Friday, October 1, 2010

Knocking Over Little Old Ladies

Looking back through this blog, it's apparent the recipes are sort of all over the place. There's not necessarily one style or ethnicity I cook more than another. But. If I were forced to pinpoint my off-the-cuff food strength, it would have to probably be Mexican. Though I really enjoy cooking and eating Mexican food, it's Les' favorite. A while ago we were talking food, and in response to me gushing about sushi, he was like, "Eh. It's okay, but I wouldn't knock over a little old lady to get some." Which OF COURSE begged the question, "What kind of food WOULD you knock over little old ladies for?" Mexican was his quick answer, followed by Italian, and good bar food (burgers, wings, etc.) Matter of fact, when I asked him the other day what his ultimate meal would be his answer was a banquet table loaded with fillings and toppings for tortillas. So, well, I end up cooking a lot of Mexican dishes, because, I love food. Any kind. And let's face it, there are not many types of food I WOULDN'T knock over a little old lady to get to.

This August I helped a friend throw a dinner party for her husband's birthday. A Mexican feast for 15ish (though we made enough food to feed double that.) Les had just given me Rick Bayless' latest cookbook for our anniversary, and this was the first recipe I chose to make. The dish didn't last 5 minutes. Seriously. I only got two bites, and I'm pretty sure they were only saved for me out of obligation. If there had been little old ladies at the party, I'm sure they would have been knocked over.
Today is the third consecutive day of rain. It's gray and damp and has felt like perpetual morning for days. I've been trying to get through what felt like the loneliest of afternoons by holing up in the brightest room the house, the kitchen. I've skinned and frozen the last of the season's tomatoes. I've cleaned. And I've treated myself to entire plate of this dip. Out of wifely obligation, I've saved Les a few bites.

Goat Cheese in Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

8 ounces (about 4 medium) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
hot green chile to taste (roughly 1 serrano or 1 small jalapeno), stemmed and roughly hopped
8 ounces of goat cheese
1/4 cup of finely chopped white onion
about 1/4 cup loosely packed, chopped cilantro

1. Make the sauce. In a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, roast the tomatillos (start them cut side down) and garlic until soft and browned, 3-4 minutes per side. (If a nonstick skillet is unavailable, line a regular skillet with aluminum foil.) Scoop the tomatillos and garlic into a blender or food processor, add the chile and 1/2 water and blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt, usually a generous teaspoon.

2. Form the goat cheese into a 1 inch disc. Place in an ovenproof dish and top with salsa. Warm the whole thing in the oven. When warmed through, sprinkle with onions and cilantro. Serve alongside warm tortillas or toasted baguette. (I ate mine with white corn chips, which was great too.)