When I was a child, my family went to a winter solstice party. There was a bonfire, and guests were encouraged to write down what they wanted to get rid of from the current year on a piece of paper and throw it in the fire.
I don’t remember what I wrote, but I asked my dad later what he’d written down.
“The fear of success.” He’d said.
Years later, I am only just now beginning to understand what he meant.
This morning I read an article in the New York Times about New York City’s elderly, people who are older than 85. “The paradox of old age is that older people have a greater sense of well-being than younger ones — not because they’re unreservedly blissful, but because they accept a mixture of happiness and sadness in their lives, and leverage this mixture when events come their way.”
I realized recently that I really like chopping vegetables.
I diced four zucchini for my mother, and we made vegetable enchiladas with poblano sauce. Chopping vegetables reminds me of what is real. And this is a fussy recipe, with a too many steps and components, though it all ultimately pays off.
I never know what to say around this time of year. Everything is too much. How do you figure it out. So I make poblano enchiladas instead of trying to say something really grand about what the year meant. Because I'm not even sure yet.
Anyways. Thank you. I love you.
Happy New Year.
(No pictures of enchiladas because we ate them too fast.)
Vegetable Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce
from The Gourmet Today Cookbook by Ruth Reichl
Note: The recipes suggests frying each tortilla before dunking it in sauce. I simply warmed my on a griddle.)
3 poblano chiles, roasted and peeled
1/2 chopped white onion
1 large garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cream or creme fraiche
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped white onion
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups corn kernels (from 2-3 ears) or 1 (10 oz package frozen corn)
1 pound zuchini (3 medium) cut into 1/3 inch dice
1 (14-15oz) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, juice reserved and chopped
1/4 fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped jalapeno chile, including seeds, or to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 (6 to 7 inch) corn tortillas
1/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons Mexican creme or creme fraiche
2 tablespoons water
Make the sauce: Open chiles and spread flat; discard seeds and stems and cut out ribs. Coarsely chop chiles. Combine chiles, onion garlic, salt and water in a blender and puree until smooth.
Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heath until hot but not smoking. Carefully add sauce (it will spatter) and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in cream and remove from heat.
Make the filling: Heat oil in a 12-inch have skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Store in corn and zucchini and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, cilantro, and jalapeño and cook, uncovered, over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer filling to a large bowl to cool.
Make the enchiladas: Put a rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 450 F. Lightly oil a 13 x inch baking pan or flameproof baking dish. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Reheat sauce over moderately high heat until warm, if necessary, and transfer to a shallow bowl or pie plate. Add oil to cleaned 10-inch skillet and heat over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add 1 tortilla and cook, turning once with tongs, until softened, 4 to 6 seconds. Transfer to paper-towel-lined baking sheet and blot each side. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, stacking them once blotted.
Dip 1 tortilla in warm sauce, turning it with your fingers to coat both sides, and transfer to baking dish. Spoon about 1/3 cup filling down middle of tortilla and roll up to enclose filling. Push enchilada to one long side of baking dish; you will be forming 2 rows of 6 enchiladas each. Make more enchiladas in the same manner, arranging them tightly side by side in dish.
Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Stir together cream and water with a fork in a cup and drizzle over top.
Bake enchiladas, uncovered, until hot and bubbling, about 15 minutes. If desired, brown under broiler 2 to 3 inches from heat, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.