CSA Week 8, and Calabacitas
Things just keep getting better here on the CSA front! Our vegetable box this week included: cucumbers, fennel (yay!), lovely white-tinged-with-lavender cauliflower, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, garlic, field greens, beets, and yellow wax beans. Score!
And I am so thrilled that stone fruit season is upon us – stone fruits may just be (along with berries) my favorite category of fruit. Our fruit share this week was chock full of goodies: apricots, sweet cherries, and plums (a tiny, sweet-tart variety luminously glowing yellow. So beautiful!)
Since I seem to be accumulating zucchini and summer squash (as I suspect many of you are!), I whipped up some calabacitas the other day to have alongside quesadillas. Calabacitas is a traditional Mexican side dish made with zucchini/summer squash, corn, chile, garlic, onion, and lime juice. There are many versions and variations; some versions have tomatoes, some have fresh oregano – my version has both of them (mainly because my cherry tomatoes — Sungolds and Sweet 100s — that I have in pots have just started to ripen!)
I first had calabacitas while in college at a local Ithaca taqueria, Viva Cantina – there, it was a mixture of zucchini, corn, lima beans, and onion. When I was researching calabacitas recipes, many of them include the addition of canned green chile, but I wanted a fresher flavor than that of the pickled chile, so I diced and seeded a jalapeno to add (and here’s a suggestion; I’ve recently taken to wearing latex gloves when seeding chiles…one too many experiences touching my eyes inadvertently, and ooh, I felt the burn!)
I love this mixture for a few reasons: it uses ingredients all in season at the same time; it’s fresh and healthy; it makes a terrific side dish or can be tucked into a burrito, quesadilla, or used to top a tostada or nachos; add some black or pinto beans and a little queso fresco and you have a vegetarian main course. Yum!
Other ideas for using these CSA ingredients:
Green Beans with Herb-Lemon Vinaigrette (can be made with the yellow wax beans, of course!)
inspired by many different sources
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1 medium yellow summer squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 medium tomato (or a handful of cherry tomatoes), diced
juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
a good pinch of coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapeno, zucchini and yellow squash; continue sauteing until the zucchini has started to soften (but isn’t yet mushy – aim for about halfway cooked.) Add the corn and a good pinch of coarse salt; continue cooking for about 2 more minutes, until the corn is cooked. Lower the heat, stir in the chopped tomato and cook for 1 more minute, just until the tomato is heated through. Add the lime juice and oregano, season with freshly ground black pepper (taste and add more salt if needed, too), and serve.