enchilada (sauce).

in a coffee chat with j, a student of mine, we talked about traveling strangers–people who come into our lives for a very brief period of time and impact us in ways we never thought they would. he talked about someone he met while he worked in retail. this person came into the store and started a conversation with j. during j’s lunch break, he noticed this person sitting by themselves in shopping mall and decided to sit with him to chat. they talked about a multitude of random things. he even tried to recruit j to join the circus, which he was a part of.

j decided not to join this circus. good thing.

they say that those people in our lives that stay awhile leave footprints in our hearts. i would say that all of those we come in contact with leave footprints. our lives are forever changed by each person we interact with, no matter how long or how short the time.

as an educator, students are constantly coming in and out of my life. to a degree, they are the traveling strangers to me. some stay long-term, some are only in it for a second. i am always learning and growing from them. i continue to fall in love with the work that i do because of the many footprints left.

who are the traveling strangers in your life?

enchilada sauce
printable recipe – yield 2 cups of enchilada sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup chili powder
2 cups vegetable stock
10 ounces tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
in a medium saucepan heat oil, add flour, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon. cook for 1 minute. add chili powder and stir. add stock, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin. stir to combine. boil and then reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. sauce will thicken and smooth out. adjust the seasonings. serve with your favorite enchiladas.

vegetarian enchiladas
yield 4 servings

1 batch of enchilada sauce
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, sliced
sprinkle of ground cinnamon
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cups of cheese, shredded (more if you like it extra cheesy like i do)
10 corn tortillas
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to taste

optional toppings: sour cream or plain yogurt, avocado slices, hot sauce

in a medium pan, add vegetable oil and saute onion until softened and translucent. add black beans and heat through for a minute. using the back of a wooden spoon, smash some of the black beans to create semi-refried black beans. season with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

if using fresh corn, boil corn and cook. cut kernels off the cob into a bowl. season with salt and pepper. if using frozen corn, heat on stovetop in small pan. season with salt and pepper.

preheat oven to 375.

to assemble enchiladas, add enough sauce in an oven-proof baking dish to cover the bottom to avoid burnt enchiladas. heat tortillas in a dry pan until pliable. when off the stove, assemble each tortilla one by one. add black beans, corn, and cheese in each tortilla. fold tortilla in a roll. place open side down in pan. once pan is filled with complete enchiladas, pour sauce on top to cover. extra sauce won’t hurt, so go ahead and add it all, if you feel so moved. i always do. cover with cheese.

place enchiladas in oven uncovered for 30 minutes. if you like brown bubbly cheese, turn oven to broil at the last 5 minutes. keep an eye on your enchiladas so nothing burns. top enchiladas with desired toppings.


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