Posts Tagged With: mexican food

Strolling Around

I’ve been in Berlin for almost a month now, and this is my last week.  Time really has raced by, and I haven’t gotten everything that I need out of this archive yet.  But, that’s why I’ve decided that I’ll be coming back in February to finish up.  Knowing that I’m coming back has kept me from getting upset that I’m leaving on Saturday, because I have come to love Berlin.  In fact, I can easily say that it’s my favorite German city, which is ironic being that – in so many ways – it’s not very German at all (I have to be careful when granting the “favorite city” award, because Marburg, a city with ancient charm – holds a special place in my heart ever since it was my home for a year just over five trips around the sun ago).

I’ve been impressed while walking around Berlin’s city center, with its sprawling government structures, monuments and war memorials.  I’ve taken a couple of strolls down the perpetually-under-construction Unter den Linden, and down Friedrichstrasse, Berlin’s swanky shopping district.  The cheesy Christmas Market (complete with mobile log cabins and fake snow in the shadow of Berlin’s modern, glass, Deutsche Bahn tower) was a weird, yet fun, place to have a Bratwurst and Glühwein.  And I’ve spent nearly $15 to go see a movie (Catching Fire, which was awesome!) in the futuristic Sony Center at Postdamer Platz.

Those places are cool and all, but I really love Berlin for the places like Kreuzberg and Neuekölln.  My bus to the archive goes straight through Kreuzberg, another multicultural, young district of Berlin.  When I leave the archive at 6, and my stomach starts growling, I have to drive through streets lined with temptation:  sushi joints, Italian pizzerias, Indian restaurants, Malaysian street food, kebab stands, schnitzel shops, Chinese takeout…you name it – if you spin a globe and stop it with your finger, chances are there is a restaurant in Kreuzberg that’ll serve food from there.  So, needless to say, on more than one occasion, I haven’t made it home for supper – after my mouth waters for several stations, I can’t take it anymore, and I push the stop button on the bus, hop out, and take my choice.  One night, the pun of the burger joint called “Kreuzburger” tempted me, but I decided to go with Mexican instead.  I’m not sure why I thought German Mexican food would be a good idea since I’m a Mexican food snob, but hey, it was happy hour, so that made up for it.

In fact, since I’ve been here, I’ve only had “typical” German food once – sausage, potatoes (with a bit of salad thrown in for good measure) and beer – doesn’t get much more German than that.

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Guten Appetit!

I’ve already written about my neighborhood, Neuekölln, so I won’t take up more space on it here.  I’m going to miss it, but what I could tell from the 24 hours that I’ve spent in Köln (Cologne, which is where I’m heading on Saturday), it’s pretty diverse as well.  So, maybe not all is lost.

Here are a few more shots of my neighborhood, Neuekölln:

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Heading to the archives. Despite spending 80 Euros on a month pass, I have yet to have a single person check for my ticket.

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An Indian restaurant 25 steps away from my house. I’ve gotten spoiled on good, homemade Indian food, too, so – like Mexican food – I always find myself judging on whether it’s “real” or not. (Yeah, I know: snobfest.) I guess German tolerance for spice is even less than American, so the food lacked the typical Indian kick, BUT the Gulab-Jamun (think, balls of fried dough soaked in syrup!) made up for it!

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The soul cat bar didn’t have any soul on Sundays, though.

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Second hand vinyl shop, with a touch of German graffiti and a dash of the typical half-shredded posters

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Sometimes the graffiti can be pretty good, though.

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I love this: The Rosa Parks Elementary School

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Rosa Parks Elementary School: Play together, Learn together, Live together. A pretty fitting motto in such a diverse neighborhood

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And then right next to the Rosa Parks Elementary School, we have the Tempest Anarchist Library.

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Neuekölln recycling

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One block over, there’s a “free time colony” where people garden and grow things in the middle of the city. But, from the looks of it, they’re pretty selective about who gets in and who gets out.

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mix n’ Match Enchiladas

Don’t mind how ugly they look. They taste like the manifestation of the word “Mmmmm!”

I grew up eating a lot of authentic Mexican food and absolutely loved every minute of it.  Since moving to Buffalo, though, I haven’t even found a decent Mexican restaurant, let alone someone to cook me cow tongue tacos in their back parking lot.  But, I digress.  My partner and I got the craving for some Green Chili (Salsa Verde) Chicken Enchiladas a few weeks ago, so we started scouring the internet for recipes.  What we found was an astounding number of different ways to cook these damn things.

But then we got excited, because we realized that this was one of those dishes that could be tweaked and customized until the cows come home.  So, below are a few different ways we’ve made enchiladas lately (yeah, we’re that type of people that get a craving for something and then eat it repeatedly until we’re sick of it).  So, thanks to Mexicans for providing us with one of the most delicious, saucy, cheesy, scrumptiliumptios dishes known to man!

Ingredients:

You can customize these all you want, but some of the essentials are:

  • Burrito sized tortillas
  • 1 jar salsa verde (green chili sauce)
  • 1 pack shredded cheese (pepper jack, colby jack, cheddar, whatever)
  • 2-3 chicken breast/thighs cut into bite-sized pieces, OR a couple of cans of chicken if you’re lazy or in a rush,  OR 1 lb ground beef (if you’re going the whole carnivore/omnivore route)
  • a large onion
  • any other seasonings you want
  • maybe some beans
  • maybe some Rotels (canned diced tomatoes with diced chilis)

If you want to be a BAMF and make your own salsa verde, you can follow this guy’s recipe here:

 

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • If you’re using uncooked chicken or beef, you’ll want to cook/sear it in a pan.  Chop up the onion and throw them in there with the meat and olive oil so you get some good flavor.  I life to leave about half of the onion in slices instead of diced up small.  Put any seasoning you want in this while it’s cooking: cayenne pepper powder, garlic pepper, even Cajun seasoning.
  • After the meat is cooked, poor about half, or even 3/4 of the salsa verde in with the chicken, and keep on cooking until some of the salsa has evaporated and cooked into the chicken (it just shouldn’t be very soupy).
  • When that’s done, take a plate or a wide dish and pour some of the salsa verde in it.  Take a tortilla and flop each side in that plate full of salsa.
  • Then spoon the chicken/beef/onion/delicious mixture onto the center of the salsa verde-coated tortilla. Sprinkle some cheese on top.
  • In a 9×13 baking dish, spoon some of the salsa verde on the bottom so that the enchiladas don’t stick while baking.
  • Then, wrap up your topped tortilla tightly and place in the baking dish, with the seal down.
  • Repeat until you’ve used up all of your mixture or tortillas – whichever comes first.
  • Then, once your baking dish is full, pour the left over salsa verde and meat/onion/salsa mixture over the enchiladas.  Make sure they’re covered nicely; you don’t want the tortillas to get all crispy and hard while you’re baking.
  • Finally, cover with shredded cheese, and bake it for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Then stuff your face.  You can serve it with anything you want: salad, refried beans and rice, or nothing at all.

So, that’s the way we made them the first time.  Here is how we made them tonight (we made a couple of variations, including a vegetarian version):

  • We didn’t have any chicken to cook, but we had two cans of cooked chicken breast and a can of cream of mushroom soup. We threw those in a pot and cooked them together, adding curry powder, Cajun seasoning, ginger powder, & garlic pepper.
  • But, here’s a side note: this mixture turned out to be pretty damn salty, which I’m not a fan of.  Not sure if that came from the canned chicken, cream of mushroom soup, the curry powder, the mixture of all of them.  So, if you choose to go this route, go easy on any salt.  If you want to come up with this mixture without the mushroom soup, maybe just use some of the salsa verde.
  • While you’re cooking the enchilada mixture, pour your salsa verde in another pot and heat it up.  We both like our food to have a spicy kick – which the salsa doesn’t have when you buy it – so we threw in some canned chilis and cayenne pepper powder.
  • And then you just follow the directions above on how to assemble them, put them in the baking dish, and bake.

And a vegetarian take on enchiladas:

  • Again, there’s a number of ways you could make this vegetarian.  Use beans or sweet potatoes, for example.  Tonight, we ran out of chicken, but had a can of kidney beans (but any type of beans will do!).
  • So, we drained our beans, and threw it in with a (drained) can of Rotels (a staple in our pantry), heated it up and used that as our enchilada mixture.  And I liked them better than our curry chicken enchiladas!

Now, go forth and make enchiladas!

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