Thursday, January 22, 2009

Beef Enchiladas for an Artful Potluck

Our son Tommy has been participating in a 12 week art program called “Art on the Edge” at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM). It is one of the most impressive programs I’ve ever seen.

Every Saturday a bus picked him up at a nearby school and brought him up to Provincetown where he spent the entire day with 19 other students working with local professional artists.

They learned about drawing, portraits, monotype and white-line woodblock prints and sculpture. The entire program was free, including lunch, thanks to grants from the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, Peter Petas and Ted Jones, The Aeroflex Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts.

Words cannot express how much Tommy enjoyed this program. Here he is next to his art. He was embarrassed by my photo, but so proud to be in a real art exhibit:

At the end of the program, there was a student exhibition at the museum and last Friday PAAM held a pot luck supper reception that we attended.

It took me much longer than it should have to figure out what to bring. The biggest challenge was finding something that would travel well and still be warm enough to serve after a half an hour in a cold car.

I scoured cookbooks and magazines and just couldn’t decide until finally, when time was running out, I decided to make Beef Enchilada’s from Maryana Vollstedt’s cookbook, The Big Book of Potluck: Good Food - and Lots of It - for Parties, Gatherings, and All Occasions

Off to the grocery store I went. I was already behind, so of course the first store didn’t have corn tortillas. Thankfully the second store did, and I raced home with just enough time to make the recipe before we had to leave.

The recipe looks longer than it is. It took me about a half an hour to put these together and then they baked for 35 minutes. The only problem I had with the recipe was the corn tortillas were quite fragile and tended to crack when I rolled them.

Cooking under deadline is my least favorite thing to do, and I freaked out when the first one literally crumbled in my hands. The recipe instructed that I dip the tortillas in the sauce before filling them. Uh, no. That just made a smooshy mess there was no way to salvage, so I decided to skip that step.

The next tortilla stayed mostly intact, but a big crack formed across the top (bottom when filling) of the tortilla when I layed it in the baking pan. It was quick decision time. I could slink into the potluck with no dish in hand and pay $5 each to attend or I could just kept going, hoping the enchilada sauce and cheese would cover up the cracks.

As you can see from the photo, the sauce and cheese did their magic and even better, the recipe was quite tasty. I especially like the flavor of the enchilada sauce.

It was a great potluck with tons of really interesting food - and they even had wine! We ate and then walked around the gallery looking at the art. The student exhibit was one of four exhibits at PAAM, so it was a very nice show and a truly lovely evening.

In other blogging news, I’ve been working on a blog makeover with the lovely Mikaela Fisher at Fresh Designs Studio. Mikaela has created a custom design that I simply LOVE, but now it’s time to implement the changes and there might be a few glitches.

I’m adding a navigation bar at the top of my blog and that information will (hopefully) be invisible to people who just visit my blog. But anyone who subscribes to my blog will most likely be getting a “post” that is really one of the future items on my navigation bar.

You can either ignore them or consider them a preview, but I want to thank you in advance for your patience through this process, especially if you get a few posts from me in quick succession that say such lame things as "under construction."

The Recipe:

Beef Enchiladas
(Adapted from The Big Book of Pot Luck)
Serves 6 - 8

Meat Filling:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
12 corn tortillas (see note)
Homemade enchilada sauce (recipe follows)
4 cups (about 18 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sour cream

To make the meat filling: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef, onion, salt and pepper to taste, breaking up meat with a spoon, until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender, 6 – 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To assemble the enchiladas: Spread a teaspoon of enchilada sauce in center of a corn tortilla. Place 2 large spoonfuls of meat mixture in a strip down the center of the tortilla. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon cheese and 1 teaspoon sour cream on top of meat mixture. Roll up and place, seam side down, in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray or oil. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour remaining sauce over all and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake uncovered, until bubbly, about 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup diced bell pepper (green or red)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cup beef broth
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 – 3 drops of Tabasco

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil and sauté onion, garlic and bell pepper until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, flour and spices. Add broth and stir until thickened. Add tomato sauce and Tabasco. Reduce temperature to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Optional Toppings:
Slice green onions
Pitted olives
Sour cream
Diced avocado

For a printable recipe click here


vanillasugarblog said...

Laurie these look soooo good. And this is something my hubby would eat, so I am printing this one out.
I can't wait to see your new blog design! Yay!
I'm so glad that you encourage the art with your kids. I only wish I had that encouragement as a kid.

Thistlemoon said...

Aw, that is so awesome! He shouldn't be embarrassed to stand next to such great artwork! :)

What a fitting meal!

Anonymous said...

Nice! I'll have to try this one. I haven't had great luck with homemade enchilada sauce so I'm always on the prowl for a new one!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Yum! I love how forgiving things are when you can cover them in sauce and cheese - they look delectable and only you know it cracked! And well done to your talented son.

The Mediocre Cook said...

I've seen several enchiladas recipes on blogs these days and I really should try and make some. Yours look really good though!

Laurie said...

Thanks for all the wonderful comments, my friends! Couldn't help being the proud Mama.

It's so nice to see you again, my not at all mediocre Canadian friend!

Gloria Chadwick said...

I love enchiladas. I made them last night and since I have previously had problems with the corn tortillas breaking, I steamed them in the microwave, then dipped them in hot sauce (it IS messy), and they turned out perfect. I'll post the recipe and the method in a few days. :)