Every ethnic group has unique family cooking traditions that are passed down from generation to generation and in my family, this is no exception. Growing up in a typical Latin American household, I remember both my mother and father preparing delicious meals using recipes that were passed down from both sides of the family. The aromas emanating from the kitchen help me developed a keen scenes of smell and I knew exactly what we were having for dinner just by those scents. My favorite part of the meal was always dessert. Maybe because, my mom always began her nightly routine by making dessert first, and then the main course.
As soon as I was old enough, my mom started showing me how to prepare simple meals. First she started by showing me how to wash pots, pans, plates, glasses and all the utensils. Once I learned to manage that on my own, then I graduated to the actual cooking. One of the many things I learned from her was to cook from the heart. During the middle of preparing dinner, the taste test took place. Mom used a little spoon, similar to the one wine taste experts use, to correct the Sazón of what she was cooking. This simple taste test, determined which ingredient was missing, and then it was added to the pan. Once the cooking was completed, the pans were cleared, food was placed on the serving plates, then it was time to eat. During this time my mom also taught me the go-to ingredients that she herself had learned from her mother. I am grateful of the lessons learned from her and now I am passing them down to my children.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a private event hosted by Chef & Author Ingrid Hoffmann and Mazola during Hispanicize, a conference for Latinos Innovators & Trendsetters, held here in Miami. During the private event, Chef Hoffmann gave a demo sharing with us her Feel Good Stuffed Zucchini recipe (see below) and chatted about The Mazola “Are You Preserving Tradition?”Survey. The study was conducted by Dr. Chapa, Associate Director Of Florida State University’s Center For Hispanics Marketing Communications in partnership with Latina Moms Bloggers, supported by ACH Food Companies Inc. The study revealed several points that are very interesting to me and relevant to our family. These points are as follows:
- We require our kids to have dinner together with us at the dinner table at the same time every night, which the survey found that 90% of all Latinos agree its important to eat together as a family.
- I follow my mom’s recipes step-by-step, per survey, 74% of Latinos said it is important to follow their grandmother & mother’s recipes step-by-step.
- We only use Mazola Corn-Oil, the recent survey study showed that Mazola Corn-Oil helps reduce cholesterol by 68% more than extra virgin olive oil.
- My Mom has always used Mazola Corn-Oil to conserve authenticity for our traditional recipes and flavors, the survey also revealed that 60% of Latinos include Mazola Corn-Oil in their traditional recipes to ensure authenticity and flavors.
Feel Good Stuffed Zucchini (Recipe provided by Chef Ingrid Hoffmann)
- 4 medium(6-inch long) zucchini
- 2 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped button mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 4 ounces firm tofu, diced small (optional)
- 1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. Prepare an ice water bath by placing ice cubes into a large bowl of cold water.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add zucchini and boil 6 to 8 minutes, just until softened slightly. Remove zucchini from boiling water; plunge into ice water bath to cool. When cool, remove zucchini from the ice bath and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper; sauté until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tofu, if desired. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to scrape out seeds, making a long well. Chop pulp and place in a fine-mesh sieve; use a spoon to press out excess liquid. Mix pulp into the onion-mushroom mixture.
- Place the hollowed out zucchini halves on the prepared baking sheet. Fill evenly with onion-mushroom mixture. Top with cheese. Combine breadcrumbs and paprika; sprinkle lightly over zucchini (you may have some crumbs left). Bake until the topping is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve topped with chopped parsley.
Chef Hoffman’s recipes Feel Good Stuffed Zucchini was flavorful. The combination of all the ingredients overwhelms your pallet on every bite and sutlers slowly, keeping you wanting more. One of the many aspect Chef Hoffman mentioned during the demo event, was the use of the New Mazola’s Sobrecitos, Bouillon packets and traditional cubes, that dissolve completely and instantly while adding authentic Latino traditional flavored recipes.
Thanks to Chef Ingrid, Mazola & Latina Mom Bloggers for this prestigious invitation. It has reaffirmed that many of our traditions are also shared by other Latinos family’s across the United States. For more information visit the Mazola Website here or connect with Mazola on Facebook here. I hope that your takeaway from this information is as rich as it was for me. What is your family’s go to ingredient? Kindly leave me a note in the comment section below.