During his career, my husband has worked with many Hispanic gentlemen. He frequently raves about the wonderful Mexican food they bring to work or that he has enjoyed in their homes.
My repertoire of Mexican food is limited to the standard US versions of tacos and enchiladas, quesadillas and guacamole from a mix. All good, mind you, but not rave-worthy. I had been looking for a cookbook to teach me more authentic Mexican food, and I found one at a used bookstore when we visited my sister for Thanksgiving.
I’ve been looking forward to cooking some of the recipes, but flipping through this cookbook, I am afraid I may have gotten myself in too deep. The recipes include long lists of ingredients, many of which I have never heard of. And while I am not afraid of lengthy preparations (remember the refried beans and the pumpkin ravioli), almost every recipe seems to involve multi-day preparations, or making this dish as an ingredient for that dish….
The first meal was definitely going to be a weekend project. Trying to use food I had on hand, I gave myself permission to bastardize with abandon – meanwhile we are still laying floor in the living room…
With a four day weekend for New Year’s, I settled on three dishes, Creole Pumpkin, Refried Black Beans Veracruz Style, and Green Rice with Crayfish. My pantry did not hold crayfish, but I did have half a bag of frozen mixed seafood (mussels, shrimp, scallops and calamari). I didn’t have pumpkin either, but I do have butternut squash and the orange “not a pumpkin” squash. You see how this is going to go… 🙂
The Creole Pumpkin recipe called for pumpkin and some other squash and a third vegetable (I think) that I didn’t have and don’t even know what they are. Although if I went to Fiesta Foods, they probably have it and fairly inexpensive to boot.
First, there is a Vinagrette.
- 1 c. chopped sweet onion
- 1.5 t. minced garlic
- 1 T. sugar
- 1.5 t. sea salt
- 1 t. fresh ground black pepper
- 3/4 c. white vinegar
Combine above ingredients in a medium bowl.
- 1.5 T. vegetable oil
- 2 T. olive oil
Slowly drizzling oils into the vinegar mixture, while whisking. Both hands are busy here, so don’t whisk too vigorously or the bowl will move. 🙂 Chill this for at least three hours.
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut in 3/4″ dice
- 1 other squash, peeled and cut in 3/4″ dice
Place a large pot of water on to boil. I let it heat up while prepping the squashes. (Squashi?)
Separately, boil each squash until tender, but not falling apart. We don’t want squishy squash. 🙂
I totally mis-timed how long it would take to boil the squash. It took about 10 minutes for each type, and I still had at least an hour of other cooking ahead of me for the other dishes. I heated the oven to about 200° and put the prepared squash in a casserole pan until we were ready to eat.
Pour the vinagrette over the squash and gently combine. Garnish with sliced green onions, feta cheese and chipolte chilies if desired.
The squash was tender and had a nice tartness from the vinagrette. I will definitely make this again.