I’m finding my eating habits to be more and more in tune with the seasons as I grow older. Except for chocolate, which will always be in season to me.
Growing up in a rural area and seeing everything around me blossom, fruit and die in cycles with the seasons has certainly made me aware, as has working on an organic farm, having local food so easily available, and tasting the difference between sweet corn grown 2 miles away versus sweet corn from the opposite coast in the dead of winter. Although it’s been hard to learn that I can’t have it all whenever I want it, anticipating the summer months and watching my edible garden grow makes in-season produce that much more special. It’s like my mom used to say when I asked why she couldn’t make her amazing Christmas cookies all year long — “because then they wouldn’t be so good!”
Now it allll makes sense.
The good things are certainly worth waiting for, especially when it comes to juicy sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes and zucchini in the summer. I enjoy this dish as soon as the first sweet corn arrives at the market and for as long as the season lasts. It was one of my blog’s early recipes: Calabacitas con elote, or Mexican Zucchini with Corn. The past few summers we had enjoyed it as a side dish, but this year I’ve decided to take advantage of its versatility. The sautéed squash, corn and tomatoes are such a simple combination, but something about them simmering together in their ripe juices with a little fresh oregano gives the dish a rich flavor I can only describe as purely summer.
Lately we tried adding local pork chorizo from our neighbors at the farmer’s market, which was a delicious way to make a one-pot meal — and quite the rich & hearty one. For a lighter option you could add pulled chicken, taco-seasoned ground turkey or tofu, or black beans to the mix for a filling and nutritious entree. Another thing I want to try is using the veggie dish as a taco or enchilada filling or adding a little broth to make a summery soup. So many possibilities for this simple dish!
Try it out while these veggies are still in season and enjoy a little bit of August for dinner :)
Calabacitas con Elote, – vegan – gluten free – sugar free –
- 3 large ears sweet white corn (about 3 cups)
- 6 medium zucchini (1 ½ lbs)
- 2 poblano chiles, roasted & peeled OR a 4.5oz can of chopped green chiles (milder) *we sometimes use 1/2 or a whole jalapeño, seeded + finely chopped
- 3 or 4 good-sized tomatoes
- ¼ medium onion (use more if desired)
- 1 ½ T olive oil
- 2 T chopped fresh oregano (or ¼ t dried leaf oregano, crushed)
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- ¾ t salt
- pepper to taste
Slice corn kernels off cobs, then scrape cobs with sharp spoon to get juices (*important!). Discard cobs. Cut zucchini into ½ – ¼ inch cubes. Cut chiles into short thin strips (or finely chop jalapeños if using). Chop tomatoes and onion. Heat oil in saucepan or Dutch oven. Add corn and zucchini cubes. Cook over med-low heat until zucchini is crisp-tender, about 3 min. Add chile strips or jalapeños (or can of chopped chiles), tomatoes, onions, oregano, salt + pepper to taste. Stir. Cover and cook over medium heat 5-10 min until zucchini is tender. Add chopped cilantro once zucchini is tender, 5 min before serving. Makes 6-8 side dish servings.
- add sliced grilled chorizo to the pot for a summery stew
- top with pulled seasoned chicken, taco-seasoned ground turkey or tofu, or black beans
- use as a filling for tacos or enchiladas
- add some broth to make into soup
*This recipe is also being shared at Whole Food Wednesday, Thriving on Thursdays, Full Plate Thursday, Gluten Free Fridays, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friday, Wellness Weekend, Pure Potluck Party, & Healthy Vegan Fridays