|I never claimed to be a good photographer. Enough said.|
Charlie is an interesting creature. From a young age, he would eat anything. I remember once, when Charlie was about 2, I was going out for the evening and Ted was in charge of feeding Charlie dinner. Ted grilled catfish. Other Daddies would have gone the safe route with chicken nuggets, but as I said, Charlie ate everything so there was no fear he would rebel when he was served catfish.
Oddly enough though, Charlie does not like lasagna. I always think of lasagna as a somewhat innocuous food. It's noodles. It's cheese. It's sauce. Basically lasagna is pizza in a casserole dish, with noodles in place of crust. He likes pizza just fine so why not lasagna?
The only thing I can can trace Charlie's dislike of lasagna back to is our nanny Mary Rose. She gave him so much apple juice as a toddler that he hasn't had a glass since. Maybe she made him a lot of lasagna too and I just didn't realize.
The point of all this, and there is a point, is that it's really too bad that Charlie doesn't like lasagna of any type because there are in fact a zillion kinds of lasagna, most of which are quite delicious.
This recipe for Pastel Azteca is filled with delicious zucchini, corn, poblano peppers, Oaxaca cheese, and tortillas, all layered together to create a lasagna with a Mexican flair. It's somewhat cumbersome to prepare so start early and clean up while it's in the oven. You will have used every skillet you own but it will be well worth the effort.
Unfortunately this is not a recipe I will ever make for Charlie. It's funny because he would probably be more than happy to have this for dinner if I rolled the tortillas up enchilada style.
As I said, Charlie is an interesting creature.
Recipe: Pastel Azteca
12 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil for frying
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 chopped small onion
2 cups roma tomato, boiled 30 seconds, peeled, and pureed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cup fresh corn off the cob or 3 fresh corns
3 poblano chiles charred, seeded, deviened, and cut in strips.
Salt and pepper to taste
Non stick cooking spray
3/4 cup mexican crema
3 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large heavy saute pan, add enough oil to fry 12 tortillas. Heat oil on medium-high heat. When hot, working in batches, quickly fry tortillas. Simply fry for 10 seconds on each side. Remove tortillas from heat and drain in paper towel.
In a medium saute pan on medium heat, heat oil and add garlic and onion. Saute for about 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add tomato puree. Cook for 10 minutes and turn heat off.
In a separate large saute pan on medium heat, melt butter. Add zucchini and corn. Cook for 2 minutes and add the poblano. Add 1/2 cup of water to mixture and cook for 4 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Cover the bottom with tortillas, about 4 tortillas. Add 1/2 cup of tomato mixture on top of tortillas. Top with 1 1/2 cups of zucchini mixture. Add 1 cup of cheese. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of mexican crema. Season the first layer with salt and pepper. Start on the second layer with tortillas, then tomato, zucchini, cheese, and with mexican crema. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Do it again for a third time, to finish off with a third layer, making sure to season with salt and pepper.
Bake uncovered until cheese begins to melt, about 10 to 15 minutes.