On Saturday I attended my first auction. Funny how it has taken me over 40 years to find myself at one. I used to own an eBay auction company and I’ve sold/auctioned thousands of items online, but never have I been to a local one.
It was definitely fun and I would recommend checking one out if you haven’t. We went to Lightning Auctions here in Sparks. One of the guys there called me a few weeks back to let me know that they had kitchen equipment from a restaurant that recently went out of business. We drove over on Friday afternoon and looked at all the equipment so we could research and prepare our bids.
They had over 500 items including what seemed to be the inventory of some type of sports clothing store. I mean they had bins and bins of new socks, teeshirts, jackets and hoodies. They also have tons of after-market car parts and accessories along with 10 dell computers, cubicles and computer monitors.
We quickly spotted the items we were interested in…two refrigerated sandwich prep stations, a two-door freezer, a two-door refrigerator and a nice ice machine and some other small stuff.
We woke up early on Saturday and I made some scrambled eggs with toast, we discussed strategy, made some coffee and headed off. We didn’t have to wait long for the auction to start. I had no idea what to expect, but I was excited and nervous at the same time. As I looked around I could see all these people standing by the kitchen equipment, competition, crap. I really want a deal…I don’t want to get in a bidding war. I thought who the heck could want to open a restaurant and buy equipment in this economy. Oh, hmmm…I’m opening a new restaurant next year. Doh!
Moments later the auction started and Nancy and I looked at each other and started cracking up. I’ve of course heard auctions on the tube, but to be there and hear the the auctioneer talking at lightning speed, no pun intended, while his co-workers were yelling out and pointing to bidders was a bit overwhelming. Fortunately our first item was about 45 minutes into the auction so we had it figured out by then.
It was hilarious to see people bidding for boxes full of socks and teeshirts. I also found it interesting that they auctioned off 10 Dell computer monitors that were worth about $60 each yet they averaged about $85 each.
All-in-all it worked out really well. We decided we would be willing to pay no more than 25% of the new price for any given item. Our reasoning…bad economy so more stuff would become available over the next nine months. I think the strategy worked out. We picked up both of the sandwich prep tables for $400 each, saving us, conservatively, two thousand dollars from new pricing. Both of the units were less than a year old and were new models so we were stoked. The refrigerator, freezer and the ice machine all sold for about 40% of retail price so we let them go.
We will definitely be back for more. I’ve already bookmarked their website and will be checking the inventory each week going forward. I’m also starting to check out the auctions in Sacramento and San Francisco.
Okay, on to the chicken enchiladas. I found the original recipe in “The Best Light Recipe” from America’s Test Kitchen and have modified it some. You can make this recipe on a weeknight if you have a bit of extra time. The lower calorie claim comes from the use of chicken breasts instead of thighs and instead of frying the corn tortillas in oil, you just warm them a bit in the microwave to make them pliable.
Chicken Enchiladas (serves 6)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- Kosher salt
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 28-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 10 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 (4-ounce) can pickled jalapeno chiles, drained and chopped
- ½ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
- 12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
- Vegetable oil spray
- 1 lime, cut into wedges and sour cream (for serving)
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil over medium heat,9 add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onion has softened, eight to ten minutes.
Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce has slightly thickened, about five minutes.
Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on the instant read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
If you are in a hurry, I am all the time it seems, shred the chicken with two forks into bite-sized pieces. If not wait until it is cool enough to handle then shred with your hands. Toss together the shredded chicken, ½ cup of the enchilada sauce, one cup of the cheddar, jalapenos, and cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 45 seconds. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean work surface. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13×9-inch baking dish.
Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Pour one cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas to cover them thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar over the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about five minutes longer. Place extra sauce, lime wedges and sour cream on table along with the piping hot enchiladas and devour!