Just Some More “Brain Rumbles To Ponder”-Especially Enchiladas

Oct 22


Just some more “Brain Rumbles To Ponder” on a new  and bright fall day.

***Do you love the smell of leaves burning…oh, wait a minute . We don’t smell that lovely scent anymore. except in…. maybe a small town somewhere .I miss that , don’t you ?

***When it rains in South Texas , it does it in style . Heavy , pounding , buckets full , coming down, blinding your windshield. You have to pull over the car . And then ,just like that , the sky isn’t black any longer . Huge clouds of steam are rising from the blacktop .  There is no visibility…..but in minutes , off you go down a thoroughly washed country road . The birds come out and are shaking themselves off and cleaning their refreshed , gleaming feathers ; just like nothing has happened .

***PUMPKIN SEED ENCHILADAS   ( you can cheat on this one- low cal. ) Time : 30 minutes to prepare ( do ahead and refrigerate if desired ) and 35-45 minutes to bake . Oven temp : 350 degrees. Prep a 9/13 Pyrex baking dish , lightly oiled .  Makes enough for 4-6 people . Serve with a salad and and lots of Lone Star Beer ! !

* 1 1/2 cups of raw pumpkin seeds (rinse, dry and toast in a non-stick pan ,shaking , until they brown lightly and start to pop )   *Fresh corn tortillas ( I like those made from white corn )  *3 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Tillamook or Vermont cheddar cheese * 1 cup crumbled Cotija Mexican cheese * 1 med. white onion chopped finely * 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro chopped * 1 jalapeno pepper , and 1 Anaheim pepper , both seeded and chopped very fine .

**Chop the pumpkin seed to a medium consistency in a food processor. Mix with 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese , onion , cilantro and chopped peppers . Set aside in refrigerator to cool .

GREEN CHILE SAUCE-  a 6 qt. S/S or ceramic saucepan , add * 1- large white onion chopped coarsely , 4 quartered and cored fresh plum tomatoes  , 3-4 coarsely chopped med.  fresh tomatillos , 2- jalapenos seeded and chopped , 3- Anaheim or poblano peppers seeded and chopped , 1-4 serrano chiles chopped coarsely (delete serranos if you do not want it hot!) , 6-8 peeled garlic cloves , 1/2 bunch cilantro chopped , 3- Tbsp. toasted cumin seeds (just like the pumpkin seeds except do not wash-toast them dry) , 3- Tbsp. whole Mexican oregano ,3- quarts of rich low salt chicken  or vegetable stock . Bring to a boil , lower the heat to a med to low and simmer for 25-35 minutes . Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender in the saucepan .Set aside to cool , but still warm .

Now you can assemble your enchiladas . Steam 15-18 tortillas in a clean cloth in the microwave or wrapped in foil in the oven . Dip a  tortilla in sauce ,coating lightly ; place in the dish , put a2 Tbsp. of pumpkin seed filling , and roll or fold over, Place in the dish. continue to fill and keep them close together , but not crowded . Should have two rows the length of the dish. Spoon over your Green Chile sauce until well covered . Top with the remaining cheddar cheese ; sprinkle over with Cotija cheese . Wrap dish tightly with foil, place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil , place back in oven set at 375 degrees until browned and bubbly. Now that is some good eatin’ , Maynard….as my uncle used to say. (No he didn’t…but I can imagine him saying it !) Make enough so people can have seconds…maybe thirds ! Pretty good eatin’ , these enchiladas !

My dad did not cook . But he did do ” barbecue “. He had a huge , cast domed , aluminum contraption… looked much like a Weber Grill ; parked on the back patio .  I haven’t seen one like it since  1958 . He did a lot things with aluminum foil . Potatoes and huge sweet Texas onions in  foil- on that aluminum grill .  No butter, no salt, nothing. Just some black pepper . You know , they tasted really good anyway. Maybe it was because they were from farms down on the Rio Grande River and the beef was Texas beef – Santa Gertrudis ….. developed on the King Ranch . Is Texas beef any better than beef from somewhere else ? Probably not , but we thought so when we sat down to our barbecue feast in that  back yard on Donaldson Avenue in 1958 . I’m not too sure I would ask a Texan that question today…I think I know the answer .

BEST PUNCH BASE : Make a strong black tea as a base for your punch . Any kind at all ; one for a party , a wedding , celebration ,or any other occasion . Just add the ingredients as you would for any recipe you have. No , you won’t taste the tea…or see it , for that matter . Especially if it has any alcohol . It will have a deep body that it may not have otherwise . My Mom learned that tip from an old German chef when she worked in the kitchen making salads at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe in North San Diego County .

PUNCH FOR A PARTY!  **2 cups hot strong black tea  ** 1 cup orange blossom honey  ** 1 l. Apple Brandy ** 1 l. Rhum Barbancourt – three stars **1 750 ml. dry red wine Place all in large punch bowl  and let cool ; add 1-2 large clear chunks of ice , 2 each sliced lemons and navel oranges

The Inn was heavily promoted by Hollywood stars as an oasis away from the press in Hollywood. (The San Diego press still is low key today with stars ) . Actor Pat O’Brien and singer/actor  Bing Crosby would bring their friends for the racing season at nearby Del Mar racetrack . One time my mom was summoned to the dining room . Silent film stars and married couple Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford “wanted to meet the girl who made their delicious salads ” !. She was only 17 at the time . Mr. Fairbanks presented her with a silver dollar tip. She always loved telling that story .

SALT TIPS: Most chefs keep a 1-2 quart glazed crock full of salt on their kitchen counter – easily accessible to the stove. It is a most traditional fire extinguisher ; being used for centuries by cooks and chefs . Have a fire on the stove ?  Smother it immediately with salt ; takes away the oxygen. Fire needs fuel, spark and oxygen to burn . Cooking ? Grab a pinch and shake your hand , tossing a bit at a time ; always leaving a small pinch to throw onto the floor….returning it to the earth from whence it came . Old euro chef tradition . (Not too popular with some folks who have a tidy and expensively elegant floor in their kitchen ! )

Does a man lose his place in the order of things if he admits he made a mistake ?  Perhaps the pride of his armour takes a bit of a dent from the swing  of the sword of reality In the larger scope of life, he is a better man for the act  and those who are close to him or love him will know it forever .










  1. Thanks Ross, just might try the punpkin seed enchiladas sometime.


  2. Fall is my favorite season. Years ago when the Skidmore Fountain Building still housed local vendors, there was a guy who made incense. Once I got to talking to him about how much I loved the smells of fall. He made my words into an incense fragrance! I wish I could remember what he called it, but I rememer loving it. The smells of fall are still my favorite.

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