Cancelations, readings, recipes

Today, my Memoir seminar was canceled. Having no class somehow takes the shape out of my day. Instead of finishing out my essay (which is on Bread and Solitude), I gathered up all of the unread submissions I have waiting for me from the Northwest Review and went to lunch at yet another Mexican restaurant. I managed, over the course of reading there and at a coffee shop, to send out eleven rejection letters; I also passed one story up for reading by the group next week, and handed another one over to be read by someone else. So I got rid of those; I’m now caught up through December 14. I have a backlog of about 25 stories to go through. Joy.

We had our weekly Northwest Review meeting; we’re being observed in our deliberations all this term by an editing class. That makes things kind of weird.

I came home and made apple crisp, watched the new episode of “House,” and have been procrastinating merrily for hours. I need to write a 4-page paper on schizophrenia by tomorrow. Bleh. I’m not complaining that it’s too much work; it’s such minor work that I am deeply displeased by the prospect of doing it.

For those looking for the Broccoli-Tofu Enchiladas recipe, here it is:

You need:
16 oz. of fresh, firm (not silken) tofu
2-3 oz. neufchatel (I can’t get the spelling to look right!) cheese or cream cheese
2-3 cups of cooked, coarsely chopped broccoli
1/2 large onion, cut into four pieces
1.5-2.5 Tablespoons “high quality” chili powder
2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
6-8 8″ flour tortillas or 8-10 6″ corn tortillas (mine made 12)
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
Enchilada sauce (such as that listed below)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Put half of tofu into food processor; crumble the rest and set aside. Add to food processor: garlic, chili powder, cream cheese, and salt. Pulse until smooth, pausing to scrape the bowl. Add the onion and pulse-chop a few times. Add the broccoli and pulse-chop a couple times more. What you’re aiming for is a thick, smooth mixture (the cheese-tofu) with texture-y (I’m quoting from the cookbook) chunks of raw onion and broccoli distinct in it. Turn the mixture out into the bowl with the crumbled tofu, and stir well to combine.
3. Optional: make enchilada sauce (see below).
4. Spray 10×13″ pan with cooking spray. Place filling and stack of tortillas nearby.
5. Heat a non-stick skillet or one that has been sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the pan and warm just enough to soften it (about 45 seconds). Flip and warm the other side. THIS IS ACTUALLY FAIRLY IMPORTANT. I skipped the step mostly and my corn tortillas fell apart. Pull tortilla out and warm next one. While it’s warming, fill the warm tortilla, roll it, and put it seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat x however many tortillas.
6. Pour sauce (bottled or made) over the enchiladas. Cover with waxed paper, then again with foil, and bake 15-20 minutes; then uncover, top with cheese, raise oven temp to 450, and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Alterations: I accidentally put in 3 cloves instead of 2 of garlic. Don’t do that. Also, I made it without onion because mine was rotten. It was still good to me, because I don’t like raw onion. I also grated the cheese onto the enchiladas before they went in to bake for the first round, and that worked out fine. I still took off the cover for the last five minutes and raised the heat. Also, because there was no onion here, there was no making this sauce. I used bottle Ortega Enchilada sauce instead; it’s good enough.

Cupboard Enchilada Sauce
1/2 onion
1 14oz. can whole tomatoes in tomato juice
3 cloves garlic
3-4 T commercial hot salsa
1 red bell pepper, charred, peeled, stemmed, and seeded (optional)
1 tsp salt.

Combine all ingredients in food processor and buzz until smooth. The end.

All recipes are from The Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon. It’s a pretty good cookbook — lots of creative vegetarian dishes, and a whole section on “quick fixes” that’s pretty helpful for just throwing things together. There’s also some “musings” upon different ingredients and explanations of things that are good to read. I find it a much better cookbook now, three years into vegetarian living, than I did when I first picked it up and was constantly saying, “what’s tempeh? where am I going to find tahini? what’s the difference between nutritional yeast and regular yeast?” etc.

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