Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cooking what's inside the box

The fridge was full of farm share that hadn't been eaten, and I was going away for a few days, which meant that Saturday night was cook the farmshare night.

Tomatillos. I'd never cooked with these before. I've seen them before, but had never been moved enough to buy them. But there they were, a bag of perhaps a dozen plastic bag tied at the top, each in it's green husk. A quick perusal of my usual online recipe sources turned up little else than roasted tomatillo salsa. So I figured I'd go with the flow and make some. Since I'd never cooked with them, I figured I'd make this up as I went, tasting often along the way to get a feel for the fruit.

Roasting the tomatillos seemed to be pretty standard, and I saw two different approaches, both involving the broiler. In one, they're done whole, and moved around a bit during cooking to avoid burning. In the other, the tomatillos are halved, with no turning. I started out with the first method (why bother halving them if I don't have to (halve to?), but after a little while I saw the advantage of a stable flat surface, pulled them out, halved them and put them back.

The tomatillos by themselves are a bit sour, but not unpleasant. Susan was horrified...she was expecting something tomato like, with some sweetness, and the only resemblance really is the appearance. I thought that adding some lime juice might add a little interest, and onions and jalapeno peppers a little bite.

At the same time I broiled the one remaining chili pepper from the week before, and then remembered that I'd want to roast up some onions. These were all done dry, without oil.

In the meantime, I steamed the three ears of corn, figuring those would go well in the salsa.

Once everything was cool (well...tepid anyway), I chopped up the tomatillos, onions, pepper, cut the corn off the cob, added some lime juice, a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, and served them up with some tortilla chips (the black sesame and flax version from Trader Joes).

The lime juice and onions worked well to temper the sour of the tomatillos, and the little bit of hot pepper added some interest. Two of the ears of corn added some sweetness. The recipes I looked at said that this should be better the second day, so Susan will have to fill me on that aspect. If I came across tomatillos again, I'd probably make something similar, but I'm curious about other uses.

Simple recipe:

- A dozen or so tomatillos, halved
- Two ears of corn, steamed for ten minutes, cut off the cob
- One hot pepper, halved and seeded
- One onion (not sure what's an elongated thing from the share box)
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of two small limes
- tablespoon of olive oil

Roast everthing under the broiler under they start to char just a bit. No oil needed. Chop, combine and add salt, pepper olive oil and limes. Taste, and adjust seasonings to your liking.

In the meantime, I had a bunch of dinosaur kale, and some beet greens. The lesson with the beet greens is to eat them within a day or so of arrival, because they don't keep well. But the dinosaur kale kept nicely, and I went with a pretty much straight rendition of Molly Wizenburg's recipe on her Orangette blog -- braised kale with garlic, onions and chickpeas. The key here is the low heat braise of the greens to bring out some sweetness. I added kernels from the last ear of steamed corn as well.


  1. Was looking at a Bitten post on tortillitas (chickpea flour pancakes with seafood) and saw your comment re: not being able to find all-chickpea flour, but using the chickpea/fava combo. Having done the same thing, and then later found 100% chickpea flour, my very strong preference is for the real thing: the flavor is cleaner and clearer, and we find it far superior. A great if unlikely source is Happy cooking!

  2. Chuck...thanks for the heads up. I did since find some real chickpea flour (at a local Armenian grocery, if memory serves), and it's been sitting in my cupboard, unopened, for awhile. Perhaps an inspiration to do this again.