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.

Beans

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.

Cheese

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.

Tortillas

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.

Lard

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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