Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Enchilada Sauce (For my brother, Mark)

 Enchilada sauce from scratch is a bit of a pain to make.  The recipe I follow is for a single batch to make one pan of enchiladas but I NEVER do it that way.  If I'm going to the trouble to make it, I make a bunch and freeze it for future use.  I use a full bag (16oz.) of the dried mild chiles.  We like it a bit spicy so I add in 20 of the hot chiles.
 The recipe says to soak the chiles and then remove the stems and seeds.  I have found that it is easier to remove the stems and seeds first.  Just pull off or cut off with scissors the stem at the top and pour out the seeds.

 Next step is to rinse and soak your chiles.  Fill the pan with water, swish it around and then dump out the first water.  Fill with water again.
 Cover pan and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat off, leave the lid on and let the chiles soak for an hour.
 Once your chiles are softened, begin running the chiles with some of the soaking liquid in your blender or food processor.  As you can see, I like using a glass measuring cup to scoop up the chiles.  This is a MESSY job.  Wear an apron.  Chile stuff doesn't come out very well even with Spray and Wash. 
 Next, place your sieve/strainer over a large bowl.  Pour the processed chiles through the sieve.  Use a plastic scraper to work the chile through the sieve. When you have worked all of the chile through, add a cup or 2 of water into your blender and process to clean out the excess chile and pour it through as well.  This will help push through the rest of the chile into the bowl.  The dry-ish stuff that is left in your sieve is leftover skin and seeds.  When it gets to that dry point you can throw that part away.

I usually use 2 bowls because there is a lot of chile when making a big batch.  You can't push it through if it is sitting down in the chile sauce.

 Next, pre-measure your seasonings, oil, flour, vinegar and prep/peel your garlic.

One note: Salt is a variable in this recipe.  Chile on it's own is pretty bitter.  The salt is what changes that.  In my experience, if you follow the actual recipe, you will need a bit more salt to make it taste right.  SO, taste, add salt, taste again.  You don't want too much salt but you definitely don't want bitter.
 Saute garlic in oil just until garlic begins to lightly brown and then remove garlic.
 Now add in the flour and sauté for a minute.
 Dump in the chile and the rest of your ingredients. Simmer for about 15 minutes and check for salt.  (See above.)
Make enchiladas!  This batch was my sample and it was just heated in the microwave and still was really yummy. 

To make enchiladas......
*Toast corn tortillas in a hot skillet.  No oil needed.  Just heat till they begin to brown on both sides.  You still want them to be soft enough to roll but a little brown to add flavor. I usually place them inside a folded dish towel to keep them warm while I'm working with them. (I do 14 tortillas for a 9x13 pan)
*For beef filling, cook 1 lb. of hamburger, drain, add some of the red chile sauce and roll in warmed tortillas.  You can also make cheese enchiladas, chicken or whatever you prefer. Chopped onion is also a possibility if you like that.
*Roll enchiladas, place in pan seam side down.  Pour sauce over the top and grated cheese on top of that.
*Easy Peasy!

Original Recipe:  (Single Batch)

Salsa para Enchiladas (Enchilada Sauce)

8 dried California chiles
1 1/2 Tbsp. lard or vegetable oil
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vinegar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Wash chiles thoroughly. Place in a large saucepan and cover generously with water. Cover and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let stand 45 minutes or until softened. Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. Pull off stems, slit chiles open and finse off seeds.  Place chiles and 1 cup soaking liquid in blender or food processor.  Process until pureed.  Turn into a sieve and rub through sieve into bowl to eliminate small bits of peel.  Rinse blender with additional 1 cup soaking liquid and pour over remaining pulp in sieve.  Heat lard or oil and garlic in a medium saucepan.  When lard or oil is fragrant with garlic, discard garlic clove. Stir in flour until mixture is smooth.  Cook about 1 minute.  Add pureed chile mixture and remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cook and stir until slightly thickened.  Taste and add more salt if needed.  Makes about 2 1/3 cups/

My BIG version:

16 oz. bag mild chiles
20 (each) hot chiles
2/3 cup oil
10 whole garlic cloves
2/3 cup flour
3 Tbsp. vinegar
1/4 cup salt
2 1/2 tsp. dried leaf oregano, crushed
2 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Just follow the above directions using the larger quantity of ingredients.

Good luck, Mark!  Text me if you have any questions along the way! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Making Memories

This year for our Easter celebration I decided to make a simple "photo booth" setting.
This was our backdrop.  The fabric is a painting dropcloth.  If you look closely you can see paint splatters on it!  (I used the kind of curtain rings that pinch on to hang the dropcloth.)  I made the paper wheels and bunting out of scrapbook paper.  The bunting is just triangles stitched onto a piece of ribbon.  Over at The Creative Place there is a great tutorial for making the paper wheels.
Everyone had a great time posing! Most of our props came from the dollar store.  I did print a few mustaches and lips from Accent the Party.  They were a free download.

I think he wore these glasses most of the day!

With a little encouragement, even Grandma got in on the action!
I LOVE this picture!
So full of JOY!
We did try for a few "serious" pictures.
My 2 favorite girls and their Grandma.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Quilted bags for Mother's Day

Each year on Mother's Day I like to have a little something to hand out to all of my senior adult ladies at church.  This year I came across this idea for a quilted bag.  The original idea was from a blog called Pink Penguin.  Here is the link to her awesome tutorial for making the bag!  I made mine smaller but used the same technique.  My smaller bags are done with 9 - 2" squares.  I was making 70 of them and decided that making both sides quilted was more than I could tackle so I did coordinating fabric on the back and created a label to stitch on. 
 Awhile back I shared with you the idea/instructions for printing on fabric with your computer.  Here is the link to those instructions. 
 The initial idea was to put a small sewing kit in each bag but the more I thought about it the more I wondered how practical that would be for a senior adult.  For most of the ones I know just threading a needle is a challenge.  Ended up designing candy wrappers using old fashioned sewing graphics.  Wording on the sides and back of the candy have the date and Happy Mother's Day written.  The candy I used was Hershey Nuggets.  They are easy to make wrappers for because a basic address label (Avery 8160) fits perfectly around them.
 The bags were really easy to make but about half way through the project I found myself wondering.......WHAT WAS I THINKING! 
Looking forward to Mother's Day when I can hand out treats and hug a lot of necks!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tiffany Blue Theme

I never know where inspiration is going to come from! 
This year for Christmas my daughters bought me my first Tiffany's gift.  (Ooo la la!) Now I don't know about you but if I get anything in one of those pretty blue boxes the box must be saved! It has been sitting around in my bedroom since Christmas.  Makes me smile just to see the box!  On top of that, I keep seeing that commercial where the senior adult man orders Breakfast at Tiffany's for his wife for their anniversary.  Anyway, when it came time to plan "Senior Appreciation Day" at church I had Tiffany on the brain!  My variation of the Tiffany theme is "Breakfast at Trinity".  I started by looking for Tiffany blue paper.  I found a great resource for all types of Tiffany paper at Paper and More online.  They had really fast service.  I had my order in 2 or 3 days.

 My first project was this candy folder.  I came across the idea on Pinterest. (Where all wonderful ideas come from, right?)  You can find the instructions to make this at Kerry's Craft Blog where she even has a great video tutorial on how to put it together.
 This silverware bag is probably my favorite part of this project.  Embossing the bag was also found on Pinterest but their idea was on a paper bag.  I used an embossing folder with tiny dots and ran each bag through my Cuttlebug.  The blue strap and wording squares were made from scraps!  Love finding a way to use scraps!  I had printed the squares for the candy holder and later decided the size was too small.  They were perfect for the silverware bag!
 Invitations were relatively easy to set up.  I downloaded a couple of Tiffany style fonts to use and the chandelier was a die that I have, also with my Cuttlebug.  If you wanted to do it without the die cut, I think it would be fine with just the words in the middle of the invite.  That would be just like a real Tiffany box.  :) The 2 fonts I downloaded are TiffanyTwoLight and TiffanyTwoSmc.  The second one is all capitols and most closely resembles the Tiffany box.

 I ordered 8.5x11 paper from the same place to use as placemats.  Just printed in the center of them.  We will have white tablecloths and candles in the center of the tables.
Like a lot of things I do, it seemed like an easy project until I started making 100 of everything! 

I think this theme would be wonderful for a wedding shower!