Sep
02
    
Posted (Lori) in News

WEEK 13 RECIPES AND TIPS: Tomatillos, Sage, Chilis Rellenos

PREPARING TOMATILLOS—Adapted From Mariquita Farms

Before using, peel off the husks and rinse to remove the sticky residue. Other than peeling off the husk, do not peel the green skin.

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.
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Roasting/broiling: – Leaving slightly blackened skins on enriches a sauce with a smoky, woodsy flavor. Tomatillos can be roasted under the broiler, 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.

Broiling Tomatillos FROM Chili Pepper Madness;

Peel off the outer brown skin that wraps the tomatillos and discard. Rinse the tomatillos and slice them in half. the horizontal center (not up and down) and arrange on a large baking dish. Spray or brush with oil. Place the tray in the oven, on a rack that is close to, but not touching, the flame. Broil about 8 minutes, then flip the tomatillos. Broil another 5 minutes until skin side is blistering. Remove, cool and peel.

NOTE: The tomatillos will be very soft at this point, so peel directly over your mixing bowl. Also, if you prefer to bake instead of broil, preheat oven to about 400 degrees, then bake about 20 minutes. Then proceed. They will not char, but they will be just as good.

TOMATILLO SALSA VERDE (From The Great Salsa Book by Mark Miller)

Alice Nicola sent the following recipe for salsa verde, which she’s made many times: With no pre-cooking of the tomatillos, this can be done in a matter of minutes. If you keep all the seeds in the Serrano chilis, this is going to be very, very hot—I’d remove all but a few of the seeds unless you like it scorching.

1 pound tomatillos (about 12-15), husked, rinsed, and roughly chopped

3 serrano chiles, with seeds

3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (a bunch)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender, and puree.

Serving suggestions: An all-purpose salsa verde: especially with seafood, chicken, and rice.

Yield: About 2 cups

TOMATILLO-AVOCADO GUACAMOLE (adapted from “What’s Cooking America”)

Prep time: 20 min

1 large jalapeno chile pepper, washed and dried*

1 serrano or other chile pepper, washed and dried*

4 tomatillos, husked and rinsed**

1 large tomato, seeds removed

1 small red onion

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed and discarded

Juice of a freshly-squeezed limes

2-3 large ripe avocados, peeled, seed removed, and diced

1 tablespoons salt or to taste

* You can adjust the amount of chile peppers according to your taste—or remove seeds to adjust heat.

Preheat the broiler of your oven.

Warning: Always wear gloves when working with hot chile peppers (fresh, dried or roasted chiles). Never touch your eyes when working with chile pppers. Please don’t learn this lesson the hard way!

Place chili peppers, tomatillos, tomatoes, onion, and garlic clove on a baking sheet in a single layer; broil 3 to 5 minutes on each side until blackened. Remove from oven.

To roast and steam chile peppers. Place the blackened hot chile peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or an airtight lid, and allow to steam for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove chile peppers. Using a sharp knife, remove stems, skins and seeds (if desired).

Roughly chop tomatillos, tomatos, chile peppers, and onion. Place in food processor or blender and add the garlic, cilantro, and lime juice. Pulse until smooth.

Mash the diced avocadoes and combine with the guacamole mixture. Season to taste

and serve with your favorite chips.

TOMATILLO AND LIME JAM
Mermelada de Tomate Verde con Limon
Makes about 1 1/4 cups; from Patti’s Mexican Table

1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and roughly chopped
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
Rind of a small lime, whole or chopped
A pinch of salt

Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan set over medium heat. Let them come to a simmer and stir occasionally, letting them cook until it has thickened and achieved a soft and loose jam consistency, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Don’t wait until it has thickened too much, because it thickens considerably as it cools. Once it has cooled down, pour it into a container, cover tightly and refrigerate.

THINGS TO DO WITH SAGE

Sage has strong medicinal qualities—it’s anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial. It’s also an anti-coagulant—one website said that people who are taking other anti-coagulants should be warned. It’s also full of antioxidants and vitamin K. And it tastes good.

I’m not including ways to use sage in stuffings, potpourri, sachets—because it’s still summer and there’s not reason to make the house smell like Thanksgving. I’m fairly certain that we’ll get sage again in November.  Most of these are pickups from last year’s piece about sage, but I omitted the potato and carrot bits and added the sage-tomato sauce and the sage-infused butter

1. Sage butter. Chop fresh sage; mash 2 tablespoons into a stick of softened butter and reform the butter.  Use it on bread or muffins or over pasta. You can also add a teaspoon of lemon zest for lemon sage butter—great with fish.

2.  Sage-infused butter. Heat ½ stick butter in a pan. Add 10 to 12 sage leaves and toss for about five minutes; the sage leaves should darken. Remove the sage leaves with a slotted spoon and discard; use the butter over vegetables, meat, poultry, or fish.

3. Sage cream. Melt a stick of butter in a skillet and add 2 tbs chopped sage; sauté for about a minute. Add ¼ cup of light or heavy cream and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over ravioli or other pasta; also good with any seafood.

4. Sage chicken. Before roasting a chicken, stuff its cavity with whole sage leaves, as many as you can fit. Slide a few leaves under the skin. Dress with sage cream.

5. Sage tea. Dry the sage (see below) and crumble it. Put about two tablespoons in a teacup, and pour boiling water over it. Steep for a few minutes, then strain. Add honey, lemon, and/or ginger. Very soothing for a wore throat.

6. Sage omelette. Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage to an omelette; Crumble in goat, feta, or other cheese if you wish.

7. Sage-infused vinegar. Add a sprig of sage to a bottle of vinegar and leave overnight. Use the vinegar in salad dressings. There are many sites that suggest infusing oils with sage as well—but there are also reports of botulism in oils that are combined with other ingredients, so I’m staying far away for the subject.

8. Fried sage leaves. Strip the leaves from the stems. Dip them in beaten egg white and then in flour (season the flour with salt and pepper). Heat vegetable oil in a small frying pan; when it’s hot but not smoking, drop the coated leaves into the pan. Fry for about a minute, until they become crispy, then turn and fry the other side. Serve with fish, chicken, or pork, or add to salad, pasta, rice, or other grain dishes.

9. Tomato Sage Sauce—from Good Housekeeping

2 pounds ripe tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

Peel and coarsely chop tomatoes.

In 10-inch skillet over medium heat, in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil, cook onion until golden. Add salt and tomatoes with their juice; over high heat, heat to boiling.

Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring and mashing tomatoes with spoon occasionally. Stir in butter and sage.

9. Sage and pork. Rub pork chops or roasts with a rub made of chopped sage leaves, salt, and pepper before pan-frying or roasting. The leaves should stick to the meat; if they don’t add a little oil before rubbing them on.

10. Apollo cocktail

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger. sliced
7 fresh sage leaves
1.5 oz gin
1 egg white
0.75 oz simple syrup
0.5 oz lemon juice
Garnish: 1 dash Angostura bitters, fresh sage leaf

Muddle ginger and 7 sage leaves in mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients and shake without ice. Add ice and shake again. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Top with bitters and single sage leaf.

DRYING SAGE is so simple. Just band together the sprigs you want to dry and hang them upside in a dry place. It will take a few days before they are completely dry and crumbly. Crumble them and store in a tightly-lidded glass jar (if you store in plastic, you’ll have to use the plastic container for sage forever, because the scent is absorbed). Use for tea or in any recipe calling for dried sage.

CHILES RELLENOS

The following recipe for Mexican stuffed peppers claims authenticity.

My own recipe is much less authentic; I use mozzarella as the stuffing, and I shred it and toss it with sautéed onions, garlic and other spices before I put it in the peppers. And instead of coating the peppers with flour and egg, I dip into egg first, and then matzo meal, which is probably hard to find in Mexico. And I use much less oil—I use an 8-inch pan that fits 4-6 peppers and find that about ¼ cup of oil comes about ½ inch up the sides and that’s enough.

6 fresh Anaheim or Ancho peppers

1 (8 ounce) package queso asadero (white Mexican cheese), cut into 3/4-inch thick strips

2 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup vegetable shortening or oil, for frying

Preheat the oven’s broiler and set the oven rack at about 6 inches from the heat source. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place peppers onto the prepared baking sheet, and cook under the preheated broiler until the skin of the peppers has blackened and blistered, about 10 minutes. Turn the peppers often to blacken all sides. Place the blackened peppers into a bowl, and tightly seal with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to steam as they cool, about 15 minutes.

Rinse cooled peppers under cold water to peel off the skins, and cut a slit along the long side of each pepper to remove the seeds and core. Rinse the peppers inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Stuff the peppers with strips of the cheese.

Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl with the baking powder. In a second metal bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until the whites form stiff peaks. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture. Place flour into a shallow bowl.

Heat the vegetable shortening in a skillet over medium heat. Roll each stuffed pepper in flour, tap off excess flour, and dip the peppers into the egg mixture to coat both sides. Gently lay the coated peppers into the hot shortening. Fry peppers until lightly golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes per side.



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