Thursday, April 10, 2008

Catering a Birthday Lunch

This was an interesting lunch to cater because it had to be quick (office luncheon, 45 minute break) and we had two completely different eating styles to contend with.

The guest of honor is on a cleansing diet. She is eating only whole grain rice with green vegetables. I had a very limited choice of preparation method as even such flavorings as stock and soy sauce are verboten. She is also eating berries.

The rest of the staff wanted FOOD.

We settled on;
Collard Greens
Bok Choy
Spinach
Red Rice
Chicken Enchiladas
Berries, not cake for dessert

The collards could not be cooked with ham hocks or smoked turkey wings so I improvised. To a touch of olive oil I added chopped garlic and smoked paprika. I let the collards steam in their own juice and when tender I salted them, taste, salt, taste, more salt, a touch of cayenne and one drop of liquid smoke. It worked.

The Bok Choy was easy. It's naturally sweet so I sauteed green onion and big slices of ginger and tossed the Bok Choy in with a little salt and fresh garlic. Delicious.

The spinach was garlic and oil with lemon.

Three greens, three flavor palates; I felt good about them.

The red rice was steamed with big slices of ginger in the mix which is a delicious way to cook any rice.

For the enchiladas I enlisted the help of one of my Marias. I live in a neighborhood with a lot of Spanish people from Spain, Puerto Rico, and The Dominican Republic. Within a 10 block radius there are at least a thousand Marias. While I tease them about the common names some of my best friends are named Maria.

So Maria came over and this is her recipe for enchiladas to serve 6. I was not allowed to doctor with it and I have to say, Maria...you are the bomb. They were pronounced "slap your Momma good."

18 corn tortillas
Melted Lard to soften them (Maria let me us olive oil, but she swears they are better with lard.)
6 chicken thighs baked with a little salt, meat shredded
1 can refried beans (Maria let me cook and mash my own beans 1/4 pound is about right if you do them yourself)
1/2 pound cheddar shredded
1/2 pound pepper jack shredded

The Sauce
2 big onions chopped
10 cloves garlic diced
3 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chipolte chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne (Maria reminded me this was a lunch and slapped my hand when I wanted to add more)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Saute the onion and garlic in a bit of oil, when tender dump, literally dump tomatoes and everything else in stir and warm through. Your sauce is complete.

Throw a couple of cups of the sauce into the shredded chicken until it is wet.

Warm your tortillas in the oil or lard stacking on a plate and keeping warm with a towel. Schmear each one with a big tablespoon heaping of the beans and two tablespoons of the chicken and place seam side down in a pan with a little sauce on the bottom. Pack them together like sardines in a can. Top with the cheese. Heat for 30 minutes 375 degree oven (1 hour if you make ahead and chill).

They pair well with the ginger scented rice but plain white will do as well.

They were all to full to eat the berries which will sit until they are ready for them, but the lunch was a success.

Now I have to go home and figure out something for my dinner...any suggestions?

4 comments:

John and Amanda said...

What did you have for dinner Thursday night?

It's already 1 on Friday and no new post.

I can't believe I am hooked on this blog.

Chef said...

I actually had a very dull dinner from a culinary standpoint. I had some warm tortillas with pink beans and salsa.

Fruit for dessert

I was doing other things and did not take time time to cook. Tonight I am going out to dinner, but I will let you know where we end up and if it is any good.

M said...

Clearly I have to take a little break. This recipe has nearly sent me running to the store to buy tortillas and lard!!! Now make no mistake, I will be trying this one soon, but until I drop a few inches, can you please post a few figure friendly ideas?
xxx M

Chef...Karl Wilder said...

For M I will do a post on my favorite low calorie (yet delicous) foods. Give me a day or two M.