Monday, November 03, 2008

Tomatillo Talk

My last CSA produce is finally starting to dwindle, chiefly because I finally have time to cook again! But even though I had thought myself clever for finding ways to use tomatillos (the gift that kept on coming), I still ended up with more than I ever expected.

Then last Monday, I had an email from the fair Titania waiting for me, and it started with a simple yet bold statement: "You need my tomatillos recipe."

This dear friend, finally catching up on my blog in the midst of her hectic life, spotted my conundrum regarding tomatillos and decided that I needed to know how to make a simple but delicious dish she had made for me a few years back.

Every good recipe needs a good occasion for its debut -- after all, why not celebrate even the little things in life? And today, I had plenty of reason to celebrate and share some good local food.

First of all, I enjoyed a full and inspiring weekend in which I met one of my farming and literary heroes, Gene Logsdon, along with his beautiful and equally knowledgeable and kind wife, Carol. I could gush for hours about what a wonderful experience it was, but suffice it to say that I was sky-high for the rest of the weekend! (And I have plenty more of his writings to read!)

Then today I came home to find a couple of packages waiting for me: one contained my first ever review book, a pre-release copy to review for the Ethicurean, and the other came from My Fabulous Aunt and held two loaves of her fabulous pumpkin bread. Heaven!

So I packed up my dinner preparations, a small loaf of pumpkin bread, a book, and a DVD and headed over to join the Renaissance Man for dinner so that we could share our weekend experiences. While I worked on dinner, we nibbled on the first slices of pumpkin bread, which held up to the usual high standards of quality and taste.

We continued to talk while I started to saute and then simmer a pan full of potatoes (three colors) and tomatillos, along with a salsa verde made of vegetable stock, cilantro, garlic, onion, and chili powder. I also added a few crumbled strips of dried red pepper to add a bit of color and a little extra tang.

Of course, as tomatillos cook down, they lose their lovely lime green hue, and even the purple potatoes dimmed a bit, but overall the food tasted wonderful and filled us up nicely.

We weren't too sated, though, to turn down slices of the apple pie I had baked last evening. Really, I think this is probably my best apple pie to date as the half-whole-wheat crust was very flaky and I filled the pie with a whopping five big apples (plus the usual sugar and spice).

For a meal designed to clean up some of the produce lingering around my kitchen, this turned out very well, and we were both pleased with the results.

And while the fair Titania might be a little jealous that I ended up with so many tomatillos in my CSA share this year when she had none, I think she would be pleased that we enjoyed her recipe.

Perhaps you will enjoy it, too!

Papas In Salsa Verde

The fair Titania learned this recipe the summer she took an intensive Spanish course, and she loved it so much that she translated it, even with the occasional poetic turn of phrase: "I always loved the instruction to add the ingredients when the oil was 'sparkling' in the pan."

6-8 medium potatoes
10-14 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
half an onion
10 sprigs cilantro
1/2 to 1 tsp chili powder
1/2 c vegetable broth
1 T olive oil
up to 2 c more broth
salt to taste

Boil potatoes, skins on, for about 15 minutes, then remove them from water and let them cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Slice tomatillos into quarters, set aside.

Puree garlic, onion, cilantro, chili powder, and 1/2 c broth.

In large sauce pan or skillet, heat 1 T oil until "sparkling." Toss potatoes and tomatillos in the oil, then add puree and extra broth. Boil until tomatillos are grey green and the sauce has thickened as the potato starch is released. Add salt to taste. "Yum."

Serves 2-4

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At 11/05/2008 10:06 AM, Blogger Tara said...

Guess what we'll be having for dinner this week? Thanks for sharing this recipe. I love the vision of sparkling oil. Just lovely.

At 11/05/2008 11:02 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

You won't be sorry, Tara! It's very good. I had thought about sauteeing a bit of fresh red pepper with the tomatillos before settling on dried peppers, but that would be pretty good, too. It is very hearty and filling, but I think it would be a good warm-weather dish, too.

At 11/06/2008 12:41 PM, Blogger Ed Bruske said...

What a great thing, your knowing Gene Logdsdon. He's one of the great voices on common-sense, eco-friendly farming and gardening. I recently got hold of an old copy of "The Gardener's Guide to Better Soil." I need to get more of his books. Thank for the prompt.

At 11/06/2008 12:47 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

He truly is, Ed, and he has come by his knowledge through decades of experimentation. Plus he is a wonderfully down-to-earth and NICE person -- as is his wife. His books are definitely becoming a solid core for my reference library on all things agricultural.


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