Showing posts with label tomatillos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tomatillos. Show all posts

Monday, April 24, 2017

Salsa Verde Pork Tacos

Salsa verde spices up ground pork in these gluten free tacos. Spread the corn tortillas with a layer of refried beans for extra protein & fiber, and finish with your favorite toppings!

image of corn tortillas with refried beans, salsa verde pork, avocado and sour cream

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close up packages of ground pork donated by the Ohio Pork Council to The Foodbank Dayton April 2017
Photo credit Emily Bir

This post is sponsored by the Ohio Pork Council, so it's odd that I'm going to start off talkin' turkey, but bear with me. Have you ever had a small interaction, a seemingly insignificant moment, that stuck with you, burrowed in, and changed your outlook on life? Allow me to share one such moment in my life.

A few summers ago I had the opportunity to assist The Foodbank with the quadrennial Hunger in America study. This involved going to many member agencies--the food pantries throughout Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties who receive food from The Foodbank and get it into their clients' hands. I met the folks distributing food and interviewed folks receiving food throughout the Miami Valley. It was at one of these pantries that I experiences a tiny shift of my axis that has stayed with me.                        It was a hot, muggy August day and the food pantry had a surplus of whole turkeys in their freezer. As the clients were leaving, after they'd gotten their normal allotment of food, they were offered a frozen turkey. Some folks took a turkey, but the majority did not. I overheard one client say, "now what would I do with a turkey in August?"    Mind. Blown.    My assumptions--that folks have access to an oven to roast a turkey, or access to the rest of the kitchen infrastructure needed to fully utilize a 20 pound uncooked bird [check the Bed Bath & Beyond circular in November if you don't know what I mean], or the skills to know how to cook the bird--were challenged. Free food doesn't help anyone if you can't transform it into ready to eat meals.

donations from Ohio farmers to The Foodbank Dayton in April 2017
Photo credit Emily Bir

This is why I'm delighted to spread the word about the Ohio Pork Council's recent donation. Ohio farmers have donated 17,400 pounds of pork to feed needy Ohio families. The Foodbank in Dayton received 3 tons of pork, enough to make 30,000 of the 87,000 total meals donated in the Pork Power program this month. That's huge and I want to shout it from this rooftop.

image of tray of salsa verde pork tacos with skillet of taco mixture and extra salsa

A pound of ground pork is a convenient source of protein. It can be cooked on a grill, stovetop, hot plate, or even a microwave. After the holidays donations to the food banks are down so an influx of healthy and useful products like pork is much appreciated. Providing wholesome meals to Ohio families is a thoughtful and compassionate endeavor, and I'm glad to draw attention to the efforts of Ohio farmers and the Ohio Pork Council.

Salsa verde spices up ground pork in these gluten free tacos. Spread the corn tortillas with a layer of refried beans for extra protein & fiber, and finish with your favorite toppings!

The next food occasion on my personal radar is Cinco De Quatro Mayo so my mind is naturally turning in a fiesta direction. I'm checking the basement stash of home-canned salsa [no need to ration--yet] and craving more guacamole than usual. When the Ohio Pork Council asked me to share a recipe using ground pork, I immediately started thinking pork tacos. I didn't want to just substitute a pound of ground pork for a pound of ground beef or turkey and use my usual jar of taco seasoning.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Salsa Verde with Roasted Hatch Chiles (Canning recipe)

This tangy green salsa gets bright flavors from tomatillos and roasted Hatch chiles for a smooth dipping sauce that is also excellent in baked dishes. This canning recipe provides ample stores to enjoy the flavor year round.

an assortment of jars of canned goods

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close up of a home-canned jar of salsa verde with roasted hatch chiles

This salsa is one of the easiest canning projects I've done--very little chopping, doesn't matter if you've chopped uniformly or not, only a few ingredients to measure. The immersion blender (and the chile roaster at my local grocery store) do the bulk of the work. The hardest part for me last year was sourcing the tomatillos.

tomatillos being chopped for salsa verde with roasted hatch chiles

In previous years I'd get ample amounts of tomatillos in my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. In fact, that's how I started making salsa verde. My first time making salsa verde was NOT born from a desire to eat salsa verde, but from a lack of anything else to do with the tomatillos that were sitting on the counter!

tomatillo plants in the garden, showing the balloons that will become tomatillo fruits

After the initial batch, we got hooked on this tangy concoction. Last year I had difficulty sourcing enough local tomatillos to make a batch. I even spent 2 Saturdays hitting up various farmer's markets in order to get enough. This year I'm growing my own tomatillos. So far, so good. Wish me luck!

a square image of jars of salsa verde and tomatoes from the canner

No Hatch chiles? No problem! Simply use the hot pepper that's available to you. It doesn't even matter if you roast it or not--the flavor will be different if using roasted peppers, but the recipe works either way. I can't give you any roasting tips because I buy my chiles already roasted. I picked up a container of roasted Hatch chiles once on a whim and I loved the flavor so much I come back year after year for more. Roasted chiles freeze well, so what doesn't get put up in salsas in the summertime gets used throughout the year. This year I'm going to try my hand at making chile rellenos with a quart, since we discovered that amazing concoction while Eating Locally on the Road last summer.

You could cool and eat this salsa right away, but I'm also giving canning instructions because this is my spouse's favorite salsa (mine is my Peach, Yellow Plum and Hatch Chile salsa recipe) and we eat salsa all year long. It's a terrific after school or pre-dinner snack, especially if you have family members who need to eat RIGHT NOW while you're standing in the kitchen finishing dinner preparations. Not that it's ever happened to me.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Easy Chile Relleno Dip

This hot, spicy, cheesy vegetarian dip has the flavor of a cheese-stuffed chile pepper similar to a jalapeño popper without all the fuss (or the jalapeños).  Salsa verde provides the heat in a smooth dip great for parties and game day snacking.

This hot, spicy, cheesy vegetarian dip has the flavor of a cheese-stuffed pepper without all the fuss. Salsa verde provides the heat in a smooth dip great for parties and game day snacking.

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I know I'm supposed to be all "eat healthier in the New Year" but the fact is that New Year's Resolutions, made during the post holiday let down while you're hungover from too much akavit, don't stick.

My small change for today is to offer a vegetarian alternative for your game day snack spread, evening cocktail party, or Cinco de Mayo fiesta.  While this recipe may not qualify as healthy, my grandmas--born around the turn of the previous century--would recognize the ingredients used to make it.

This hot, spicy, cheesy vegetarian dip has the flavor of a cheese-stuffed pepper without all the fuss. Salsa verde provides the heat in a smooth dip great for parties and game day snacking.

I tried my first Chile Relleno in Cody, Wyoming over the summer vacation. A roasted Hatch chile stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese, dipped in an egg batter, fried, then covered in a sauce made from more roasted chiles. And more cheese. I've ordered that dish twice more since we came home, made the flavor combo into a pizza even, but didn't think about making it into a dip until I spied twin warming trays at a holiday party. Little signs labelled one tray Buffalo Chicken Dip and the other Jalapeño Popper Dip. 

It was like dueling hot spicy cheesy dips--one for omnivores, one friendly to vegetarians. What a brilliant idea.
For more awesome veggie apps and snacks, please see my Pinterest board. For more game day snacks, just use the search bar on the sidebar to search for 'game day snacks'. For more recipes using Hatch chiles, please see my Hatch Chile Recipes Collection. For more recipes using tomatillos, please see my Tomatillo Recipe Collection. These are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks trying to support their local producers by sourcing winter game day snacks out of produce grown locally during the summer.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Beef Tongue Enchiladas aka Enchiladas de Lengua

Spiced beef tongue with salsa verde and sharp cheddar rolled up in corn tortillas, covered with more cheese, crema, and salsa verde.

Getting dinner on the table when the family has been away from home all day long can be a family affair. [The dogs are not real helpful in this instance. Keeping squirrels on their toes in the back yard? They're on it.] Usually I'm the one with the dinner plan, and I call in the troops for reinforcement when I need help.

We like music while we work, so my spouse set up speakers in the kitchen that chat wirelessly with our computer. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the speakers are sick of my son putting his ear worms on continual play, or want to play something perkier at night when my spouse listens to his classical jams, but I like to mix it up.

After iTunes debuted their Radio component [and made it much more difficult to just play what I felt like listening to from my music collection] I discovered the Norteño radio station. What is Norteño? I haven't wikipedia'd it, but I would say you take the instruments from a German polka band and hand them to a group of Mexican musicians, stand back, and listen to the magic happen. I enjoy making dinner and dancing in the kitchen listening to Norteño, and it puts me in the mood to use a traditional meat, beef tongue, in my own way.

I'm all about using the whole Swiss chard and the whole cow, so here's another recipe using some of the parts we get when we buy a quarter cow. For another beef tongue recipe, please see my Beef Tongue Nachos recipe. Got ground beef? I've got 106 food blogger recipes using ground beef in my round up here. One of these days the Visual Recipe Index will have a category for Ground Beef and another for Beef Bits and Bobs, though that's not really search engine friendly. I'll probably throw a Pinterest board for all the random beef parts recipes on my Pinterest page. My darling daughter just suggested I call it Beef Undesirables, but I don't think she gets the idea of making it appealing.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cranberry, Chicken, Spinach and Leek Enchiladas

Leeks and frost-kissed farm share spinach, sautéed with chicken and cranberry salsa in a creamy enchilada, topped with spicy salsa verde.

Too early to break out the cranberry salsa? It pairs so nicely with salsa verde I couldn't resist. I'm tempted to try and make some of my own this year, since our farm share--and my spouse's coworkers--have provided so many hot peppers.  I've put up salsa twice, and have just enough ripe tomatoes left to put up a third batch.  In the mean time I put up a batch of hot pepper jelly as well--then promptly gave most of it away.  Update: I did make my own cranberry salsa! You can find the recipe here.  Between the canning and the freezing I'm trying to keep up with the supply of vegetables that I'll feed the family during winter. [I feel like the Ant, though I really want to lie down and read my book like the Grasshopper--so I'm going to keep it short and sweet and go do just that.]

Want more enchilada recipes? Try my Clickable Collage. More recipes using spinach? Here's the Spinach Recipes Collection. More recipes using Leeks? Try this collection. More recipes using Cranberries, in various permutations? Look here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Creamy Avocado, Bell Pepper and Hatch Chile Enchiladas

A rich vegetarian dish, these avocado, bell pepper, and caramelized onion enchiladas are spiced with roasted Hatch chiles and covered in plenty of cheese.

A rich vegetarian dish, these avocado, bell pepper, and caramelized onion enchiladas are spiced with roasted Hatch chiles and covered in plenty of cheese.

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My New Years Resolution to add more avocados to my life continues.  [Ya think, since I've posted 2 avocado appetizers in the past month or so?] Since we like enchiladas I wondered about using avocado as the filling for a vegetarian dish.  Low fat or skinny this is not--it is rich!  Instead of a tomato-based enchilada sauce like I've used most recently in Confetti Turkey Enchiladas, or a tomatillo-based salsa verde, like in my Fish Taco Enchiladas, I made a spicy white sauce with Hatch chiles. 

A rich vegetarian dish, these avocado, bell pepper, and caramelized onion enchiladas are spiced with roasted Hatch chiles and covered in plenty of cheese.
Simon and I walked down to fetch freshly roasted Hatch chiles last summer.

In this dish I used bell peppers from my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share plus roasted Hatch chiles from my local grocery store.  Both of these peppers can be frozen when they are harvested and thawed for using in baked dishes like I've shown here.  It's another way I feed my family local foods all year long. The caramelized onions are also freezer-friendly flavor boosters. I use both Dorothy's Slow Cooker Method or Alanna's Flavorful Slow Cooker Onions.

This is an involved dish, with multiple steps, so I'll skip any further chitchat and get to the chopper recipe.

A rich vegetarian dish, these avocado, bell pepper, and caramelized onion enchiladas are spiced with roasted Hatch chiles and covered in plenty of cheese.

Wait--one note--next week I'll share my recipe for the Cheater Margarita Smoothies shown in several of the photos. I rarely suggest wine pairings with my recipes, but I can say with confidence that a Cheater Margarita Smoothie--or two--goes well with these enchiladas.
Another note--if you want to boost the structure of these enchiladas, feel free to add 1 or 2 cups of cooked grains (rice, faro, quinoa, etc) to the vegetable filling. We ate ours with rice on the side.

For more enchilada ideas, vegetarian or with fish, chicken, or pork--hey, no beef, yet, huh--please enjoy my newest Clickable Collage of Recipe Suggestions below.  As always, Anyonita taught me this party trick via this tutorial.

Creamy Avocado, Bell Pepper, Caramelized Onion and Hatch Chile Enchiladas | Farm Fresh Feasts
Click on the top 6 photos to be taken to the recipe, the bottom row are "coming soon"!
Image Map

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Harvest Sweet Potato Salsa

Roasted sweet potatoes and corn tossed with beans and avocado in an red and green salsa dressing. One of the ways I put up food to eat local all year long.

Harvest Sweet Potato Salsa | Farm Fresh Feasts

When the garden is barren and there's snow falling down is a strange time to talk about harvest and abundant vegetables, no?

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Harvest Sweet Potato Salsa | Farm Fresh Feasts

I think it's exactly the right time.  You see, the vegetables I used in this salsa--the corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and tomatillos that is*--came from my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share.  George, Mark, Josh and Erik of Patchwork Gardens grew and harvested them, and we got a weekly box of locally-grown vegetables during the growing season.  Once in my kitchen, I performed Vegetable Triage--eating what won't keep, freezing or canning what can be put up, and using a cold corner of my breakfast nook as my Strategic Winter Squash Reserve (link to a photo on my FB page) for the long storage crops.  Even though the fields are brown, we're still eating the fruits of our farmers' labors.

Harvest Sweet Potato Salsa | Farm Fresh Feasts

If you'd like to know more about where your food is grown, now is the time to research local eating in your area.  Up on the left sidebar is a Local Harvest gadget.  If you're in the US, type in your zip code and see what's available near you.  Signing up with a CSA farm share before the season starts means your farmers will have the funds to purchase or repair equipment like the potato harvester shown here, which harvested the sweet potatoes I used in this salsa.

Roasted sweet potatoes and corn tossed with beans and avocado in an red and green salsa dressing. One of the ways I put up food to eat local all year long.
Photo credit Marguerite Mertz/Patchwork Gardens
*See the avocados in the second photo? Yeah, they sure are not local to Ohio and one of the reasons (along with bananas and salmon, vanilla and chocolate, tea and olive oil) that I will never be a completely local eater.  To me, local food just tastes better (think garden tomato vs store-bought) so I put my efforts into eating local food where I can.  I am fortunate to have a choice where I spend my dollars on food, and I choose to keep my money in my local community when possible.  It's why I started this blog and organized my Visual Recipe Index by produce type--to help other folks eat locally as well.

Harvest Sweet Potato Salsa | Farm Fresh Feasts

Visit all the other Appetizer Week Peeps for more Munchie Causing Goodness:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Shrimp and Salsa Verde Cornbread Pizza

Shrimp, salsa verde, and cheddar cheese on a cornbread pizza crust

Shrimp and Salsa Verde Cornbread Pizza | Farm Fresh Feasts

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The inspiration for this pizza came from a dish of grilled shrimp my son made over the summer.  It was spicy and served on corn tortillas and I did not have 100% of the effort involved in making it so of course it was good!  He got the recipe out of a cookbook at our library--one of our family summer reading activities.  We re-created it alongside cornbread in the fall.  When I had leftover cooked shrimp from our New Year's Ever Appetizerpalooza [not to be confused with #AppetizerWeek, that's next week] I decided to try shrimp on a pizza.

Shrimp and Salsa Verde Cornbread Pizza | Farm Fresh Feasts

This is not my first shrimp recipe--I snuck a Roasted Shrimp, Celery, Grape, and Potato Salad in here last fall--nor is this my first seafood pizza.  Check out my Visual Pizza Recipe Index or the links at the bottom for additional seafood pizzas for your Friday Night Pizza Night.
Even though this wasn't my first rodeo, this recipe was not without dithering.  I was torn, trying to think of a way to duplicate a grits crust.  Or even a cornmeal crust.  Finally I just decided to Keep It Simple.
Keep It Simple, Sillybilly (KISS) is the title of one of my early blog posts before I clued in to making a recipe more searchable by using the actual recipe name in the title.  Revolutionary!  KISS is a recipe post for Beau Monde dip, another vehicle to transfer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share vegetables into my mouth--and those of my family.
What could be more simple than taking my tried and true cornbread recipe and baking it in a 10 inch skillet instead of my usual 7 inch skillet?  Perfect.  The thickness is less than a deep dish pizza, but more substantial than a thin crust pizza.  You can eat this with a fork, or pick it up with your hands.

Shrimp and Salsa Verde Cornbread Pizza | Farm Fresh Feasts

With precooked shrimp, pre baked cornbread, and put up (or store bought) salsa verde, this pizza assembles and bakes very quickly.  Perfect for a last minute pizza or easily one where you don't have yeast or don't feel like fussing with dough.  Mix it up, pour it in, bake, prep the toppings, top, and go.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Green Tomato, Pork, and White Bean Chili in a Slow Cooker

Green Tomato, Pork, and White Bean Chili in a Slow Cooker | Farm Fresh Feasts

Hello, my name is Kirsten and I have a problem.

(Hello, Kirsten.)

I like to make chili using not-the-usual vegetable suspects.  It all started with this Green Tomato Garlic chili recipe a year ago.  I liked it so much I put up a couple of quarts of chopped green tomatoes in the freezer for winter chili.  Instead of making more green tomato chili, however, I veered off in a squash and beet direction with Acorn Squash, Beet, and Sweet Potato chili.  Then I used a quart of the green tomatoes for Green Tomato Bacon Jam.

This chili has cubes of pork, Great Northern beans, and my put up salsa verde.  I wanted a thick chili, so I added some grits and wow--that did it for me.  We liked this chili with a swirl of sour cream stirred into each bowl.  I bet my corn cheddar bacon muffins would be great with it.  If you're having a chili cook off, this would be a little something different.  It's easy to fix (the slow cooker does most of the work) and the flavor is wonderful.  This is also great for a work day meal--brown the pork the night before while the kitchen is still active with dinner, chill it overnight, and dump all the ingredients into the slow cooker the next morning.

Note to self--this fall, put up more quarts of chopped green tomatoes!  In fact, I think I'll put the word out with my neighbors that if they don't want their tomatoes still on the vine when the first frost is predicted, I'll be happy to come harvest.  The cool thing about green tomatoes is that they can hang out on your counter for a few days until you can process them.  What's the worst that can happen--they start to ripen?  Oh, the horrors.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Green Pork, Corn and Zucchini Enchiladas (Can you can? Yes, you can!)

Ground pork sautéed with zucchini and corn makes the filling for these green salsa verde enchiladas. Home-canned sauces enjoyed all year long.

Do you can?  I've made jam over the years, but I really need to give a shout out to Marisa of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round because a year ago, through her wonderful blog, she gave me permission to can 'just a little bit' of something without making a Big Production out of it.

Last summer, when my local grocery store was roasting fresh Hatch chilies in the parking lot and the farm share had tomatillos every single week, I decided to try my hand at canning salsa verde.  I first tried salsa verde the previous winter when I made tongue tacos from the cow in the freezer.  My family tolerated the tongue, but we all loved the salsa verde and I resolved to learn how to make it when the farm share tomatillos overwhelmed me appeared in the box.  I followed the Ball® Blue Book recipe, subbed the roasted Hatch chilies, and this was the result--six lovely jelly jars of salsa verde.
Since I had the canning pot up from the basement and hot water anyway, I figured I'd make some peach jam from peaches that had been hanging out in the freezer, awaiting a canning day and some pectin.

But what to make with it?  We haven't finished up the first cow, and most cows only have 1 tongue [not that we were pantingly eager to experience those tacos again].  We are loving enchiladas these days, so I figured an enchilada recipe would be a neat way to take my salsa verde for a test drive.  I found some ground pork marked down at the grocery store and grabbed a bag of zucchini out of the freezer.
Freezer?  Yes, I wrote this post up during the snowy winter, dreaming of temps above the single digits while sharing how I feed my family from our garden and CSA farm share all year 'round.  If you're overrun with zucchini this summer, shred some up--I love my food processor because it has a fine shred disc which is perfect for zucchini, carrots, or cheese.  I freeze bags of shredded zucchini flat in 1 cup portions.
But I digress . . .  where was I?  Oh, right. Ground pork, zucchini, and you know what else would be good stuffed into that tortilla?  Corn.  Grabbed some of that, too.  You'll notice that this enchilada recipe serves 6, but only uses 1/2 pound of meat.  We are omnivores, but I like to serve less meat and more veggies, so this is another way to stretch a pound of meat.  And tasty, too!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mexican Chicken Lentil Rice Bake (Salad?)

Most home cooks, and even the professionals down the road at Dorothy Lane Market, know the value of turning to a Kitchen Sink type recipe when faced with a fridge full of dinner building blocks.  I'm pretty sure a lot of classic Hot Dish combinations came about because a cook looked to his or her fridge/freezer/pantry for a substitution instead of trekking to the store.  Even though my local store is only a 1 mile (Map My) walk away, complete with a water dish for the waiting Simon, I'd rather use what I've got on hand.  Sometimes, the result is good enough to be written up and appear here.
I was mulling over what to call this dish while working a Hunger Study 2014 survey site.  My fellow volunteer, Bob, kept offering title ideas that were more general.  I kept coming up with very specific titles.  This was our compromise--it's got the Mexican Chicken Bake part from Bob and the Chicken Lentil Rice part from me.  You know, in case I do a Mexican Chicken Bake using garbanzo beans, Maui onions, zucchini, butternut squash, and orzo next. Or something.  Who knows?

Because I only used 2 large chicken thighs to feed 6-8 servings, I'd say this qualifies as a meat-stretching meal.  The chicken flavors the lentils, which add fiber and more protein to the dish.  Using leeks, corn, and salsa verde all put up from my seasonal CSA farm share pumps up the vegetable content, the rice binds it together, and the cheeses make it all tasty.  We ate this the first time a bit like we eat Taco Farro:  with tortilla chips, sour cream, salsa, and lettuce.  Leftovers went into thermoses for school, onto salads for lunch, and scooped up as a pre-dinner snack by a tortilla-chip-weilding hungry spouse.

Keep this Kitchen Sink idea in mind if you want to create a "less meat, more fiber" flavorful meal for your family.  It appealed to all of us, and I hope it appeals to you.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Fish Taco Enchiladas

My dining room table is a battlefield.

I don't mean the battle over homework, though that also occurs at the dining room table, the breakfast nook table, and the Lego table.  I also don't mean the battle for Europe, or orange train cars, or vending cart cards, or goats for women.
Though as an aside, if you want to add more board games to your Game Nights I highly recommend the Board Game Family's recommendations. My spouse, with that site's advice, kickstarted our twice weekly FGNs after years of trying and failing to get a FGN routine going. And these games we play?  Great for adults without kids, too--they are just plain fun, unless you're malicious like my daughter playing Spot It--she always wins.
No, in fact I mean the How To Fold A Burrito Properly battle.  There are 4 of us eating, and we each fold our burritos in a different way.  And of course each one of us thinks we're right.  (My spouse is.) You'll notice in my Mu Shu (ish) Chicken Burrito post that I completely sidestepped the folding debate.  I'm sidestepping it again here, this time by making enchiladas! (I'm sure this says something about my personality or birth order or whatnot, but perhaps it's just that in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter to me how you fold your burrito.  Your sushi rolling is a different story.) I'm sharing this now because it is a tasty recipe and helped me to add variety in the proteins that we eat.

It just makes sense that eating a variety of foods in our diet is best, you know?  My family is fortunate that eating seasonally from our CSA farm share means that the produce in our diet (and that of the composting guinea pigs) is naturally varied.
I mean, I'm not going to the grocery store on Saturday and buying a head of lettuce, a package of tomatoes, a bag of carrots, and a bunch of bananas each and every week all year 'round.  Instead I'm yearning for tomatoes amidst the greens in May and overrun with squash and eggplant in August.  Such is the life of a CSA subscriber!  And that's the way I like it--eating from my CSA farm share appeals to me in ways I never considered when we started 8 years ago. I thought it would be similar when we got part of a cow for our freezer.  And it was, in part--we tried beef tongue tacos and ox tail stew for the first time.
What I didn't realize was that we'd end up eating more beef than we usually do, just because we have it in the house.  I have to work at eating protein sources other than beef--which is why I was tickled to see frozen Swai (aka Pangasius or Basa) fillets for $1.99/pound at the store.  Swai is a white fleshed fish in the "Good Alternative" category on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website.  Protein that is a Good Alternative, that is a great price, is good for me.

But what to do with the Swai fillets?

I had some leftover shredded cabbage/coleslaw mix, cilantro, Greek yogurt, some of my home-canned salsa verde made with farm share tomatillos and roasted Hatch chiles from the grocery store down the street, and enchilada-size tortillas, so you can easily see why I went in the direction I did here.  While it is technically an enchilada, it's not covered with a ton of cheese and a rich sauce.  The cabbage still had a bit of crunch to it, the fish was firm, the whole dish just worked.  If you have Swai or any firm white-fleshed fish (tilapia, cod, perch and whitefish are all on the approved list of the website) try this twist on the traditional fish taco, avoid the burrito-folding battles, and add variety to your plate.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Salsa Verde, Pork Steak, and Oaxaca Cheese Pizza (Pizza Night!)

For other recipes using Hatch Chiles, please see my Hatch Chile Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. This is a resource for folks like me eating seasonally from the farm share, farmer's market, or garden abundance.

There really is a pizza recipe in this post. It's Friday, and you're at Farm Fresh Feasts, right?

I've always liked to play with my food and try new things, I guess my daughter gets it from me.  A while ago we got part of a cow, including the tongue and tail.  I made beef tongue tacos with the tongue and, while they were interesting, the real star of that meal was the salsa verde.
Oh salsa verde, [I lamented] where were you when I was cluelessly trying to coax something edible out of my CSA farm share tomatillos??  Ah well, at least now I knew what to do with the tomatillos!  Sorry, food bank, I'm keeping them this time--have a jar of peanut butter and a couple cans of tuna instead.
Last season I had the happy coincidence of my local grocery store roasting fresh Hatch chilies at the same time that the farm share blessed us with tomatillos (something Aubrey of Homegrown & Healthy commented on--produce that is in season at the same time generally pairs well together). I quickly canned a batch of salsa verde using the Ball canning book recipe.  I wasn't quite sure what all I would make with it--we really didn't want to experience tongue again, though I wish cattle had 4 tails each because ox tail rocks.  Try Elise's Oxtail Stew recipe, and you'll see what I mean.

When I thought about the idea of taking some leftover pork steak home from my in-laws, I lay awake dreaming up this pizza.  I figured the pork would go nicely with the salsa verde.  I just wasn't sure what type of cheese would be best.  So the pork sat in the freezer and the salsa verde sat in the pantry and both patiently waited until this week.  My family has recently become enamored of fresh mozzarella on pizza, like this or this or this.  I love to get perfectly edible food marked down, so I've added a pass by the fancy cheese area when I'm making twice daily occasional milk runs.  If there are no marked down balls of fresh mozzarella, I make a mental note when the balls on display are due to be sold by, and try and swing by the day before when they'll have the magic stickers.  Did you know you could freeze marked down fresh mozzarella, thaw and slice it, and use it on a pizza?  Now you do.

It was during one such pass that the marked down sticker on this cheese caught my eye.  It wasn't quite shaped like mozzarella, but it looked and felt similar.  I whooped(!) because I felt like I'd scored getting mozzarella marked down.  The cheese monger (a brilliant lady--she can even pronounce the name of this cheese without sounding like Ben Stiller's character trying to say Brett Favre's name in the movie There's Something About Mary or Ellen Degeneres' character reading in Finding Nemo) told me that the cheese I was whooping about was in fact not mozzarella and started to describe it's characteristics to me.  Here's what the Murray's Cheese Oaxaca label says:
"Resembles mozzarella in terms of style and make process, but flavor-wise, Oaxaca cheese deserves its own dance floor.  Of Mexican heritage but made in Waterloo, Wisconsin by our friends The Crave Brothers, it's pure white and semi-hard, with sting cheesy texture and a salty milky zing.  It's best used for the melted implementation in its country of origin:  nachos, tacos, or quesadillas, or as a substitute for queso blanco in cooking."
We agreed this pizza would go perfectly with this cheese.  If you don't have access to Oaxaca and are too shy to ask for it because you're afraid you'll mispronounce it, I think queso blanco, shredded Mexican blend, or fresh mozzarella would do fine.

The last comment I need to make before getting to the recipe is this:  next time I won't make this pizza the way I did.  I'll make it the way I wrote it up here.  I think it would be better to toss the cooked meat on at the end, like in this pizza, not in the beginning.  What can I say?  I was making 4 different pizzas, 2 to deliver to a friend, and I was way distracted.  On Friday nights I put the 'as it's happening' pizzas up on my Facebook page so you can see how crazed I sometimes frequently get in the kitchen.