June 5, 2014

Vegetarian Enchiladas Verde

Oooof, sigh..... This the sound of me pulling my tired old legs up on the railing, just before I lean back into the recline position on this patio chair, take a big gulp of my Hefeweizen and sit here taking it all in. The view from the front patio is a perfectly aligned garden, created by one individual who shows some signs of OCD. I spent half an hour each day picking weeds and flowers petals that fell from the previous night. Yes, I am one of those people. Yesterday I laid down the final bit of compost, and now I will wait to see which plants flourish, which ones sprout flowers, and which ones spread so fast they take over the garden. I've spent the last 3 weeks pulling weeds, trying to tame the ivy, and digging up a few tons of red mulch that were previously laid as a ground cover. There is still much work to be done. I haven't even begun to think about the backyard, and that giant pit of buried construction material is now considered dead to me. But for now, I will sit here and focus on what's been accomplished, not the work that still needs to be done. This is the motto you need to commit to, in order to stay sane as a homeowner.

Things are finally starting to come together though. Most of my things have a home, whether it's temporary or not, they are good solid locations that make sense for the most part. Yesterday I was looking for a pair of nail clippers, and it was pretty nice to be able to find them in the 'nail clipper spot' instead of rummaging through the box labeled bathroom stuff only to realize that I own 8 refillable leg razor handles and no blades. And no sign of the nail clippers.

The only major house issue that seems to need immediate attention, and one that stresses me majorly, is our old janky chimney built in the early 1900's. It's missing quite a bit of mortar on the bottom half, and the top half looks like it's not even attached to the roof. We've had a few companies come out and look at it. Some have been legit. Some have treated me like I'm a naive housewife who couldn't possibly have the slightest clue about chimneys. The same sort of bull-shitty attitude I frequently get from car mechanics. I was so pissed after these few negative encounters, that I decided to do something really hardcore, so I built myself some closet shelves - and not the wire kind. The kind that involves a lot of power tools, drilling, and sawing. I may not know much about chimneys, but that's not because I am female, it's because I don't give a shit.

Something that I do care about though, and the reason why I will probably never leave the US, is Mexican food. It's so foreign when I go back to Canada. 'Can you point me in the direction of the masa harina grocery clerk?'. 'Hmm, what is that?'. Corn tortillas, don't even think about trying to find them. To be fair, I am talking about the small town where my family lives, because there are probably many parts of Canada that sell masa harina and corn tortillas, but Canada is huge, and you're probably stuck driving for days to find some.

We have so many great Mexican restaurants here in Seattle, that I rarely cook Mexican food at home, which sounds like a real crime after hearing myself say that out loud. For the most part, I find it to be pretty labor intensive if you're making your own tortillas from scratch. I'm also slowly getting acquainted with the different flavors, so I don't quite have the skills to be able to whip something up from scratch (unless you're talking about fish tacos) because I make those always. I've made salsa verde (green salsa) a few times and this enchilada sauce is just a take on that. Tomatillos are in season right now, so I bought a boatload, and I made a double batch of this sauce. I will eat it on everything until the very last drop.

makes 7 enchiladas

Verde Sauce Ingredients
1 1/2 lb tomatillos, husks removed
2 serrano chiles, stems removed
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup onion, chopped
a handful of cilantro stems removed
1 tsp salt

Enchilada Ingredients
2 tbsp canola oil, or any light tasting frying oil
1/2 lb tofu, diced
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 cup corn
1 can of white or black beans
1 tsp salt
7 small-med corn tortillas
queso fresco or mozzarella

Place the tomatillos and the serrano chiles into a large pot covered with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature and simmer until the tomatillos are soft. Remove the tomatillos and chiles from the pot and place into a blender with 1/2 cup of the leftover cooking water, garlic, onion, cilantro, and salt. Puree until smooth.

Fry the tofu, onions, corn, and beans, in canola oil until the onions and tofu have begun to brown slightly. Add a quarter cup of the prepared verde sauce and 1 tsp salt and combine. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Pour the rest of the verde sauce into the same frying pan and heat on low.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a 9 x 13" baking dish, ladle in enough of the verde sauce to cover the bottom.

To assemble the enchiladas, begin by dipping a tortilla into the verde sauce to coat. Place the tortilla into the baking dish and scoop in two large spoonfuls of the tofu filling. Roll the tortilla, and place it at the end of the dish seem facing down. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. They should all fit snug in the dish.

Pour the rest of the verde sauce over the enchiladas. Top with queso fresco or mozzarella. Place in the oven and bake until cheese is melted if you are using mozzarella, 5 minutes. If you are using queso fresco, it won't melt, so heat until enchiladas are warm, should take 5 minutes.

Top with avocado, lettuce, green onions, or radishes, with a lime on the side. Enchiladas can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for 4 months, and reheated when needed.


  1. Anonymous05 June, 2014

    These look amazing! One of my favorite Mexican dishes. I've never tried to make my own salsa verde but I should start.

    1. Yes, I agree. Salsa verde is so easy to make and delicious.

  2. Mmm, that looks delish! Wish I had one of those for lunch today. :) Love your photos, they're so simple and bright and colorful.

  3. The ingredients in these are so perfect, love this enchilada recipe so much. We love tomatillos here too!

  4. Didn't know you were from Canada, I lived in Toronto for two years before moving here to San Diego. Can definitely vouch that no good Mexican food (compared to San Diego anyways) is to be found in Toronto either even though its a big city.

    You should try to make sopes! Loved your enchiladas and if you have some masa laying around that is all you need to make sopes. They are like the wonderful fried little dense pillow version of tortillas.

    1. OMG. I tried sopas after my husband had been raving about them. There was a tiny little food stand set up at a local market a few weeks ago. I want more.

  5. This is a giant casserole of awesome!! LOVE!

  6. help! please advise on these great mexican restaurants in seattle. oaxaca (ballard and queen anne) but... where else?

    1. El Camino + Pecado Bueno + Taco Food truck down by the outdoor theatre in Fremont. Fogon + Poquitos + Barrio in Capitol Hill. These are my go-to's. I have heard about Oaxaca, but not yet tried. I rarely make it over to Ballard and Queen Anne.

    2. i don't know if it counts as "great", but... i love guaymas in fremont. they're a chain, so there're probably a few in other neighborhoods. it's fast and inexpensive and convenient (for me, anyway) and i can get a wet chicken burrito that will feed me for two meals.

      and thank you for more suggestions to add to my never-quenched thirst for mexican food.

  7. I love your tomatillo styling! I need to make these enchiladas, they look delectable

  8. Oh I really miss Mexican food! Here in Ireland it can be very hard to find the right ingredients. These enchiladas look so good.

  9. Anonymous08 June, 2014

    These are totally cute and gorgeous and sophisticated at the same time!
    Loving it Heather!

  10. Ha, you'd hate it in London. Mexican food is is almost always a disappointment - I stuff my face with tacos every time I'm state-side ;) I've started cooking it more and more at home though (or at least a vague approximation if I can find the right ingredients) and this is totally going on the to-make list.

  11. Anonymous11 June, 2014

    I don't make Mexican food at home often enough, either! I just love you for putting tofu in this. I notice my household buying less and less and less meat. Tomatillo season, hurray! You photographed this so beautifully. Happy gardening!

  12. I just ate dinner and am getting really hungry just looking at this!

  13. "but that's not because I am female, it's because I don't give a shit." Probably one of my most favorite lines in blogging history.

    And what comes to Mexican cuisine...it's not really flourishing here in Scandinavia. It's also a challenge to cook Mexican at home as many ingredients are just so damn difficult to come by. Like tomatillos; it's a really rare luck to find some around here. Your enchiladas look, however, truly delicious, and may I get really lucky and find a bunch of tomatillos I'll definitely make some.

  14. Wow this looks so good. I really want for try it since I've never cooked with tomatillos.