Tag Archives: squash

fly by the seat of your pants chile rellenos

I guess it started when I bought the poblano chile at the local La Mision fruit and vegetable market. I’ve been wanting to try making chile rellenos for a while now, and I figured the first step would be to actually buy the chile. Not wanting to be crazy, I only bought one.

Note to self: next time if you’re going to go to all the effort, it might be nice to have more than one chile.

I decided that tonight would be the night I’d try it out. I did have a recipe, from Cocina del La Familia a Mexican American cookbook given to me by a friend many years ago. But I’m not one to follow recipes when I can get away with making it up as I go along.

I happened to have a potato, calabasita (squash), some cilantro, onion and mushrooms, so I decided that would make up the ‘sauce.’ The only cheese I had of a melting variety was string cheese, which actually worked quite well. The only part I needed to consult the recipe for was what to do with the chile itself.

The bottom line? The one chile relleno that I made was amazing. So, I’m trying to write down what I did before I forget it.

The Sauce:

  • A bit of oil
  • 1 potato
  • 1/2 white onion
  • About 1/2 cup of corn
  • 1/4 bunch chopped cilantro
  • Tomato sauce (the real thing, not pasta sauce)
  • Mushrooms, quartered and sauteed
  • Squash, diced
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Pinch of coriander
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • pinch of garlic salt
  • pinch of oregano
  • teaspoon or more of chipolte paste

Heat the oil, add the onion. After a few minutes, add all the spices. Then add the potato. Stir it around. Add the tomato sauce, so it is ‘saucy’ and doesn’t stick. Add the corn. Add the mushrooms. Add the cilantro. It’s done when the stuff is cooked.

The chile:

  • Poblano chiles
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Meltable cheese
  • Oil

Put the chile over an open gas stove flame. Turn it with tongs until the skin is blackened. Let it cool. Remove the blackened skin (good luck). Slit the side of the chile and get the seeds out. Put in the cheese.  Heat a skillet of oil. Coat the chile in flour, mixed with a bit of salt and pepper. Beat one egg per chile or two. Coat the floured chile in the egg. When the oil is hot, put the chile in by its stem. Let it fry until the bottom side is browned, then turn it over.

When the chile is done, put it on a paper towel to remove the excess oil.

Put the chile on a plate and cover with the sauce mixture. Enjoy.

Sqaush updates, preaching to the choir and other news…

Greetings from the garden,

I have to say I got many funny responses to my email about ‘manually’ pollinating the squash…

After all that effort with the Q-tip I found out from a community college herbs and vegetables class (definitely an email in its own right) that the problem was likely either too much water or not enough carbohydrates. Though I contemplated pouring some spaghetti in the pot, I tried the ‘less water’ approach first and it seems to have worked like a charm!  My mom did comment that this seemed like a lot more work than simply going to Trader Joe’s…

I’ve also been doing some gardening with Tommy (he’s 7) in his grandparents’ (Martha and Jack) backyard.  So far we’ve got an herb garden, some undocumented succulents (yes, there’s a story there), cherry tomatoes, peppers and even a pumpkin patch! Martha makes the best pumpkin pie in the world, so Tommy figured we should grow her some pumpkins to make it from.  He also wanted to put in a fountain and a fish pond, but I told him that might be out of the scope of our initial gardening phase. In the experimental section of the garden we’ve planted an avocado pit. I think we might have some guacamole in about four years, if we’re lucky.

When I can fit it in amongst all of the gardening I am actually doing quite a bit of freelance work these days…writing, photography, and websites as well as preaching two weeks in a row. The first week I preached to the choir—literally!  I think there were about 8 people in the choir and about 7 in the pews… It was actually wonderful getting to know the 15 of them!  The following week I preached to more of a traditional congregation, size-wise. There was one funny moment when the offering had been collected, the ushers were standing in the back, the organist was playing, and playing, and playing…and all of a sudden I realized that I was supposed to stand up and call the ushers back to the front for the prayer. I wonder how long we would have sat there? If you are interested in the sermon I preached, it is posted (in text form for now) and called “It’s a Crazy Story.” Honestly, it really is a crazy story.

Finally, I am getting ready to head to Ecuador tomorrow for my third “Adopta Una Familia” trip with Erica (seminary roommate) and a team of about 70 gringos. We will all be staying with Ecuadorian families and while they will all be doing hard manual labor (mostly construction) my job will be to photograph them sweating!  Actually, this year I will also be teaching a photography class to 10 teenagers from the barrio. It should be fun, and I can’t wait to share the pictures with you! It is a mini version of something called photopiece that I have been helping my friend Leanna to teach in downtown LA last fall and this summer.

Stay tuned for (hopefully, internet connection willing) photos and updates from Ecuador…

The Birds and the Bees and the Squash…

In the past my updates have consisted of reporting on the weather, intramural sports teams named after diseases,  my travels, or the ongoing saga of my ‘call process’ (does the phrase “it’s about the journey, not the destination” come to mind?).

Just when I thought I would have to move to somewhere with ‘weather’ or begin a phd program as a method toward more intramural eligibility,  or, horror of horrors, get a ‘real job’ again, so that I would have something to report on, hope arrived…

Lately I’ve been doing some gardening.  Let’s just say, my thumb really wants to be green, but at times it appears a bit more, well, chartreuse…

At the moment I’ve got eight tomato plants (partly because I love home-grown tomatoes, partly because I am not convinced all eight are going to make it), seven green bean stalks—with more on the way, bell peppers, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, strawberries (thanks to Wendy and Marty!) and even blueberries this year, a new item in the repertoire. And then there’s the squash. (And I know you aren’t supposed to start sentences with ‘and’ but I have decided that sometimes it is quite helpful.)

Last year I tried to plant squash, not because I love eating it so much as because there are a limited number of vegetables to choose from at the nursery and it was one of them.  My squash last year had beautiful, plentiful flowers…but then nothing. No fruit. Nada.

Not to be dissuaded, this year I once again added squash to the mix. Once again, I have had beautiful, plentiful flowers. But they keep falling off. Worse yet, there is nothing to show for them. No fruit. Not even a hint.

Yesterday, while buying compost at the local nursery (you’d never know I live in the heart of suburbia with a comment like that, now would you?!) I remembered the squash, and presented my issue to the woman ringing up my compost.

“Do you have any moths?” she asked.

Seems like kind of a personal question.  I explained to her that I have bees, hummingbirds, and an occasional butterfly, but as far as I know, no moths.

“You might have to pollinate it yourself,” she responded. Talk about too personal!

I was afraid to ask, but she must have seen the question on my face.
“Just take a Q-tip,” she continued, “and touch the male flower first, then the female, and that should do the trick.”

That’s when I thought that maybe I should just stick with the tomatoes…