The Charred Salsa Verde I Make

No recipe! What is it? All of the tomatillo’s chief characteristics: tangy, fruity and bright. Try it if you generally like salsa and want something similar but different.

Ingredients: A bunch of tomatillos (1 – 1 1/2 lbs—I happened to grab 15 of them), one small onion, one or two serrano or jalapeño peppers (seeds and ribs removed for less spicy, more peppers for spicier), couple cloves garlic. Roughly chop everything, no need to dice small, cause we’re gonna purée later. Toss with olive/vegetable oil, lime juice and salt.

Everything described above, plopped on a baking sheet and ready for an aggressive char.
Tomatillos. These are them. They’re green, have papery-leaf wrapper and are a little sticky underneath that. You’ll likely find one little tiny pile at your regular grocery store, a plentiful amount at a Latin market, and I got these at the farmers market! Tangy, almost lime-y flavor; firmer and less juicy than tomatoes (they are NOT green tomatoes), almost a crisp texture in the very center. Peel the papers off, rinsing a bit if needed to get them clean. Ready to use!
The char has been aggressive, as promised. Roast at 425 for about 25 minutes to soften then broil for 5 minutes or more for added blackness, or do a combination of the two. It’s all about how it fits in your day. You’ll find lots of juice has been expelled onto the baking sheet as well.
All the charred chunks and juices in a measuring cup (a little condensation on the glass from sitting in the fridge a couple days—again, I am in charge of this salsa verde; it fits *my* schedule), add some cilantro, whiz with the immersion blender or anything else you have with spinning blades (blender or food processor).
Add water to your desired consistency. It can come out quite thick and gel-like because there’s so much pectin (the compound in fruit that makes jam jammy). You see all the charred bits and seeds and VERDE!

It’s amazing. We did it, and it was so easy to time it around our busy schedules and be flexible and have this delicious, multi-faceted condiment to put on chips, tacos, meat, eggs, anything!

My signature taco is crumbled chorizo, diced roasted sweet potato, salsa verde, sour cream and cilantro in a homemade flour tortilla. Obvious disclaimer: NO, this is not an authentic Mexican or Tex-Mex recipe. YES, this is what I make for myself and like to eat. Enjoy!

Four Paragraphs why RxBars are like Wine (and what it means for their business)

The bar that looks like it ran here four (human) blocks to meet you (a much longer distance for a bar the size of an iPhone)

RxBars better be careful, because the second someone comes out with a better tasting bar that uses egg white protein technology, they’re DONE. Sure, their iconic minimalist packaging adds something too, and it’s not a given that this OTHER hypothetical hidey-egg-bar will also have appealing packaging, but you’d imagine a bar that didn’t taste quite… that certain way RxBars do… would garner some repeat customers! And technically it’s more of a textural disaster that overshadows its adequate taste, but we’ll use them interchangeably for the remainder of the discussion…

RxBars are like wine in that you buy them for a certain reason. They’re convenient, they’re unprocessed, they’re healthy, you identify with the flavors. For wine, I think it’s fair to say most people buy it to get drunk (on a spectrum of buzzed to… disordered behavior). The taste is absolutely secondary. DO 👏 NOT 👏 ARGUE WITH ME 👏. Taste is not why you bought the RxBars or the wine. You also had the choice at the store to buy ice cream, chips and cookies, but instead you bought these SUBSTANCES. For the reasons listed.

To clarify, they do taste good to a certain degree, mostly because you know what to expect and view it in the context of tasting good “for what it is.” But part of you is always bracing yourself, because you know there’s a certain astringency, in the case of wine, and the slick, dense, stick-to-your-teethedness of an RxBar, that simply can’t be avoided. What is that glistening layer that coats each impenetrable nutrient brick? You don’t know, and you sure as heck don’t LIKE it, but you keep buying them because the positives outweigh the negatives. Which is perfectly valid! I buy and consume both wine and RxBars on a regular basis, and I would say I like both things despite their shortcomings. Wine with a meal is spectacular! An RxBar as a meal—there are way worse things!

The bar has made my finger wet and shiny, like I said earlier.

So that’s why RxBars better start working on a “better tasting” formula now (again, better texture, really), because their spot at the top is very precarious. In the wine/beer market, spiked seltzer is thriving because it came up with a way to avoid that “alcohol” bite while still meeting the main goal of the wine/beer purchaser: to get drunk. That’s market share, Rx. Market share that gets snatched from the big guys *like that*! This is not a threat to you from ME, RxBars; my hypothetical foray into food business certainly wouldn’t be protein bars, and in fact I’m doing you a great service by issuing you this WARNING. Some health weirdo out there is probably working on it at this very moment, and you’ll be dethroned. I rightfully predicted churros would be a thing, so you best respect the oracle! Thank you. If your SEO team finds this, they can send me a free box of product, that would be fine. Coconut chocolate, as pictured. Also the vanilla almond butter packets are incredible, if a little unnecessary. Again, thank you.

To be transparent: I baked cookies

Doesn’t this look like a shipwreck with algae growing on it?

No, it’s just the mixer attachment soaking in the mixer bowl, and to be totally transparent, I made cookies without brown butter tonight for the first time in a long time, and the difference in taste was STARK! That’s right, I’m someone who can identify the toastiness and nuttiness of a brown butter as part of a LARGER RECIPE now, just like the professionals. They tasted far less COMPLEX without brown butter, just like they always say! You’d have to be an IDIOT to not recognize the presence or absence of brown butter! I’ve eaten enough cookies that my palate has become refined, and I am basking in the snobbery of my extraordinary achievement. All my hard work has paid off as I am now an expert.*

*As all experts know, with or without brown butter is a matter of preference. You could want different things at different times, and right now, the classic simplicity of a traditional butter-creamed cookie is exactly what I was looking for.**

**To be totally transparent, I’m about to watch Fargo, and I am reminded of the time I discovered that the Coen brothers are forced to share a Wikipedia page. Yes, like animals. I couldn’t let you leave without knowing. It wouldn’t be transparent.

SNL Sketch Idea: Anti-Ghosting Commercial

This is an idea for an SNL sketch, so that when the writers are having a tough week (Alec unavailable) and are desperate, this will come up when they google “SNL sketch idea.” While I don’t necessarily stand behind this as particularly funny or on-brand for myself, I do stand behind the idea that it should come up when you google “SNL sketch idea.”

It’s a parody of anti-drug commercials, but it’s an anti-ghosting commercial. Two men in their early-twenties (i.e. wearing backwards hats) are lounging on the couch, scrolling through their phones.

Man 1: Hey, how’s things going with Vanessa?

Man 2: Vanessa? Psh, yeah, I ghosted her, man…

Man 1: GHOSTED?! Are you TOASTED? Ghosting is so uncool! It sows distrust into the minds of women who already face so much deeply-ingrained sexism and threats from violent online subcultures that seep more and more into the mainstream with each passing news cycle! As cis, heterosexual, white men, our society imbues us with disproportionate power. It’s our responsibility to wield that power responsibly by listening and communicating honestly to the best of our ability instead of striving to make our own lives as easy as possible at the expense of more marginalized groups, like so many of our peers. If you’re not feeling it with Vanessa, just let her know! Maybe you’re not right for each other, but you still owe her the respect of an explanation so she understands what happened and can continue pursuing healthy romantic relationships with confidence. And, hey, maybe she has some feedback for you that would be valuable for you to hear and apply to future relationships. Keep an open mind, and don’t get defensive. If you approach her with good intentions, she’s more than likely to return the favor to you! After all, we’re all just trying to find love and companionship in a world that, let’s face it, is kind of scary a lot of the time!

Man 2: You’re right, I never thought of it that way! I’ll text Vanessa back right now. ‘Hey—, just saw this—, can I—come over later? We— should— talk.’

Man 1 (to camera): That’s right, guys. Ghosting is messed up. Don’t do it!

Voiceover: This message was paid for by the Women’s Council for Social Justice.

Doritos TIL

A lesser-known aspect of using dental records to identify bodies in a plane crash is that they sort the corpses based on whether they have Nacho Cheese or Cool Ranch stuck in their back molars. Then they pass around a clip board where families mark down which flavor their loved one(s) preferred and get started with the narrowed-down pool. It does speed up the process, but inevitably there’s more Nacho Cheese, so those families have a longer wait than Cool Ranch. An unfortunate reality of the process that I hope to see rectified in the near future, but it’s not up to me. I’m just the messenger.

Upholding Food Media Best Practices

Sure, I’ll watch a dumb fucking youtube video about cooking just to dunk on it. In my own head, or even luckier if my husband’s around, then I get to spend the next 15 minutes explaining to him that a lesser-known cooking hack is that some people toss Old Fashioned Oats in the food processor to break them down into a consistency similar to Quick Oats that can be used interchangeably in some applications.

But the dumb bitch in this video doesn’t know about it, and more importantly, she’s violated a multitude food media best practices that are just, well, really best practice! Like I knew she would. In a video that I chose to watch. Just to dunk on it. And it worked! I did! What I’m saying is, everything is trash, and one of these days I might just DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT—- but NOT TODAY!!!!

Dogs Who Smell the Bad Mail Idea (please don’t corrupt)

Dogs freak out at mail-carriers because of all the smells they carry, including the vile stink of killers, rapists and other morally reprehensibles. As inherently good creatures and masters of scent, the presence of these evil artifacts drives them absolutely bonkers.

That’s right, we should use dogs to sniff out which letters are from killers, so we can find, arrest and punish them. The bad part is that humans will corrupt this system for their own racist devices almost instantly, locking up black/brown people AS PER USUAL and putting more unrepentant white psychopaths on the news to share their struggle, which is something we really can’t afford right now.

I’m sharing this flawed idea as a way to get the conversation started, but I pray it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Sharing Resources: Frosted Mini-Wheats Little Bites

The ebb and flow of who eats most, but never all, of the box of Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Little Bites Chocolate is a sine wave only Jesus Christ or His and our Heavenly Father, God, could possibly decipher. The only facts available are that I eat it with milk for breakfast; my husband eats it dry as a snack. Who will buy the next box? Probably me, it’s true, but I’ve accepted this fate with open arms. It has been written.

Crispy Roasted Potatoes

If you are even the slightest bit hungry for crispy roasted potatoes, you’re too late. Banish this thought from your mind and replace it with the measured anticipation of eating regular roasted potatoes. The length of time it takes to make crispy roasted potatoes will always eclipse the amount of time your hungry stomach can wait to eat crispy roasted potatoes.

The answer is simply to begin making crispy roasted potatoes before you’re hungry for them. In fact, if you start even a day or two before you’re hungry for them, all the better! This is how I make crispy roasted potatoes every time. I typically use Yukon Gold or fingerling or assorted small potatoes, which I find get the creamiest insides upon roasting.

A prologue: How long does anything take? I don’t know, and I’ve found that most food professionals who are not specifically responsible for writing recipes don’t know either. “Til it’s done/hot/cold/finished,” chefs at the cooking classes I’ve attended will tell the other attendees who are inexperienced enough to ask such a question. Take roasting potatoes, for example. How big are the chunks? How big is the pot you boil them in? How quickly can your burner bring it to a boil? How big is the batch you’re roasting? How crowded does that make the baking sheet(s)? How long do you have? If you don’t have long, make everything smaller and hotter. They’ll cook faster. My default for roasting vegetables is 425°F, check after 20 minutes.

  • Most importantly, roughly chop and parboil the potatoes. This means partially boil but I pretty much fully boil them to the point where they’re a texture where if you were making potato salad, you’d be fine and comfortable biting into these soft potatoes as-is. You’ll stick a fork in one of the floating chunks and it’ll go through quite easily, again, as if you’re eating potato salad. How long will this take? See above. 20 minutes? Drain and salt.
  • Unsure if this makes a discernible difference or not, but I typically let them cool so all the steam can evaporate. Less water now means crispier potatoes later, because wet is the opposite of crispy. Remember this as a universal rule of cooking. How long? If you have 5 minutes, 5 minutes. If you have overnight, overnight (it doesn’t matter if they go into the oven hot or cold).
  • Pour oil onto the potatoes in whatever vessel they’re in and mix so they’re evenly coated. This will also smush and break apart some of the potatoes, which makes for smaller bits, which get even crispier in the oven. Great! How much oil? As much as you want. More equals crispier, but if you’re trying to not eat a bunch of oil for health reasons, just do a little. Add optional minced garlic or fresh or dried herbs (thyme, rosemary) at this time.
  • Spread on a greased baking sheet (or two) to prevent sticking. The more spread out they are, the faster they’ll cook and crispier they’ll be. Crowded sheet pans are a HUGE culprit of food being less crispy than you thought it would be because all the little steams hover over the food in a cloud of anti-crisp.
  • Bake anywhere between 350°F and 450°F– lower temp will dry them out slowly over a longer time, higher temp will be faster. How convenient for you if you also have other things in the oven that are more temperature-sensitive! These are the freedoms of cooking you can enjoy! I usually go 400°F or 425°F and check after 20 minutes.
  • When they’re golden and shrunken, they’re ready to flip. That’s one lesson is that the potatoes will become very shrunken. That’s because they’ve shriveled away all their moisture. They are no longer water potatoes, which, again, are the opposite of crispy. The bottoms will be darker and should pull away easily because they’re hard and crispy. Flip ’em all, put back in the oven and check after 10-15 minutes. The second side won’t take as long.
  • When complete, you will have tiny, crispy bits of potatoes just like you always imagined but have never achieved because of all the recipes that lied to you or didn’t warn you about crowded sheet pans. You will have also become hungry during this time, coinciding with the time the crispy potatoes will come out of the oven for you to enjoy.
  • These completed potatoes also do reheat well in the same hot oven over the next several days. These little friends got a little dark in spots but were still delicious. And that’s how it’s done!

The Employee Who Lied to My Husband

One time I asked my husband pick me up some Karo Light Corn Syrup at Fresh Grocer. I described the bottle and told him it would be near the maple syrup, not the baking supplies as one might think. He came home and said he looked everywhere and couldn’t find it. He even asked an employee, who said they don’t carry it. And I know he did. He is a good and honest man, and I know what he told me was the truth.

But it put me in a predicament. Though I was only mildly inconvenienced by the lack of corn syrup, I was downright furious at the employee who lied to my husband. I know for a fact that they carry that product. Everywhere carries it, like this exact Fresh Grocer, for example. But I had no proof. I sought my syrup elsewhere and resigned to go on with my day, and eventually my life.

That was until about six months later when I had finished up that bottle of Karo Light Corn Syrup and added it to my list of things to purchase at Fresh Grocer. The moment unfolded exactly as I imagined it. There it was, in its clear bottle with red and gold label with white writing, next to the maple syrup in the maple syrup and gluten-free granola aisle. They did stock it. I knew it.

Finally, I was vindicated. I had proof. I turned around, syrup in hand, to confront the employee who had lied to my husband, but he was nowhere to be found. It was, after all, six months later, and I had no description of the offender or name for which to ask. I had my corn syrup, but at what cost?