We were starving. Its been 40 degrees and raining for days now – not exactly scooter weather. So if you think I was about to take my happy ass to the store in this weather then you’re crazy and you don’t know me or my comfort thresholds at all. We are half a mile from Central Market, mind you, but no matter, cold is cold and rain is rain. Also, M. has been busy, as has been his heated truck. And M. won’t go to the store without prompting. M. is like a camel. He can go hours, days, weeks without food. Example: M. is about to leave on a 3 day hiking/camping trip in the middle of the Texas Summer and I have to remind him to even bring water…repeatedly…as in running down the driveway with the canteen he left on the counter for the 3rd time. Never mind food. He will just figure it out as he goes. Because he never gets hungry. UNTIL….food presents itself. If food is present, he will stop at nothing else to exhaust the resources at hand…like a locust. Inarguably an evolutionary advantage 500,000 years ago. Now, it is a plague upon my fridge. Cut to Monday night. We were starving. So I broke down, as I always do. In the showdown to see who can hold out on food the longest, M. always wins. But, I must admit that these lean moments, followed by the flush of newly bought groceries, provoke inspiration. And behold…Ad Hoc Desperation Enchiladas.
1 container of 3 cheese blend
White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt (Whole Milk – don’t you dare use the zero fat version)
Pickled jalapenos and juice (we used homemade and yes I’m lording my DIYness over you)
Your favorite salsa (right now mine is Jose T. Garcia’s Medium – simple and cheap)
Hungarian Smoked Paprika
1 clove garlic
1 heaping spring pinch of cilantro
Bacon fat (you should always have a jar of this in your fridge from leftover brunches – if you don’t, you need to have more brunches – stat)
Method (Note: I NEVER measure – I do EVERYTHING to taste. This is why I’m a shitty baker, but a great improviser. Measurements below are vague memories of my experimentation. Use your own best judgement (i.e. common sense), based on what you like, to make your sauce tasty and for god’s sake if you don’t like cilantro, then don’t use it.
Combine in a bowl, the olive oil (3 glugs), yogurt (0.5 cup), 2-3 heaping tablespoons of the pickled jalapenos (along with 2-3 glugs of the juice), salsa (1 tablespoon), nutritional yeast (1 heaping tablespoon), cumin (1 teaspoon), chile powder (1.5 teaspoons), smoked paprika (0.5 teaspoon), sage (generous pinch), oregano (generous pinch), one clove garlic, cilantro and salt to taste.
Now blend that goodness up with your amazing Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender (almost the best thing to ever happen to my kitchen). If it seems too thick for your taste, then add almond milk. The consistency you’re looking for is akin to a thick gravy.
Structure & Delivery
Now, find a small terrine (I use my glass pyrex tupperware containers) and smear the bottom and side of the terrine with bacon fat. Pour a little of your newly blended sauce into the bottom – enough to cover it and the fat. Then tear up corn tortillas and add your base layer (enough to cover the bottom). Next smear your beans on top of the tortilla layer and add a layer of 3 cheese mix and more sauce. Repeat until you reach the top. You want your last layer to be cheese, so plan ahead for that. Put your concoction in the toaster oven at about 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until you can see stuff bubbling up from the bottom and your cheese on top is golden brown.
For funsies, I like to add a little salsa and yogurt on top while serving. I know this dish seems like alot of steps, but its supposed to be fun and it shouldn’t take you longer than 15 minutes (from start to the beginning of baking), if you have all of the ingredients. I like to drink Real Ale’s Devil’s Backbone whilst cooking this dish, by the way. Don’t succumb to the temptation to drink Mexican style beer because this is a Mexican inspired dish. Its cold and rainy outside and its a rich, spicy and acidic dish. Trust me on this one.