The Enchilada and the Straightjacket.

I have a killer enchilada recipe.

It reads as follows:

  • 2-3 cups shredded chicken (I stew three bone-in chicken breasts, chill quickly in iced water and shred away).
  • 8 ounce package of Monterey Jack cheese, grated (set aside one good handful)
  • 10-12 ounce package of cream cheese
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch  cilantro, chopped
  • jumbo can green enchilada sauce (32 ounces? maybe? sorta?)
  • 10 large flour tortillas

Take off any rings that are important to you and, using your hands because trying to use a spoon will cause a wrist injury, squish the first five ingredients together in a bowl until they form a large, gooey mess.

I make my enchiladas assembly-line style, where I lay out the ALL the tortillas and then make filling logs to match the number of tortillas. (Otherwise I end up with either one pitifully small one or obscenely huge one at the end.) Place one filling log on each tortilla, roll tightly, shove more tortillas than you think will fit into a baking dish, pour enchilada sauce over the top, separating sardine-packed-enchiladas with any handy tool or your fingers to allow sauce to seep in between them, sprinkle reserved cheese over the top, and bake in 375 oven until bubbly and delicious (20-30 minutes.)

Foolproof! Easy!

HA! You haven’t met my family.

Here are the problem ingredients:

  • the Monterey jack cheese
  • the cream cheese
  • the chicken
  • the cilantro

For those of you that are math challenged, let me offer that that list is 60% of the total number of ingredients for the entire recipe. But it should be noted that the same ingredients are not problems for the same people. Different people take exception to different ingredients. Because having only one problem ingredient for one set of people would keep me sane, allow me continue this habit I’ve developed of speaking in complete sentences and enable me to actually enjoy an event rather than be a crazy person that my husband explains by way of a tragic industrial accident.

The Scene: Our Oldest’s 18th Birthday Party

The Venue: My house

The Cast: Our family of five, my mother and her gentleman, my brother and his wife, and 6 of our son’s friends.

The Challenge: Make enchiladas (per the birthday boy’s request) that accommodate my husband’s lactose intolerance, my mother/brother/Sister-in-law’s cilantro aversion, and our son’s friends’ vegetarian leanings.

Except what the birthday boy wants is the classic recipe, with the chicken, and the cilantro and the cheese. And so, frankly, do I.

For those of you who appreciate a visual model, here is an illustration that shows the intersection of people who will happily eat any permutation of the enchilada sub-groups.

I can do this. I have an advanced degree. It has nothing to do with math or civic planning, but still required a fair amount of tests and serious logistical juggling, so I can handle a handful of enchilada variations. I am Martha Inspired, I will do it with grace and style and deliciousness and I will be witty and charming and refresh peoples’ drinks while serving hors d’oeuvres.

It may be a good time to mention that my kitchen is roughly the size of an iPhone.

My countertops can accommodate one baking dish and half a cutting board. I routinely move to the kitchen table for overflow and sometimes commandeer one of the ottomans. I will park any one of our three children next to me and make them hold bowls while I stir and add ingredients because I can’t have the bowl and the ingredients on the counters at the same time. I lease space in a commercial warehouse when I need to make Christmas cookies.

Four variations of enchiladas for a party of 15 in MY kitchen turned out to be a wee bit more than my emotional equilibrium was prepared to cope with. In an effort to protect itself my subconscious has blocked out large portions of the afternoon, but I do recall sitting on the floor at one time singing to the cheese grater, and I have a fuzzy half-memory of someone roughly my size, age and gender running naked down the block throwing cilantro at the neighbors. But it’s also possible that those are false memories caused by the new meds.

And then, once all the guests arrived and dinner was ready to dish, my brother asked, “Do you have vegetarian without cilantro?”

I gave him my best withering look (not easy as he’s 9 inches taller than I am) and asked, “WHO doesn’t eat meat AND doesn’t eat cilantro?” thinking that it’s him and that I’m just going to clock him with my shoe and force-feed him Eukanuba Cat Kibble.

But he glanced my sister-in-law’s way (who was trying to discreetly sort out what of the food would work for her and was absolutely not going to ask any more of the cook) and said, “Mary gave up meat a few weeks ago.”

My memories start to falter again after that. But it’s possible that that is how this photo ended up in the camera.

But so did this one, so it’s all okay.

This post is being linked in humor and silliness to “Tip Me Tuesday,” hosted by the lovely Laurie at Tip Junkie. Hope it made someone laugh!


Filed under Humor

33 Responses to The Enchilada and the Straightjacket.

  1. Potluck next time! Send out the recipe 2 days in advance and tell fussy eaters to bring their own. That’s maybe a little rude but keeps the cook from running naked in the streets.

  2. Thanks for getting my day off with a good round of giggles!

  3. This cracked me up! It’s like the song says “You can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself,” which it looks like is what you were doing on the floor surrounded by the alcohol bottles. At least they looked like alcohol bottles. Or maybe that’s just what’d I’d do. Nonetheless, thanks for the laugh!

    • Yes indeedy…every liquor bottle in the cupboard! (except, of course, totally staged for humor effect, but stll…it illustrates my emotional state at the time.)

  4. People with lactose intolerance can’t help it, and I just about get that some people might want to be vegetarian, but what is it with the cilantro haters? Isn’t that a bit weird and random? And yet, there are some around, I’ve seen them.

  5. So sometimes I’m lazy and initially I only read the first part of this and started to comment about how totally STOKED I was that you had removed the burden of dinner decision making from my already heavy shoulders. Then, I felt guilty about not reading the whole thing. (See how guilt can work in your favor?) So I continued ignoring the conference call and soldiered on….only to choke on my Cool Ranch Doritos when I got to the line about you running naked through the neighborhood chucking cilantro at unsuspecting people who just happen to live in a four block radius of your iPhone kitchen. Seriously — someone in Texas asked me if I needed assistance, I was choking/laughing so hard. THAT’S a visual you should charge money for, my friend. Cold hard cash. I’m just sayin’…

    • LOL…I think this henceforth be known as The Dorito Incident.

      And I hope Texas understood. Cause things like that can happen. And they always seem to when folks from Texas are around. Not sure why.

  6. BackyardNeighbor

    You didn’t run by my house! SIGH !!!

  7. Best post in my Google Reader this week. Seriously! A) I love enchiladas and make a version really similar to yours (I douse in sour cream instead of cream cheese and add salsa/green chiles). B) I love the tip of laying out all the tortillas. I always have the behemoth enchilada, and the dwarf enchilada. C) I hate having to accommodate various weird eating profiles. In fact, my husband and I try to avoid like the plague anyone who is vegan or vegetarian because they are a pain in my meat-eating ass.

    I find people averse to cilantro to be bizarre, but I have read it’s a common aversion. I agree that vegetarian and anti-cilantro is just grounds for never getting an invitation anywhere.

    • LOL @ “pain in my meat-loving ass.”

      I’m a total carnivore, but I live in Northern Cal, home of the Free Range Vegetarian. And I love ‘em, so I’ll cook for ‘em. As long as they’re polite about it. I can’t stand pushy people with food issues (whatever they may be.)

  8. liz

    What a good mom you are! And a good chart drawer. I bet you make a mean pie chart.

    And I apparently missed the memo about it being enchilada day. I think you’re the 3 or 4th person who wrote about enchiladas today.

  9. Kay so this recipe sounds much much like mine, except for this delicious addition of cream cheese and cilantro. . . will you come make ‘em for me? It’s been that kind of a day. . .

  10. The Venn diagram really brought it all home for me.

  11. Jb

    Love that Venn diagram! There would be no circles touching at my house. We have 2 and 1/2(don’t ask) vegetarians. One and 1/2 of those vegetarians hates (get this) rice, beans, and tomatoes. The carnivore also hates beans. Sometimes I just say “screw ‘em all” cause I just want some damn beans!

    • Actually, I totally get the 1/2 vegetarian thing. But vegetarians who don’t like beans? That’s tough.

      Of course, Child A wanted to be a vegetarian, because in his mind that meant cheese pizza and quesadillas. I advised him that he was not allowed to be a vegetarian until he developed are far more intimate relationship with vegetables.

  12. Kim

    Ha! Ha! I used to think Cilantro tasted like bleach. Now I can tolerate it and love it in recipes. Just tagged you for a What Makes you Grumpy meme. Participate if/when you want. Have a great day!

    • I was that way too. Then i discovered Thai food. The rest is history (and blog fodder).

      And will play if I can work a few minutes in!

  13. KLZ

    Here is a non-Martha approved solution: no more parties.

    Or you can do what my mom suggested we do for Easter: everyone brings their own favorite fast food with them. Enjoy.

  14. Visiting from Blog Brew Review…

    This is laugh-out-loud funny/ SO FUNNY!

    I really like the picture of you and the booze…

    it’s really good. It should be worth points. 🙂

    • Thanks for coming by! And glad you laughed. We did too. After a nice stint at that pretty shady place with the nice men in the white uniforms.

  15. Tracy

    I just stumbled across this blog when searching for…shredded wheat recipes, not completely sure how I wound up here. I don’t even normally read blogs but I can see that I should be following yours because these posts are hilarious. This one made me laugh so hard I cried. I have a Math degree and so the Venn diagram just pushed me over the edge to tears.

    Thank you for the hilarity!

    • Shredded wheat recipes? Hmm…wondering what you were cooking now!

      And glad you got a laugh. My husband, the engineer, also found the venn diagram the best part of the post. I mostly just wanted to show off my Paint skillz.

      Thank you for the kind compliments!

  16. Oh, Lori, I feel terrible, because I am one of the picky ones. Your recipe sounds delish! Minus the cilantro, with red sauce, but only mixed into the chicken and other ingredients, then with just more cheese on top, no sauce. Yes. I am THAT annoying. Though I must say that at a gathering such as that, I would put on a smile, suck it up and just eat what the cook was kind enough to make. You are a saint, my friend….

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