ZEST - FOOD - DRINK

A San Diego Memory

2013-10-04T10:45:00Z 2013-10-07T11:12:12Z A San Diego MemoryJane Dunne nwitimes.com
October 04, 2013 10:45 am  • 

Late September weather along the Lake Michigan Shore has been glorious - literally strings of cloudless, sunshiny days with highs in the mid to high 70's. The deep blue skies look like those one sees in California, and I have a yen for Mexican food shared on a beach at sunset, a light sweater over the shoulders and an ice-cold Margarita in the hand. I remember such an evening with good friends once in San Diego. To temper my nostalgia, I make a big pan of enchilladas and invite a few amigos. No beach, but a great view of Chicago's Lincoln Park!

A travel tip: When in the San Diego area, stay at Rancho Bernardo and you will thank me.

LAYERED CHICKEN THREE-CHEESE ENCHILADAS (6 servings)

Use your favorite enchilada sauce from the Mexican section of your market. This savory dish is great with a vegetable salad and cold beer.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium-size yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

1-1/4-pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1-3/4 cups red enchilada sauce

9 corn tortillas, each about 6 inches in diameter

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

3/4 cup shredded yellow cheddar cheese

Sliced green onion tops for garnish

Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool at room temperature.

Add the shredded chicken to the onion and stir well to combine.

Spread 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 3-1/2-quart deep baking dish (round is best). Arrange 3 tortillas in a single layer on the sauce, overlapping them as needed to cover the sauce. Top with a generous cup of the chicken-onion mixture, 1/2 cup more sauce and 1/4 cup of each of the cheeses. Repeat the layering 2 more times, alternating the direction of the tortilla layers and finishing with 1/2 cup sauce and 1/4 cup of each cheese.

Transfer the dish to the oven and bake until the ingredients are heated through and the cheese is melted, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with green onions and cilantro, and serve immediately.

CORN & ARUGULA SALAD WITH ADOBO VINAIGRETTE

(6 servings)

1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)

6 cups arugula leaves

1/2 cup cooked black beans

Adobo Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon adobo sauce from a jar of chipotles in adobo

Salt and pepper, to taste

Thaw the corn kernels, then sauté in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Place arugula in a salad bowl. Add the corn and toss. Add the black beans and the Adobo Vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and serve immediately.

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