Alright folks, here’s the first official post for this blog. If you can’t tell already, the movie I decided to watch this weekend was Robert Rodriguez’s 1996 movie, “From Dusk Till Dawn”. To go with this movie, and that the majority of it takes place in Mexico, I decided on Spinach Artichoke Enchiladas with a Green Chile Sour Cream Sauce. I recently started a gluten free diet, so this meal was completely gluten free. And, if you just swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth, you’ll have a vegetarian dish as well! Ok, let’s just get right to it!
I got my inspiration for the Spinach Artichoke Enchiladas from this recipe here, and adapted it to make it my own. Here’s what you will need for the filling:
10 oz package frozen spinach
14 oz can artichoke hearts in water, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 large onion, diced
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
I followed the directions for the vegetables exactly like the recipe in the link, and then set them aside. Because I knew these were going to be pretty heavy with cheese already, I skipped out on the ricotta, and added the monterey jack in the later steps. At this point, I focused on my sauce. Here’s what you’ll need:
3 tsp butter
8 oz package sour cream
8 oz package cream cheese
14 oz can green chiles, drained
14 oz can chicken broth
1/4 cup flour OR 1/8 cup cornstarch slurry
Now, I’m currently doing a gluten free diet, so instead of flour, I used corn starch. This can be tricky, because with corn starch you should never add it directly into what you’re cooking. Instead you need to make a slurry first by mixing it with cold water. Also, with corn starch, you use about half the amount that you would flour, so I mixed an 1/8 of a cup of cornstarch with cold water and added it in place of the flour. That being said here’s what you do:
Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan, stir in the flour (or corn starch slurry, if that’s the route you choose) and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and whisk it in until there are no more clumps. Cook over medium heat, the broth mixture will come to a boil, allow it to thicken. When it is thick and bubbling, add the package of cream cheese. Whisk it in until the cream cheese is melted and smooth. Add your green chiles and sour cream and cook until everything is incorporated in and smooth.
Now we get to the easy part. I’m not a fan of rolled enchiladas. At a restaurant, sure. Doing it myself, I just don’t have the patience for that, so these are stacked enchiladas. Set your oven to 350 and grab the rest of your ingredients. Here’s what else you’ll need:
1 package corn tortillas (I bought a 24-pack and used all but 2)
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
I don’t like to grease my pan for enchiladas, instead I just ladle some of the sauce into the bottom of the pan. From there, I layered the bottom of the pan with corn tortillas, on top of that I added the vegetable mixture, top that with shredded cheese and ladle on more of your sauce. Repeat with the corn tortillas, veggies, cheese and sauce until all of the filling has been used (for me, I was able to get 3 layers out of it).
You will finish by stacking more corn tortillas, pouring the rest of your sauce over the pan, and sprinkling the rest of your cheese on top. Pop it in the over for 10-15 minutes, just long enough for everything to get melty and bubbly and a slight golden crisp on the edges. And then you’re done! Makes about 12 servings.
The boyfriend and our friend, Kevin, both enjoyed the meal. The one thing that we all agreed on, was that the sauce really took center stage and everything else was just added texture. That being said, I want to make this again, but I would like to add more veggies to it. I had absolutely no idea that mushrooms shrink up when you cook them, so I would start by adding more of those. Maybe another half a package of spinach too, and those darn artichokes just got completely washed out, so definitely more of those. Adding simple seasonings like salt and pepper to the veggies. Also, maybe ricotta would have made a difference. All in all though, I was pleased with it. The sour cream sauce is absolutely delicious, so it wasn’t a terrible thing that that was all one could taste.
The Movie: (possible spoilers)
courtesy of driveinmedia.com
From Dusk Till Dawn is about a couple of bank robbing brothers, Seth and Richie Gecko, who are trying to make their way through Texas down to Mexico to drop off their money with a contact named Carlos in exchange for refuge in El Rey. Seth (George Clooney) has his head on straight, and runs the show for the most part while dealing with his brother, Richie’s (Quentin Tarantino) psychopathic and serial-rapist tendencies. As they travel through Texas, the death toll they leave behind them rises. They seek refuge in a motel before the last stretch of their journey, and see the Fuller family traveling in an RV; Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel), a former minister who’s lost his faith after recently losing his wife, and his teenagers, Kate and Scott. The brothers take the family hostage in order to get across the border and make it to their final destination, an all night strip club/bar called “The Titty Twister”, when things take a turn for the worse. All the patrons of the bar start turning into bloodthirsty, serpentine-looking vampires. Now everyone must band together in order to make it through the night.
I thought this was a really fun movie. The first scene is really high-energy and sets a great mood for the rest of the movie. I love the choice for the quick camera cuts during the convenient store shoot-out. Then we get to the motel and get some real insight of what kind of a guy Richie is. Tarantino as Richie, is honestly hilarious. He is extremely creepy, so it’s very believable that he’s a psycho and a rapist, and yet he still has an innocent and almost likable charm about him. I have to give it to Clooney as Seth, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play such a bad guy before. Seth was just recently broken out of jail before the brothers started on their rampage, so he’s extremely hardened and the only thing he cares about in this movie is his brother and the end game. He doesn’t show a lick of charm until maybe the last five minutes of the movie. There’s a scene in the motel after Richie rapes and kills the bank teller that they took hostage and brought with them. Although the reveal of her dead body was meant to and does to some extent add intensity, I’m not a huge fan of how Rodriguez decided to do extremely quick cuts to show it. I’ve seen better representations of this particular concept done. To me, for a violent and bloody movie, it seemed rather toned down, also muddled and hard to see. I don’t have a whole lot to say about the Fuller family. I like the wholesomeness of them with randomly dropped F-bombs. I love the scene when they first get to the bar and share a bottle of whiskey together, it’s a nice revelation for the direction of the characters also allowing for some pretty funny moments. Once the patrons start turning, I really liked that the concept of vampires wasn’t foreign to the characters in this movie. I’ve seen so many movies, that reference pop culture, but when it comes to creatures/monsters that most everyone has seen a movie about a time or two in their lives – they have no idea what they’re dealing with! Thankfully, this group of people was smart enough to put two and two together to figure out what they were facing, and use the good ol’ stuff they learned from movies to fight them. One of my main concerns came from when everyone started turning into vampires, a waitress or stripper locks everyone in and says “dinner time”. My immediate response was, “is this a normal Friday night here?”. Luckily, the writing is great and tied up all loose ends, so that question was answered for me. Yes, yes it is. The special effects were dated, but not cheesy in the least, and the soundtrack gets two thumbs up. All in all, I liked it a lot. There were a lot of funny lines, lots of action, great characters. I have no regrets about choosing this movie for the weekend!
Check in next week to see what food and flick I try out next!