How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Verde .... Es Verdad

(Green ... It's True)

In presenting geography programs with our giant EarthView programs throughout the year, our outreach team gets around. In addition to meeting about 10,000 students per year (that's not a typo), we have the pleasure of visiting schools in several dozen communities around Massachusetts. Sometimes we manage to get a long enough lunch break to do a bit of exploring, and this is something that we geographers never get tired of.

We like new places, of course, and also returning to places around the state (and Rhode Island) that have become favorites. One of these is Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon. This is not far from home, but we generally only get to it when visiting the Sharon Middle School. In addition to a great lunch counter, we enjoy browsing the shop for special sauces, jams and the like. This time, we had a very generous lunch break early in June, so a couple of us explored the plant offerings.

I bought a couple of plants, and one of our students bought me a couple more! (Have I mentioned we have great students at BSU?) These included tomatillos, which we had last had at our Bridgewater home in 2011. Given the scrumptious, eat-it-with-a-spoon salsa I made back then, it is strange that I had not tried another crop in five years.

This time, I planted the tomatillos behind at our Fairhaven house. (I also planted the nopal cactus in the sunny front yard; stay tuned to see if it hangs on through the winter.)

Being an absent-minded professor, I failed to notice the tomatillos as they grew in the midst of some other plants, until I saw something unusual a few weeks ago, took a second look, and realized that they were ready to harvest. Actually, some were ready, but I panicked a bit and harvested all of them. Later I realized many were pretty small and perhaps not as ripe as they could be.

Still, I collected these and then another, larger batch. Some I simply blended with cilantro as part of our Thanksgiving-weekend chalupa* fest, and it made a good, if incredibly simple salsa verde.

(Chalupa -- basically a hard-shell taco, but built on top of a flat taco shell, like a little tower of deliciousness.)

After making the "fake" salsa verde, I still had a lot of tomatillos left (more than shown above), so I decided to make it for real. I was surprised to find that cooking was involved. I did a quick search on All Recipes, and followed the tomatillo salsa verde recipe as posted, except that I paid little attention to measurements and I probably over-blended it.

The result was very tasty but a bit thin. We have kept it in a glass jar (much better than plastic for this sort of thing), and have used it on quesadillas, chips, and similar dishes for several days now.

I like the suggestion of reader Sara Zavesky, who suggests roasting some of the ingredients. I hope to try this next year!

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