Posts Tagged ‘tomatillos’

Urban Farming: Baby squash, tomatillos and melon

We came back from vacation to find the garden thriving, for the most part. The only plants we lost were the pickling cucumbers – but we still have full-size cucumbers. I plan to pickle some of those; I’ll just cut them into halves and then slices.

But everything else is doing well, particularly the Roma tomatoes and jalapeno and pepperoncini peppers. But we have some new babies out there that I’m really excited about. I thought they had died while we were on vacation, but the summer squash are flowering again, and there are a few babies, so soon we will have more of those.

Baby summer squash
Baby summer squash

We also have three tomatillo plants. We really love these. Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes, hence the name, but they’re actually a relative of the gooseberry plant. They have a mildly tart flavor similar to a less pungent mix of lemon and lime. I have several recipes in mind for these:

Baby tomatillos
Baby tomatillos

And we have canteloupe again! Last year, we only got two or three fruits out of the vine, but they were juicy and sweet. I can only find one baby right now, but there are a lot of flowers.

Baby canteloupe
Baby canteloupe

I made a really delicious fruity salad with mint and vanilla-fig balsamic vinegar a few years ago, so that may be on the menu.

Pork & Tomatillo Posole, Revisited

A friend asked for this recipe, so I’m reposting it with a couple of changes I’ve made since I first posted it in 2010. I like to serve this with roasted red pepper and cheese quesadillas.

It takes a long time to chop up all the ingredients, so sometimes I chop them in the evening while watching TV and then make the stew a day or two later. The original recipe called for dicing the pork into bite-sized pieces; that’s really tedious, especially with a bone-in roast, so I found an easier method.

Pork & Tomatillo Posole, Revisited

4 pounds bone-in pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 3-4 large pieces
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup canola or corn oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked, cored and chopped
4 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and minced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
8 cups chicken stock
2 cans yellow or white hominy, undrained
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

My Favorite Garnishes
2 limes, cut into wedges
2 avocadoes, cut into slices
Fried tortilla strips

Traditional Garnishes
1/4 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
10 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges

Heat the oil in a large (at least 5.5 quarts) heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle one side of the pork pieces with salt and pepper and add, seasoned side down, to the pot. Brown pork on both sides, making sure to get them nice and golden brown. Season the second side, turn browned side up, and continue browning. Don’t crowd the pot or the meat will steam, not brown. You may need to do this in batches. When done, remove pork to a medium bowl and set aside.

Add the onions and a large pinch of salt to the pot. Saute for about five minutes, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic and oregano and continue to cook for another few minutes to soften the vegetables.

Add the reserved pork, any accumulated pork juices and chicken stock to the pot. Cover it, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Remove the lid, turn the heat to low and simmer until the pork is tender and starting to fall apart, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add the hominy for the last half hour.

Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove the pork from the pot and place it in a medium bowl. Use two forks to pull the meat into large shreds. Return the pork to the pot and simmer for five minutes to reheat the meat.

Stir in the cilantro and taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the garnishes.

Four jalapenos will make this stew a bit spicy. Most of the heat is in the ribs and seeds of the peppers. For our taste, I remove half the ribs and seeds; feel free to adjust to your heat tolerance.

Mexican oregano is a little different from Italian or Greek oregano and worth seeking out for this recipe. It’s available in Mexican grocery stores, including La Familia Market in Chesapeake.

This stew takes some time to prepare, but the rich broth, pleasant heat and zing from the lime juice combine with the yummy combination of vegetables to make it all worthwhile. It freezes well, or you can invite a group of friends over to share.

Pork & Tomatillo Posole, Revisited
Pork & Tomatillo Posole

Urban Farming: 2011’s veggies

Home-grown tomatoesWe got our order from a few days ago and today, Dan will start the seeds in the sunroom. It should be quite a crop, and we may even have some extra plants to share, even though we’re thinking about expanding the square garden.

After this cold, snowy winter, I can’t wait to get the garden going. Some of the lettuces we planted last fall are starting to come back with the warmer temperatures we’ve had this last week.

So here’s what we got:


  • Kimberly – early season, 1-2 oz. red fruit
  • Margherita hybrid – mid-season, 5-6 oz. red paste tomatoes, great for pizza, pasta and roasting
  • Oaxacan Jewel – late season, bicolor – yellow with ruby streaks, 6-16 oz.
  • Purple Brandy – late season, deep pink-purple beefsteak, 8-16 oz.
  • Rose de Berne – late season, Swiss heirloom, dark pink, 6-8 oz.
  • Virginia Sweets – late season, heirloom, gold-red bicolor, at least 1 lb. each

Peppers and Tomatillos

  • The Big Early Hybrid – bell peppers, 8″ long by 4.5″ wide
  • Ancho 101 – used for Mexican stuffed peppers; can be dried and ground into chile powder
  • Ixtapa Hybrid – 4-inch-long jalapenos
  • Golden Greek Pepperoncini – great for pickling and in Greek salad
  • Purple Tomatillos – We will probably have dozens of green tomatillo volunteers, so we thought we’d try the purple ones this year.

We’re also planting yellow and red onions, green beans and peas. Later we’ll add cucumbers and maybe some melons. We got one edible cantaloupe last year, so I’d like to try again and see how it goes. And I have some garlic cloves in the kitchen that started sprouting, so I need to get those in the ground, too.

Bobby Flay’s Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

Well, try as I might, sometimes I miss these food blogging event deadlines, but I like this relish so much, and it looks so good, I decided to post it anyway. Yummy and good for you, and soon we will be able to make it with tomatillos from our own yard.

Bobby Flay’s Tomatillo-Avocado Relish
3 ripe Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
3 tomatillos, husked, washed and diced
juice of 2 limes
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Carefully combine avocados, tomatillos, lime juice, oil, honey and S&P to taste in a medium bowl. Mix in the green onions and cilantro. May be made up to 30 minutes in advance and refrigerated.

This is great served with grilled chicken, or as a dip with tortilla chips.


Time for a new year …

Grow Your Own 2008 … of food blogging. This one is hosted by Andrea’s Recipes – thanks, Andrea! 🙂 The topic is “Grow Your Own,” as in, make a dish with at least one ingredient from your own garden, or from a friend’s garden if you don’t have your own. Dan and I have planted a veggie garden for most of the 15 years we’ve lived in this house, and I have a fairly large herb garden as well.

Last summer, some neighbors had their annual Porch Party potluck (they have a huge, wraparound porch); I wanted to make something different, and we had planted something different this year, and boy was it prolific. We planted three tomatillo plants and had so many tomatillos I gave bags of them away, mostly to Liz and Walter, who moved here from Colorado a few years ago. I still have some in the freezer. Among other things, we also grew onions and jalapenos this year, so I had those on hand, too.

The round-up of all the entries is here.

Home-grown tomatillos, onions and jalapeno peppers

So I made a few batches of salsa verde (green salsa) from Tyler Florence’s recipe and decided to make sort of an enchilada casserole for the potluck. It was a big hit 🙂

Tyler Florence’s Salsa Verde

12 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed
1 onion, quartered
Splash white vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 limes, juiced

Put the tomatillos, jalapenos, and onion in a saucepan with the vinegar and water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and poach until the tomatillos are soft, about 10 minutes. Drain. Put the vegetables in a blender, add the cumin, and puree. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and salt, and pulse to combine.

Making chicken enchilada casserole

Enchilada Casserole

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 bay leaves

3 tbsp. corn oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 each red, green and yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large yellow or white onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

About 15 corn tortillas

2 cups salsa verde
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Put chicken breasts in a small saucepan and cover with water; add bay leaves. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain chicken, discarding bay leaves, and let cool for a few minutes. Using fingers or two forks, shred chicken and set aside.

Heat corn oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or saute pan. Add garlic, stir for 30 seconds, then add onions and peppers. Cook over medium heat, stirring, till softened, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in oregano, turn off heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut tortillas into half-inch wide strips. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. Spread about 1/2 cup of salsa verde on the bottom of the baking dish; top with half of the tortilla strips, then half the pepper mixture, half of the shredded chicken, and about 3/4 cup of salsa verde. Add the rest of the tortilla strips, pepper mixture, chicken, and salsa, in that order. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, till cheese is melted and bubbly.

Chicken enchilada casserole

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