Mami used to have a small garden in the backyard. A tiny rectangular garden she worked on every day the entire year. The Texas weather graciously allowed her to grow her garden throughout the year. She planted chiles, tomatoes, green beans and squash (calabacitas).
Calabacitas means “little squash” in Spanish.
The chiles were made into fresh salsa for the table, blended to add spice to our daily meals or frozen for tamales and caldos for the winter. The tomatoes were sliced, sprinkled with salt and eaten throughout the day; they were always the first to go. And the squash, which generously grew like weeds was diced, chopped, roasted, pureed and sautéed. Every day we would watch her head out to the garden and walk back in carrying more squash.
We always knew some sort of squash dish would be served that day….
My little brother always two steps ahead of us, would concoct a plan to get out of eating his squash, my older sister picked at her portion and my younger sister made sure to inform mami, she was only eating 2 spoonfuls. I of course, had no problem inhaling every new dish made with the delicate squash. Scooped up in a warm corn tortilla or served alongside frijoles with a drizzle of salsa I enjoyed every bite.
This dish from the new Cooking Light Lighten Up America cookbook is very, very similar to a dish my mom used to make – sliced calabacitas, poblanos and onion sautéed until tender then paired with tomatoes and fresh corn. A great side dish to serve with chicken or pork, but really all you need is a warm corn tortilla.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 2 poblano chiles, seeded and cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 1 red onion, cut into ½ inch wedge
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ¼ pounds yellow squash (about 3 medium), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (2 medium ears)
- ½ cup unsalted tomato sauce
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
- ½ cup sliced green onion tops
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 8 lime wedges
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add poblano chiles and onion. Cook 5 minutes or until edges of vegetables are browned, stirring occasionally; add garlic last 1 minute of cook time. Remove vegetables from pan; keep warm.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan. Add yellow squash and zucchini; cook 9 minutes or until edges are browned, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in onion mixture, corn, and next 3 ingredient (through green chiles). Cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently to deglaze pan. Remove from heat; stir in green onions. Sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with lime wedges.
Cooking Light Lighten Up, America! is a celebration and discovery of regional American cooking, and the permission to eat the foods you love-it’s the soul of American cooking made light.
This collection of America’s favorite fare offers healthy versions of classics new and old, memory-making recipes from all walks of life and regions, and returns the most beloved American dishes to the table.
Lighten Up, America! follows Allison Fishman Task as she embarks on a cross-country road trip in search of the country’s favorite classic dishes. Allison shows the reader how to take these regional recipes and make them lighter and healthier with a few simple substitutions and smart cooking techniques. From caramel-pecan sticky buns to reuben sandwiches to fried green tomatoes, this book teaches how to turn what might have been once-in-awhile favorites into everyday classics.
- Classic American Dishes Made Lighter: Readers will rediscover regional American cooking and eat the food they love through more than 150 delicious recipes from coast to coast. All with complete nutrition analysis.
- Regional Culinary Traditions: Join Allison as she tells delightful and tantalizing stories behind some of our most beloved regional dishes. Each story gives insight into regional flavor and color while celebrating iconic fare like Memphis barbecue, New Orleans gumbo, and Iowa pork tenderloin sandwiches.
- Insider’s View of Festivals and Food Fairs: Allison also visits food fairs and festivals, so you’ll get a behind- the-scenes look at some of the more unusual foods this great country has to offer such as wild boar nachos, bear meatloaf, and dandelion soup.
- Food Born In America: Allison will share inspiring stories about the many American entrepreneurs and home cooks who conceived and popularized recipes and ingredients. Take the Philly cheesesteak, cobb salad, and stove top stuffing-just to name a few-all crafted through the ingenuity of American food lovers.
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