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Nick and Laina's Adventures

Tomatillo Salsa

MEXICO | Friday, 12 February 2010 | Views [1309] | Comments [5]

Crossing the tracks on the way to Casa Hogar

Crossing the tracks on the way to Casa Hogar

     "Hey, whats up dude!?" was how an enthusiastic Arturo greeted me this afternoon after I had been helping clean the kitchen at Casa Hogar.  "¿¡Que onda wey!?" was my equally enthusiatic response, which has about the same meaning as his greeting here in México. Arturo is the second youngest (one month yonger then me) of the four men that regularly spend their time helping out at the child care home and is more commonly called "Chino", the spanish word for "curly", a nickname that comes from his hair. Chino was in a good mood because in his university english class today they were reviewing greetings in english, his teacher used "Hello, how are you?"  and asked the class if they knew any others. Raising his hand, Chino said,
"Hey, whats up dude?!", his teacher gave a big smile
"Where did you learn that?"
"I have a friend who taught me."
"You know that is a very American greeting, not too many other countries use it."
    It turned out his teacher was impressed and Chino was very excited to since I had taught him my most common greeting a week earlier. After talking about other things he went over in his class, and how much homework he had we lined up all the kids to wash their hands, and then went about the usual chaotic routine of and attempt at an orderly lunch.
     Febuary 7th was our last day living in the center of Oaxaca. Our friend Arianne helped us find a mexican family to move in with. Manuel and Margarita, are two mexican parents of three kids, two older then us, and one younger. We moved into their comfortable house in Colonia Reforma, a neighborhood in the norther part of Oaxaca.  Neither of them speak english, and so our last week has definitely been fun having conversation in good (and not so good) spanish. They have been hosting foreign exchange students for many years, and are quite comfortable to be with. They help us with our pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar.  One afternoon, after coming back from Ariannes, we walked into the house to the smell of roasting tomatillos and sound of mexican television. Heading into the kitchen, Margarita give a us a warm "¡Buenos Tardes!" and in her right hand is a small frying pan with 6 green tomatillos,  and some white and purple ones too. She then picked the stems off of some Chilies Pasillas, a type of chile only grown here in Oaxaca valley, and started telling us about her recipe for "Salsa de Mil Tomates" (thousand tomatoes).  First, you need tomatillos, white or purple tomatoes, then you roast or "asado" then on a frying pan, until hot, with burned spots on the skin. You need special chilies for this recipe, so you may need to take a quick trip down here to pick some up from the market. Into the blender goes 3 big Chilies Pasillas, 1 big bay leaf "laurel" in spanish, 4 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of water,  and a big pìnch of salt. Blend these ingredients first, and then add the roasted tomatillos one at a time, and blend each until smooth. Once all the tomatillos are in, blend for a quick second, not too much, you still want a nice texture.
     Once the salsa was done, Margarita used a spoon and dropped some onto her palm, a method of tasting soups and salsas very common in México, and when it touched her tounge, she immediately replied, "Ow! Muy picanté!" Her son, the 27 year old boxer in training reaches his left hand around her, and casting aside the spoon tasting ettiquitte, her dips his index finger one kuckle deep into the still warm salsa, licks it off, and right behind his mother's back, rolls his eyes and shakes his head "No es picanté." (it's not spicy), she replies, "¡Si! Es muy Picanté!",a smile and a shake of his head varifies the difference in abuse their taste buds are used to. "Él come mucho picanté", "¡Es pica!" she says. After a short discussion, Margarita hushes us into seats at the dinner table, and gives us each a small homemade taquito to eat with the fresh salsa. Crisp and still warm, the small rolled up chicken tacos smothered in "Salsa de Mil Tomates" was a nice treat after a humurous cooking lesson.



Nick and Laina,

I make the BEST (maybe not as good as what you tasted there) Tomatillo Sauce. am starting tomatillo plants right now and gonna try them over here!!! Also trying hatch chilies, poblanos and anchos! Might need some other seeds:-) Love you 2...

  Julie Feb 12, 2010 8:07 AM


Hi you two!
We just read this blog outloud and really laughed. I didnt do too well with pronunciation, but Uncle Richard,(who has had junior high Spanish) corrected me.
How fun to find a family who will take you orphans in.
Its the charm and smile of the both of you, we are sure.
We love all the news about food. Keep it up.
We may just try this recipe but we will have to improvise.We are off to the S. Cal. coast tomorrow for four days. How is Uncle Terry doing? Great!!
Jim III will be coming down the first of March.
We will be able to welcome him with welcome arms.
Keep writing.
Love , us xxxx0000

  Aunt Pat and Aunt Susan Uncles Terry and Richard Feb 13, 2010 12:17 PM


correction to last writing....Jim Dunn II....not the III

  Aunt Pat and Aunt Susan Uncles Terry and Richard Feb 13, 2010 12:18 PM


I really hope you can replicate some of these recipes for us when we are with you! They all sound so delicious. I wish you can get the recipes but I'm sure they are in Spanish so that wouldn't help.
Florida was cold, but I got to meet much of the family so that was nice. It was sad and emotional also. I am going to start looking at places for the rehearsal dinner soon, including the place you mentioned. I will run them by you.Don't forget Mom's 51st birthday next Tuesday!
Love, Holly

  holly Feb 18, 2010 10:53 AM


We must be related! I love hot spicy salsas. My son George and my grandson Marshall too.

My usual lunch is a Quesa-Dia with at least 3 Jalapenos and 10 large black olives chopped up with 3 Mexican cheeses sprinkled over a large tortilla; fried on the gas burner of the stove. I also put the whole thing in the micro-wave for 45 seconds to melt the cheese. Then I slice it in quarters and add some Guacamole and a whole lot of salsa on top of all that.

I'll have to try the Tomatillos too.
Love, Uncle Jerry & Aunt Yoshi

  Uncle Jerry Feb 19, 2010 3:43 PM

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