Daily Archives: April 16, 2009

Sexy Salsa: Tomatillo Salsa with Spicy Dried Chiles

My favorite Mexican restaurant in the United States is actually nowhere near Mexico. It’s on the East Coast actually, and has the most wonderful margaritas. Rosa Mexicano, found both in Washington D.C. and in New York City, has Roberto Santibanez at the helm, a Mexico City native. The food is fresh, spicy, simple and has none of the heavy, greasy cheese or slimy beans found at many places that call themselves “Mexican” here in the U.S.

rosasmexicantableWhen I saw that Santibanez had put out a cookbook, I couldn’t resist. Rosa’s New Mexican Table has recipes for all kinds of salsas, sauces, moles. Truly irresistible!

I started this week out with a tomatillo and chile morita salsa. This isn’t a raw salsa and the original recipe uses chile pasilla, but I had chile morita, so I improvised. The result is a smoky, spicy sauce with wonderful nuanced flavors. Perfect for serving with chips, on top of tacos, with grilled chicken. Honestly, I could put this on (nearly!) everything.

The recipe calls for cleaning, roasting, de-seeding, de-veining and soaking the chiles. It’s time consuming, but quite worth it.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Dried Chiles

1 lb of tomatillos, dehusked, washed and halved

olive oil

about 1 cup of chiles (you can use dried chipotles, dried moritas, dried pasillas — experiment!)



1. Drizzle a little olive oil onto a saute pan and heat it up. Place the tomatillos in the pan and roast until their skins turn brown. Remove from the heat and set aside. Clean the pan.

2. Clean the dried chiles with a damp towel. Using a paring knife, make a slit down the center and take out the veins, seeds and the stem.

3. Throw the chiles onto the pan and roast until the skins start to turn black. Remove from the heat and place into a bowl.

4. Cover the chiles with water and soak for about 20 minutes. Drain and put into a food processor.

5. Add the tomatillos to the food processor and a dash or two of salt. Process until smooth.


Note: I always use gloves when handling chiles to avoid skin irritation!

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Posted by on April 16, 2009 in Salsas


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Kimchi Me

Whenever I go to a Korean restaurant, my favorite part is always the kimchi. The pickled cabbage; pickled radishes; tofu cake; strange little eels; spicy, gleaming fish with chili powder… I could go on. It’s sour, spicy and tangy at the same time. Refreshing and crunchy. Mmmm…

I love kimchi so much, that when I was in Seoul, I visited the kimchi museum and learned all about how it was made hundreds of years ago. Apparently, kimchi is wonderful for you. Something about those microorganisms that helps your digestion. The primary fermenter in that delicious Korean staple is Lactobacillus plantarum. The little guys that make the mixture sour are Leuconostoc mesenteroides, which start the whole thing. Learn more about kimchi!

And for the first time today, I’m starting to make my own kimchi. I’m using the book “Wild Fermentation,” written by Sandor Ellix Katz, which has a variety of excellent recipes.

To make kimchi, I bought two food-grade two-quart containers at Target and assembled my ingredients:

Kimchi, Step I

1 Napa cabbage, roughly chopped

Garlic cloves, about 15

2 red peppers

2 kohlrabis, peeled and chopped

about 10 cups water

8 Tbsp of salt


1. I divided the water into the two food containers and also split the salt, dissolving it into the water.

2. The chopped cabbage, bell peppers, garlic cloves and kohlrabi were combined and split into the two containers.

3. I packed down the vegetables in the brine and covered the vegetables with a bowl so that they stayed underneath the brine. I filled a jar with water and placed it on top of the bowl to further weigh down the vegetables.

4. Everything soaks overnight so that the vegetables pick up some of the brine!

Stay tuned for step II!

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Posted by on April 16, 2009 in Pickles


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