Roasted Salsa Verde

DSC_0039My family loves salsa, and we keep tons of it in the pantry at all times. I usually go for the store bought jars for onvenience, but sometimes I just want the real deal. I was having one of those days recently, when I was craving a homemade salsa. My plan was to make chicken enchiladas, and my salsa of choice when it comes to enchiladas is almost always salsa verde which simply means green salsa. I had almost everything on hand, except for tomatillos and jalapenos, so a quick trip to the store later, I was armed and ready to go.

If you have never tried salsa verde before, you are totally missing out. It is such a great breakaway from the usual red salsa, and goes great with chicken. Of course you could just dip your tortilla chips too 🙂 I won’t judge. Tomatillos look a lot like green tomatoes once you take the peel off, but they are actually not from the same family. They are pretty easy to find now at almost every grocery store in the US, even Walmart carries them now.  The best way to select the ones with the best flavor is to look for those that have smooth, firm skin(underneath the peel), and to pick smaller ones. The big ones are more bland in flavor. You could boil them, but I find that I prefer roasting them for depth of flavor. To prepare them for roasting, just take the peel off, and wash them. The peel makes the tomatillos feel waxy, but a good wash will remedy this.

DSC_0020My family loves spicy food, but the 3 jalapeno turned out to be just a little too spicy for one of my kids (my two year old handled it just fine, but the older one ended up mixing some sour cream in with her salsa to tone it down). That being said, please adjust the jalapeno to suit your taste. I took the seeds and ribs off two of the jalapenos, and left the seeds in one. I might just take all the seeds out next time. Removing the seeds and the ribs of the peppers makes them less spicy. You could even omit the peppers all together for a mild but still flavorful sauce.

The recipe yielded about 3  cups of salsa(which is a lot!), which we ate with chips and then used for chicken enchiladas on day 2. The sauce should keep well in the fridge for a few days, and can also be canned for longer storage. You can easily half this recipe.

2 pounds tomatillos, cleaned and halved
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
3 jalapenos, quartered (and seeded, if you prefer)
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

1. Adjust your rack in the oven 3/4 way to the top, and turn your oven on broil. Arrange your tomatillos, onion, jalapeno and garlic on a cookie sheet.

DSC_00242. Put the in the oven and broil for about 8 minutes, until the vegetables start to get a little charred, but not burned. Pull the pan out and set aside to cool down until it is cool enough to handle.

DSC_00253. Peel the garlic and put in a blender with the other vegetables. Add in the lime juice, cilantro, cumin and salt. Pulse the blender until you achieve your desired consistency. I like a slightly chunky salsa.




Devotion For The Day:

For the last week, I have been studying the book of Nehemiah. I would highly recommend reading it. It’s not terribly long (13 chapters), but has such an incredible story. The jist of the story is that the Israelites having rebelled against God, in judgement were taken captive by the Babylonians, and their glorious city of Jerusalem was reduced to ruins. After many decades had passed, many of the exiles had returned to Jerusalem, but it was still in ruins, and they were very vulnerable. At this time, Nehemiah was a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, and was devastated when he heard of the state of the city. After much prayer, he felt compelled to lead the efforts to rebuild the city. He prayed every step of the way, and his godly leadership led the people of Israel to rebuild the city in record time, as well as to recommit themselves to God.

The verses that I’m sharing today are from Nehemiah 9. At this point, the city is rebuilt, and Nehemiah is their new governor. He leads the people into a time of fasting and praying as they confess their past sin and rebellion, and also recommit themselves to following God’s laws that they had turned away from. As a people, in chapter 9 they are reflecting on their past, and God’s faithfulness and provision for them, but also their unfaithfulness and rebellion to Him. I totally loved verse 19. They paint such a perfect picture of who God is, even in the face of who we are… fallen and unfaithful. His love and compassion never fails.

Nehemiah 9:19-21. “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. You gave your Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet become swollen”.



Mango and Avocado Salsa

The spring has arrived with a bang, and I am loving the warmer weather. I know that living in Alabama I should not be whining about the cold since Southern winters are pretty mild, but I can’t stand the cold. After a week of winter, I’m usually ready to call it a wrap. One of my favorite things about the spring is the bountiful fruits and vegetables available. I had long since given up on finding mangoes that taste anything like what I knew growing up eating in Kenya, but I have been pleasantly surprised to find really sweet mangoes at my local publix store. This recipe is one of the many ways we are enjoying our weekly mango stash. My kids love guacamole, and this is a welcome alternative to our usual recipe. I wasn’t sure how the mango was going to taste mixed with tomato, and I almost left the tomatoes out. I’m glad I didn’t. It was the perfect balance of flavors.I changed very little from the original recipe, except for reducing the oil, taking the seeds out of the tomatoes before dicing them, and using extra lime juice. If you like things really spicy, leave the seeds in the jalapeno. I was going for a milder salsa since this was a dinner side that the kids would be eating. I served the salsa with grilled chicken, and dinner was delicious, and done in less than 30 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes. Serves 6 as snack, or 4 as a dinner side.
1 mango – peeled, seeded and diced
1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice ( I used juice from two limes)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons olive oil (I just used 1 tbsp)
In a medium bowl, combine the mango, avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic. Stir in the salt, lime juice, red onion, and olive oil. To blend the flavors, refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving.
Devotion For The Day:

Today we are getting some very welcome rain. We have been covered in pollen the last couple of weeks, and the yellow dust has been EVERYWHERE. Little yellow streams are running down the driveway currently, and we are really glad to see the actual color on our cars (the yellow was quite unbecoming). The only downside today is that there is the possibility of tornadoes as I live in Alabama (read.. tornado central). My two year old absolutely hates thunder, and the sound of rain makes her very anxious as she anticipates the thunder that might follow. I was just watching her a few minutes ago, and for the 20th time this hour she peeked out the window and said “I scare-red Mommy”. It just occurred to me though, that as much as she is scared, she is perfectly fine as long as she sees Mommy or Daddy. Somehow she knows that she will be OK. The trust that she has in us overshadows her fears.  Contrasting this with moments when she’s alone and the  thunder cracks, it’s a different story all together. She screams her little heart out until we come to the “rescue”.
As I pondered over the situation, it hit me that the same child’s faith she has in us is the same faith that God calls me to have with Him. As long as she knows we are with her, she knows she will be OK.  Psalms 34:4 sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears”. I think this verse sums up perfectly what I need to do when a scary situation comes my way. Seek the Lord, and trust Him. He shall deliver me from my fears.