Mermelada de Jitomate
8 cups cherry tomatoes
6 scallions, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces, white/light green and green parts separated
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
Kosher or coarse sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup fruity red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon or malbec
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons capers
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and grilled
12 ounces goat cheese
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, leaves and upper stems
Fine crystal sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, white and light green parts of the scallions, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and salt and pepper until the tomatoes are well coated. Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Put the baking sheet in the oven and let the tomatoes wilt, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. They should be wilted but remain intact. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and cool to room temperature.
In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the crushed chiles and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the red wine, sugar and vinegar and increase the heat to medium. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the wine reduces by more than half and becomes syrupy. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the tomatoes, capers, and pine nuts. Stir all to combine and let simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl for serving.
Spread some goat cheese on the grilled baguette slices, top with some of the tomato jam, and garnish with cilantro and the remaining chopped green parts of the scallions. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt for just before serving.
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I began to see the exotic side of the tomatillo once in the US.
Growing up in Mexico, they were a standard at every market, part of our weekly mandado, present in our family meals at least half a dozen times a week: in salsa verde to pour on top of almost everything, in enchiladas, chilaquiles, bathing fish, covering a shredded meat and potato stew, and sometimes cactus paddles.
Think something like salt … how odd it is to find a kitchen without salt?
Once we moved to Texas, the only place I could find them was in Latino stores. As the years moved on, there was no one I met without a Mexican connection who had ever cooked with a tomatillo or even dared to bring one home.
Sure, many people love salsa verde and eat it in restaurants or buy a jar at the store, but few know that its star ingredient, is the tomatillo.
Continue reading Tomatillo and Lime Jam
Meet the tomatillo–this small, plump, green fruit was a favorite of the Aztecs and stars in any number of Mexican dishes today. Its tart flavor is worlds apart from the taste of tomatoes, but is just as juicy and unforgettable. This episode will show you where to find tomatillos, how to cook with them, and tips and tricks for creating amazing dishes.
TOMATILLO AND LIME JAM
Mermelada de Tomate Verde con Limon
Makes about 1 1/4 cups
1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
Rind of a lime, whole or chopped
A pinch of salt
Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan set over medium heat. Let them come to a simmer and stir occasionally, letting them cook until it has thickened and achieved a soft and loose jam consistency, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Don’t wait until it has thickened too much, because it thickens considerably as it cools. Once it has cooled down, pour it into a container, cover tightly and refrigerate.
It seems that when it comes to birthdays and cakes, most of us grown ups are like little kids too. So this year, I planned my husbands’ cake with a little help from my three young boys.
The night before, as I tucked them in bed, we talked about making an irresistible I-want-to-jump-into-that-cake kind of cake. It had to be something that could WOW him away and could also feel yummy and soft when they dipped his face in it (yep! that was their plan).
This talk led me, once again, to tell the boys stories about cakes from my childhood. Most of those cakes came from Sanborns’, a chain of stores that sells almost anything you can imagine: books, DVD’s, make-up, electronics, luggage, candies, the best ever chocolate covered raisins, marshmallows and toys. It also has great coffee-shop style restaurants with some of my favorite molletes and enchiladas. Not to forget its perfumeries and pharmacies. It is a serious knock out one-stop-shop. But most importantly, it was, and may still be, one of the most popular places to get a birthday cake.
One of the cakes that left me with a permanent impression went something like this: A couple layers of fluffy and moist vanilla cake, a foamy and soft meringue filling paired with old fashioned strawberry jam and pecans, the same soft meringue layered all over the top, some more pecans and whatever decorations you fancied.
That cake, by itself, made a party happen. It was a creation worthy of its own celebration.
Continue reading A Cake Worthy of its own Celebration