Late-Summer Vegetable Enchilada Pie + Giveaway

Enchilada Pie // Enchilada Pie //

*We’re giving away a copy of Modern Potluck! Leave a comment to enter.


It seems were on a bit of a trend with last week’s post and this week’s: How to feed people without losing your mind.

In her new book, Modern Potluck, Kristin Donnelly writes, “Like most people who write cookbooks, my greatest wish is to bring people together around food in a way that’s as easy and fun as possible. The secret to doing this is to share the work with your guests. And, as it turns out, guests love it that way, too.”

Kristin, after having her first child, felt her social life slipping away as the thought of fancy dinner parties like the ones she wrote about in Food & Wine seemed out of the question, as did going out to restaurants. It was then she remembered the potlucks of her own childhood. “What a brilliant idea!” She writes. “I could focus my energy on making one dish and get a full meal in return, all the while hanging out with my friends or meeting my neighbors.”

I remember potlucks from my childhood too, like Kristin I adore the idea of them, but the food doesn’t appeal to me in the same way it did then. I once loved those miniature cocktail hot dogs simmered in a crock pot filled with grape jelly and ketchup. They don’t excite me in the same way today. There are no long-simmered grape jelly hot dogs in Modern Potluck, instead Kristin writes of Green Bean Salads with chiles and walnuts, Cornmeal-Crusted Oven-Fried chicken, Pumpkin Beer-and-Turkey Chili, and Caramelized Kimchi Corn Bread. Not the sort of potluck food I remember but exactly the sort of potluck food I want.

Her point is to gather and she’s giving us the easy-to-follow road map for how to do so.

Enchilada Pie // Enchilada Pie //

*A winner has been selected and notified. Thanks so much to all of you who entered.

Of course you could always ditch the idea of a large gathering and simply make these recipes for your family. That’s exactly what I did with these Late-Summer Vegetable Enchiladas. It was the first time in awhile where dinner was more than a doctored up bean salad or something – anything – stuffed into a tortilla. And while we are a family of five and the appetites of my littles have grown right alongside them we still were able to enjoy leftovers for days. Potluck or not, the recipes inspire and are right in line with how I want to eat everyday.

To celebrate this stunning new book I would love to send a copy to one of you. Simply leave a comment below and I’ll choose a winner by next Friday, September 2. (HOW IS IT SEPTEMBER NEXT WEEK?!)

In the meantime go raid the garden or the market for all that zucchini and enjoy some enchiladas.

Enchilada Pie //

Late-Summer Vegetable Enchilada Pie

from Modern Potluck

Serves 8 to 16


For the sauce:

1 1/2 ounces dried Ancho Chiles (2 to 3)

1 cup boiling water

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the filling and pie:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped

2 teaspoons mild curry powder

1 pound zucchini or other summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 4 cups)

2 medium ears of corn, kernels cut from the cobs (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 3/4 cups cooked black or pinto beans or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish

12 (6 to 7-inch) corn tortillas

1 1/4 pound Monterey jack cheese, grated (5 to 6 cups)


Make the sauce: In a large, deep skillet, toast the anchos over medium-high heat, turning frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. When they’re cool enough to handle, stem the chiles and shake out the seeds, tipping the chiles if you have to. Transfer the chiles to a blender (or a cup that’s heat-safe if your blender jar is not) and cover with the boiling water; let stand until softened and cooled. Add the tomatoes and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the filling and assemble the pie: In the same skillet used to toast the anchos, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeños and cook until fragrant and softened, about 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, until tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and beans and cook, mashing the beans slightly, until hot and stir in the lime juice and 1/2 cup of the cilantro.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the pan (about 1/2 cup). Arrange one-third of the tortillas in the baking dish, tearing them in half as necessary to create an even layer. Spoon half of the filling over the tortillas and top with one-third of the cheese. Top the cheese with another layer of tortillas, followed by half of the remaining sauce, the rest of the filling, and another one-third of the cheese. Finally, layer more tortillas, followed by the remaining sauce and the remaining cheese.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the edges are starting to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes, and then serve.


A few things to note: I cut down on the amount of jalapeños from two to one as my children are quite spice averse. I also skipped the curry powder and added a bit of cumin a touch of chipotle powder instead. In place of jack cheese I used sharp cheddar as that’s what I had on hand. The best recipes are adaptable – this one was perfect.



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Easy Summer Entertaining

2M1A6105 Easy Summer Entertaining Easy Summer Entertaining

Last week we had people over for dinner three nights in a row. By the third evening I was feeling exhausted and I noticed my mind veering far away from joy as I set the table once again. A little whisper set me back on course: “This is what you always wanted.”

“I want our house to be the party house.” I told Gabe with kids still in diapers. Already anticipating sleepovers and high school hangouts. I envisioned a neighborhood teeming with kids and all feeling free to come into our house as they please. I always wanted our home to be a place where people felt welcome and are encouraged to just stop by. Our door would always be open.

No one wants to sit at a table set by someone filled with resentment. The whisper spoke again, “listen, three nights in a row may be a bit much but no one’s asking you to wear yourself out. They just want you.” So I tucked away the plates that require washing and replaced them with paper ones. I divided the tasks and asked our guests to bring a few things. We grilled burgers on store bought buns and besides the bacon I baked for the burgers there was very little more added to the table that I didn’t already have lingering in my fridge. In today’s terms; there was nothing Instagram-able about that spread. Except that it was perfect.

Easy Summer Entertaining Easy Summer Entertaining Easy Summer Entertaining

I didn’t even put out chairs. We sat on blankets in the back yard letting the kids wander in and out as they please. The evening turned to night as we started a fire and didn’t roast s’mores because I forgot to buy the stuff from the store. No one cared. The kids entertained us with improvised skits until we finally had to pull ourselves away well after bedtime.

Summer is especially made for that sort of entertaining. I appreciate so much those reminders that little is needed in order for people to gather. If my own ideas of what a “dinner party” looks like keeps me from actually having one then I know something has to change. The important thing is to gather, it’s not about what’s on the table. That’s always a hard one for me to remember. Sometimes I give myself permission to flood the table with food that has taken me hours to prepare because I love that but again, not needed.


For regular entertaining this is what I’ve learned:

  1. Ask for help. Your guests enjoy bringing something to the party, it makes them feel a part of it. So let them.
  2. Use paper plates. It makes perfect kindling for the after dinner bonfire.
  3. Eat outside as often as possible. No sweeping or vacuuming needed.
  4. Keep the food simple. Seriously simple. (This is one is the hardest for me).
  5. Don’t aim for three nights in a row – that’s too much for us – BUT set a day a week or a month, find what works best for your family, and send out the invite (a text works). Fill your table with people. That’s what it’s there for.


Before summer is over here’s what you do: Invite a few friends and ask them to bring the drinks and maybe a bag of chips or two. You’re going to be grilling grilled cheese and making a bean salad – but not grandma’s bean salad. This one is loaded with fresh herbs and a piquant shallot vinaigrette. And yes, you can seriously serve grilled cheese to your guests. Again, it’s not just any grilled cheese – there’s bacon, grilled zucchini and nutty gruyere cheese. It’s best served outside on a simple table filled with people.

Easy Summer Entertaining Easy Summer Entertaining Easy Summer Entertaining

*This post is sponsored by Bertolli Olive oil. I spun the bottle and landed on two summer classics; grilled cheese and bean salad. My task was to remix these favorites then enjoy them with friends dining al fresco. Bertolli Olive oil is the star here as I used their pure olive oil to grill the zucchini and the sandwiches. It’s high smoke point makes high heat cooking possible without getting any burnt or off flavors. For the bean salad I used the Extra-virgin olive oil. Because it’s made from the first pressing the flavors are more refined; grassy, peppery and clean. It’s perfect for dressings and for finishing.

Easy Summer Entertaining Easy Summer Entertaining Easy Summer Entertaining

Grilled Cheese with Zucchini, Bacon, Basil and Gruyere

Serves 6


12 strips bacon   

2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick strips


12 -18 Basil leaves

8 ounces Gruyere (or sharp cheddar) grated

12 thick slices artisan bread

1/4 cup Bertolli Pure Olive oil


Cook the bacon until crisp.

Brush the zucchini strips with Bertolli Pure olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill until char marks appear, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the zucchini from the grill then set aside.

Brush or carefully drizzle the Bertolli Pure olive oil on the bread.

Add about 1/4 cup of grated cheese to one piece of bread then top with 2 to 3 pieces of zucchini, 2 strips of bacon and a few basil leaves. Add a bit more cheese to then top with another piece of bread.

Grill until char marks appear and the cheese is melted.

Serve while warm.


Three Bean Salad with Fennel, Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

Serves 6-8


1 can white (Cannellini) beans

1 can garbanzo beans

1/2 pound green beans, blanched and cut into rough 1-inch pieces

1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced

2 celery stalks thinly sliced

2 cup fresh assorted herbs, roughly chopped (mint, basil, parsley, tarragon, dill, cilantro)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 small shallot

1 teaspoon mustard

1 teaspoon honey


1/4 cup Bertolli Extra-Virgin Olive oil


In a large bowl combine the beans (white, garbanzo, and green beans), fennel, celery, and herbs,

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, shallot, mustard, honey and Bertolli Extra Virgin olive oil. Add the dressing to the beans and stir to combine. Finish with a couple hefty pinches of salt and a drizzle of Bertolli Extra-Virgin Olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.



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