Posted (Lori) in News

Week 13 Recipes/Tips: Tomatillos, Cilantro, New Potatoes

This week’s share includes one herb and one vegetable about which I can’t get very enthusiastic. Regarding cilantro, several studies have shown that some people have genetic material that makes them hate this herb; I am definitely one of those people. About tomatillos, the best I can say is that they last a very long time in the refrigerator (before they turn to mush and get thrown away). But I know that many (most) people love both of them. So here’s a little bit about how to use them; if any tomatillo or cilantro lovers want to tell us why, please post a comment, or send me a whole new entry and I’ll post it separately.


Tomatillos are traditionally used in three ways — raw, boiled/blanched, or roasted/grilled:

Raw – Uncooked tomatillos add a fresh, tangy citrus-like flavor and are often used raw in Mexican table sauces. Finely dice or puree them.

Blanching – Mellows the flavor. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the whole tomatillos (husks removed and rinsed) and boil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Drain and crush or puree as directed in a sauce recipe.

Fire roasting – Leaving slightly blackened skins on enriches a sauce with a smoky, woodsy flavor. Can roast under the broiler, with a propane torch, or over an open flame such as a grill or a gas burner. Make sure the heat is quite hot, otherwise the tomatillos will turn mushy before being charred.

Dry roasting – Produces an earthy, nutty flavor. Place the tomatillos in a heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron). Turn heat to low. Roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally, letting each side take on a rich, burnished golden color before turning.

The information above is from Maraquita Farms, a California CSA. For more about tomatillos from Maraquita, see:

Here’s another group of tomatillo recipes:

And here’s a tomatillo recipe that I actually like. It’s a fairly standard salsa verde, but the honey and hot pepper reduce the sour tomatillo taste. It’s also quick and easy; some people object to the raw onion and garlic, though.

Place in a blender or food processor:

1 lb. fresh tomatillos, husked, cored, blanched (see above) and chopped roughly

1 small onion, chopped roughly

2 cloves garlic

2 sprigs parsley (original recipe called for cilantro)

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon (more or less to taste) fresh lime juice (or lemon juice)

1 small hot pepper; take out some of the seeds if you don’t want to it be very hot

Salt to taste.

Process for a few seconds if using as a dip (with chips or crudités), longer (until smooth) is using as a sauce for fish, chicken, or meat.


Usually, when a recipe (like the tagine below), calls for cilantro, I automatically substitute parsley. But here are some ways to use this strong-flavored herb. It’s packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants, so if you like it, you’ll benefit by using it often. ‘

Ideas from the Kripalu blog (

  1. Add cilantro into a stir-fry, toward the end of cooking to maintain the fresh flavor and oils that can stimulate digestion and minimize gastric distress.
  2. Chop and toss into some of the fresh herb into guacamole.
  3. Dab it. Essential oil of cilantro can be used topically to minimize skin inflammation. To use, add a small amount (a couple of drops) to your favorite cold sesame oil or almond oil for a light, soothing massage.
  4. Throw a handful into a smoothie.  The oils in cilantro have powerful antimicrobial benefits. Add in its antioxidant profile, and cilantro is a detoxification superfood.
  5. Stew a coconut curry. There’s nothing like a warming, ginger-cilantro curry to nourish and soothe.
  6. Chop it like salad and eat a whole bunch! John Bagnulo recommends eating cilantro in higher amounts (tasty with chopped peanuts, mango, and crisp green lettuce) to boost gastrointestinal processes.
  7. Season your dishes. Cilantro Mint Chutney is a staple in the Kripalu Dining Hall and goes well with many dishes, such as rice biryani, mixed vegetables, or quinoa and beans. See recipe below.
  8. Finish sesame noodles with fresh, chopped peanuts and cilantro.
  9. Garnish. A friend recently taught me to cook Brussels sprouts by roasting them in the oven for ten minutes, then searing them in a pan at a high heat to lightly blacken, then adding a dash of soy sauce, garlic, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. This is a show stopper! I served these for Thanksgiving and everyone fought for the last of the sprouts.
  10. Add cilantro to a fresh-pressed juice for a cooling effect


Makes 1½ cups.

1 bunch cilantro, chopped
¼ cup mint, chopped
3 shoots green onion
¼ teaspoon jalapeno or more (to taste)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt

Make sure to rinse your cilantro well before chopping. Then combine everything in a food processor and pulse to combine.

The Kitchn

1/2 large head green cabbage, very finely chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (use at least 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, or more)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
2 T rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 T agave nectar, honey, sugar, Splenda, or Stevia in the Raw granulated (Use Stevia or Splenda for Phase One version)
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Sriracha or other hot sauce (or less, or this can be left out for a less spicy version)
1/4 cup canola or peanut oil


Cut cabbage head in half and save half for another salad. Remove core from the half you’re using, then cut cabbage into very thin slices (less than 1/4 inch) and turn cutting board the other direction and cut again to chop into very small pieces. Thinly slice green onions, chop cilantro, and chop peanuts.

In a bowl or glass measuring cup, mix together rice vinegar, sweetener of your choice, sesame oil, soy sauce, and Sriracha sauce if using. Use a whisk to mix in oil until dressing is well-combined.

In large plastic or glass bowl, gently combine chopped cabbage, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro. Add dressing a little at a time, until salad seems as wet as you’d like it. (You may not need all the dressing.) Add chopped peanuts, and stir a few times until peanuts are mixed in. Taste salad for seasoning, and add salt and freshly ground black pepper as desired. Serve immediately.


½ cup sour cream

¾ cups chopped cilantro leaves

1 tsp. lime juice (or lemon juice)

¼ tsp salt

Mix all ingredients; serve over potatoes, as salad dressing, or with salmon or other fish.


By Christine Benlafquih, Guide

Cinnamon and honey are surprisingly delicious additions to this Moroccan tagine of chicken and tomatoes. The chicken is stewed until tender with lots of tomatoes, which reduce to a thick, sweet puree. A garnish of toasted sesame seeds and fried almonds add nutty contrast.

Serves 4.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

1 chicken, whole or cut into pieces

6 or 7 tomatoes (approx. 3 lb.)

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, grated

2 or 3 cloves of garlic, pressed

small handful of fresh cilantro (coriander), finely chopped

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled

1 cinnamon stick


2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (golden unhulled if possible)

handful of toasted almonds

Peel, seed and chop the tomatoes. Place them in a heavy, wide pot along with the butter, grated onion, garlic, cilantro, and spices. Stir to mix, then add the chicken.

Cover and bring the chicken to a rapid simmer over medium heat. (Do not add water.) Continue cooking, covered, for about an hour or until the chicken is very tender. Turn the chicken occasionally while it cooks.

When the chicken is tender, carefully transfer it to a plate. Add the honey and ground cinnamon to the pot, and reduce the tomatoes to a thick, sweet puree. Stir frequently and adjust the heat to prevent the sauce from burning.

Return the chicken to the pot to reheat gently for five to ten minutes, turning the meat once or twice.Arrange the chicken on a platter and cover with the sauce. Garnish with the sesame seeds and fried almonds, and serve.


New potatoes are harvested before they are fully mature and before the sugar in them has turned to starch. They’re usually smaller and more tender than later potatoes and their skins are very thin. It’s difficult, and unnecessary, to peel them and they cook in less time than regular potatoes. The downside is that they don’t keep as long—use them within a week.

To Cook:

Scrub them to get the dirt off; remove any eyes or bruised parts. Leave them whole or cut into chunks, then:

Boil: Drop into boiling salted water and let them cook for about 15 minutes.

Pan Roast: Heat oil or butter in a heavy skillet; add the potatoes and toss until coated. Cover the skillet and let them roast until they are tender, about 15 minutes, but check them and toss them frequently.

Once the potatoes are done, add herbs and other seasonings.


Adapted from Carla Hall’s The Chew, ABC TV

6 new potatoes

3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic

1 head of broccoli (cut into florets)
Olive oil
1/2 cup goat cheese
Zest of 1 lemon

Toss potatoes with olive oil and season with salt. In another roasting pan, toss the broccoli and garlic with a little olive oil and salt. Put both pans in oven and roast at 350F until potatoes and broccoli are tender, about 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into bite-size chunks. Chop up the roasted broccoli and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add goat cheese, salt, and lemon zest and stir to combine. Add the potatoes and toss. Serve hot.

Post a comment