Spinach Enchiladas

from Jamey W. Bennett
to Daniel Larkin 
date Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Dude,

I’ve got something for your Mexican night, mostly invented tonight. The best part about this is not the enchiladas themselves, it’s the sauce. Now, you might ask, what made you think to do this, Jamey? I’m glad you asked, and I’l tell you. I went to the grocery, trying to spend between $10 and $20 for a fat ass platter of verde enchiladas (recognizing that a few of the ingredients were already on hand). When my bill was over $30, I knew something was up. Turns out, the three cans of verde enchilada sauce were $4.49 each.

I put the cans back, and came up with this. Here’s how to make the sauce.

  • 28 oz can of tomatillos
  • 1 small can of green chiles
  • 1 tsp. cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • a handful of cilantro
  • the juice of two small limes
  • 1 cube of bullion dissolved in 1/2 cup of hot water (I used chicken/tomato)
  • a couple of jalapenos
  • salt to taste

I mixed all of this in the blender, then I threw it in a skillet and simmered for about 15 minutes.

While I was doing all that, I was constantly mixing in fresh spinach in a pot with a little bit of butter. As it cooked down, I’d add another handful. I don’t know how much I put in there, but it was at least a pound, if not 1-1/2 pounds.

To make the enchiladas, I microwaved about 25 corn tortillas for 1 minute. This is important because they will break if you use them cold.

I chopped an 8 oz block pepper jack into rectangular blocks. I also had 2 bags of 8 oz. shredded “Mexican taco” cheese.

Another can of green chiles.

One diced tomato.

Each tortilla got a pinch of tomatoes, green chiles, some chunks of pepper jack cheese, some shredded taco cheese, a spoonful of the simmering enchilada sauce, and a forkful of spinach. Roll it up and throw it in a oven-worthy dish. Once you’ve filled the dish, you’ll probably have to move to another one. Then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of all of the enchiladas. Finally, pour the enchilada sauce over the top.

Throw that into a 350 degree pre-heated oven, and when the cheese appears to be melted, it’s time to eat!

Alison told me she thought it needed salt or something like that. I thought it was perfect.

Enjoy.

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Vegetarian Chicken Soft Tacos [Bonus: Pork Tacos]

[Note: This is the post that planted the seed that led to Two Dudes Foods.]

From: Daniel Larkin
Date: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 7:56 PM
Subject:
Today I share the secret
To: “jamey w. bennett”

After years of blindly making this recipe, I finally measured the ingredients for my chicken soft tacos.  I figured you should be the first person I share the recipe with.  If anyone can give me constructive feedback on my taco recipe, it’s you – the taco guy.  I make these veggie-style, using Quorn Naked Cutlets.  I’ve never made them with real chicken, but if I had to, I would first try using left-over chicken (fully cooked) shredded as thinly as possible.

I chop the Naked Cutlets into thin strips, lay them flat, and chop again until the pieces resemble shredded chicken like you expect to see in Mexican restaurant.  If you can find the Naked Cutlets in Philly, I would recommend this as a meat-free meal.  I know you could use a little taco in your meat fasting days.

So here it goes.

  • 6 oz chicken (this translates into 3 Naked Cutlets) finely shredded as mentioned above.
  • 8 oz can of no salt added tomato sauce
  • 4 oz orange juice.  (I measure this in the empty 8 oz tomato sauce can)
  • 4 oz water
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Squirt of lemon or lime juice
  • Chopped cilantro

Jenny’s not a fan of overly overly-spicy foods, so these are super low on the heat scale.  But you can heat them up with cayenne and red pepper flakes, or by tossing a few Jalapenos in the marinade.

Marinate the chicken in all ingredients (except cilantro and lemon/lime juice) for at least 30 minutes.

Bring the mix to a boil, and simmer covered on low for 5 or 10 minutes.
Remove lid and simmer for another 15 minutes – until sauce has thickened or soaked into meat.

Toss in some chopped cilantro and squeeze in lemon/lime juice, and viola!

Let me know how it goes.  I would love the feedback.

from Jamey W. Bennett
to Daniel Larkin

Dude,

I am eating the most amazing pulled pork tacos ever. I still haven’t made your faux chicken tacos, but you inspired this. I sauteed onions and jalapenos in olive oil, added precooked pulled pork and cilantro, then poured 100% mango-orange juice over it and cooked it until excess liquid was gone. Added to whole wheat tortillas (which I briefly browned in a skillet), added sour cream, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, and homemade salsa. INCREDIBLE!

Jamey

Corn Tortilla Chips

from Daniel Larkin
to jamey w. bennett

How is it that we’ve been trading food emails for all these years, and I’ve never heard that you make your own chips? If they’re going to be part of your bio, then by God the recipe should be posted. I really just want to try them myself.

from Jamey W. Bennett
to Daniel Larkin

Dude, it’s super easy.

Deep fryer and vegetable oil [lard is way better, and better for you]
Corn tortillas, sliced into 6 “triangles”
Paper grocery bag
Paper towel
Salt

Start with corn tortillas. You can make these yourself, or just get them for cheap from the store. Slice them. Deep fry those babies for a few minutes until they are nice and crispy, but not too brown. It’s not tricky, but it’s a fine line between crispy and burnt. I like to shake them a bit over the fryer to get excess oil off. I stick the paper towel inside the grocery bag, throw the freshly fried chips in, and sprinkle a little salt while the chips are still hot and the oil is wet. Shake the bag. I repeat this many times until I have a huge bag of chips. The only thing to watch out for is that it’s easy to over-salt, so I actually only salt every few times that I deposit chips in the bag.

One cool tip: if you have a Mexican wholesaler, they sometimes have extra thin tortillas specifically for making chips. You can use these for tacos, too, but they have a different consistency than normal tortillas. I recently spent $28 on a giant box of probably a thousand tortillas for chips from a wholesaler. I just keep the unused tortillas in the freezer. Enjoy!

Fritters with Pineapple Salsa

from Daniel Larkin
to jamey w. bennett

OK, one of my favorite new side items is Fritters with Pineapple salsa. So here’s a brief overview of my recipes.

Salsa: 
Two pasilla (or poblano) peppers
One Anaheim pepper
One jalapeno pepper
One red onion (I roasted it whole, but I really only used the outer half, which had roasted most)
Half head of garlic
Six Tomatoes
Approximately half a pineapple cut into round slices – it looks like too much, but it isn’t.
One small can of tomato sauce
A small bunch of fresh basil chopped

Roast all of the fresh items on the grill, setting each one into a covered pot to rest as they finish. After the last item goes into the pot, let them all sit for at least 10 minutes. Skin and deseed peppers and tomatoes. Spread the tomatoes over the cutting board and work with a knife until it’s fairly smooth but has some chunkiness to it. Chop peppers and onion to small squares. I chopped the pineapple to various sizes – smaller sizes for flavor and larger sizes for taste and texture. Pinch the garlic cloves from their skins and mash/chop.

Mix all of the mess in a pot with salt and tomato sauce and simmer (not boil) for five minutes – just to mix the flavors. At the end of the five minutes, add the basil and a touch of olive oil and red wine vinegar. It’s good fresh, but it’s fantastic after a night in the fridge.

Fritters:
One large and one small squash – approximately 1-1/2 cups shredded with the large grates of a cheese grater.
Kernels from two ears of corn – I ended up with one cup. (I steamed the kernels for a few minutes, but I don’t know how necessary this is.)
Two finely chopped jalapenos
Enough shredded cheddar to be good – I made no measurements for this, but you’ll know how much is enough.
1/2 cup of flour – plus a little bit more
Two eggs
Pinch of baking powder
Splash of milk
Salt, pepper, paprika

Mix all ingredients. Fill a cooking pan with enough oil to halfway cover a “pancake” of the mix. Fry away, but keep it covered with a screen because we had a few kernels pop on us.

Top with the salsa.

Holy shit, dude. These are fantastic.