Stuffed Calabacitas: Squash Stuffed with Corn, Tomatoes, Green Chiles

October 31, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Fresh green chilies (from our garden), fresh corn, fresh zucchini, fresh tomatoes and manchego cheese – perfection. These calabacitas were whipped up for a potluck celebrating el Dia de los Muertos.

I thought that blending the cheese and tortillas was genius. The cheese melted evenly and didn’t overwhelm the bright flavors of the corn, chilies and tomatoes.

So very easy to make and perfect for feeding a crowd. I doubled the recipe and fed eight as a side dish. (You can make the stuffing and put in the zucchinis the night before if you want. Just bring them to room temperature before putting into the oven.)

By the way, I can attest that these hold up to travel. We strapped the baking dish (in its travel case) to the back of the In-House Taste Tester’s bike and rode three miles in a light rain down to the party. Even after tipping the bike to get into a teeny-tiny elevator, I just needed a bit of scootching them back into place and we were in business. I sprinkled the shredded cheese on top, popped them in the oven for the final five minutes and they were perfecto.

Stuffed Calabacitas (Squash Stuffed with Corn, Tomatoes, Green Chiles)
from Fête & Feast

  • 3 medium zucchini squash
  • 2 thin corn tortillas
  • 2 tsp. ancho chile powder
  • 3 oz. manchego cheese, cubed plus 1 oz. shredded manchego cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 c. fresh corn kernels
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4 oz. chopped green chiles
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the top ½ inch from the squash. Split in half horizontally and scrape out the seeds. Bring enough salted water to cover the squash halves to a boil. Drop the halves into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.

Remove shells from boiling water; nestle close together in a glass baking pan, and season with a little more salt and pepper.

Tear the corn tortillas into large pieces. Add them to the bowl of a food processor along with the chile powder and the cubed manchego cheese. Pulse until the mixture resembles very coarse cornmeal.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Cook the shallot and red onion until soft and starting to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the corn, tomatoes, and green chiles. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes.

Combine the tortilla mixture with the sautéed vegetables. Check for seasoning; add salt and pepper to taste. Mound some of the stuffing into each squash half.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the shredded manchego cheese, and return to the oven. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.


Veggin’ Cookbook Challenge: Eggplant Curry

October 03, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Greatest Ever Indian: Easy and Delicious Step-by-step Recipes is nice cookbook to have around because of the plethora of pictures which include both cooking steps and finished dishes. Sometimes I have no idea what to cook, but if the picture of the finished dish makes me hungry, then I know that’s what I’m going to choose. Although this is an omnivore’s cookbook, many of the recipes are vegetarian so I’ve found it to be a handy go-to cookbook.

This cookbook does a decent job with descriptions and pictures of concepts that may be unknown in American cooking. It simplifies the recipes without losing any of the flavors and it also gives a pretty good introduction to the concepts of Indian cooking (albeit a bit Westernized.)

I couldn’t decide which recipe to try, so I went ahead and chose three out of this cookbook. They will be featured in upcoming posts. But first, I’ll start with the Eggplant Curry.

I don’t know about you, but I have a little difficulty finding dried tamarind. (I looked…I swear!) So, I ended up using some tamarind sauce purchased from an Indian store. I used about 2 Tablespoons of it because really like it’s taste – a sort of vinegary, salty and bitter flavor. Using the sauce also eliminated the first few steps of soaking the tamarind.) To cut down on some of the fat, I used a low fat coconut milk.

Because this dish cooks through simmering, it’s very easy to make. The fresh curry leaves add a brightness to the dish. Curry powder can also be substituted. Saute the spices, throw in the sliced eggplant and coconut milk and you’re good to go. (Oh, and the leftovers are super good!)

Eggplant Curry
Greatest Ever Indian: Easy and Delicious Step-by-step Recipes

1 1/4 oz/40 g dried tamarind, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
2 large eggplants, sliced
salt
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
3 onions, slices
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
4 curry leaves
1 fresh green chili, seeded and finely chopped
2 fresh red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tablespoon coriander
2 Tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
2 tablespoons tomato paste
generous 2 cups canned coconut milk
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra to garnish (Note: I used chopped fresh parsley.)

(Note: If using tamarind sauce, skip these first steps and head straight to prepping the eggplant.)

Place the dried tamarind in a bowl. the add the boiling water and stir. let soak for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkling each layer with salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. Cook’s tip: Most contemporary varieties of eggplant no longer need salting to remove the bitter juices. However, doing so stops the vegetable from becoming too soggy.)

(Skip this step if using tamarind sauce.) Strain the tamarind into a bowl, pressing down on the pulp with the back of a wooden spoon.

Discard the contents of the strainer. Rinse the eggplant slices under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat the ghee in a large pan. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until golden. Stir in the garlic paste and ginger paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Add the curry leaves, green and red chilies, ground coriander, cumin and mustard seeds, and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the spices give off their aroma.

Add the tamarind liquid and coconut milk and bring to a boil.

Add the eggplant slices, then cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender.

Uncover the pan and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the chopped cilantro and sprinkle the extra chopped herb on top, then serve immediately.

Snowy Day Recipe Redux: Vegetarian Chili

December 19, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

vegetarian chili

It’s been a cold, dismal, snowy day in Washington, DC. So, what’s better than putting on a pot of vegetarian chili to simmer. It’s hot, filling, and ready to consume when you’re done shoveling your sidewalks or perhaps after a snowy bikeride.biking in the snow

Check out my recipe for the best vegetarian chili ever

snow

Lazy Dinner: Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

May 04, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
After a lot of recent travel, I obviously did not feel like spending time in the kitchen. I stared into my pantry and tried to whip together things that I have on hand and came up with Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. And, honestly, it was really good, easy to make and easy to clean up after. Just what I was looking for…

Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
1 15-oz can, vegetarian chili (or homemade vegetarian chili)
2 sweet potatoes
Greek yogurt

I scrubbed two sweet potatoes, poked them a few times with a fork. Set them in the microwave for about 6 to 8 minutes.

I then heated up the chili in the microwave. Meanwhile, I sliced open the potatoes. I used a fork to “mush up” the insides and pushed the potatoes to the sides of the skin to make room for the chili.

Once the chili was cooked, I spooned it inside the potatoes and added a little Greek yogurt on the top.


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