It’s time to tell the truth. Yes, I really do cook (sometimes), in spite of what I told Michael Davidson and John Whitehead last week.
When mentioning that I should be invited to a gathering because “we need food,” my answer was that I only write about cooking. There’s no mess to clean up when one writes about cooking, whereas there are dishes in the sink and pans to scrub when there is cooking is involved.
Also, another question I am asked is do I really try all these recipes. The answer is yes and no. Either I do them or 3 or 4 trusted cook-friends often will seek out, find and try recipes, or create them and let me hear how they taste.
If I am given a recipe by Martha Rutherford, Jeanie Folzenlogen, Sylvia Cox (my son’s mother-in-law), or my daughter-in-law-Donna Richardson (Sylvia’s daughter), I know I can never go wrong. The late Mary Hall, my catering partner sister/friend was one of the best cooks I have ever known. Mary was a true example of someone who had never cooked growing up. She was one of the finest organists in Texas, and I suspect her time was wisely spent practicing piano or organ lessons when it was time to help in the kitchen. However, after she and Harlan were married, she simply taught herself to cook.
When fall comes, I really think more about recipe-finding and trying.
The first recipe I want you to know about is one I created after we moved back to Longview from the Rio Grande Valley. On every menu in the border restaurants Enchiladas Verde (Green Enchiladas) could be found. For a long time, I could not locate a restaurant with this item. This is quick and easy using only one pan or dish.
My Green Enchiladas
12 small (about 6-inches) corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups chopped onions (I use white for this because they are milder)
2 cups Mexican cheese, grated (this can be bought in packages of mixed Mexican cheeses)
1 jar (16 ounces) tomatilla green sauce
About 3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken, if desired
Heat tortillas one at a time in a small skillet with cooking oil, use only a little bit of oil for each tortilla. Place 2 tablespoons chopped onions and 2 tablespoons grated cheese on tortilla, and roll. Place in a greased or sprayed 9- by 13-inch dish or pan. Continue until all tortillas are used. Pour jar of green sauce over the enchiladas. Top with remaining or extra cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes until bubbly. Makes 5-6 servings. Serve with Taco Salad or tortilla chips or both. I make this without chicken because I like the flavor and texture that way.
Jeanie and Paul Folzenlogen introduced us to (or shall I say “got us hooked on”) Campari Tomatoes. They are similar in size to Roma tomatoes, but they are round and are the closest thing in taste to homegrown East Texas tomatoes. They are grown in Marfa, and we, by chance, have even seen where they are grown. I have only found them at Sam’s, but they might be in other stores as well.
Jeanie’s Sunday Tomato Dish
About 12 Campari tomatoes with about 1/2 inch sliced from top
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Mix 1 cup mayonnaise with 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Place tomatoes in a 7- by 11-inch oblong dish or one that will fit in microwave oven. Spread mayo-Parmesan mixture over tomatoes. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Microwave for 5 minutes or until slightly done and bubbly.