Question: Eastside Cafe in Austin, Texas, serves exceptionally good Vegetarian Enchiladas with Green Sauce. I'd like to make these healthy-style enchiladas for a family gathering.

- Carol McDonald,Horseshoe Bay, Texas

Answer: A bride in white shorts and veil runs hand in hand with the groom in black shorts, tails and top hat, passing costumed cavemen, nuns and a strutting Lab in tennis shoes. Nine runners bound together as a centipede struggle to undulate forward in sync, and juggling joggers display their joggling skills. These memories from the annual Capitol 10,000, a 10-kilometer road race that is an Austin tradition, still bring forth a chuckle. One innovative couple donned sombreros and ran brimming with chips and crowned with salsa!

On Sunday, March 24, more than 17,000 participants will gather for the serious fun of testing their endurance on a grueling course cut through Austin's hilly terrain. Elite runners will compete for time, while novices jog or walk the distance, as couch potatoes and spouses cheer, jeer and snap photos from the sidelines. For more information on this Austin happening or a last-minute entry, call (512) 445-3598.

Eastside Cafe is a unique blend of gardening and dining. Occasionally, there might be a short wait for a salad as the waiter plucks fresh greens from the organic garden behind the restaurant. Diners can pick up peach chutney, corn relish, herbs and even tablecloths from Pitchforks and Tablespoons, East-side's tiny retail shop in the restaurant's parking lot. The Vegetarian Enchiladas are a spicy blend of crunchy squash, peppers and cheese wrapped in white corn tortillas doused with a tangy tomatillo sauce.




Enchilada Filling:

1 cup julienned zucchini

1 cup julienned yellow squash

1 cup corn

1 cup Monterey jack cheese

1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil)

1 cup yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

11/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon seeded, minced jalapeno

1/8 teaspoon chili powder (more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon comino (cumin)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Verde Sauce:

2 pounds fresh tomatillos (small, green tomatoes from Mexico), husks removed

2 cups diced yellow onions

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup minced cilantro

1 teaspoon seeded, minced jalapeno

1 tablespoon minced oregano

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups water


1/2 cup vegetable oil (or vegetarian, mock chicken broth)

10 to 12 white corn tortillas

Prepare Enchilada Filling: In a large mixing bowl, combine zucchini, yellow squash, corn and Monterey jack cheese. Set aside. Melt butter in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute 10 minutes. Add green bell pepper, cilantro, garlic and jalapeno. Saute 5 minutes. Add squash mixture, chili powder, comino, salt and pepper. Saute 2 minutes, stirring often. Makes about 4 cups of filling.

Prepare Verde Sauce: Place tomatillos, onions, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, oregano, sugar, salt and water in large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 45 to 50 minutes or until onions are soft and tomatillos burst. Place 2-cup batches in food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Makes about 6 cups of sauce.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place 1/2 cup oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Dip tortillas one at a time briefly into hot oil until tortilla is moistened and softened. Drain on paper towel. Divide vegetable mixture equally among tortillas, placing mixture in center of each tortilla. Roll tortillas to hold vegetables and place seam side down in 9-by-13-inch oven-proof casserole. Top enchiladas with Verde Sauce and bake 3 to 5 minutes just to heat filling and melt cheese. Allot 2 enchiladas per person. Serves 5 to 6 people.