Week #18



Cherry tomatoes

Hot peppers



Summer squash (yellow, green, patty pan)



Basil (the whole plants are coming your way)



With the help of the boys we managed to pull all the onions and shallots. I transplanted as Juve cleared, composted and tilled the beds. We worked until we really couldn’t see any longer but we managed to get all the lettuce, fennel, over-wintering cauliflower and broccoli planted. We also seeded more beds in the hoop house for fall and winter. We tried direct seeding some items that we usually transplant, we will see how that works out. Our biggest fear is having the weeds get ahead of us and the plants, and keeping them moist as they germinate. It all seems fine until you realize how our attention is still focused out in the fields. We could always till it under and start again if it doesn’t work.

What were we thinking with so many beans? So many cucumbers? There is a pattern here, if we were short the season before you can be sure there will be overproduction the following year. It usually depends on my perception of the quantity of a certain item and I make a mental note that we needed more and I proceed to overdo it the following season. We hope the recipes from Suresh that I sent out midweek helped you consume the beans and that you will keep them in mind this week as we prepare to harvest another 5 bushels today.

Mark your calendars for the upcoming events. Our big Harvest Festival is coming October 14 from 2 – 6 p.m. This is our big fall celebration, a time when you can invite your friends to see our farm. We will feast on pizza and great potluck items from all over the world, watch dancers and horn players and listen to marimba. We hope you all can join us.

The other big event this fall (aside from send off of our first son Jacob to college on September 20th)is the opening of the Wellness Center at Virginia Garcia Cornelius site. Many of you may know that I have been integrally involved in moving our clinic from the small refurbished hovel to a new state of the art Wellness center. We will be able to offer our patients integrative health care with an emphasis on wellness and fitness, food and exercise. We have built an industrial teaching kitchen, exercise rooms and gardens to model wellness for our patients and allow them to have access to these services. It has been just one year since we tore down the old VGC and on October 19 and 20 we open our new clinic for all to see.

Please consider joining me on the Walk for Wellness on October 20 at 0900. I have a team and I want to make it huge. All of the money raised by the team will go directly into programming at the new wellness center. To join my team “La Finquita del Buho” go to http://walkforwellness.virginiagarcia.org/. You will need to raise $100 to participate to walk on my team.

Zucchini with Opal Basil, Pine Nuts, and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Local Flavors, Deborah Madison

1 pound or more zucchini, 6 to 8 inches long

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup pine nuts

extra virgin olive oil

freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

10 large opal basil leaves, or other basil, torn

  1. slice the squash in half lenghwiise, then steam or simmer in salted water until tender. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden.
  2. When the squash is done, arrange it on a platter, cut side up. Drizzle olive oil over it and season with salt and pepper. Grate a veil of cheese over the squash, add the pine nuts and basil and serve.

Maryanne’s Tian of Basil

2 medium- small zucchini, thinly sliced

4 bunches basil, 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil, stemmed and coarsely chopped

3-4 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced

¾ cup or less shredded kasseri, gruyere or Swiss cheese,

¼ cup or less fruity extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a shallow (about 2 inches deep) ovenproof serving dish. Place the zucchini slices over the bottom and press chopped basil leaves firmly over the zucchini (the basil will cook down the way spinach does).
  2. 2. Arrange the tomato slices over the basil. Then scatter the cheese evenly over the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and back about 35 minutes, until hot through and cheeses are melted

Cucumber Salsa Salad


This salad, which resembles gazpacho, is a lovely, light way to begin a Mexican meal. Serve it atop lettuce leaves as a salad, or serve over rice. Alternately, use it as a sauce with fish, chicken or fajitas.

1 long European cucumber, very finely diced

Salt to taste

1 small red onion, finely minced

5 medium-size ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

2 jalapeño or serrano peppers, seeded if desired and finely chopped

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (to taste), plus several sprigs for garnish

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Leaf lettuce or Boston lettuce for serving (optional)

1 avocado, sliced, for garnish

1. Place the finely diced cucumber in a colander, and sprinkle with salt. Toss and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse the cucumber thoroughly with cold water, and drain again on paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, place the onion in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes, then drain, rinse with cold water and drain on paper towels.

3. Combine the tomatoes, chiles, cilantro, vinegar, lime juice and olive oil in a bowl. Add the cucumber and onion, and season to taste with salt. Taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Serve the salad on lettuce leaves, garnished with slices of avocado and cilantro sprigs, or spoon over steamed rice.

Yield: Serves six.

Advance preparation: You can assemble the salad a few hours ahead, but don’t add the cilantro until close to serving time.


This is bar-none my favorite tomatillo recipe. It stands much improvisation. It’s great on enchiladas, but also over pork loin for chile verde, and over fried tofu for the vegetarian version.

2 lbs. tomatillos

4 medium jalapenos or other hot peppers, peeled, seeded and minced

6 T. cilantro, chopped

1 t. salt

½ c. onions or to taste

Peel the dry skins off the tomatillos, wash them, and boil them in lightly salted water for about 10 minutes until they are just soft. Drain, puree them in a blender or food processor, and put them in a saucepan with the remaining ingredients. Simmer gently for about 40 minutes. Use as dip for chips, enchilada sauce, or chili verde sauce for meat, tofu, or vegetables. From The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two by Anna Thomas

Ernesto’s Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa

3 chipotles or moritas 1 cup chopped onions

1 large tomato, broiled or charred over flame 2 cloves of garlic

1 pound tomatillos (10 or so), blackened 1 ½ cup chicken broth

½ to 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

3 teaspoons chipotle en adobo, pureed 2 tablespoons cilantro

Soak the chipotles or moritas in boiling water for 15 -30 minutes depending on their dryness. Broil or char tomato and blacken the tomatillos. Fry the chopped onion in an ungreased frying pan until slightly browned but not burned. Add the garlic at the end so that it doesn’t burn. Place soaked chipotles, onions, garlic, tomato, tomatillos, half the broth, salt vinegar, the adobo and cilantro in the blender. Puree. Sinner the salsa in a saucepan , adding the rest of the broth. Simmer for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning, serve warm.

Salsa de Chile Pasilla de Michoacan (Michoacan Pasilla Sauce)
This sauce comes from the northern part of Michoacan. It is traditionally served over boiled rice and topped with crumbled cotija cheese, with corundas or uchepos and creme. Recipe by Diana Kennedy.

pasilla chiles: photo by gourmetsleuth.com

3 chiles pasilla
2 tablespoons safflower oil
2 small fresh tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
1/4 cup water
2 garlic cloves
1/4 small white onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

Remove stalks if any from the dried chiles and discard. Wipe the chiles with a damp cloth to remove any dust.  Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the chiles, without burning, turning them around from time to time until they are firm to the touch, about 5 minutes.

Remove the chiles with a slotted spoon and drain on paper toweling.  In the same oil, fry the tomate verde and garlic until lightly browned and soft inside, about 5 minutes. Put the water into a blender jar add the tomate verde, peeled garlic, and crumbled, fried chiles with their seeds and veins. Blend for a few seconds to a textured puree.  Heat the same  oil in the pan, add the onion and fry gently until translucent, without browning–about 1 minute. Add the blended ingredients and salt and fry, stirring form time to time and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the sauce has reduced and thickened a little and is well seasons–about 5 minutes.

Tomatillo Green Salsa

3 medium size tomatillos (husked and washed)

2 cloves garlic

3 canned chipotle chiles, seeded

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat a heavy duty skillet over medium

heat. Place the tomatillos and the unpeeled garlic cloves directly on the skillet. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning frequently, until tomatillos are soft and blackened in spots.

Peel the skin off the garlic cloves. Place garlic cloves, tomatillos, chiles, and salt in a blender with two tablespoons of water. Puree salsa,

adding more water if necessary. Serve at

room temperature.

Variation 1:Add a teaspoon of the sauce

from the canned chiles to the blender for a smokier sauce.

Variation 2:Use canned tomatillos and skip the roasting step.

Chicken in Green Sauce with Piloncillo
Source: The Mexican Gourmet

Serve 6

The sweet-and-sour combination of the acidic tomatillos and the piloncillo (light molasses) in the sauce is unusual in Mexican cooking-and delicious.


1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 whole chicken, cut into serving pieces

1 onion, sliced

1 1/2 lb tomatillos

5 jalapeno chiles

2 1/2 oz piloncillo, shredded, or light molasses

3 plantains or bananas, sliced and fried, for garnish




Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the chicken until lightly browned. Add the onion and cook until translucent, stirring constantly.

Roast the tomatillos and chiles on a comal or cast-iron griddle, then puree them in a blender with a little water. Add the tomatillo mixture and piloncillo to the pan and simmer until the piloncillo melts. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve hot, garnished with the plantains.

Enchiladas Verdes
Source: © Cooking Light Magazine

Yield: 4 servings

If you eat all of the Double-Herb Roasted Chicken, use a prepackaged rotisserie chicken (available in the meat section of the supermarket) for this recipe. Asadero, originally from Mexico, is a semisoft cow’s milk cheese with a bright, pungent flavor.

Other necessary recipes:
Double-Herb Roasted Chicken and Potatoes


For Salsa Verde:

1 pound tomatillos (about 15)

1 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

For Filling:

2 1/2 cups shredded Double-Herb Roasted Chicken, about 12 ounces (see recipe)

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded asadero cheese or Asiago cheese

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro

1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup fat-free sour cream

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Remaining ingredients:

Cooking spray

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1/4 cup fat-free sour cream

Sliced jalapeno pepper (optional)




TO PREPARE SALSA VERDE: Discard husks and stems from tomatillos; cut into quarters. Combine tomatillos, 1 1/4 cups broth, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and chopped jalapeno in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tomatillos are tender. Cool slightly. Place salsa verde in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth or mash with a potato masher. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add salsa verde; cook until reduced to 2 cups (about 1 minute).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

TO PREPARE ENCHILADA FILLING: Combine chicken and next 9 ingredients (chicken through black pepper) in a large bowl.

TO ASSEMBLE: Spread 1/2 cup salsa verde in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Arrange enchiladas, seam sides down, crosswise in dish. Pour remaining salsa verde evenly over enchiladas. Cover and bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with sour cream, and garnish with sliced jalapeno, if desired.

This is another Mole Sauce that should be mentioned. 
It is a green, pale thick sauce made from ground pumpkinseeds, green tomatoes, lettuce leaves and fresh herbs. 
Like mole Poblano it is used to stew or cook fowl and meat and has a delicate but deliciouly memorable flavor
 and perfume.  This mole is very similiar to the class of sauces called "PIPIAN".
A "PIPIAN" is a sauce made of ground pumpkinseeds, nuts, spices and chiles and also called 
Green Pumpkinseed Sauce. I often find these two terms interchanged, although  a Pipian does not contain 
the  chocolate necessary to qualify a sauce as a mole. A Pipian is a fricassee of fowl, meat or pork prepared
in a pre-Hispanic sauce that surrived through the years of the Spanish conquest-
2 each........................whole ducks
8 leaves..................romaine leaves
8 each......................tomatillos
2 cloves.................fresh garlic
1 each......................onion
10 sprigs................fresh cilantro
2 sprigs.................epazote
2 each......................avocado leaves
4 each......................radish leaves
1 tsp........................cumin powder
2 each......................chiles serranos
1/2 cup..................water
1 cup..........................duck fat
2 cups.......................green pumpkinseeds
4 ozs.........................peanuts
3 cups......................chicken stock
Oven roast the ducks at 350 degrees F, cool and and reserve one cup of the duck fat. 
Grind the tomatillos, lettuce, garlic, onions, cilantro, radish and avocado leaves, epazote, cumin, chiles and 
the water until you get a very smooth paste.
Grind the pumpkinseeds and peanuts. Heat the duck fat till hot in a frying pan. Add the smooth puree from 
above and stir constantly until the mixture is well cooked. This should take about 5-6 minutes and be careful 
not to scorch this mixture. Then add the pumpkinseeds and peanuts and continue until you acheive a soft, 
smooth paste. Make sure the chicken stock is hot and add it to this paste, stir until it comes to good boil then 
turn it off and let it stand.
Cut ducks into serving size portions and place these portions into the sauce to steep for 15 minutes. 
Then serve in a very hot serving dish accompanied with warm tortillas.

Green Tomatillo Enchiladas

(from Las Posada in McAllen, Texas)

12 tomatillos (green tomatoes)
2 cans chicken stock
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz grated Swiss cheese
8 corn tortillas, softened (how to soften tortillas)
1.Place tomatillos and enough chicken stock to cover in a saucepan. Add garlic, onion and cilantro. Simmer until tomatillos are soft. Puree mixture in blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Take softened tortillas and spoon about a tablespoon of the grated cheese in each tortilla. Roll up and place open side down in baking dish. Reserve some of the cheese to sprinkle on top of the enchiladas.

3. Cover enchiladas with the tomatillos sauce and sprinle with the reserved cheese.

4. Bake at 325 degrees until enchiladsa are thoroughly heated and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

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