Anatomy of a Meal – Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

I spend a lot of time picking apart my meals after I’ve eaten to see what I liked and what I could do better next time. In light of my self-and-local goals, I want to talk about my meal tonight.


Source:  Supermarket brand dried pink beans.

Preparation:  Soaked for three days with several water changes and then simmered covered for about 6 hours with some salt and lime juice, skimming the foam. Mashed with a potato masher (that has never seen a potato, by the way) and fried in lard.

Result: Waaaay  better than canned beans, wow! Better taste, better texture, and less salt! I’ll be sure to put some more beans to soak at least once a week from now on.

Alternatives: Canned beans. More convenient, but less tasty and saltier. Locally produced beans, which I have not sourced, or beans grown myself, which I have not done. I’m not sure they have enough time to dry in the climate. But perhaps I’ll try one year. I’ve been thinking of ordering some online too.


Source: Bandon cheddar baby loaf.

Preparation: Shredded in my food processor, which takes under a minute for the whole loaf.

Result: It’s melted cheese, what more do you want? Not as creamy as a queso blanco, which is my fave with mexican foods, but still delicious.

Alternatives: Bandon cheese has been made by Tillamook for over a decade, and possibly more. My husband likes it better than Tillamook cheddar, and I like it less than Cracker Barrel, but it’s a good choice for the money. Shredded cheeses have corn starch added to keep the cheese from sticking. It’s kinda powdery and gross, so we’ve been shredding our own for a while. I want to make my own cheeses in the future, but cheddar might not be one of them. I have not sourced local cheddar.


Source: Taco Loco, a brand made in Anchorage and available at local supermarkets.

Preparation: Microwaved.

Result: I like how moist these are compared to national brands, which tend to flake or break after a while.

Alternatives: I could just learn how to make my own. Maybe I will this year. Again, national brands are inferior in texture, and have a slightly longer list of weird ingredients. Taco Loco could have less ingredients, but since I’m too lazy to make my own, I can’t complain.


Source: Snowcap Lard

Preparation: Fried the beans in this.

Result: Better than vegetable shortening for everything, including refried beans.

Alternatives: I am dying to get some non-hydrogenated lard, and to get that I will probably have to buy my own pig on the hoof for the freezer. Vegetable shortening, which I don’t use because I don’t like it as much.

Enchilada Sauce

Source: Canned something or another from the store.

Preparation: Open can, pour on enchiladas.

Result: Meh. Not so good. Rather tinny tasting. Hot variety missing the silky body of the milder canned stuff I do like.

Alternatives: A canned brand I do like. Or make it myself, which I have never done, but I may start doing when I can tomatoes this year.

I would rate this meal as a 2/5 for meeting my goals. While I am making some local choices and doing some of the prep myself, it still falls short of what I could be doing with a little more effort.


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