We were caught in a January Polar Vortex with temperatures in the minus range and I needed to drive Natalie to work since her car wouldn’t start. I knew I had part of a loaf of multigrain bread left for a quick breakfast of toast and coffee. I went to slice the bread, but mold had beat me to it. Panic! I looked in the refrigerator and the closest thing I had to bread was a package of corn tortillas, but toasted tortillas wouldn’t cut it for breakfast. So. in a few minutes, this is what I came up with. Usually desperation cooking produces OK results, this one turned out superb, so it made the website. Unfortunately, my Spanish vocabulary is very limited.
Since I’ve been growing Tomatillos in the garden, I’ve been looking for new recipes to use them in. I found a couple interesting recipes on the web and adapted them to my own tastes and came up with this one. Grilling the Tomatillos, onions and peppers adds a delightful smokiness to the salsa, so you really need to make an effort to grill them. I made this recipe for our annual trip to the Vintage Illinois wine festival at Mattheissen state park and it disappeared quickly even with a lot of other food around, which let me know it was a hit. This is an interesting alternative to Guacamole, and a nice change when Tomatillos are in abundance.
This summer I grew tomatillos and made a great Salsa Verde. At the same time I made some traditional Red Salsa from the Roma tomatoes in the garden. This is a cooked salsa and closely approximates the salsa we are served at our favorite Mexican restaurant. The trick is to peel the Roma tomatoes. I’ve used canned tomatoes and it’s almost as good. In fact you are probably better off with good canned Roma tomatoes than the typical anemic Roma tomatoes that you find in the grocery stores off season.
I found some tomatillo plants at the garden center this spring and planted them in the garden, specifically because I had never used tomatillos in cooking and I knew that this would force me to do it. The plants produced prolifically and i perused the web a bit and combined and modified a couple of recipes and came up with what everyone thought was a pretty good Salsa Verde (Green Sauce). We used it as a dip with chips, but it could be served over chicken or other Mexican recipes.
Calabacita is Spanish for squash, but in New Mexico it can mean a dish made from squash. This is a recipe from New Mexico that came via Char Welch, whose sister lives in Santa Fe. Of course I modified it a bit, I always do.
The reason I got the recipe is because we have a wonderful new grocery store in town, Heinens, out of Cleveland, Ohio. A couple of weeks ago they were roasting Hatch chili peppers in their parking lot. I didn’t know a Hatch pepper from a hole in the ground, but I bought a couple of pounds of them, anyway. They were roasted, but the skin needed to be scraped off and the seeds removed, which I did. I used some in a couple of recipes and froze the rest.
Char bought a bunch, since she knew what they were, a staple of southwestern cookery, and a product of the town of Hatch, New Mexico. That’s why she gave me the recipe.
I will usually try recipes a few times before I put them on the website, but this one is a winner so here it is. I didn’t use Hatch peppers in the recipe, but my home-grown Hungarian banana peppers.