Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Family and Food

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  In honor of the holiday, I am making red enchiladas-the same recipe my mom made, which is the same one her mom made.  And those enchiladas were served to hundreds of people throughout California when my mom's family was assigned to help members of their church raise funds to build church buildings.  I love to remember my mother and grandmother when I cook these enchiladas.

It seems that so many times I am reminded of particular family members when it comes to food.  I think of my small, sweet paternal grandmother whenever I think of rhubarb or banana cream pie.  My great-grandma whom I was named after was known for her pies, so every time I roll out a pie crust, I imagine her being right beside me helping me perfect the craft.  My mom makes chocolates every Christmas and I think of her when I eat any kind of chocolate.  My dad loves caramel and toffee and when I make my Christmas caramels, I imagine him chuckling and smiling.  And some foods just don't quite taste right if they're not made the way my mom made them; like her paprika chicken or the above-mentioned tacos or enchiladas.

Well, when I took a cooking class for fun in college, I was delighted to be assigned to assemble a "Family Cookbook" for my Final.  I got to fill it full of all those treasured family recipes.  So how do you make a Family Cookbook?

Choose specific categories of food and then gather recipes for each category.  Then type up the recipes, print out the pages, put them in page protectors, and then put them in a binder so you can add recipes as you remember them.  I suggest starting small, just 2-3 recipes/ category and 5-6 categories to begin with.  If you start small, you will soon have your cookbook started and it doesn't seem like such a huge task.  Then, you just add pages as you can.  Here are some examples of categories:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Pasta, Grains, and Legumes
  • Soups, Sauces, and Salad Dressings
  • Eggs and Dairy
  • Poultry 
  • Seafood
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lam and Veal
  • Quick Breads
  • Yeast Breads
  • Pies and Pastries
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Candies and Confections
Have fun with this carrying on of family traditions and here is the recipe for my grandmother's famous enchiladas!

Red Enchiladas

1 lb cooked, chopped chicken or pork
2 c grated cheese-divided
1 chopped onion-divided
corn tortillas (about 12)
oil for frying
3 c meat stock
1 small can tomato sauce
1/2 c flour
2-4 T chili powder
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t cumin
1/8 t cilantro leaves
1/4 t each salt and pepper

Enchilada Filling: Mix meat, 1/2 c. onion, and 1 1/2 c. cheese.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Enchilada Tortillas: Fry corn tortillas in a shallow frying pan just until cooked, but still soft (approx. 10 seconds on each side).  Set aside.

Enchilada Sauce: Sauté onions.  In saucepan, mix meat stock, tomato sauce, and sautéed onion.  Bring to boil.  In a small jar, add cold water to flour, put lid on tightly and shake until the water and flour are completely mixed.  Whisk flour/water mixture into sauce.  Boil to thicken.  While thickening, add spices.  Change spice amount to taste.

To assemble and cook enchiladas: Mix 1/4 - 1/2 c. room temperature sauce into meat mixture.  Save some sauce for serving at the table.  Dip both sides of the tortilla in the sauce.  Put a spoonful of meat mixture into tortilla.  Roll tortilla.  Place rolled tortilla in 8x8 pan.  Roll tortillas until meat mixture is gone.  Cover rolled tortillas with some sauce and the rest of the cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese on top is melted.  Serve with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream.

1 comment:

Krista said...

Thanks for sharing your memories Meg. I never knew they were called Red Enchiladas, and I didn't know that your Grandma Reed had cooked them also. Fun!
It's funny that I read this today because I just bought the ingredients for them today.