Well, I’ve sure been adventurous gastronomically yesterday and today! I tried out two unfamiliar cuisines: Mexican and Indian. One from across the border, the other from way across the ocean. But one of them were done my way (aka totally unauthentic) and the other was quite authentic.
Yesterday I met up with my church friends for our weekly prayer group together. This week I offered to host the gathering and the dinner afterwards.
After my horrible first Mexican cuisine experience at Chili’s, I decided to give Mexican cuisine another try…but manipulating it into “Sophia cuisine.” I didn’t want to make something all fancy and fussy, so I stuck to just three simple courses: soup, salad, and enchiladas as the main dish.
I wanted to make enchiladas from scratch, and not use enchilada sauce from a can. So after browsing through several recipes online, my mind began to twist and churn to devise my own style of enchiladas. Here’s what I came up with:
Avocado-Chicken Enchiladas with Spicy Pumpkin Sauce
For the sauce:
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 1 big tomato, chopped
- 2 chipotle pepper in adobado sauce and 1 tsp of the sauce
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 cups chicken broth
- cumin, chili powder, and salt to taste
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
For the enchiladas:
- 12 corn tortillas
- vegetable oil
- 2 avocadoes, pitted and mashed
- 1 cup whipped cottage cheese
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- cumin, salt, and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 2 cups grilled chicken breast, chopped
- 1 cup sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 cup Four-blend Mexican Cheese
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
For the sauce, cook the onion, tomatoes, and chipotle pepper with the sauce in a pot with some oil until tender. Then pour in the pumpkin and broth, season and taste as you go. Boil and simmer until thick. Turn off the heat, stir in the yogurt then set the pot aside.
For the filling: mash together the avocado, cottage cheese and lemon juice, season to taste. Mix in the green onions.
Meanwhile, heat in another pan about ½ inch of vegetable oil.
Dip one tortilla a time until heated through and soft.
Place the tortillas on a plate and let them cool just enough to handle them.
Then place some chicken in the middle of the tortilla with the avocado mixture and fold. Do this with the rest of the tortillas placing them on a baking dish.
Soak them with the pumpkin sauce, top with cheese and pop it into a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and everyone comes running after the heavenly aroma.
I’m sorry, but the pictures don’t do them justice. Enchiladas are just plain ugly. But oh they were soooo good!
It was rich, creamy, spicy, sweet, chewy and crunchy all at the same time. Talk about a fiesta in the mouth!
You all know anything with pumpkin in it and smothered in cheese and I’m sold, but I was worried my friends wouldn’t like this new variation of enchiladas…but thankfully, it was gone in a few seconds!
On the side I also made some kabocha-roasted red bell pepper soup:
And a salad:
Romaine lettuce, baby carrots, orange and yellow bell peppers, celery, strawberries, and grape tomatoes.
And blue corn chips and salsa:
Today I met my old high school friend, Ashley for lunch. Her brother, Martin, is friends with my brother, so all four of us met up. We decided to be adventurous and try out a popular Indian restaurant in my neighborhood, Amma’s Vegetarian Kitchen. I had checked up on it online, and it had gotten pretty good reviews, and apparently frequented mainly by Indians. And I knew if the majority of the customers were Indians, it had to be authentic!
Ashley had the special of the day, the pongal aviyal:
The owner was really ambiguous with his explanations. He just said it’s some kind of mixed lentil and vegetables with banana and coconut. It was really interesting, sort of like an Indian-style risotto. A bit sweet, with spots of spice from whole peppercorns and mustard seeds.
My brother ordered the amma’s feast:
Traditional South Indian meal consisting of rice, chappathi,
vegetable curry, sambar, rasam, pappadum, pickle, raita and
The whadda-what? I have no idea what which was which, but here’s a wild guess:
The rasam (super-sour and spicy tomato soup) and chana masala(nice).
Another kind of vegetable curry and sambar.
The rice, chappathi, and pappadum.
Phew. There is more, but you all know what raita (spiced yogurt with cucumbers) is, and the samiya payasam was white and milky and looked just like the raita. Sweet and bleh.
I ordered the mysore sada dosa:
Crepe spread with spicy chutney
Holy crackers! This was HUGE! And really spicy! In a sour, shooting kind of way that wasn’t too pleasant. I usually don’t believe restaurants when they claim a dish to be spicy, but this just turned my stomach into a cauldron…a cauldron of spitting fire!
I had to borrow my brother’s raita to cool it down, but it was still pretty horrible:
This came with sambar (vegetable curry stew):
And some kind of coconut chutney that turned me off:
After our little Indian gastronomy adventure we trooped off for something cooling to quell the fire in our tummies. And what is more cooling than ice-cream? And what is even better and richer than frozen custard!!
Despite having lived in this area for 7-8 years, I had never paid the acclaimed Nielson’s Frozen Custard a visit. Nielson’s is said to make the richest and creamiest frozen custard with best quality ingredients, and they change their flavors regularly. Most days they only have 5 flavors available. Today’s flavors were: Peach, cool mint, caramel, pistachio, strawberry, and cream-sicle.
Ashely and Martin shared the strawberry:
My brother got a cream-sicle cone:
And I dived into the pistachio in a cup:
This was another challenge for me. Ice-cream used to be one of my trigger foods…it provokes a lot of horrible memories of me binging on it by the gallons then purging the whole night long. I’ve been avoiding it like the plague, but it was time to face it. A summer without ice-cream is a sad summer after all…and now I know it’s gonna be a great summer because I enjoyed each and every lick and bite!
Yum! Frozen custard saves the day! Although the Indian restaurant was interesting, I really don’t think I’ll be visiting again. Or if I do, I’m definitely ordering something else. And I will believe them when they say a dish is spicy…Or better yet, I’ll just make Indian food the “Sophia cuisine” way
Oh and two reminders:
- Have you signed up for our Warm Fuzzies game yet? Some of you left rather ambiguous comments, so I wasn’t sure whether or not I should add you to our list of participants. Please check the list on our Warm Fuzzie page for your name! If your name is not there and you’d like to join, please shoot me a comment or an email.
- I’m still open for all BSI: Corn recipes! Check out the BSI page for the list of recipes that have been submitted, and for more details.
Question of the day: Look above!