Tuesday, February 2, 2010

When it's cold outside...viva Mexico!

 It is the middle of winter and the weather is cold, well, at least as cold as it gets in Santa Barbara, and I was feeling like something a little spicy to warm up. Chicken enchiladas fit the bill perfectly and it had the added bonus of being something that I'd never made before.

Simmering enchilada sauce - so spicy!

In everything that I make, I always try and incorporate more  vegetables because once a week I get a CSA box (Community Supported Agriculture) and it's always full of organic and local produce that I need to incorporate into my culinary adventures. This week the box included spinach and cauliflower and I wanted to throw them into my fiesta fare.

Fresh spinach mixed with chicken - great twist on a standard

I decided to make the enchiladas chicken and spinach and I actually really liked the combo. It gave the dish more depth and I felt a wee bit healthier eating it too. I'm not going to include the recipe however, because I wasn't that impressed with my enchilada sauce. First of all there wasn't enough of it and second it was WAY too spicy. I think that the problem lied in my chili powder which was a bit more potent than I'd expected.

I will, however, include my mexican cauliflower recipe which was a surprising and refreshing way to use this vegetable that I eat a lot of in the wintertime. It is basically steamed or boiled cauliflower mixed with fresh pico de gallo and topped with feta. I would definitely make this again!

The onion and lime mix - made a tangy marinade for this fresh cauliflower dish


Braised Cauliflower and Fresh Salsa

1 onion, finely chopped
1 lime - both zest and juice
1 medium head cauliflower
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 - 1 cup water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Fresh tomatoes, diced
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 cup feta

- Put the onion, lime zest and lime juice into a small bowl so that the juice cooks the onion
- Cut the cauliflower into small florets
- Put the can of tomatoes into a pan with the water and heat, add the sugar and salt. When they start to simmer add the cauliflower and braise for five minutes.
- Add the onion mixture and warm through - about another five minutes (if you like your cauliflower softer you might want to pre-boil it for a few minutes before adding it to the tomatoes).
- Mix the cauliflower, fresh tomatoes, cilantro and feta in a larger serving bowl and serve.


  1. Sounds yummy! Do you like Queso Fresco? You can interchange Feta and Queso Fresco pretty easily...I prefer Queso Fresco only because I had a bad feta experience once. :)

    Oh, and don't you love the CSA box? We didn't do a CSA, but we did get an organic delivery box at one point. It really forced me out of my comfort zone and made me create more season-based dishes.

  2. Carmel - I do like Queso Fresco but usually just opt for feta since it's everywhere! I'm curious about your bad feta experience though...

    And yes, the CSA box is incredible! I'm thinking about doing a blog post just about that. It's an interesting resource that most people can tap into but don't know about.

  3. Went to dinner with my family in Spain, had pasta with veggies and feta....fast forward about 4 or 5 hours when all of it decided to exit. Trip to the Spanish emergency room at 3am the day before I flew out = bad feta experience. :\