Monday, June 16, 2014

Calabacitas By Any Other Name Is Squash - A Dish Of My Youth

When I was a kid growing up in New Mexico you couldn't get me to eat squash if it was candy coated, dipped in chocolate and disguised as a super hero but you could always get me to eat Calabacitas. You see I didn't know what calabacitas was but I did know that I loved it and I did know that I hated squash. I wouldn't even taste squash if it was offered to me. I grew up in a family that spoke more spanish than english but we spoke english at home since my parents wanted us to grow up that way and squash was one of those english words that I could not possibly put in my mouth. Squash - thats what I did to bugs, thats what happened to toads that didn't make it across the road, squash was an absolutely gross word. Calabacitas, on the other hand had a tasty ring to it, calabacitas had cheese. Well to make a long story short you can imagine my surprise when I saw one of my aunts making calabacitas and she said "and now we add the squash" - the WHAT - I thought - no, don't ruin it but she did it anyway and I saw what she was putting in and it was zucchini - now I am completely confused. What the heck is going on here? It wasn't until I asked what does Calabacita mean that I learned it was SQUASH. I had been eating squash all along and loving it. I still prefer to say Calabacita or Zucchini and if I do eat a squash I use its name like Kabocha and when people say "whats Kabocha" then I have to say "squash" but I use that word sparingly. Enjoy my Calabacitas, its my favorite thing to eat in the summer.
I like to cook everything separately giving each item its own special attention and color and caramelization before combining them together. Its not the traditional way to make it because it is a bit more fussy but thats the way I like to do it - fussy.
Once everything is ready I mix it and today I had some Lambs Quarters, a delicious wild green, so it went into the skillet with my peeled and roasted chiles that I chopped up.
I don't always have fresh oregano but since its one of the herbs we have in abundance in the garden this year I will get to use it more often, what a treat, so a little fresh oregano that I chopped up, some melty cheese - I like muenster, and some warm corn tortillas and you are all set. If you want to add more cheese to your plate then do it because thats what I do.
All thats left to do now is try to get the right proportion of calabacitas to tortilla and just eat and eat until you balance it out- Calabacitas - its what squash wants to be.

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