Sunday, August 28, 2011

easy enchiladas & margaritas

It's been the perfect lazy weekend. No work. No travel. No stress. Yesterday I wanted comfort food--Mexican comfort food. A quick convo with my sister yielded the perfect answer: Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas. It was like she crawled into my head and pinpointed my exact craving.

Before sharing the enchiladas recipe, first things first: Margaritas (who cooks without a cocktail/glass of something in hand?). One of my girls, Kayla, introduced me several weeks ago to the Skinny Girl margarita. A total and complete margarita snob, I was more than a little skeptical when she made the recommendation. But I went ahead and made a quick trip to the greatest liquor store on the planet and purchased a bottle. Wow--they don't suck. At all. I add mucho fresh lime to mine, but for a low-cal margarita, you won't be disappointed.

Back to the enchiladas.

10-12 small flour or corn tortillas (I used corn)
10 oz. package chopped spinach, thawed (you can use your microwave)
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles and spices, drained
3/4 cup scallions, chopped
19 oz. can green chile enchilada sauce
8oz. sour cream
3 cups shredded pepper jack cheese (I couldn't find shredded pepper jack, so I used jalapeno jack instead. Worked fine)
Garlic powder and onion powder (I left out the onion powder. Your call)
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees and get out a 9x13 inch Pyrex baking dish.

2. In a colander, squeeze out as much water from the spinach as you can by pressing the spinach with the back of a spoon. Place the spinach in a large bowl. Add the rinsed beans, drained tomatoes, most of the scallions, and a dash of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

3. Mix together the sour cream and green chile enchilada sauce. Spread about 1/3 of the sauce mixture into the 9x13 inch dish.

4. On a plate, place a tortilla and top with some of the spinach mixture and a small amount of pepper jack cheese. Roll into cigar shape and place into the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat until the dish is full.

5. Spread the rest of the sauce on top of the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese and scallions. Bake for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Wait a few minutes and serve.

I served my enchiladas with lime cilantro rice (white rice with chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice). It was a perfect mate.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

a drought of epic proportions

Our beautifully green slice of Lone Star Heaven is brown.

Most are probably unaware of the water/heat wave conditions here in Texas. Today in College Station we are experiencing our 23rd consecutive day of 100+ degree temperatures (the 48th such day this summer); and with the 10-day forecast showing more daily triple digit temps, there's simply no end in sight. Everywhere you go, comments such as, "Dear God, please help" are overheard.

We can handle the heat--it goes with the territory. But the lack of water is catastrophic--less than 2.5 inches since October. Lawns are gone. Hundred-year-old Live Oaks are dead. Trees have dropped more leaves than they do in the throes of fall and winter. People are losing lifetimes of work and livelihoods. A friend described the situation perfectly:
It looks like Mars.

It's no longer the color of dead brown grass; here in Central Texas, it is a twisted, bizarre, reddish-orange hue that makes you sick to your stomach.

It just continues baking under the daily 107 degree sun ... day after day.

As you go more towards the western part of our county, desertification is setting in, or so it appears.

You have to see it to believe it.

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Irene: The state of Texas would like to meet you.

A few more images from around town:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

fall's color forecast

August 17th.
Hot as hell.
Dry as it's ever been in Texas.
Still a couple of weeks from college football.
In a nutshell, these are some seriously shaggy dog days.
So I'm going to close my eyes and channel the greatest season of the year: Fall.
Pantone has released the Fall 2011 fashion trend colors, and I'm loving 'em.
"Designers take a painterly approach to fall 2011 by artfully combining bright colors with stable neutrals, reminiscent of how an artist would construct a stunning work of art," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Much like a painter's masterpiece, there is a certain romance to this season's palette."

Monday, August 8, 2011

first friday

On the first Friday of every month,Historic Downtown Bryan, TX holds First Friday events. It's basically a mini-street festival, with the vendors in the district opening their doors to passers-by in a casual, beverage-ready manner. Live music abounds, artists do their thing, and folks meet up for food and fun. Despite the oppressive and blistering triple-digit temperatures we've been experiencing for months, two girlfriends and I braved the furnace and ventured out this past weekend for August First Friday. A few snapshots from the evening ....

Two of my girls, Kerri and Amanda:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

keep these in mind

Some posters I'm loving ... from PUBLIC SCHOOL, "a creative studio on the east side of Austin," where they "share studio space and ideas, as well as a fondness for the Mexican food on [their] side of town."

Think I need a couple for my office.

With red matting.