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Poblano Corn Zucchini Pizza

Poblano, Corn and Zucchini Pizza
Pizza de Chile Poblano, Elote y Calabacitas

Serves: makes one 10 to 12-inch pizza

Pizza de Chile Poblano, Elote y Calabacitas" alt="Poblano, Corn and Zucchini Pizza
Pizza de Chile Poblano, Elote y Calabacitas" />


1 poblano chile, roasted, sweated, peeled and cut into 1 inch strips

1 small zucchini, shaved into zucchini ribbons with a peeler or mandoline (about 1 1/4 cups)

1/3 cup corn kernels, fresh or thawed from frozen

1/4 cup slivered red onion

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 teaspoon chipotle or ancho chile powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

All-purpose flour for dusting work surface

1/2 pound pizza dough (recipe follows)

1/2 cup tomato pizza sauce (recipe follows)

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese or requesón

2 tablespoons roughly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

To Prepare

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, toss to combine the poblano chile strips, zucchini ribbons, corn, red onion, olive oil, lime juice, chile powder and salt.

On a lightly floured surface, stretch the dough into a 10 to 12-inch circle and place on a pizza stone or in a cast-iron pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread on 1/2 cup pizza sauce, leaving a 1/2-inch border all the way around. Top with 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, then using a slotted spoon to leave the juices in the bowl, spoon on the poblano, zucchini and corn mixture. Add the remaining mozzarella cheese, and then place about 8 mounds, about a heaping teaspoon each, of ricotta cheese on top. Transfer back to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is crisp, about 12 to 14 more minutes.

Transfer to a cutting board, sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired, and serve.


Foolproof Pizza Dough
Masa para Pizza Fácil

Serves: makes enough for two 10 to 12-inch pizzas


1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup lukewarm water (110-115 degrees)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt

To Prepare

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast with the olive oil and the lukewarm water. Once it is well mixed, add the sugar and stir well.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour with the salt. Make a well in the middle and add the yeast mix. Use your hands to incorporate it all together until it is fully combined, about 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Flour your counter and your hands generously, remove the dough from the bowl and knead until the dough goes from being sticky and gooey to very elastic, smooth and malleable. It will take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes. Add more flour to your counter and hands as need be.

Divide the dough in half, form into two balls and wrap them each in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before using, or up to 3 days.

Bring the dough back to room temperature, without removing the plastic wrap, before using.


Basic Pizza Sauce
Salsa de Pizza Básica

Serves: makes over 2 cups


3 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup chopped white onion

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, or 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes (quartered and pureed)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

To Prepare

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have completely softened and begun to brown around the edges. Add the garlic, stir and cook for a minute until fragrant and tanned. Pour in the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and oregano, stir, cover the pot partially (sauce will want to splatter all over your counters) and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Use what you need and store the rest tightly covered in the refrigerator for further use.


Sopa de calabacita con totopos
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon corn or safflower oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup white onion, chopped
1 cup leeks, white and light green parts, sliced
1 jalapeño chile, sliced in half, seeding optional
3 pounds green zucchini, ends removed, diced
5 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground, or more to taste

To Garnish:
1 1/2 cups tortilla crisps or totopos, optional
1 cup oaxaca cheese, or mozarella, diced, optional

In a soup pot set over medium-low heat, add butter and oil. Once the butter bubbles, stir in the onion, leeks and jalapeño. Cook, stirring sporadically, until the onion has softened, its color has become translucent, and the edges are beginning to brown lightly, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium, incorporate the zucchini and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring here and there. Pour in the broth, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, until the zucchini is thoroughly cooked and the soup has seasoned. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly.

Place it all in the blender in batches and purée until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and let it thoroughly heat over medium heat. Serve very hot. Either spoon some diced cheese and totopos into each soup bowl right before eating, or let your guests add as much as they fancy.

Forget soy and tofu; these are authentic Mexican recipes where produce, fruits and vegetables are naturally the stars.

January 14, 2010

I think the most commonly used zucchini in Mexican cooking is either what in Mexico is called the calabacita italiana, or Itailian zucchini, or the calabacita bola or round squash, which is similar to the Italian but rounder and smaller and used a lot in French cooking. Italian zucchini is different from the regular green zucchini found in most US stores, in that the later is large, thick and has a uniform dark green color. The Italian zucchini is smaller, a bit rounder with a chubbier appearance, and has a lighter green color that is randomly speckled with a cream color and is milder and sweeter in flavor.

Continue reading Calabacita italiana or Italian zucchini

October 14, 2009
zucchini torte
Each time a vegetable torte is included in the menu of one of my classes, I have noticed a similar trend: tortes have a warm and friendly reception, that turns into a loving embrace once participants make the recipe at home and find out they want to make it again and again.

Not to be confused with the other kind of tortas, (tortes translates to tortas in Spanish…) Mexico’s favorite sandwich made with a crispy bread roll adapted from the baguette; tortes are a cross between a fluffy and moist bread, a savory pudding, and now that I think of it, also a souffle.

Although there are quite a few variations, tortes have a few things in common. For one thing, they are easy to prepare. Next, they are versatile since they can be a side to both dry or saucy entrees, they can become the main dish accompanied by a salad and they can travel solo in grand style. What’s more, and crucial around home, they help eager parents deceive picky eaters who don’t like vegetables that much.

Continue reading Zucchini Torte for You and Me (and turns out my mother too)

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