When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fresh homemade salsa

When our family first started ordering a weekly local produce box a few summers ago, one of the (many) great things Matt and I loved about it was discovering new fruits and vegetables that we had never heard of or tasted before.  One August day in that introductory summer, I eagerly opened our produce box to find these curious little green orbs with a papery covering:

Can you name this fruit?
While the boys offered their own suggestions for identifying the green things, saying they looked like "baby cabbages" or "lettuce on a circle bone thingy" (Will) and "mini pumpkins" or "something I would definitely not want to eat" (Noah), I figured I should probably do some research to find out what exactly these fruits were and what I should do with them.  A visit to the Grand River Organics website informed me that they were tomatillos, and that I could use them along with peppers and onions to make a tasty green salsa.  Because I love the vibrant colour of a red tomato salsa, I decided to create my own recipe using both the red and the green fruits, and the resulting salsa has been a big hit around here every summer since.  This salsa is fresh, flavourful, and a perfect way to take advantage of the bountiful offerings at the farmers' market this time of year.
Fresh Homemade Salsa
8 tomatillos
4 ripe tomatoes, diced (I used a mixture of the red, yellow, and orange tomatoes we got in our produce box this week, but using just red tomatoes is delicious, too.)
2 tbsp minced red onion
1 small red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, diced (You can substitute a hot pepper if you prefer.)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
the juice of one lime, freshly squeezed
1/4 tsp sea salt
Peel the husks off the tomatillos and wash the fruit.  Place the tomatillos in a saucepan of boiling water; reduce heat to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the tomatillos are soft.  Drain the water from the saucepan and crush the tomatillos using a potato masher.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, red onion, bell pepper, garlic, and cilantro.  Add the crushed tomatillos to the bowl and gently stir to combine all ingredients.  Add the lime juice and sea salt to the vegetable mixture and gently stir again.
It's best if you can make this salsa a day ahead of when you want to serve it, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavours to blend and intensify.  Serve the salsa with tortilla chips (look for a brand that has a short list of all natural ingredients), fajitas, grilled chicken, or whatever else you might enjoy.
We look forward to the arrival of the little green tomatillos in our produce box every August now.  Somehow salsa seems like a much more appropriate use for them than mini green pumpkin pie....


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