Saturday, February 21, 2009

3 continents in a day...

While I was cooking the most improbably combination of dishes today, I philosophized a little about what we can do these days. We can find information at the click of a mousebutton, that lets us explore cuisines from all over the world. We can even 'talk' to the people that post the recipes, or read a little about their lives. To me, the most rewarding aspect of globalization, besides finding my husband on another continent, is food. I shudder to think I might have missed sushi! What if I'd never tried it? In my native Germany, sushi isn't all that prevalent and it's harder to get fresh fish than it is here on the east coast.
So today, we'll take a whirlwind trip from the Mediterranean to India and back to Mexico. Fish stew, Aloo Gobi and Enchiladas Two Ways. The latter I haven't actually tasted yet (other than the components one by one) because I froze all of it. There are a lot of families with new babies in my life that will need some meals delivered I think .....

Anyway, the fish stew. It was meant to be a slow cooker meal, but since I had frozen fish, we ended up making it on the stove. Don't think it matters either way though. It's an easy meal.

Fish Stew

3 lbs mixed fish and shrimp.
6 large red potatos, cut in 1in cubes
1/2 of a 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I only use organic ones)
1 cup chopped carrots, chopped celery, chopped celery root, each
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup lemon juice (I think clam juice would be even better)
1 sprig sage
2 sprigs rosemary
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt, pepper to taste
Water or broth to cover everything in the pot.

Since I was planning on making this in the slow cooker, I put everything in together. This makes the fish fall apart a little (especially since I used sole). If that bothers you, you could put the fish in last, but I fear the quality of the broth would be less good..... I'd rather have the flavor. Ideally, I guess, you'd get some fish heads and start the dish by making fish stock, but hey, I have 2 kids and a job and a house and a husband. And today, I have a bad back to boot. And no clue where I could buy fish heads other than in chinatown.

Moving on to: Aloo Gobi
As usual I compiled several online recipes into what made the most sense to me.

2 Tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
ground pepper
1 generous Tbsp garlic ginger paste
1 Tbsp green chili from a can (I know. I know)
1/2 of a 28oz can of diced tomatoes
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small head cauliflower
Fresh coriander

I fried the onion with the cumin seeds in the oil until translucent. Make a paste of the ground spices with water and add that, the chilis, ginger garlic paste. Stir. Add tomatoes. Stir. Add chopped potatoes and cauliflower florets. Add about a cup of water, stir and cover the pan. (Do check on it while it's cooking. I burned it a little because I didn't notice that my stove isn't level, so the back of the pan didn't have enough water). At the end, you can add fresh cilantro for serving. I meant to add peas but forgot at the last minute. I also think you could add some Garam Masala, which I also forgot. But the result was tasty!

Enchiladas 2 Ways

This makes 4 dishes of 4 enchiladas each. Watch out! It's a lot of food.

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup chili powder (I used Indian 'regular' and I think it's too hot. Be careful here. I think 2 Tbsp would be a good amount. Or use New Mexico or California chili powder as the original recipe suggested).
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • salt to taste
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder, reduce heat to medium, and cook until lightly brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning flour.
Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, and chocolate into the flour and chili powder until smooth, and continue cooking over medium heat approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt.

While you simmer the sauce some more, you can get started on the fillings.
The beef filling is simple. You brown one chopped onion with 1.2 lbs of very lean ground beef. You might add salt and pepper, or taco seasoning. I added creole seasoning because that's what I had.
The vegetarian filling I made was:

1 bag of frozen chopped spinach
1 cup cooked butternut squash
1 bunch green onions
1.5 cups ricotta
1 cup grate cheese (monterey jack or colby)
Salt, pepper, garlic to taste

Sautee the chopped green onions in butter. Add the spinach and squash and cook until spinach is thawed. Add ricotta. Stir. Add cheese, stir. Season as desired.


Now, the assembly. You need 2 packs of tortillas. I used wheat because my older daughter might be allergic to corn. I put the beef in whole wheat and the spinach in spinach tortillas. You also need a bunch more grated cheese. Altogether I used up one and a half bags.

Put out four tinfoil trays - I believe mine were 9x9 in. Put a ladle of sauce in each.
Assemble the enchiladas by adding either some beef and a handful of cheese to a tortilla, or about 1/2 cup of the ricotta/spinach/pumpkin goop. Roll up. Put seam side down into the trays. I fit 4 enchiladas per tray, for a total of 16 enchiladas.
(To give you a glimpse into my crazy weirdo mind: When I took this picture I momentarily got reminded of some stained glass window picturing a cross I must have once seen in a church in Germany. Then I thought 'Jesus loves Enchiladas'. Yes.... I know. My husband agrees with you.) Anyway, moving on. Ladle more sauce over it all, then top with cheese as desired. Bake 25 or so minutes. Forgive me for forgetting to photograph the final product. I like to eat my enchiladas with sour cream on the side. Lots of it.

By the way, and completely unrelated to cooking, my second baby learned to roll over both ways this past week. It's just as thrilling as it was with the first one. If anything I enjoy her more since I know she's 99% likely my last. Sniff.


  1. I prefer my enchiladas with wheat tortillas. They are less likely to fall apart. I love that your enchilada sauce recipe calls for chocolate - as chocolate and spicy go SO good together. Typically I would choose a meat dish vs. vegetarian... however, the ricotta in the veggie enchiladas sounds soooo tempting.

  2. Me and Jesus, both enchilada lovers!

  3. Well the baby wasn't my last. Time to update the blog!