Carrot Sofrito Enchiladas

I was looking for something different to try and came across this recipe for enchiladas. I was intrigued and thought about trying them, but then got busy with a bunch of things and forgot about them. Fast forward a few week later and I came across it again on another blog and was intrigued. Apparently this recipe was so popular a number of people tried it and posted it. So … I thought I might as well give it a go.

The “no bake” part of this is a little misleading. You don’t bake the enchiladas themselves, but you do have to bake the sofrito for an hour and a half, so I consider that baking the dish. Yes, you could make that ahead of time, but a lot of things can be baked ahead.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about these while making them. They smelled pretty good, but not the really lingering smells of caramelized onions or tons of garlic that I like (yes, if you don’t like onions and garlic, you may want to skip being near my hours most nights when I make dinner). I was also a tiny bit skeptical about combining carrots and tomatoes (not sure why, but I was) so I thought this would be a dish I tried and then forgot about.

IMG_20170603_124821Not so much. These were incredible. The roasting of the carrots and tomato mixture deepened the flavors, heating the corn tortilla made softened the flavor just a little and allowed the other flavors to come through. The filling – oh my the filling. Bright, creamy and fresh. Top it all with a little tomatillo salsa (and, yes, I cheated and bought a jar – I was going to easy – even though I usually make my own) and you have a really delicious meal.

Bob thought these were pretty good too. We both agreed that to be even better, we needed to make them like tacos, so the next two times we ate them (yes, we had enough for three sets of meals for both of us) we put the carrot sofrito and the filling inside the corn tortilla and just topped them with a little tomatillo salsa. Super good, cheap to make and definitely different. I’ll add a “make again” to the plethora of other comments and review out there for these.

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Rocca Felice – Nebbiolo D’Alba, 2014

  • Basic info: Rocca Felice, Nebbiolo D’Alba, Italy, 2014
  • Type: red
  • Price estimate: $17 (at Total Wine)
  • Look: Ruby in color. Transluscent – not a lot of depth to the color. Some legs, probably light to medium alcohol.
  • Smell: Wine. Some spice, but not discernible which to my nose. Bob called a mineral smell.
  • Taste: Mineral. Thin mouth feel but not unpleasant. Dry with some tannin structure. Best guess of taste would be almost ripe plum.
  • Conclusions: I liked this one better the second day. It was fine on the first day, but just ok. I was surprised at how thin the wine was, but it had a lot of character the next day. Definitely benefitted from opening a little. Second day, decided dark cherry hints in the taste and a more defined mineral smell.
  • Other notes: This bottle was a Bob pick. It is not often that he picks wine out, but every now and then he does. One of the other Italian bottles we had recently he also picked, and this one was definitely better. If getting again, decant on the first day and let it come up to room temperature.
  • From the bottle: “Wine made from Nebbiolo grapes. Ruby red color. The bouquet recalls violets and the taste is dry.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.

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Robert Hall, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014

  • Basic info: Robert Hall, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, California, 2014.
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $22 (at local wine store)
  • Look: Deep garnet color with a lot of legs. Probably higher alcohol content. (Bob called it purple)
  • Smell: Earth, mineral with a tiny bit of jam if you really search for it. Bob said mineral and spice.
  • Taste: Bob’s taste description: medium tannin structure. Dry. Bold taste with some definite mineral notes. I had a harder time describing this one – I got rocky and mineral. No fruit until it warmed up and opened up, then there was some definite cherry notes in the wine.
  • Conclusions: This would be great with food, either a lasagna or steak if you want to eat meat. I would call this exactly what I would expect from a Cabernet Sauvignon and probably a very classic example of a California Cabernet.
  • Other notes: I’m still not sure how I feel about this one. It got better as it opened up, but I really could not do more than one glass of it. The overt mineral taste is hard for me to really enjoy, but it is a wine I think I appreciate.
  • From the bottle: “A full bodied wine with a core of black currant and hints of cedar and spice.” 14.5% alcohol by volume.

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Cinnamon Rolls

I actually had two days off in a row and after being particularly lazy the first day, I decided I wanted cinnamon rolls. I misread a recipe (or two or three) and so I had a choice of winging it or starting over. Being lazy, I decided to try to make this work and somehow, I managed to do it.

Cinnamon rolls are a particular favorite of mine. They remind me of childhood and cinnamon sugar toast. It turns out, that while cinnamon rolls are time consuming, they are not really that hard to make. I also managed to get Arthas for his morning walk while the yeast was working, and finished some school work while the dough rose. I’ll consider that multi-tasking.

*Recipe:

  • Dough
    • 1 stick of butter
    • 3/4 cup of milk, plus 1/2 cup
    • 2 tsp. yeast
    • pinch of salt
    • 2 tsp. sugar
    • 3-3 1/2 cup flour
  • Filling
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

In a small sauce pan, heat butter and 3/4 cup milk until butter is almost totally melted. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup cold milk to cool mixture to about 110 – 115 degrees F. (It may take a minute or two of mixing, but adding the cold milk in speeds this up quite a bit.) Add the yeast and sugar and mix. Let sit for at least ten minutes for the yeast to activate. (This is where I took Arthas for a walk, so it was closer to twenty five minutes before I went back to the mixture and it was perfectly fine.)

Stir mixture then begin adding in flour, about 1 cup at a time. Stir in salt after first four addition. Stop adding flour when you have a soft dough, but one that you can knead. Knead for about two minutes on a lightly floured surface. Return dough to bowl, cover, and place in draft free place to rise. It should double in size and take about 45 minutes to an hour.

Butter a baking dish (I used 8×11) then roll dough out to a large rectangle. Dough should be thin, but not translucent. Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon. Melt butter and brush butter onto surface of dough. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over dough. Starting from one side (long side) roll dough tightly to form long tube. Cut into apx. 12 pieces of even size. Place pieces in baking dish and brush any leftover melted butter on top. Set aside to rise for about ten minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes.

  • Glaze:
    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • juice of 1./2 orange, plus zest

Mix sugar and juice together until it forms a pourable glaze. Mix in zest for more flavor.

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*Adapted from Minimalist Baker’s vegan cinnamon roll recipe. No, I didn’t even try to make them vegan, although I did use soy milk since that is what we have on hand.

Chateau Thebaud, Muscadet – 2012

  • Basic info: Chateau Thebaud, Clos des Morines, Muscadet Severe et Mare, 2012
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $23 (Chamber St. Wines)
  • Look: Pale yellow, translucent. Medium legs.
  • Smell: Lemon, honey and some herbs.
  • Taste: Round, tart, crisp. notes of lemon, grapefruit and melon. Not sweet, but too dry either.
  • Conclusions: Good wine, but would not go out of my way for it. It is a great sipping wine.
  • Other notes: I’m sure I’ve had muscadet before, but I can’t remember what I thought of it before. I liked this wine, but it did remind me of chardonnay a bit. It’s a soft white, which is nice, but it isn’t my favorite.
  • From the bottle: From Chamber Street: “subtle aromas of dried pears, herbs, citrus, almond and stone, quite subtle and elegant.” 12% alcohol by volume.

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Protocolo Zero Tinto Wine – 2014

  • Basic info: Rumor Viticultores, Castilla y Leon Protocolo Zero Tinto Wine, 2014. Spanish Table wine
  • Type: red
  • Price estimate: $19 (Chamber Street Wines)
  • Look: Dark red to purple. Good legs and a lot of them.
  • Smell: Wood, sawdust, sour cherry.
  • Taste: Petrol, mineral. Aftertaste of dark fruit. High alcohol – slight burn in back of the throat/ Some cherry and a high tannin. Hot.
  • Conclusions: Very complex wine, very old world smell. Extremely strong wine.
  • Other notes: On the first day, I could not drink this wine. I generally like big wines likes zinfandels, but this was something else. The overwhelming taste of alcohol and mineral just didn’t taste good. The second day, it was smoother and the alcohol taste had dissipated somewhat. It also had some notes of chocolate and coffee in it, but it still isn’t a wine I would drink without a meal.
  • From the bottle: No notes on the bottle, but from the wine store, “exotic and aromatic, with heady scent of rose, raspberry and stewed strawberry fruit share the stage with honeyed flowers, deep mineral earth and fine tannins. This wine continues to open for days, taking on rich chocolate-raspberry, blackberry liqueur, tobacco and earth with tart skins of black cherry and cranberry and crunchy berry seeds.” 15% alcohol by volume.

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The other side

At the beginning of this month I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end of the month without going nuts. I worked every weekend this month and long days during the week. I managed to start my internship during one of the busiest times of the school year and we had Leia to deal with in the middle of everything. Thankfully Bob has been absolutely fantastic and understanding about how draining this month has been and I did manage to make it out the other side with my sanity relatively intact.

I will admit, the wine helped. A glass (or two) with dinner or on the back patio after a trying day is great for regrouping and getting thoughts together. The furry boys have also helped. Tigger is still a little unsettled and he is hanging around me more than he did before, but he is also getting along with Arthas really well. They seem to have an understanding, although exactly what that is I’m not sure.

Arthas … well, he is really a good boy. He tries to be good and to listen, and he mostly does. He is still a puppy (he’s two) so he has some maturing to do, but in general, he’s a happy boy. He has also decided that he gets a chair outside when we hang out on the patio. Like most dogs, he thinks he is part human.