Quick and Dirty Enchiladas: Essential Mexican Cooking for the Southwesterner

I’m an Arizona girl. Always have been, always will be. I have two Arizona heart stickers on my car and am proud of it. One of the most basic skills I think every Southwesterner needs, however, is the ability to make basic Mexican dishes at the drop of a hat. Yes, since they are at the drop of a hat, they are not the most authentic, but sometimes a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do! Namely: make Mexican food. (*Note: this does not include tamales. Show me a quick tamale and I’ll show you a shoddy tamale. Abuelas everywhere are shaking their heads in disappointment.)

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Mini Peach Cobblers

I know. Three words that really say, “summer indulgence”. Summer is definitely my favorite season for fruit — it’s stone fruit season! Oh sure, I love autumn/winter fruit — apples, pears, citrus — and autumn/winter fruit recipes — apple pies, pumpkin pie, candied pears — but it’s summer that I really crave. Cherries, peaches, plums, pluots, nectarines, apricots, melons.. Oh God I love it. I eat myself silly on summer fruit. It’s usually just me, a book, and a big ol’ bag o’ cherries. Ugh. Heaven.

Therefore, it’s time to start making stuff! The possibilities are endless! So, obviously, the first thing I made was sangria. Yummmmmmm. Okay, focus, Karen. The second thing? Peach cobbler.

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Mixed Spice Mystery

A few months ago, I made hot cross buns.

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I got the recipe from my favorite bookish cooking blog: The Little Library Cafe

But the recipe had a specific ingredient — “mixed spice”. What the heck is mixed spice? I’m sitting there thinking, “Can I mix any spices I want?” Thanks to Google, I discovered that it was a specific spice blend used by the British. I made it, I put it on and in the buns, and it was so interesting. It was like pumpkin spice (allspice) but with an extra spicy kick. It’s got all those gorgeous warm spices — cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves — and a bunch of other, more intense spices — ginger, white pepper. It adds an extra oomph to a cozy little spice mix. Those buns were yummy, and definitely reminded me of the book it was based off of, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. I ended up making a whole other batch of this spice, just in case (you know…what if?). Which left me with the question: what to do with the rest of this mixed spice?

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