In June, I visited Zion and Bryce with 2 of my brothers. We still can’t stop talking about it. It was nothing short of awesome.
We hiked for 4 days straight, up and down every trail we could find. It was exhausting in the best possible way. The temperature was over 110 degrees while we were there, but we didn’t mind. We carried a few extra bottles of water, coated ourselves in excess sunscreen, and started hiking in the wee hours of the morning (i.e. 5am) to avoid the heat of the day. We sat on top of incredible overlooks staring at the most astounding views eating granola bars and apples. As much as I love good food, a peanut butter sandwich at 6500 feet elevation overlooking a canyon after hiking for a few hours tastes just about as good as anything I’ve ever tasted. We argued about politics, what is the most delicious fruit, and who is the best soccer player in the world in order to distract ourselves from our fear of heights. By the way, the most delicious fruit is the cantaloupe. I’m pretty sure I won that battle.
The highlight of the trip for me was the Narrows, which is a hike along and in the Virgin River through a narrow (hence, the name) portion of the canyon. We rented water shoes and walking sticks which made walking on all of the slippery rocks more manageable. We read about it before we went and people likened it to ‘walking on wet, slippery bowling balls,’ which turned out to be an accurate description. We spent hours hiking in the river, but the chilly water felt amazing given the air temperature. The scenery was incredible and I mean i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e. The three of us were quiet for major portions of this hike – literally speechless over the majestic views. Do I sound enamored? Insert heart face emoji here.
We’ve been adventuring together for a long time. I have fond memories of playing weird made-up games (i.e. lava monster) on the swing set in the backyard growing up, riding bikes in our neighborhood, and collecting pet bugs in Folger’s coffee cans. While I’ll always cherish my Zion/Bryce hiking experience, I left Utah feeling mostly thankful for my brothers.
As mentioned, we didn’t eat anything too fancy on our vacation. I did enjoy a salad that contained corn, zucchini and poblano so I was delighted to find this recipe with the same flavor combination. I used to think vegetarian tacos meant bean tacos, but the wide variety of veggie-filled taco recipes has broadened my viewpoint. These were good – possibly some of the best vegetarian tacos I’ve eaten. I added some black beans to my tacos for a little extra protein, but they were delicious both ways.
4 medium fresh poblano chilis (~1lb)
3T vegetable oil
1 white onion, sliced 1/4″ thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2tsp dried oregano
3/4C heavy cream or Mexican crema
4 zucchini, cut into 1/2″ cubes (~1lb)
1C fresh corn
1/4C chopped cilantro
1/4C Mexican queso fresco (or feta if unable to find the queso fresco)
Roast the chilis under a broiler, turning so they are blackened/blistered on all sides. Once finished, remove from broiler and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool. Once they are cooled, rub off the skin and pull out the stems/seeds. Slice into 1/4″ strips.
Heat 2T oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Add onion and cook until slightly browned and tender, about 6-7 minutes.
Add in garlic and oregano. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add chili and cream.
Season with salt.
Cook until cream has thickened slightly, about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl to cool. Wipe out the pan.
Add 1T of oil to pan. Heat to medium-high heat.
Add zucchini. Season with a dash of salt.
Cook until browned, stirring occasionally. This will take about 8 minutes.
Add corn and let brown, about 2-3 minutes.
Add in the pepper-cream mixture and cilantro.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer.
Taste. Add salt if needed.
Serve on tortillas with queso to top.
Taste and season the mixture with salt, usually about ½ teaspoon. Transfer the rajas a la crema to a bowl and wipe the skillet clean.