Monday, June 23, 2008


Forget the flour tortillas and melted cheese, not that I dislike melted cheese. As a child one of my favorite things to eat, when I wasn't spooning strawberry jam directly into my mouth or taking surreptitious swigs from the Hershey's syrup bottle, was to put a slice (or 4) of cheese on a plate and microwave it. That's why I have a hard time buying the "obese people are just that way because they eat too much" argument. By all accounts then, I should weigh in at well over 600 pounds, rather than the diminutive weight of whatever the hell I am.

Enchiladas in Guadalajara are nothing like the ones that you can order in Mexican restaurants. Special enchilada tortillas that are thinner and somewhat smaller than others are used for this dish. This reminds me to tell you that tortillas actually have two distinct sides. There is an inside and an outside. If you tear a non-industrial tortilla in half lengthwise, you will see the two parts are only connected at the edges. The inside is the half that is much thinner. This thin part soaks up the juice and the thicker part keeps the tortilla from disintegrating in your hand. This happens because of the order in which the masa (dough) is laid out to cook.

I learned all of this because I live next to a tortilleria that smells absolutely heavenly although it emits a somewhat grating, high-pitched squeal as the tortillas come down the conveyor belt. It's approximately 70 pesos for a kilo of fresh, hot tortillas. I could live on them. Some of the taco stands I've been to actually make their own tortillas right there as your order. Those stands (fondas) usually have long lines too. Sometimes, there are old women walking around in a food market with baskets of hot tortillas that come in an amazing variety of diameters, colors, and thicknesses. Then, you just buy your filling by the kilo (or half kilo or whatever) and make your own tacos at the counter.

However, these aren't the enchilada tortillas, and that's where I think I was going when I started all of this although now I’m so hungry it’s hard to recollect.

They are soaked in a tomato salsa, made with garlic and oregano, and then the tortillas are deep fried. The filling is queso fresco (fresh cheese) mixed with dried oregano and chopped onions. They can either be rolled up or served flat, usually that depends on how crispy they are. To my mind, the crispier the better, the edges get nice and browned too. They are then topped with shredded lettuce, a couple of spoonfuls of a mild, thin tomato sauce, and then sprinkled with a thicker chili based hot sauce.

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About Me

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I have a fabulous husband, Pepe, who is from Guadalajara, Mexico. We spend a couple months each year in Mexico together. I also have two fabulous children, a son named Jack who was born in 2004, and a daughter named Violet, who was born in 2007 and whom we call Viva.