Sunday, September 20, 2009


Sun ripened tomatoes, colorful peppers, squash, corn, cucumbers and eggplants are perfect for end of the summer light and nutritious meals. Stuffed vegetables are very popular in the Latin American countries that have large settlements of Italian and Spanish immigrants.
Tomato and onion salads are especially good at this time of the year. Use any kind of tomatoes, diced or sliced, and take advantage of the summer bounty by using a variety of colorful tomatoes. Cherry or grape tomatoes come in different colors. Simply halve them and enjoy them dressed with a little olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice and your favorite fresh herbs.

ZAPALLITOS RELLENOS CON CHOCLO (Zucchini Stuffed with Fresh Corn)

The Italian immigrants quickly adopted the native ingredients and created wonderful specialties such as this one. The best zucchinis used for stuffing are the round variety, which are common in Argentina and Uruguay, but they are not easy to find here. I use the Mexican variety, which is shaped like a pear and is available in Mexican markets and many other supermarkets.

4 Mexican zucchinis
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons scallions, include some of the green
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 slices day-old bread soaked in 1/4 cup milk (or more)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese mixed with
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
2 cups good quality Marinara Sauce, heated

1. Wash zucchini thoroughly, remove stems and split in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh from the center with a small spoon and reserve. Place halves on a jellyroll pan and bake in a pre-heated 375°F oven for 10 minutes.
2. While zucchini is baking prepare filling. Heat oil in a heavy skillet, add scallions, cook for 1 minute; add zucchini flesh, pepper, tomatoes, bread, corn, basil, salt and pepper, cook stirring for a few minutes until all liquid disappears, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide mixture among zucchini halves, top with Parmesan cheese mixture. Can be made ahead to this point, covered and refrigerated.
3. To serve bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes or until lightly colored. Serve topped with heated marinara sauce and garlic bread. Serves 4

Per Serving of two halveis: 354 Calories; 18g Fat (42.5% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 39g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 30mg Cholesterol; 838mg Sodium.

Stuffed zucchinis are rich in Vitamin C, A, Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin B1, B6 and Folate. Good amounts of Iron, Zinc, Niacin and Vitamin B2.


This type of salad is common is many Latin American countries with variations. Some cooks use black olives to garnish the dish.

4 large tomatoes (about 2 pounds) well rinsed, halved across and seeded
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped and soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and well drained
1 jalapeño pepper cored, seeded and minced or thinly sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, basil or parsley
Black olives to garnish the salad (optional)

1. Place the well-drained tomatoes, onions and jalapeño pepper in a salad bowl.
2. In a small bowl beat oil with vinegar or lemon, salt and pepper until emulsified and pour over tomatoes and onions and sprinkle with cilantro, basil or parsley.
3. Serve in a glass bowl garnished with black olives, if desired. Serves 4

Per Serving: 87 Calories; 4g Fat (37.0% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 149mg Sodium.

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