Monday, November 25, 2013

Salsa Verde

One of my fave ingredients these days is salsa verde. As a dip for chips and quesadillas, on burgers, on enchiladas, on eggs, or as an additional flavor in soups, I frikkin’ love it. I’ve been making batches close to constantly and so far I haven’t gotten tired of it.

The great thing is that it’s really, really easy.

Set the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

Gather up the ingredients: 2 pounds of tomatillos, 5-6 cloves of garlic, an onion, 1-2 jalepenos, cilantro, lime, and olive oil. Salt and pepper too, I forgot to include ‘em in the picture.

Next, skin and wash the tomatillos (they come with a papery exterior that peels off), and chop them and the onions into relatively the same size. Separate the garlic cloves. I keep them in a couple layers of their papery skin—we’ll push ‘em out after they're roasted. Spread them out into a single layer in 1-2 pans. Drizzle with 2-3 T of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put the pans in the oven.

Roast until browned and the tomatillos are collapsing onto themselves.

Separate the roasted garlic from its papery shell, add some roughly chopped cilantro, and puree the whole thing with a stick blender, or in a regular blender.

Add chopped cilantro and several squeezes of lime juice. Delicious!

Changing Seasons, Taking Stock

Why bother to make stuff from scratch when I could go to a store and pick everything off the shelf? Why go through the effort of canning food, taking the time to make bread, stock and pasta, floundering around in the garden, sewing clothes, or knitting a pair of socks?

For me there’s a few different reasons. First, I like doing it. They’re all hobbies I’m either still struggling with or am getting better at, and in any of those cases I don’t mind spending the time it takes to do them. Second, I like the feeling of control they give me. I know what I’m eating when I eat something I made myself. I know how much work and mistakes it took to preserve something from the garden, or struggle with a pattern before having something that I can use. I take better care of something I’ve made (usually), and I waste less of the food I make myself because I know what it took to make it.

Now that fall is here I’m looking at what I’ve made out of summer, and thinking about fall cooking, knitting, and sewing.

Here’s my canning yield from this summer, one jar each from batches I made. Left to right: Asian shiro yellow plum sauce, blackberry jam, straight shiro plum jam on top of shiro/blackberry jam, pear cardamom jam on top of tomato salsa, tomato jam.

I wish I’d gotten the chance to do some pickling this year, but the timing just didn’t work out for me. Last year I did dilly beans, which were spicy and awesome, and a really good pickle relish. My regular cucumber pickles were kinda uninspiring, not crisp enough. I’ll definitely have to make a point of doing the beans and relish next year.

Now that fall’s here I’m pulling out projects that I’ve knitted or sewn, and working on new projects. Ironically right now I’m working on a very light shawl that’s more appropriate for spring and summer. I’m using a tussah silk yarn that I dyed years ago and never found a good use for:

It’s a simple pi shawl that is pleasant for mindless knitting, good for on the bus.

Next, I need to finish up a sweater I started at the end of last winter. I ripped apart a beautifully-knit sweater I got in Ireland 17 years ago and only wore once, because it was a really, really unattractive fit and I finally realized I was never going to wear it, and started to knit up a new one out of the yarn. I’ll blog about that pretty soon.