place enchiladas in two rows of 6 in a 9 x 13 pan, seam-side down
Top enchiladas with remaining sauce
Bake enchiladas until heated through and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes
Serve with salsa and sour cream
Yields 6-8 servings
1 large tomato
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
Salt to taste
Remove seeds, set aside
Put avocado in a large bowl, smash with a potato masher
Dice tomato and red onion, mince garlic
Add to bowl
Juice lemon and lime in bowl
Add salt to taste
Yields 2 tbsp per serving
2 tsps olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground chipotle chile pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
1 cup water
1 tbsp tomato paste
Heat oil in medium sauce pan
Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes
Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly
Add ground chile, cumin and oregano and cook for about 1 minute
Add beans, water and tomato paste, stirring to combine
Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to medium low, stirring occasionally for about 8-10 minutes
Yields 8 servings