Friday, August 15, 2014

Going Green

With Salsa Verde, that is! oh how I adore this stuff and thanks to my beloved public TV cooking show line up I now have a recipe that I simply adore! It all started with an episode of Pati's Mexican Table. There she was making her rendition of the sauce I loved but had yet to master. Fast Forward to this weeks CSA share - tomatillos, jalapenos, while onions - practically all the ingredients I needed. I had a bunch of cilantro in the freezer from the spring so I knew it was time to give this sauce a try albeit with a few tweaks cuz that's just how I am, lol. I am so happy I did. It was perfect! No more canned stuff for me. I will be canning my own from now on. My CSA farmer said we would have tomatillos and hot peppers for several more weeks so I will be making this several more times I am sure! I recommend that you make some too. This stuff is great with tamales or enchiladas or just as a dip for plain ol' corn chips! Thank you Pati!

about 10 green tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 jalapeno chiles, or more to taste
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup white onion, roughly chopped
2 packets chicken bouillon powder, or to taste
2 tablespoons oil (I used olive - it's what I had but any cooking oil would do)

Place the tomatillos along with the garlic cloves and the jalapenos in a pot and just cover with water. Place over high heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer at medium for about 10 minutes, or until tomatillos change their color from a bright to a pale green, are cooked through and are soft but are not coming apart.You may need to turn them because they float. I actually forgot to put the jalapenos in and just threw them in the blender in the next step. The end product was still delicious.

Place tomatillos, garlic and jalapenos (you may add one chile first) and the cooking liquid in the blender and puree until smooth (if you used a LOT of water only add 1/2 Cup for now - you can add more later if you need it). Add the cilantro, onion and 1 packet of bouillon to the blender and process again. Taste for salt and add more bouillon (and/or cooking liquid) if need be. Also taste for heat, you may add more jalapenos until you reach your desired heat level. 

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Once it is hot but not smoking, pour in the sauce and bring it to a boil (watch for splatters). Simmer over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, until it thickens a bit and deepens its flavor and color. Turn off the heat. 

Once it cools down, you may store it in a closed container in the refrigerator for weeks. However, the heat level of the sauce will diminish as the days go by.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Tomato Season

I am happy to say that my stubborn tomatoes have FINALLY started to ripen. However, my plants are not looking all that great these days. Wouldn't it be just my luck that the moment they finally decided to ripen they get some sort of disease and croak entirely. Hmph! I will be keeping an eye on them and hopefully that doesn't happen. Good thing I have lots of windowsill space for them to finish off in case the unthinkable happens! While I don't have quite enough to start canning like a maniac, I did have enough for some lovely tarts. I made a French version with asiago cheese that I fell in love with last summer as well as this Italian version I saw on Proud Italian cook. I did deviate from recipe a bit in that I used a regular pastry crust instead of brown rice and garlic powder instead of grating the fresh stuff - I was in a rush and didn't feel like peeling garlic. The end result was still quite yummy and husband an I enjoyed it with some chicken parmesan for dinner. These tarts come together so quickly and are so delicious with fresh summer tomatoes it is really hard to refrain from eating them all in one or two sittings! They would make excellent additions to any meal any time of day.

Italian Tomato Tart (adapted from Proud Italian Cook)

  • 9 inch deep fluted tart pan with removable bottom or a deep dish pie pan
  • 1  disc pre-made pie crust dough
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup of grated romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella
  • basil and parsley, fresh chopped, 2 tablespoons each
  • vine ripened tomatoes, any kind, sliced
  1. Turn up oven temp to 350 degrees.F. 
  2. Line tart pan with pie crust dough
  3. Mix ricotta, cheeses, herbs, egg and garlic for the filling then spread evenly onto the crust.
  4. Place your tomatoes all over,slightly sinking them into the ricotta mixture.
  5. Drizzle olive oil on top of the tomatoes and tart then bake for 30 minutes or until ricotta is set.
  6. To finish it, I like to place mine under the broiler to get it a nice golden color on top, but if you do that, keep checking and don't walk away from the stove!
  7. Let it cool a little before slicing.
  8. Garnish with chopped fresh basil.