October 1st, 2009

good mris pic

Bubbling green goodness

This week my steady time came on Tuesday, and I used part of it to go out to the garden to harvest tomatillos, since I'd heard we were due for a frost Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I don't think we got one here in Eagan, so there may be more tomatillos when markgritter goes to pull the plants out. It was still trying to grow more. Still, I got hundreds of the little suckers.

For those of you who have never dealt with fresh tomatillos: the part you eat looks very much like a little green tomato, but it comes in a papery sort of wrapping. Either this makes them less prone to being bug-gnawed and worm-bitten and squirrel-stolen than tomatoes, or else the local fauna isn't as familiar or as fond, because I've had far fewer problems that way with tomatillos than with tomatoes. Anyway, once you pull off the papery wrapping, the tomatillo is sticky and often has black specks on it from where the original blossom withered against the fruit. This washes off the surface of the fruit in warm water, but it takes more effort than most vegetable washing, and it leaves the hands terribly sticky. The soaps we have took several washings to get rid of tomatillo stickiness until I made the happy discovery that tomatillo juice cuts the stickiness beautifully.

So. Peel off the papery husk, scrub the surface, set on the cutting board, repeat until cutting board is full. Then halve all the tomatillos and put the halves flat side down on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Add cloves of garlic still in their paper. Stick under the broiler until the tomatillo skins start to blacken (for my broiler, about 9 minutes). Wait for everything to cool enough to be handled. Peel the roasted garlic and put the cloves in the blender. Scoop up the roasted tomatillos and put those in the blender, too. Blend.

At this point, what you have is the base for a chili verde, and everybody in my house really likes chili verde. In theory I should have nearly five chili verde base batches in the freezer, but what I have is four, plus a little container in the fridge. That little container will be reheated and dubbed "lunch," because the main hazard to this whole process is not the amount of time it will take or how sticky your hands will get but how incredibly good roasted tomatillos pureed with roasted garlic will smell. Oh man. I have just barely managed to keep myself from licking the blender lid clean with my tongue. (I used a spoon. And then I thought of the time Grandpa reached the limits of what his spoon could accomplish at Rice Paper with their peanut sauce and stuck his finger straight in the bowl, mortifying Grandma and delighting me. So then I used my finger, too.) I know it's not really soup--it doesn't have any broth or water, no oil, no...no anything, really. Just tomatillos and garlic. Except that is apparently all I need.

At any moment, contractors should be showing up to do some more drywall and/or insulation-related things to the impending bathroom in the basement. I will be glad when all this is over and I don't have to think about letting people into my house and can schedule workouts and writing time and various other life things without worrying about whether I will be in actual pajamas when strangers want into my home. (I mostly sleep and work out in very large T-shirts, under which I can put a pair of soccer shorts or jeans and call it good, but I have some actual nightshirts, which strike me as not really okay under the circumstances.)

And there's the doorbell. So there's progress there, too.