Friday, June 27, 2008

San Antonio River Run

San Antonio offered a warm, muggy morning when we arrived at the River Walk and boarded a boat for a tour on the water. White linen tablecloths and napkins greeted us as we sat down to breakfast hors d'oeuvres, piping hot coffee and mimosas. A waitress from the adjacent Zuni Grill distributed menus. "We'll serve breakfast when you circle back around," she said.

Our driver, in a dapper white straw hat, piloted us along the water and regaled us with tales of San Antonio's rich multi-cultural history. We passed a metal sculpture and plaque that celebrated the first mass held in San Antonio, in 1691, and a double-tier stone bell tower built during the city's 'mission' period, in the 1700s. An ivy-covered foot bridge and adjacent Spanish-style stucco building with red tile roof resembled a European village.

We pulled in beside Zuni Grill and gasped as enormous plates of food arrived. My chilaquiles plate paired fresh eggs, cheese, corn tortillas and green chile sauce with a small bowl of fresh melon, and hand-cut grilled potatoes. Another mimosa, a coffee refill, and we were off again. As the sun poked through gray clouds, passengers on other boats looked longingly towards our breakfast feast and we turned our attention to the now-bustling River Walk.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mexican Comfort Food

Although our family is far from vegetarian, I do make a vegetarian entree at least once each week. We also like Mexican food, so I created this recipe to satisfy both requirements. I knew I had a hit on my hands when I shared some extras with our Hispanic neighbor, who said they were the best enchiladas he had ever eaten. See if you agree!

Red and Black Enchiladas
Makes 7-8 enchiladas

1 large red onion, rough chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cans (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups Colby Jack cheese, grated
7-8 multi-grain tortillas (may substitute traditional flour tortillas)

Easy Enchilada Sauce at,,FOOD_9936_10360,00.html
*For a vegetarian version of this sauce, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

OR 3 cups canned enchilada sauce

9 x 13 pan
2 frying pans
tea towel

Cilantro for garnish

Spread half of the sauce (approximately 1 ½ cups) evenly across the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Sauté red onion in one frying pan until soft but not limp, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and set pan aside.

Heat a dry frying pan to medium. One at a time, heat each side of a tortilla in the pan until small brown spots appear and the tortilla becomes pliable. Wrap 'fried' tortillas in the tea towel to keep them warm and soft. When all tortillas are fried, begin assembly.

Lie first tortilla flat and spread approximately 1/8 cup of onions on tortilla, about 1/4 of the distance in, from the right edge. Top with 1/4 cup black beans and 1/4 cup cheese. Draw right edge of tortilla over filling and then roll tightly, towards the left, to use entire tortilla. Transfer filled tortilla to 9 x 13 pan, open edge down.

Fill the remaining tortillas and add to pan, with sides touching. Spread the remaining enchilada sauce, and any extra onion or cheese, evenly across the enchiladas and then cover with foil. Cook at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and allow to cool slightly.

Serve with chopped cilantro, and rice or a vegetable side dish, such as sautéed corn and zucchini.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mirror Image

There are moments when every element combines to create the perfect photo. Such was the case when we stumbled across this lake in Colorado's high country, outside of Leadville, during a summer vacation with our young daughters. Like Forrest Gump, we had trouble telling where the earth ended and the sky began.

Water so still that it created a mirror-like surface reflected miles of serene, verdant peaks as billowy clouds cast interesting shadows across the landscape, and parched, yellowed grass framed the lake edge. As the girls and my husband took in the mesmerizing view, I captured the moment and scene for matting, framing and forever.