Hippie Enchiladas

November 18, 2008 at 8:28 pm (From the Cabin Kitchen) (, , , )

My stepmom was a genuine Hippie, no one could argue that. I met her when I was an impressionable 20 year old, the first year she and my Dad started dating. We became fast friends, and I have to say, she became one of the Great Influencers of my life. She also became–over time–one of the ties that bound our family together, working what I called her Social Services Superpowers on us, a highly receptive audience.

Doris was a bona fide Hippie. She had all one length salt and pepper hair, parted down the middle with no bangs. She wore full on hippie skirts, tie-dye, and smelled of patchouli. But the physicality of her being is not at all what made her a hippie. It was just who she was, way deep down.

She was the kind of person that believed in and listened to her dreams (and yours if you wanted to talk; she might also do a quick Tarot Card reading on you, but that’s another post altogether) and followed her heart up to last day of her life. She came out west with her 3 young kids because a dream told her to. The dream told her to live near Mt. Baker in Washington State. As a girl from Cleveland unfamiliar with the Pacific Northwest, she had never heard of Mt. Baker but knew she needed to live there.

And so she ended up living on a Commune in the 1970’s in the Okanagon Valley in Washington, where she was known as Sun Woman. Later she would be one of the organizers and Camp Cook at the first Rainbow Gathering.

She eventually moved the family to Seattle, where her kids came of age in the Grunge Era (Alice in Chains played at my stepsister’s 16th birthday party–in their basement!) and were definitely non-Hippies despite having grown up on a Commune. She still went to Barter Fairs, was a gifted musician (that’s how she met my Dad), bought organic food long before it was cool or mainstream, and got my whole family hooked on good, strong coffee. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.

In so many ways, Doris inspired. She was ecclectic, eccentric, and a little crazy. Many times when at her house, you would have to double check if it was a Beethoven CD playing, or if she was sitting at the piano herself; she was a concert pianist and in her day at age 16 was the youngest member of the Cleveland Symphony. She was also an amazing cook, and some of my favorite recipes of all time are adapted from hers.

In the last years of her life, before she knew she was sick, she and my Dad bought the quintessential hippie mobile–a big yellow school bus–and hit the road. They ended up in the Southwest, living at a hot springs resort in New Mexico in their big bus, that eventually ended up with a blue and purple paint job.

This recipe is dear to my heart, and not just for nostalgic reasons alone. These are some of the best enchiladas ever. My brother and I fondly termed them “Hippie Enchiladas”. (Someday I’ll share the recipe for Hippie Ham with you as well. But for now, enjoy this classic from the Hippie Archives).

Hippie Enchiladas, adapted from Doris ‘Sun Woman’ Vanderpool’s recipe.

Note: The key to these Enchiladas is that they must be “Swimming in sauce”. And that is straight from the Hippie’s mouth. Do not be tempted to cheat or skimp on the sauce! Unless you can find a good quality canned authentic Mexican enchilada sauce, make it from scratch. It’s easy!

For easiest assembly have everything ready to go– Mise en Place–and it will all go a little more smoothly.

For the Sauce:

3 T. butter

1 medium yellow onion, medium dice

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2-3 T. chili  powder, depending on the spiciness/flavor of yours (don’t be scared!)

1 T. ground cumin

1 t. ground coriander

1 T. good quality dried oregano, preferably Mexican (shop locally, buy Juanita’s!)

dash of cayenne pepper

2 T. flour

1 c. chicken stock

1.5 14-oz cans tomato sauce (Muir Glen lined cans are the best; can also use their Chunky Tomato Sauce)

Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat butter in a saute pan or medium skillet; add onions and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the spices and oregano, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the flour and stir for another 30 seconds (you are making a roux, Mexi-style) and then add the chicken stock, stirring constantly to combine. Once it looks bubbly, add the tomato sauce. Cook for about 15 minutes until thickened. If it seems too thick–you don’t want it to be pasta sauce-ish– add a bit more stock. Adjust seasonings, then set aside. I tend to like mine on the spicy side, but that’s just me.

For the Enchiladas:

6-8 flour tortillas, NOT the ginormous ones. I’ve also used the corn/flour blend (Diane’s), but if you want to shop locally, use La Rosa’s Spelt Tortillas, made in Gresham.

6-10 canned green chiles. If you can get a big 28-oz can, it’s a better deal.

1 large bunch green onions, chopped, green parts and all

1 large bunch cilantro, chopped, stems and all (but not the whole stem, only down to where the leaves end)

8-oz grated sharp cheddar, or monterey jack.

Crumbled Feta or Mexican Cotija

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Ladle about 1 cup of reserved sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 Pyrex baking dish (do not use metal!). Spoon about 2 T. of sauce (very, very important…remember the ‘swimming’?) in the center of the a tortilla (holding it in a flat hand). Place a whole green chile on top of the sauce, then top with a handful of cilantro (don’t skimp), green onions, cheddar and feta. Carefully roll up into an open-ended burrito–it will be full! Place seam-side down in pan, scrunching it up tightly to one end. Repeat with as many tortillas as will fit, with a moderate amount of scrunching; depending on how big your rolls are, you will get 6-8. I once got 9, but it was way too crowded.

Top with all of the sauce you have leftover, taking care to cover all of the tortillas with at least a thin layer so they don’t dry out. Sprinkle a handful of grated cheese, then all of the leftover cilantro and green onions as a lovely garnish. Cover with foil, and bake for about 20 minutes or until starting to bubble. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes until top cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Serve hot, with sour cream, hot sauce, green salsa, whatever you fancy. And of course, a Margarita is always in order with enchiladas. Or a Dos Equis.

This photo was taken on my own private ‘Latin Night’ at Sheep Hill Lookout in September 2006. I had an airline-sized bottle of Tequila–the inspiration for the theme of the evening; that and the Latin music serendipitously playing on the radio–so I made a margarita and these enchiladas. Everything somehow tastes better when you have limited resources (i.e. no electricity, limited amounts of cheese)! I did use a cast-iron skillet because that is all I had. I am sure at that point the extra iron in my veins was probably welcome.

Hippie Enchiladas, at 8500'

Hippie Enchiladas, at 8500'

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