Notes from the Farm
Life continues to be busy. Lots of activity on and off the farm. Some of the fall greens are here, so you will get some yummy tatsoi in your basket of goodies. We continue to harvest storage vegetables before the voles get to them. The little rodents love beets and carrots. We will start to winterize in the coming weeks, pulling up hoses used for irrigation and and stacking irrigation pipe. The frost has visited a couple of times, so far no damage.
This Week’s Veggie Feast
Tomatoes, pears, beets, purple potatoes, leeks, nardello sweet peppers (oops, we forgot to put them in the photo shoot) ….
New This Week
Hello tomatillos! Perfect little orbs of tang for that salsa verde. Tomatillos are a distinctive and indigenous ingredient in Mexican cuisine. The fruit goes by many names, including tomato verde and husk tomato since it remains green while ripe and it grows inside a papery calyx or husk. Mexican green tomatoes grow in the wild but most cultivated varieties you find in the store are green, yellow, or purple and remain in their husk. The fruit itself is thin skinned with a mild acid and lots of seeds. If you plan to use them quickly, tomatillos can be stored at room temperature in a cool place. For longer storage, keep inside a paper bag or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. The fruit can be used raw but it takes well to cooking too. Roasting or simmering tomatillos can help mellow their slightly tart bite. They make a great addition to many Mexican dishes and can be used as burrito or enchilada filling or to supply the base ingredient for sauces and pork verde. However you prepare them, the husk needs to be removed and the tomatillo rinsed of the slightly tacky substance around the base. If adding to a stew (i.e. chile or pork verde), tomatillos can be chopped and added raw. If making verde or other salsa, tomatillos need to be cooked first; roasting or boiling are two typical methods.
Shallots are the perfect storage vegetable. If you still have your sweet onions to use you can put these alliums aside for a later date. With proper storage (cool and dark) and a bit of luck shallots can store thru the winter into spring. Use as you would an onion.
One of our favorite winter squash. The buttercup flesh orange and a bit moister than the sunshine from last week. Just as sweet and delicious.
(makes about 2 cups)
Courtesy of Diana Kennedy, From From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients
This sauce is a great table salsa and goes well with tacos, grilled meats, burritos, and grilled vegetables. It will last for a few days in the refrigerator.
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
3 or more jalapeno chiles, finely chopped
½ cup loosely packed, roughly chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons white onion, roughly chopped
Salt to taste
Put the tomatillos whole in a small saucepan, barely cover with water, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and continue cooking until soft but not falling apart, about 5 minutes, depending on the size. Drain over a bowl to reserve the cooking water!
Using a blender or food processor, put 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid in the processor bowl. Add the chiles, cilantro, garlic, onion and grind to a paste. Add the tomatillos a little at a time, blending with about 1/3 cup more of the cooking liquid until you have a textured sauce of medium consistency. Add salt to taste.
Courtesy of Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook by Cindy Pawlcyn
12-14 tomatillos, papery husks removed and rinsed well
2 small ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To make the salsa, combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth and liquid, but not thin. Refrigerate until needed.