This is just a quick little post to remind you that I'm alive and tell you I'm back from California, where I spent the last week celebrating the nuptials of two v. dear friends, whose legal union was of particular poignance to my husband and me. (They met at our wedding, six years ago.) The wedding was fairy-tale-perfect, the weather was amazing, and the food was spectacular: buttery, melt-in-your-mouth steak, salty-sweet scallops, a stack of creamy scalloped potatoes, and two kinds of cake - white cake studded with Schaffenburg chocolate and key lime with something else delicious in between its three layers. I've been craving it all ever since. (I'm pregnant so I'm allowed to say I crave things.)
The only thing missing from this trip was Mexican food. So this post is my little Minnesota shout out to California Mexican food. What's Minnesotan about it? It's mild. If you want some more spice, double (or triple) the peppers.
Only slightly adapted from The Art of Simple Food, a v. inspiring cookbook indeed
Yield: 2-3 cups
1 pound tomatillos, papery skins removed (about 10-15, depending on size)
1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced (I used just one and it was v. mild - use 2 or 3 for a spicier salsa)
1 large handful cilantro, leaves and stems, rinsed
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, to start (plus more to taste)
Rinse tomatillos and put them in a saucepan with water barely covering. Add a pinch of salt and bring to boil. Lower heat, simmer for 4-5 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid.
Place tomatillos in blender with 1/2 cup cooking liquid, jalapeño(s), cilantro, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Blend briefly, until you have a semi-chunky salsa. Add more salt and more cooking liquid to acquire the taste and consistency you like best. Let the sauce sit for a few hours at least so that the flavors marry and the salsa gets a bit bolder.
Stores nicely (and quite attractively) in a jar in the refrigerator for at least a week. To make a nice, mild guacamole, mash one or two avocados with 1 cup of salsa verde.
Wait. What do I do with all this lovely salsa verde? you are probably wondering.
Well, here are some ideas...
... from top to bottom: drizzle it on a taco for dinner, serve it with rice and beans and carnitas* for lunch, add to your eggs and potatoes for breakfast. It's also nice with tortilla chips.
* I really did make those carnitas and, despite learning how much saturated fat is in carnitas (ah, the things you discover when you cook decadent food for yourself!), I enjoyed them thoroughly and so did everyone else who happened to try them at my home. If you have a day at home to cook and if you like carnitas, this is a cheap, delicious way to have them in the comfort of your own dining room. But if you're not keen on having your house smell like pork for a few days, you could just order take-out, especially if you live in California and probably have like fifty Mexican-food options within a mile of your home.