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Cauliflower Enchiladas | FoodLovesWriting.com

As promised, here I am again, on another Tuesday, with another recipe—only, after reading your comments on that last post, today doesn’t feel like just another Tuesday. In the time since we last spoke, I’ve received kind emails and comments full of wise words and advice, and I’ve found myself stepping back a little, at least internally, asking myself what exactly this space should be. (I’ve also found myself breaking down crying in a Trader Joe’s parking lot, but that’s just me being real.)

Today, while I’m bringing you a recipe for the craziest, creamiest cauliflower enchiladas that Tim and I made last week and ate again for two more meals (it serves four to six, just note that now), I’m also bringing you a few more thoughts, as they likewise come pouring out of me, and not in the abbreviated way I’d originally planned.

Cauliflower Enchiladas | FoodLovesWriting.com

First off, if my last post felt too vulnerable to you (well, don’t read the ebook), I should tell you that blogging isn’t always as pretty as it looks on the computer screen (not that it has always looked pretty on the computer screen, at least around here). If you could see behind the scenes, you’d know that sometimes, in order to meet my self-imposed deadline of getting a post up on Tuesday morning, I’m holed up in the bedroom Monday night, wishing words would come and feeling unsatisfied with the way they finally do. Other times, Tim and I are arranging our weekly plans around making and photographing new recipes, and we’re looking at this new weekly menu plan thing we’re doing, adding to the already existing considerations of schedules and costs the additional and ever-present thought of, but what will we blog? And, you guys, every time I finish a post and schedule it for a deadline, I feel an enormous relief. It’s kind of like turning in a research paper or making a speech or meeting a new person at a coffee shop for the first time. These aren’t things you don’t want to do, but they require effort, and so when you exert the necessary effort and then finish the task before you, it’s a tiny victory. It’s like lifting a weight off your shoulders. It’s wonderful.

(Until, of course, you have to do it all over again.)

Cauliflower Enchiladas | FoodLovesWriting.com

When I describe it that way, I feel like I’m describing running marathons or competing in chess matches or something otherwise important and challenging. But you and I both know that what I’m talking about isn’t the kind of thing you win medals for—maybe awards, if you’re very popular, but not objective, fastest, smartest medals—this is blogging, remember?

Blogging’s little. It’s cute. It’s amateur.

CauliflowerEnchiladas | FoodLovesWriting.com

I almost never talk about blogging with people who aren’t bloggers. (Those of you who are bloggers, do you?) I think I feel this complicated inner need to always talk with other people about the things that they find interesting instead. When I sense you don’t want to hear about my blog or, worse, that you’re asking about it to be nice, the way the kid in third grade sat with you at lunch because her mother told her to? I feel terrible it’s happening to you. I want to remove my blog from your consciousness. Let’s talk about TV or books or dinner instead! I’m so, so sorry for making you spend time thinking about this silly space. It’s just a blog. Geesh. Blogs. Who’s into those?

And I think that’s one of the biggest things I’ve been thinking about since Sunday and Monday, since I’ve been reading your comments and thinking through the dynamics of blogging being a hobby or blogging being an art or blogging being self-indulgence. My artist friend Jonathan said to me once that he felt bad telling Tim and me about his work because it seemed selfish, and I said, No! Anytime you communicate something true, it resonates with people! We need to hear your stories!

But then sometimes I look at our little blog and think, But well, that’s not the same thing.

So I guess what I’m saying is that reading your encouraging comments reminds me of truth: There IS value in sharing our stories, be it on a blog or through a painting or across a dining room table. There IS value in creating, reflecting the one who created us. There IS value in, as someone commented, building relationships, even across a computer screen.

But what is also clearly true is that I forget this. In the midst of my daily work of writing for money and then coming here to write for no money, I forget that there are greater rewards than paychecks and pageviews, even if no one around me gets that. Maybe you need to be reminded of it, too.

It’s true that in my current season of life, I need to be reevaluating how much and what kind of time I get to spend here. I need to consider a few more income-generating ideas that might make it possible to stick around as much as I have. But I also need to mentally rehearse the reality that connections and creativity are worth pursuing, however you can. Thank you for that.

 

Oh and hey, quick announcement! I was honored to post on Emma’s My Darling Lemon Thyme earlier this week, sharing about an easy habit that yields nutritious, flavorful, free vegetable stock. Emma is one of those lovely bloggers with a beautiful aesthetic and real-food-focused recipes, and if you don’t already know her site, you should go check it out now. The vegetable stock post is here.

 

Cauliflower Enchiladas with Poblano Cream Sauce
Adapted from Feasting at Home
Serves four to six people

This recipe is a little fussier than I typically like, and while you’re making it you’ll have pans on the stove and in the oven, not to mention the sink. But it’s worth trying because (1) it demonstrates yet again the amazing potential of cauliflower and (2) one bite in to these vegetarian (!), delicious (!), unique (!) enchiladas, and you’ll wonder if you ever want any other kind again.

Ingredients:
1 large head of cauliflower
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted; plus more for brushing enchiladas before baking
Salt and pepper
2 fresh poblano chiles
1/2 a large onion, chopped
12 ounces Queso fresco cheese, divided (or monterey jack or mozzarella, the original recipe said)
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
12 tortillas (we used sprouted corn)

for the poblano cream sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour (we used einkorn)
3 cups hot chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 cups yogurt
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400F.

ROAST THE VEGETABLES:
Break apart the head of cauliflower into same-sized florets, placing them all in a large bowl. Add melted coconut oil and toss to coat all the florets with oil. Salt and pepper well. Place on a baking sheet or in a large roasting dish in the oven, roasting for 20 to 25 minutes, until they come out golden and slightly crisp. (Warning: Taste at your own risk because try one, and it will be hard not to eat them all.) At the same time, rub the poblanos with a little coconut oil and place on a baking dish in the same oven, letting them get blistered and blackened throughout. They’ll be ready about halfway through the cauliflower’s baking time. Take them out, place them in a bowl and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel while the peppers cool.

SAUTE THE ONION:
In a small saute pan, melt a little oil and then add the sliced onion. Saute until golden and fragrant over medium heat; set aside.

MAKE THE SAUCE:
Start by setting chicken or vegetable stock on the stove to heat it up; you’ll need it in a minute. Then, in a medium (not small!) saucepan over medium-low heat, melt three tablespoons of butter. Add three tablespoons of flour and let the mixture cook about five minutes, turning a lovely brown. Add one cup of the hot chicken or vegetable stock, and whisk it into the butter-flour mixture. Once well combined, add the rest of the stock, and stir until thick and bubbly. Next, add two cups of yogurt, and whisk until smooth. Leave on very low or remove from the heat.

CHOP THE PEPPERS:
By now, the cauliflower should be out of the oven and the poblanos, cooled. Under running water, rub off the blackened pepper skins, carefully tearing the peppers open and pulling out the seed pods and stems inside; rinse all the seeds away. Finely dice the peppers and divide in half. Place half the poblanos in the pan with the cauliflower, and add the other half to the sauce, whisking until smooth. Taste the sauce for salt and keep adding salt and tasting until it seems right. Bring the sauce back to a simmer, if necessary, and remove from heat.

MAKE FILLING:
Combine the tray of cauliflower and poblanos in a bowl with 2/3 of the crumbled queso fresco, the sauteed onion, half of the chopped parsley, cumin, coriander and a few cracks of pepper. Fold in 1 cup of the cream sauce. Taste for salt, and add if needed.

ASSEMBLE:
Now it’s time to make the enchiladas. Everything leading up to this has been prep work. Grease two 9 x 13 pans and place a little bit of the cream sauce in the baking pans, just enough to coat them and create a thin bottom layer.

If your tortillas are not already soft and pliable (i.e., if you’re using sprouted like we do), you may want to warm them in the oven or on a skillet just enough to make them easier to work with. Working one tortilla at a time, place a tortilla in your hand, dollop a few tablespoons of filling inside (enough to spread it evenly amongst the tortillas), roll up, and place, seam-side-down, on the sauce in the pan. We wedged ours up next to each other in order to make them stay better.

Brush with a little melted coconut oil, and place in the 400 F oven for 10 minutes until crispy and golden. Then cover with remaining sauce; sprinkle with remaining cheese; and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Garnish with the rest of the fresh parsley.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 35 Comments

  1. Jacqui

    Shanna, I just want to give you a big hug, and I’d so much rather be discussing these things with you over a meal at one of our houses, between conversations of house plants and meal planning (have you checked out the app Food on the Table? I discovered it last night and almost texted you to tell you about it because I was literally nerding out over it for about an hour). Let me know next time you’re in town! And also, just know that this space here is one of my favorites, online or off, because it’s such a reflection of who you are. So thank you for putting so much time and effort into making it a place where friends and strangers can know you and feel welcome and be a part of something great.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Like I emailed you yesterday, you’re a good friend. And also, you’re one of MY favorite voices, anywhere. You are always, always grounding and have a consistently level-headed perspective on blogging I admire so much. I feel so glad to know you, honestly. Blogging wouldn’t be the same without you. Thanks, J.

  2. Little Kitchie

    I love reading your honest thoughts about all you’ve been thinking about. I know you’ll find the right balance of what you desire for this space and for your other work. Sometimes it takes making mistakes, being unbalanced and uncertain for a while, but I know that when you’re as intentional as you are about finding purpose and meaning for the choices you make, you will find just the right way for you and Tim. Your writing is a blessing to me and to everyone who comes across this space! I always look forward to hearing your stories and thoughts on Tuesdays and Fridays! :) Your blog is truly a breath of fresh air.

    Oh, and these enchiladas just rocketed to the top of my to-make list. Making tonight!

  3. Jolynn

    Those enchildas looks INCREDIBLE!! By the way, I’d so miss your posts if you opt to stop blogging altogether (although this post gives me hope that maybe you won’t). I don’t read a lot of blogs for the simple fact that I don’t have time (wait, no: because with everything else going on in my life, they aren’t a priority right now. You have no idea how that insight has brightened my outlook into one of power rather than victimhood). But yours IS. Because it feeds my soul and life views and also gives me great healthy recipes that many times end up as food for dinner (those sweet potato fries have become a regular!). But now I feel selfish because it’s all about how I benefit. I hope you will do what’s best for you. But please don’t doubt yourself about what you are doing here. You are a conveyor of light and, Shanna, you shine!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh, Jolynn, this was such a sweet comment. It encouraged me so much. Thank you! And BTW I have been thinking about that prioritizing article SO MUCH since I read it. In fact, Tim and I were just talking about it before I commented back to you here. I feel like it’s changing my perspectives on everything.

  4. hootenannie

    Sometimes I’m intimidated by the recipes you post because I have a serious lack of confidence in the kitchen – but these look incredible AND do-able (even for me!). Can’t wait to try them.

    I so love your writing, but even more, I love the way that your HEART shines through. Let’s be friends forever, come what may in the blogosphere. :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Annie, You’re amazing. If any recipe I’ve posted has felt intimidating to me, it’s this one, and there you are, totally on board. I think you have more confidence in the kitchen than you think you do. : )

  5. Joanne

    This is definitely one of the most beautiful, honest posts that i have ever read. Ever. It pretty much encapsulates everything I really hope is true about blogging. Everything I sometimes doubt and sometimes absolutely know to be true. Thank you so much for it, and for the lovely recipe!

  6. Bethany

    Aren’t there always multiple pots when making enchiladas? It gives me a satisfied feeling to ‘rough’ up the kitchen a little while I’m creating dinner. These enchiladas sound well worth the mess.
    I wish I had profound words of wisdom for you. However, I’ll say that I think unexpected tears (even in a Trader Joe’s parking lot) can be a good thing. And, I like it here so consider me cheering you on…

  7. Madison

    I think, okay I know, that I would keep coming back to read your blog for the writing alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love the recipes. But your writing is just so good and so honest without being too honest on a blog.

    As for your question, I never talk about blogging to others who don’t blog. Well, very rarely. Joe is much more of a promoter of Espresso and Cream than I could ever be. He’s always telling people about it and encouraging people to swing by the site, but I’m always so embarassed even though I am proud of the space I’ve created. I either feel the need to justify it “it’s just a hobby and a place for me to keep recipes” or validate it “I do have readers!”

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Madison, I think you’re kind of the dream reader because you see the blog as valuable for the same reasons I see it as valuable. As much as I like recipes, I like heart-to-hearts more. That said, SO many people just want recipes, that I often find myself thinking I have to give them what they want. This week is the first time in a long time that I’ve been thinking, why?

      And I love that your husband is promoting your site for you. Adorable. Also, right after I read your comment, I saw someone handling things more on the opposite spectrum, being kind of I AM AWESOME and YOU SHOULD THINK SO about her blog, and I thought, ew. I like believing in your work; I dislike crossing the line into ME ME ME land. And maybe that’s what both of us are sensing in our own hearts and wanting to push away from when we don’t want to talk about our blogs all the time. It feels like a fine line though and one I don’t know if I fully understand. How to love your blog and your work while also viewing them appropriately as not the most important thing in the world? Hmm.

  8. Ashley

    I love your honesty. I admire it. I’m sure you know this by now but you are so not alone in all of this. I think in some way questioning and insecurity are the curse of the artist BUT the joy in creating always outweighs the curse. It’s just good to step back and reevaluate now and again as long as it doesn’t stop the creating.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      YES. Thank you, Ashley. I read this super-encouraging article yesterday that basically said if you’re having these moments of major questioning and unsureness, that’s probably a good sign; it shows how much the work means to you. I think that helped me and is helping me. The truth is, I care about blogging, small though it is. I know you get this. And caring about something—anything—involves emotions. So glad the blogging world has brought you into my world, btw. You are a treasure.

  9. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen

    You wrote another post, I think it was before your last blog´s anniversary, about how you had changed your original idea for this space. And I think I left you a comment (I tried but can´t find the post) about how I think change is good. And it is.
    Just as your header changes and it´s a relief to see that happen in this traffic-oriented race that is food blogging (and I think I already left you a comment saying just that too…!), it is almost a natural development that you will need to adjust your time, effort, or whatever in relation to this blog. And it´s a good thing. Because all of our lives will change one way or another through the years, and if we´re still blogging, our little blogs will have to accommodate that change.
    Now, those enchiladas are a vision, both in flavor and the wonderful pictures! I´m having such a love affair right now with cauliflower, that this is the perfect recipe.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      That’s true, Paula. Especially for personal blogs, which are designed to reflect the people making them, it only makes sense that they would change as their authors do. Thanks for your comment — hope you try these enchiladas! Would love to hear what you think!

  10. Kathryn

    Coming a little late to this but agreeing with all the other comments. I so admire your honesty and the way that you break down these issues – which we all face in some way or another. I’m another who doesn’t really talk about my blog to anyone mainly because, as much as it is a public space, to me, it’s almost private. I find it hard to find the desire to talk about my blog when I could be talking about so many more interesting things.

  11. sara forte

    such a good point. No, I never talk about blogging with friends who I don’t believe see value in it. I talk about my other job or books, but never how blogging effects my life, or what time it takes up. I’ve been wrestling with the time and commitment too. I know it connects me to a lot of people, but when less respond, I feel like I’m wasting time or something. When I said I “wasn’t doing it for anyone else” in the first place, I now realize that I am, and that it really matters to me!
    We are big into enchiladas and I love having leftovers. I always do a red sauce but have been so intrigued by a creamy one. Yogurt…never thought.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      EXACTLY. I feel like reading your comment was some sort of vindication for me because the way you describe feeling so closely parallels the way I do. Thanks, Sara. You’re always an encouraging, honest voice.

  12. Kathryne

    Blogging is such hard work, isn’t it? At least you manage to meet your self-imposed deadlines. I make them for myself and break them almost immediately and then beat myself up for it… not a good system. These enchiladas look and sound amazing, wish we could share them at a real table and blog-talk while we’re at it.

  13. Cyndi

    We made these tonight. The whole family loved them. They were so delicious. I will be making these again soon. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe.

  14. Christine Devlin

    I loved this recipe Shanna! Thanks so much. I like that it makes so many leftovers when I am only cooking for two! There weren’t any poblanos at the market yesterday, so I used two bell peppers and it still tasted great. Thanks!

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