Salsa, the Sauce, not the Dance!
Marty Martindale

Salsa is almost as important to the Latino culture as chutney is to East Indian communities. North Americans, slow to salsa
cultivate “ethnic” food, seem to be adapting more to salsa than chutney lately. Basically each is a healthy, savory relish, or side,  served to compliment certain other foods prepared for family meals. See Foodsite Magazine’s article, BUILD YOUR OWN CHUTNEY for similarities. 

To generalize, it is probably safe to say Indians lean more strongly on much more spicing, while the Latin community uses some spices and many variations of hot chile pepper with less variation in vegetables or fruits. The making of of a sauce by combining chiles, and other ingredients like squash seeds and even beans into a tomato base, has been traced back to the Aztec culture. Continue reading

Tomatillos: Tangy Treat, Not a “Bad Tomato Mutation”
Marty Martindale

You may have scorned them! Yes. Tomatillos look like neglected, stunted, often sticky greentomatillo2 tomatoes, frequently surrounded with a paper-lantern-looking-type husk. These little gems are Tomatillos and not tomato genes gone wrong. Pronounced, (toh-MAH-tee-YO,) they are a relative of the tomato, also a nightshade, and Mexican cuisine depends heavily on them for the unique tartness they add to snappy green sauces.

The Aztecs first grew tomatillos back in 800 B.C. Their word for them was “miltomatl.”  Now, as they catch on more widely, they are also grown in the U.S.

Tomatillos are rich in vitamin C, fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in calories.

Select tomatillos which are firm and still in their husks. Avoid sticky ones. They have a relatively long refrigerator shelf life. Store them in a paper bag with husks or in a sealed plastic bag without husks. They also freeze well in this condition, sliced or whole. An old tomatillo will turn yellow when old and contains less flavor.


Basic tomatillo cooking:  Remove husks, rinse in cold water, cut into pieces and place in sauce pan with a small amount of water. Simmer for five to seven minutes. From this point use in recipes suggested below:

Eat tomatillos raw, simmered, stewed, braised, roasted, broiled  or grilled.  (Cooking brings out more of their flavor.)
In salsas, meat sauces
Stews and soups
In pesto over pasta
Jams and marmalades
In guacamole
Dip in chocolate

Website recipes for tomatillos: