Thursday, July 24, 2014

Super Cheese Mexican Style Zucchini



I feel like a million bucks!
Usually I adjust and modify other recipes I have tried in the past so I know that the dishes will turn the way I like them (you read it right...I did not create Chiles Rellenos!), but this time around I decided to use my taste memory, the current wife's suggestion and a Mexican recipe. So, in fact, this is my own creation...and the end result couldn't be better. Honest.

As you know, this year we had a good zucchini crop (still waiting for the second batch!) -even though it was our first time planting zucchini-. As I told the wife: it can not get more organic than this. My own zucchini, my own stewed tomatoes and a fantastic Oaxaca cheese I bought two weeks ago. If you can't find Oaxaca style cheese, choose something that melts nicely and stays melted for a while, like a good Manchego (you see...I love Fortina cheese for melting but for this dish is too runny).

At the end the dish resulted in a very pleasant dinner. I served the zucchini with Spanish rice and I had red wine (the wife still refuses to drink...in front of me).

This is also a great vegetarian dish. Try it and if you don't like it...then ... look for a Greek or Ucranian  Food blog or something... 



Super Cheese Mexican Style Zucchini

Cooking Time: 60 Minutes   Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

4 Fresh round Zucchini 

250 g Melting Cheese (I used Oaxaca style cheese) coarsely chopped

1 Jar of Stewed Tomatoes  (see recipe here) -500 g-


1/2 Chopped onion

1 Tbsp Oil

- Salt to taste


Cooking Instructions

1.Put the oil in a medium size pot and bring it to very hot. Pour the oil in the pan as we are going to fry the onions for the sauce: we want to caramelize them a bit (translucent is good)

2. Once  the onion is ready we pour the stewed tomatoes. That will mix with our onions by moving it for 10 minutes. After that add the salt AND TASTE IT !!!. Sometimes instead of salt I use 1 little Knorr cube (beef). Reserve
3. Using your food processor or your blender (or by hand if you still think that we are in the 1500's or live in a cave) blend the onion-tomato sauce. Pour the sauce in the same pot we used before and put your fire to high until the mix start bubbling. 
4. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover it  and let it cook for 20 minutes (you want to check here and there just to make sure that everything is OK). Once ready turn the heat off and keep the lid on.

5. While the sauce cooks take a bigger pan (like the one for cooking pasta) filled with warm water and bring it to a boil. Add the zucchini and let it soften for about 7 to 10 minutes. You know that they are ready when you can (they must be still hard, though!) puncture them with a fork. We want them a bit hard and not soft at all!!!


6. Take your zucchini of the water and IMMEDIATELY put your zucchini under cold running water. You want to do right away because otherwise the zucchini keeps cooking. 

7. Once the zucchini is cold we remove their top (stem side) making sure that the exposed flesh has a diameter big enough to remove some of the flesh with a teaspoon  but not bigger than that.


8. Now with the teaspoon we remove some of the flesh making sure that we leave enough flesh on the sides (hollow only half the zucchini) so they don’t dissolve in front of us (if you messed up already, then go to plan B and make zucchini soup!) . Remove about half of the flesh. Reserve

9. Now the assembly. In a medium baking dish we put our zucchini. Reserve.

10. Stuff the  zucchini with the chopped cheese (the smaller the pieces the better) until they almost overflowing (melted cheese occupies less space than freshly cut cheese).

11. Bring your oven to 325˚C

12. Now just pour your sauce around the zucchini without touching them (we are making a sauce bed) 
and bake it for 15 minutes or until you see that the cheese has melted. Once melted the cheese remove from the oven and serve IMMEDIATELY (they are fantastic when you eat them right away but they reheat perfect).

13. I like this dish with rice (today was Spanish style rice) but you can accompany the zucchini with nice and soft mash potatoes.

14. Enjoy!