Thursday, October 27, 2011

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde

As fall roasting comes along, I tend to turn toward the sweetness of apples and pumpkins, cider braises and maple syrup or red wine sauces to stave off the encroaching chill.  But New England Fall crops are also perfect for another option: firey tart salsa verde. 

I often feel a little unorthodox when I turn my Somerville local and seasonal ingredients into Mexican classics.  If the Massachusset and the Puritans didn't make it, if no one could image it in Fannie Farmer's kitchen, is it really local and seasonal?  I guess what I'm getting at is a whole series of questions: Are we thinking of local and seasonal as what CAN be grown in New England at this time of year, or what HAS been grown in New England at this time of year?  At what point does something start to qualify as a "native" ingredient?  What kind of historical research am I asking myself to undertake?  Are the benefits of a "local diet" based not only on ingredients that are tasty and healthy because they are local and fresh, but also on the nutritional balance of established food traditions (think: the Meditrranean Diet)?  What about the variety and rebalancing offered by the (im)migration of crops and peoples?  Didn't pasta come to Italy from China, potatoes to Ireland from South America?  Will we one day talk about that New England classic, Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde?

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde
3 jalapenos (if you still have them fresh whole, great.  They were in season about a month ago, though, so I have bags of them choppend and frozen, which preserves them wonderfully)
10 tomatillos
2 green tomatoes
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2 yellow or green peppers
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Cut the yellow or green peppers in half and remove the seeds.  Line a baking sheet or two with tin foil.  Lay the jalapenos (if you have them whole), tomatillos (whole, with papery outside removed), green tomatoes (whole), and yellow or green peppers on the baking sheet and roast at 350 for 45-60 minutes, until beginning to brown.  Remove from oven and as soon as they are cool enough to handle, roughly chop.  Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic and saute until beginning to turn golden.  Add all of the other ingredients and simmer low, stirring occasionally, for 45-60 minutes.  Roughly blend using an immersion blender or food processor.  Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

This can also be canned, but to do so you'll have to add a bunch of lemon or lime juice or citric acid--I'm still working on the perfect version so stay tuned!

My favorite ways to use this salsa are as a dip for chips, as a layer in burritos or enchiladas or nachos, or in carne molida.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Apples Galore

According to one of the cereal boxes that I was reading out loud at breakfast this morning, there are 7,500 apple varieties.  I've been eating a lot of them lately.  They come from the CSA every week.  I went apple picking.  My son's school went apple picking.  I thought I was overwhelmed with apples, and tired of them.  I made an apple pie to bring to Renee's just to get rid of apples.  And then, three days ago, I ran out of apples.  I got my last CSA delivery of the year tonight, thankfully with 8 beautiful apples.  These ones I'm going to cherish, and will only eat raw.  But I might sacrifice one for sauteed chicken and apples.  In the midst of my apple pile-up, I had fantasized about apple stuffing and roast chicken with apples, and I had about 30 minutes to get dinner done.  Sometimes, fast and easy is better all around. 

Sauteed Chicken and Apples
Serves 2

2 chicken pieces with skin (I prefer drumstick)
1 large onion
1 large apple
olive oil
salt and pepper

Chop the onion and saute briefly in a large skillet with olive oil, 1-2 minutes
Peel and slice the apple and add to pan
Salt and pepper
Push apple and onion to the side, turn up heat, and brown chicken on both sides
Lower heat to medium-low, spread apple and onion around pan and saute, stirring occasionally to keep onion from burning, until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. 

Excellent with oven fries, mashed potatoes, roasted root veggies, or squash.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goat Stew

This recipe goes out to Amy Leah, who requested a recipe to use the goat meat she got from the local market. We could only come up with 1 lb. of goat meat, but made a recipe that fed 6 adults anyway. It was nicely root vegetable heavy, but if you are able to procure more than 1 lb. (we'd actually recommend 2 lbs.), just add in the extra meat and follow the recipe as is.

1 TBSP olive oil
1 lb. goat meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 medium potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 beets, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 medium turnips, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, very coarsely chopped
1/2 teas. oregano
1/2 teas. pepper
2 teas. rosemary, chopped fine
1/2 teas. cumin
1 to 1 1/2 teas. salt
1 dash ground cloves
3 cups stock (we used a lamb/beef combo but chicken or vegetable would be good, too)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a Dutch oven or other deep-sided, heavy pot with a cover that can go on the stove top and oven, brown meat in oil, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon (to keep oil in pan), remove to a bowl.

Saute onions for 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, saute another 3 to 4 minutes.

Add rest of ingredients.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours, covered. Increase oven temp to 350 degrees, remove cover, stir, and bake another hour.

Can be served as is or over noodles or with bread. Check to see if more salt is needed.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Yummy Smoothie

Taking advantage of both a freezer full of gorgeous frozen fruit and a stunningly warm October day, Cal and Dave made smoothies. As their name implies, they were yummy!

The Yummy Smoothies

serves 4

In a blender add:

2 large handfuls frozen raspberries
2 large handfuls frozen strawberries
1 large handful frozen peaches
3 large spoonfuls yogurt
1 cup milk
4 ice cubes

Blend until very smooth. This takes a while. Stop every so often to stir the mixture.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall is for Roasting (Squash, Apples, Onions, and Chicken)

Sometimes, I'm just blown away by the brilliance of the universe.  Just as the evenings get cool and I start craving carbs, here at the CSA and in the Farmers' Markets are piles of squash that just need a nice half hour in a warm oven.  Could thousands of plants really have deloped over thousands of years to so perfectly answer drafty old New England houses and how much I love to gather with friends in a toasty kitchen?  Well, I guess evolution isn't something with which one has a personal relationship, but often it's at the turning of the seasons that I am most struck by the alignment between what we, in any given place, want and need to eat and what is just ripe and ready in that very place right around us. 

Apple-stuffed Roast Chicken with Roasted Squash, Potatoes, Apples, and Onion
Serves 4-6

Apple-stuffed Roast Chicken with Squash
2 cups bread cubes (fresh or stale)
1/4 cup butter
1 medium apple, peeled and cubed
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. curry powder
5 cloves garlic, halved
a 3-4 lb. chicken
1 large winter squash (acorn, butternut, or any other variety works perfectly), peeled, seeded and cubed

Toss all of the stuffing ingredients together. 

Set the chicken into a roasting pan and rub with salt and pepper.  Put stuffing into the cavity of the chicken, without overstuffing. 

Spread any extra aound the outside, mixed in with the squash.  Roast, uncovered, at 425 for about 90 minutes. 

Roasted Squash, Potatoes, Apples, and Onion
1 large red onion
4 small or 2 large potatoes
2 large Macoun Cortland apples
2 small or 1 medium winter squash (acorn, butternut, etc)
2 T olive oil
sea salt and pepper

Peel, seed and cube all of the ingredients, making sure the pieces are roughly all the same size.  Toss in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 425 for 30 minutes.
If you eat poultry, toss these with the squash and leftover stuffing from the chicken pan just before serving.  Otherwise, put into a serving bowl and toss.   The apples will have softened significantly (that's why we recommend these types, other apples hold their shape better when baking), and as you toss them they'll give a tangy sweet coating to the whole delicious pile.  This is so hearty it can work as a vegetarian main dish.