When I first moved to NYC I lived in Brooklyn and commuted each day on the subway to midtown. The :20+ minute ride on the subway each way gave me time to read all of the ads on the trains. Not only did I learn that Dr. Jonathan Zizmor could help with anal warts and fissures (uhm…ewww) but I also picked up a little subway spanish. See, back then a lot of stuff on the subway was translated from english to spanish.
I learned very important phrases like ‘No Se Apoye Contra La Puerta’ = ‘Do Not Lean Against The Door’
and ‘No Pasar Entre Los Cochas‘ = ‘Do Not Pass Between Cars’
Very good information to know in any language.
But, I think the best spanish language lessons I ever received were from Julio and Marisol, the main characters in a then AIDS awareness campaign, ‘The Decision’ / ‘La Decision’.
La Decision was a cartoon soap opera that ran in both english and spanish. Every few weeks a new episode was released and we followed Marisol, Julio and their family and friends through the challenges of protecting themselves against HIV/AIDS.
Because the english and spanish versions ran side by side, I was able to read and memorize the spanish while comparing it to the english translation.
In ‘The Decision: I’ the dialogue in spanish goes something like:
Good Choice, Marisol
Marisol: Te amo Julio, pero si tu me amas, tu usas un condon.
An infuriated Julio responds: Un condon!?! Un condon! No!
Ultimately, Marisol wisely determines that though she loves Julio, she doesn’t love him enough to die.
There aren’t as many spanish translations on the subway anymore. A shame because I feel like I’ve maxed out the use of the three or so phrases I do know. I mean how often can I tell people not to lean on something?
I miss those La Decision cartoon episodes whenever I ride the trains now.
One big decision I have to face is how often to make super fattening, indulgent foods…
Warning: the following recipe is more than fattening…use sparingly.
Chicken Enchiladas Suiza (serves 6-8)
Small Space Smarts:
- It’s fried….so, your apt will smell like fried, but the aroma dissipates and is worth it. Use a deep pot when frying the tortillas to minimize fry splatter
- Buy the Goya Salsa Verde – yes, you can make your own, but it’s labor intensive and means more dirty dishes, expensive ingredients and hassle
- Use a rotisserie chicken – even in NYC the rotisserie chickens are more cost effective than buying and roasting a whole chicken or chicken pieces. Not to mention the rotisserie chix are better than you can make at home and time saving.
- Bonus – the enchiladas can be prepared well ahead of time and baked off later. So the work will be out of the way and your kitchen can be clear and cleaned when your guests arrive.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
1. Shred the rotisserie chicken and put into a bowl
Carne de pollo blanco
2. Pour the chiles and salsa verde over the chicken and mix well. Your hands are your best tools here – so dig in and mix!
Add the Canned Chiles and Salsa Verde
Mix with Las Manos (those are not my hands)
3. Mix together the whipping cream and tsp of salt in a round baking dish – pie plate or similar would work nicely here
4. Fry the tortillas in 1 inch of very hot oil just until blistered and limp. Try not to over-fry because the tortillas will then be hard to roll
5. Drain the fried tortillas on paper towels and blot to remove excess oil
6. Dip the fried tortillas into the cream/salt mixture
7. Place the fried and cream dipped tortilla onto a flat work surface and add about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture in a line to the center of the tortilla
Enchiladas Del Balanceo
8. Roll fairly tightly
9. Place the enchilada into an ungreased 9×13″ pan, flap side down
Nestle the enchiladas
10. Repeat until all 12 tortillas are stuffed and rolled and nestled into the pan – depending on thickness, you may have to use two pans
Final Nesting Place
12. Pour the remaining cream/salt mixture over the rolled and nestled tortillas
13. Sprinkle the cheese over all of the enchiladas
14. Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the cheese
Oven Ready Enchiladas Suiza
15. Bake in the oven for :20 mins…until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are well heated and bubbly
16. Serve with a garnish of tomato salsa and sour cream…and refried beans and spanish rice on the side
I know this recipe says ‘serves 6’….but they really are rich, creamy and delicious and each of our dinner guests needed just one or one and a half. It depends how much chicken you put in each enchilada.
La Decision Uno here might be to make these enchiladas just once or twice a year. I wish I spoke more Spanish, because all I can tell you is that if you eat these enchiladas too frequently, you may not want to apoye contra la puerta – or against anything else.