Thursday, November 02, 2006

Feliz (Feliz?, yeah, Feliz!) Dia de los Muertos!…with salsa verde

With Blogger troubles, I bring this post to you 1 day late. Lucky Day(s) of the Dead lasts more than 1 day!Happy Day of the Dead, everybody! Today, we start what in Mexico and parts of Central America is a multi-day festival to celebrate out Dearly Departed. Often in Mexico people will go to the cemetery and will have a meal at their late family member’s tomb. They’ll clean the tomb and also give a little offering to that person, usually in the form of the food they most liked while alive. This is a much happier feast day than you might imagine. It is a celebration of life recognizing that death is one part of it. Mariachi bands make a lot of money over this holiday spreading their joyous, bombastic sounds near and far. Many of you are probably familiar with the irreverent depictions of skeletons dancing, drinking and merry-making that are produced for this holiday.
Well, today, I harvested some of my precious Mexican tomatillos from the balcony (see below) and made the classic simmered tomatillo salsa verde. Again, of course this recipe comes from Rick Bayless’s Mexican KitchenIngredients:
1 lb whole, husked tomatillos
2 serrano peppers (I actually used 1 small, hot poblano ‘cause I have no serrano on the balcony or anywhere else)
1 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
salt to taste

Boil a medium saucepan of water ½ full, then add the tomatillos and peppers. Cook for 3-4 minutes until they are soft. Drain and cool. Take out pepper stems and seeds. Place tomatillos and peppers in the bowl of a food processor (or blender). In a frying pan, with 1 tbsp of the oil, brown the onion over medium heat. Then add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Scoop into the food processor along with the other tomatillo mixture. Blend until slightly chunky. In the same frying pan, place the remaining ½ tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Dump the pureed mixture in all at once and let sear and bubble while stirring to keep things from sticking. Music to sear salsa by: “Pedro Navaja” by salsa great, Ruben Blades. Cook this way for 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer this way for 10 minutes. The final texture should be as thick as a standard tomato sauce. Let cool. Taste and add salt and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips (we have them in Italy!!) or anything you’d like salsa on.


Blogger J said...

Mmm. Yummy! I used to have a recipe for black bean enchiladas with a tomatillo sauce over them...boy, it was good. It was in my Greens cookbook, which got ruined, and I haven't yet replaced it. Do you think this recipe would be good as an enchilada sauce, or should it be modified?

I love your beautiful pictures and the recipes are GREAT. I'm looking forward to trying some...

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great post, Susan! I remember going to a "Day of the Dead" celebration a few years ago - for some reason what stood out for me the most was the amount of marigolds they had at the venue, I swear the strong fragrance of the flower overpowered the food aromas!

11:14 PM  
Blogger Texas Espresso said...

I can't tell you how happy I am to know that you can grow tomtillos, cilantro, etc there. I better make sure we have a terrance when we move - cuz im going to become a gardener!

looks yummy

6:14 AM  
Anonymous rowena said...

I love that top photo with the Halloween decorations behind it!---You've given me the idea to start growing my own tomatillos next spring. That's just great that you're able to harvest them right from your balcony!

2:16 PM  
Blogger Foodie's Hope said...

We do that too in India Susan! It's called "Shraddhha" in Sanskrit,we remember the dead by visiting the graves, praying for their souls and a feast for the living!:D ,specially on the 11th day their death and one day every year.Similar rituals for Mexicans and Indians.I didn't know abt theirs,thanks!
You grow everything you need!:)Very nice,I will try this tomatillos,we get those but never tried it..

2:46 PM  
Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

fresh salsa verde! lucky lucky lucky you...i can't even bear to look at the pictures...! happy dias de los muertos to you, too!

6:49 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi J, i think this would go great with black bean enchiladas.

Hi Lotus, Yeah, marigolds are the flower to have for those days. Maybe that wasn't so appetizing.

Hi Texas, Where are you moving to? Italy?

Tomatillos are easy to grow. Give it a shot.

Hi Asha, I guess it makes sense for lots of cultures to have a day of reconing with the "hereafter". At Shraddhha, do you eat any particular foods?

Hi Jackie, Tomatillos are easy to grow, you know! I also could send seeds to you or anybody else, for that matter if you like.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous paz said...

Oh, wow! Your salsa verde looks really good. Adding chicken stock to it? I think that makes it extra special! I made some too but was too hungry to stop to take pics! ;-) Maybe next time.


4:38 PM  
Blogger beenzzz said...

Happy belated Day of the Dead. I know what you mean by blogger being difficult! The salsa verde looks absolutely divine. I must have some NOW!

6:51 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Paz, Is your tomatillo salsa w/o chcken stock recipe on your blog?

Hi Beenzzz, Yeah, it seems like blogger just gets funny sometimes. Do you think that's when they're working on it?

1:33 PM  
Blogger Texas Espresso said...

susan - we will be moving to italy in the near future. My husband is from the Padova area. it could be as soon as next year or in two to three. we'll see. =)

but being from texas - i would like to supplement my mexican food there as much as possible!

5:21 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Texas, How cool is that? I think you'll do great with the Mexican stuff between bringing dried chilis and canned stuff over when you fly and growing things here. Also, the women at "Allora, Aspetta" order stuff from a website that's something like

9:28 AM  
Blogger Man On The Street said...

Alright, now this is something I think I can actually make. And I LOVE salsa verde. El Norte restaurant on Clark and Bryn Mawr Street can now kiss my...

Thanks for the great recipie

5:07 AM  
Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

susan, perhaps i will get some seeds when i go home next week. "easy to grow" is an expression that doesn't normally apply to me...i can't even keep our cactuses alive. definitely no green thumb! anyway, maybe i can try...

9:57 AM  
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