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We're happy about hemp seed butter on sliced bananas.
I can't even begin to count the number of times I've gotten excited about a grain-free dessert dish looking all pretty on Pinterest, only to discover upon clicking further that it calls for nut flours or butters, or both. I can usually hack my way around the flour problem by substituting with quinoa or coconut flour, but I've been stumped by the nut butter problem for a while.

Not anymore.

Enter: hemp seed butter. It's a hypoallergenic wonder-food, full of essential fatty acids and a sweet, nutty taste, and a texture that gives ants on a log its proper place in a nut-allergic home, and – yes – subs in perfectly for peanut or almond butter in all of those Pinterest-sourced Paleo recipe finds. And the truth is, Paleo friends (love you as I do), you probably shouldn't be eating as many nuts as you are via baked goods. They're tough on the digestive tract. But hemp seeds? Green light. Go to town. (Trust me, once you taste this stuff, you'll want to eat your face off...)

Here's What You'll Need:

  • 1 cup shelled hemp seeds
  • 3 Tablespoons raw hemp seed oil
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey

Here's What You'll Do:

Use a food processor or blender to combine all ingredients. Enjoy as you would a nut butter. Yum.

 
 
Accounting for Kaspar's food allergies is second-nature to us at this point; we're used to bringing food for him wherever we go, and when we go somewhere more far-flung, we think ahead to how and where Kaspar-safe snacks and meals can be quickly secured. After all, Kaspar is a fast-growing three-year-old, and he asks for snacks pretty much constantly. He's probably the healthiest snacker around, given his options; my boy loves fruit, veggies, raw cheese, last night's leftovers. He's a good eater, and a happy one. He's been opening the fridge lately, just to peruse, which is a little annoying. (I feel like such a mom, "Kas, please close the fridge! You're letting all the cold air out.") But I also appreciate his urge to snack independently, and I think it can be harnessed to both of our benefits, given that we're going to have a baby in our house very soon. I've decided to convert our lowest refrigerator drawer from a catch-all produce bin to a Kaspar Snack Emporium. Stocked with easy-access containers filled with healthy, Kaspar-friendly snacks, little man can go to town whenever he feels hungry between meals. It's very Montessori-esque and it'll make life just that much easier when my hands are just that much more full. (I'll definitely post photos when I've executed this plan. It's on my to-do list for next week.)

As streamlined as our system is, or will soon be, there are moments when I envy the ease with which allergy-free families can feed their hungry kids. I mean, travel is one thing, but even the snacks isle at the grocery store reminds me of the convenience factor we're missing out on. But when I look closely at the ingredients (and packaging, and prices) convenient snacks contain -- even the "healthy" ones -- I realize they're loaded with not only Kaspar allergens, but also sugar, salt and weird, processed oils. They're also a total ripoff. I even checked out a few boxes of gluten-free snack bars while at Whole Foods the other day. I was not inspired.

Well, I take that back. I was inspired to make snack bars at home, for Kaspar -- who's always down for new foods he can enjoy -- and Aaron, who's been bringing lunches to work, and buying sugar/salt/weird-ingredient-filled granola bars when what he brings still leaves his stomach rumbling for more. And for me, because hungry mama + easy, one-handed snacking = breastfeeding win. Thinking ahead! In fact, when I found this recipe via Pinterest, I was psyched; I've been reading up on milk-boosting foods, and apparently quinoa has been renowned for centuries in South America for its breastmilk-makin' properties. So cheers to a quinoa-based snack bar! (Kaspar, who's not big on quinoa taken straight, has been very happy to eat these, too; I'm all about healthy meats, and plenty of them, but it's nice to have a protein-heavy snack option that's non-meat-based, as well.)

Anyway, I modified the recipe a bit to suit our family's tastes/necessary food restrictions/love of chocolate chips. The bars turned out wonderfully; we've all been chowing down. The recipe's original author recommends using the recipe as a base, and switching up the ingredients according to what you like, too. 

Here's what we put in ours:

Ingredients:


3 cups of pre-cooked quinoa (1 cup of dry quinoa with 2 cups of water cooked for 30 minutes. I soak mine for a day in water with a few tablespoons of whey added, before cooking)
1 cup of gluten-free flour -- I used gluten-free oat flour
1/3 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup of raw hemp seeds (you can use any kind of seeds)
1/3 cup of raisins
1/3 cup of chopped dried apricots
2 TB of soft extra virgin coconut oil
2 TB of applesauce
1/2 ts. of sea salt
dash of cinnamon
2-3 TB of raw honey 
3/4 - 1 cup of milk (I used raw, but you can use a non-dairy milk instead if that's your thing)
1/2 cup (thereabouts) chocolate chips (we use these)

What You'll Do:

1. Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl.
2. Spread evenly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper
3. Bake at 275 degrees F for about 50 minutes 
4. Cool, slice into rectangles or squares, and serve/save/savor.
 
 
PictureWhey, awaiting pickling projects.
Ever since successfully pulling off fridge pickles, I've been meaning to step it up a notch and make some real, lacto-fermented pickled foods. The healthy micro-organisms these foods introduce into the digestive system bestow numerous benefits, and Americans don't consume nearly enough (if any, for most of us) of them. We're seriously missing out; pickled ginger carrots, pickled radishes, and legit pickled cukes make for mouth-watering condiments that do a gut -- and thus a body -- good. As it happens, cultivating and maintaining a healthy, well-balanced flora party in my gut (and, um, other places) is a big priority for me during this pregnancy, as doing so has been shown to reduce the development of allergenic tendencies like food allergies, eczema and asthma in babies. 

I also, as you know, just like to eat pickles.

The Nourishing Traditions cookbook boasts lots of easy-to-follow recipes for lacto-fermented foods; most of these recipes require the use of whey in the fermentation process. I decided to make some whey while I worked this morning; I used raw milk yogurt to do so. (Like yogurt, making whey really doesn't require much active involvement once the process has begun.) I simply placed two layers of cheesecloth in a metal strainer over a large ceramic bowl, and spooned a generous amount (maybe three or four cups) of yogurt onto the cloth. I covered this with a plate and left the whole thing alone for about five hours. The whey dripped through the cloth into the bowl. It'll keep for months in the fridge. (Only a few tablespoons at a time are required for pickling recipes.) Meanwhile, the cream cheese that was left in the cloth -- whey making's by-product -- completely stole the show. 

I will never buy store-bought cream cheese, which is highly processed and doesn't offer up any healthy belly-boosting bacteria, again, because it also pales in comparison to the fresh stuff in terms of taste and texture. I can't quite describe the awesome that is homemade cream cheese; you should definitely make some and discover the difference for yourself, though. Then mix in:

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used basil and parsley)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


And you have yourself a delicious (and ridiculously easy) vegetable dip, sandwich spread, or snack. (Kaspar ate it straight, by the spoonful.)

I'll make some pickled ginger carrots and post about those, too, but for now I'm just so sold on the cream cheese that I felt I should share the magic with you. 

Have you made cream cheese, whey, or lacto-fermented foods of any kind? Tips and tricks? Other tasty flavor combinations? Let me know in the comments below!

 
 
I love pickles, and not just when I'm pregnant. And I'm not talking about those weird greenish-yellow, preservative-soaked supermarket jarred pickles, either. I love GOOD pickles, and -- perhaps especially when I'm pregnant -- I'll pay serious cash-money for a jar of 'em if you know how to make them right. Like last week, for instance, when I paid twelve dollars for a (rather small) jar of jalapeño-mint pickle spears from the farmer's market. I tasted one first (damn samples!) and was powerless in their grasp. Aaron and I polished them all off before the sun set that evening, and I immediately wanted more. 

At this morning's farmer's market, however, it hit me that I was practically swimming in a sea of fresh, gorgeous pickle-worthy produce. Instead of buying another jar (or four... as I may or may not have planned to do) of those pickles that had me at hello last weekend, I filled my bag with pickling cucumbers, red onions, hot peppers, and bunches of herbs, enough to make a ton of pickles, and for well under twelve bucks, at that. As soon as I got home, I whipped up a jar of fridge pickles and stuck 'em in the -- you guessed it -- fridge to do their thing for later. They were already eyes-rolling-back-amazing by evening. They'll technically keep for up to a month in the the fridge, getting better as their flavors continue to meld, but, let's face it, they won't actually last that long because we're going to eat them all first. (I'll give them a week, at most.) 

You've gotta try these. Adjust the herbs to your liking -- I used basil this week because the bunches at the market were so aromatic I just couldn't pass them up -- as well as the heat; three large jalapeños may be way too much for some people. (Like you, Mom, if you're reading this.) Aaron and I actually like a lot of spice, and we enjoy pickled jalapeños themselves, but if you prefer your foodstuff more mild, try using just one pepper, or a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Improvising with these will be fine, and whatever your flavor, you're sure to love the results. These are perfect summer fridge pickles, I tell you. And they're easy to make, at that. 

What You'll Need

  • 8 to 10 pickling cucumbers, peeled in stripes and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 large jalapeño peppers (optional -- start with one if you prefer your pickles more mild, or use about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs: I used basil, but also recommend cilantro and mint
  • About 12 whole cloves
  • 5 to 6 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped dill, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


What You'll Do


  1. Layer the cucumbers, onions, chopped herbs and peppers in a jar that can hold them all (this recipe makes about 2 quarts) and that seals tightly. (Don't cover the jar yet, though.)
  2. Combine the vinegar, cloves, bay leaves, dill, sugar, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Pour into the jar with the cucumbers. 
  3. Place the lid on the jar, close it up well and shake it. Don't worry if your liquid doesn't reach the top of your veggies; it will later. 
  4. Let pickles sit in fridge, re-shaking the jar every hour or so to make sure everything's well mixed.
  5. The pickles will be ready to taste 4 to 6 hours later, but will get better with more time, and will keep in the fridge for about a month. 
 
 
Something exciting happened today. Those of you with dehydrators at home will be thoroughly unimpressed, but for those of us without (and I'll admit I'm now tempted to buy one, but I am in clearing-out mode, damnit, and already have far too many kitchen contraptions), this is pretty rad. 

I made fruit leather. Myself. And so can you. All you need is fruit, and an oven. And if you're kitchen contraption-equipped, a handheld immersion blender makes for a nice accessory to this project.

Here's what you do: 

1. Pick your fruit. As in literally, or as in choose and purchase some. Texas happens to offer precious little in the pick-your-own department; we go hog-wild when we travel Northeast or Northwest in the summer months, picking buckets of blueberries, strawberries and blackberries and then eating ourselves sick because we can't possibly bring them home. But right now, for about five minutes, it's strawberry season here in Tejas. We plan to go picking this coming Saturday, but in the meantime I bought five pints of beautiful, organic, fresh-picked berries at the farmer's market this past weekend. Why so many? Because we eat a lot of berries around here. And I had big, fancy plans for this batch.

2. Chop your berries (two pints is a good starting point, but you could certainly work with more) into small pieces and place in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until your mixture's simmering and looking a bit soupy. Stir here and there for another five to ten minutes, pressing occasionally on the berries with a slotted spoon (or any spoon) to help release the juices. You want these to simmer gently but not to burn, so use your best judgment and turn the heat down if necessary. This step made my kitchen smell exactly the way I remember my childhood home smelling when my mom made strawberry jam. Divine.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool for a little while. Pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees Fehrenheit, and line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. (I keep it real and non-toxic with this stuff.)

4. If you have a handheld immersion blender, go ahead and immersion-blend your berry mixture so it's nice and smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, mash your mixture with whatever you can -- a food mill, a small seive, or a potato-masher, fork, or whatever. 

5. Pour your berry mixture onto the parchment paper and spread it out so it's uniformly about 1/4 inch thick. If you've filled the parchment and have some mixture left over in the pan, save it in the fridge and make a second batch when the first batch is done. Or line another baking sheet and have at it right away.

6. Put your pan into the oven and let it do its thing. Briefly opening the oven now and then will actually help keep the temperature where you'll want it -- mimicking a real dehydrator -- but I honestly didn't check mine very often at all. You'll want to check on yours after three hours at first. Poke it with a finger. If your finger breaks the thin film that's formed on the fruit leather's surface, and it's still gooey in there, keep it going in the oven for a while longer. Ovens vary, so it could be five or six hours before your leather isn't gooey inside anymore. Just make sure it doesn't burn.

7. When it's finished dehydrating and has the appearance and texture of, well, fruit leather, remove your pan from the oven. After allowing the leather to cool, cut it into strips with kitchen scissors (parchment still on), roll them up (parchment side out) and secure them with twine, rubber bands, scotch tape -- anything you have handy. The leather will keep in an airtight container for a good month, but I guarantee it won't be around that long. Kaspar, as you can see, loved this naturally-sweet, nutritious snack; had I allowed it, he'd have devoured the entire batch this very afternoon. Between the two of us, it'll be gone by tomorrow. (If Aaron wants to try some, he'd better get in there, and fast.)

And that's it. Bam! Fruit leather. Cheaper than the store-bought stuff, for sure, especially if you pick your own buckets full of berries at a local farm. I'm going to try making different flavors now that we've made a successful batch. Mango, maybe? Let me know what fruits you try! 
 
 
I wrote on Parenting.com today about my approach to diet during pregnancy; in a nutshell, so to speak, I'd thought, before becoming pregnant, I'd avoid all of the foods Kaspar's allergic to while baking baby #2. Not only did my first trimester cravings blow that plan out of the water (hello, junk food), but -- now that I'm in my second trimester, or will be tomorrow -- I'm not only feeling far more energetic, and 'normal' in general, including in terms of the foods I'm craving (hello, wholesome healthy stuff), but I've got a game plan for *hopefully* setting new-baby up for an allergy/eczema/reflux-free start. That game plan is the full GAPS diet. Sans the nuts and wheat, the former of which is allowed on the full diet and the latter of which is allowed (in sourdough form) if no digestive problems are present... but since neither digests super easily for anyone and since both are major allergens in general, I'm just avoiding them. Easy enough. I've read the GAPS book, which is densely packed with nutritional information; it corroborates with what I've learned over the past three years, and what's been working, overall, for Kaspar. And since we already eat nutrient-rich, real-food fare up in here, I'm only having to tweak a few things to transition into GAPS-ville. The diet basically heals and seals the gut, thus healing immune system-related health woes (of which Americans suffer many, food allergies among them). I'm planning to take Kaspar, and our family, through all of its stages once baby's here and the timing is right, but for now we're starting at the least restrictive, most nutritionally broad place -- the "full" GAPS diet -- as per the recommendation for pregnant women. Anyway, go ahead and read up via my post on Parenting, and on other blogs, like this one. Then get to your farmer's market and into your kitchen, cuz the best part of this approach to gut-love is that you get to fill your belly with good, nourishing food. 

I should mention that there's quite a bit of meat involved in the GAPS diet. I was grooving on a mostly vegan spurt a while back, which felt light and clean in my body at the time. I think I needed to detox in a major way and sort of reset once our two years of sleep deprivation resolved to some degree, and eating tons of plant matter helped get that work done. (As did an Ayruvedic cleanse I did a short while later. I felt like a whole new person after that. Still do.) But I then found myself drawn toward meat again -- high quality, locally-sourced meat that hasn't suffered, that is -- and whenever I get acupuncture I'm told I should be eating it regularly. (Something about building my blood.) Pregnancy only increased my desire for it. So, while it may feel like I'm somewhat all over the place on the subject, good meats remain a part of my, and our family's, diet. As far as GAPS is concerned, that's a healthful thing, especially for expecting mamas.

With that in mind, I made a recipe from the GAPS book (linked above) last night, tweaking it a little to my liking. Aaron and I have each made stuffed peppers before, but only vegetarian versions (they make for an attractive, and generally popular, veg dish). Thus, last night's version -- which were definitely not vegetarian -- were quite different than our previous renditions. They meat is flavorful, but dense. I definitely suggest eating these in a bowl with a good amount of the stock they cooked in surrounding them. I chopped mine up a bit in the stock so as to create a kind of soup, and that was delicious. I also suggest adding whatever vegetables you'd like to the meat mixture before stuffing the peppers, and some cumin. If you're eating dairy, throwing some shredded, raw cheddar cheese in with the meat mixture before cooking would also be kind of amazing... In short, these stuffed peppers are filling and tasty, but I could tell -- even at first glance -- the original recipe was written by a doctor, rather than a chef. I'm eagerly awaiting the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, which is due to arrive at my door any day now; it's recommended by the GAPS people and boasts an index full of mouth-watering recipes. (I peeked at its back pages on Amazon.) Anyway, I've gone ahead and written out my improved (and yummy) stuffed peppers recipe below -- feel free to tweak it further. If you do, let me know what works well!

Click "Read More" below for the recipe!


 
 
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Checking out the chilaquiles. Also, yes, Kaspar did wear his pajamas all day on Christmas.
Christmas morning was warm and balmy here in Austin, but by evening the temperature had dropped forty degrees, and the wind was a-howlin' through the trees behind our house. Inside, we were warm, and cooking up a kickass batch of chilaquiles verdes: interior Mexican comfort food at its very best. Not only was this meal 100% Kaspar-friendly, it was 90% made by Aaron -- a nice treat for me in and of itself. I don't believe chilaquiles are traditionally designated as celebratory fare -- in fact, I think they were initially a breakfast food -- but I'm gonna play my Texan card and call them exactly that: this here is holiday eating. Christmas Chilaquiles will certainly be a tradition at our table from here on out, anyway.

Of course, Christmas (and the end of time) has come and gone, but you don't have to wait until next year to rock this recipe. Or maybe you should -- I can definitely see these impressing your brunch guests this coming New Year's Day. (Because what better food for a New Year's brunch than a breakfast-turned-dinner dish a little bit of kick to it, hmmm?) Whether you want to fake some fancy (shhh: these are easy to make) or just see your picky eaters clean their plates on a regular weeknight, I recommend chilaquiles. For everything. And everyone. Vamos a celebrar!

Click "Read More" below for the recipe.


 
 
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Any food that promises to prepare itself to perfection when left alone for the day -- or, even better, overnight -- is a sure winner in my book. Yogurt was my first foray into this realm of (seemingly) magical cooking, and my slow-cooker's gotten lots of use ever since, rockin' not only raw milk yogurt for the little dude, but also many a vegan dinner for our family this fall, and thus allowing me a clean kitchen and plenty of fully-focused kiddo time in the evenings before dinner. I do love to cook, but -- like work, marriage stuff and everything else in my life -- having a kiddo in the mix has inspired some creativity and shifting around, if not in terms of priorities than certainly in terms of timing. Night hours are often best for working, date "nights" are sometimes most doable at midday, and cooking dinner -- thanks to my slow cooker and this book -- is sometimes most viable (and enjoyable) first thing in the morning. Aaron takes Kaspar off to school, and I pull up Pandora (Cat Power station) on the iPod and get to making a happy, meditative mess in the kitchen. By 10 a.m., dinner's doing its thing, the mess is cleaned up, and I'm punching in at the office

Besides the timing tricks slow cooking allows, I'm fascinated with foods that co-create themselves by way of natural processes (yogurt's one of them, since its cultured); they have a certain allure and mystery. I've made simple pickles in the past, and plan to experiment further with fermented foods (kombucha and sauerkraut, here I come) in the near future. And for some time now -- despite various failed attempts -- I've also been determined to turn out a good loaf of yeasted bread. 

I've wanted to make a 100% whole wheat bread, but my loaves always ended up with the consistency of dense bricks, and tasting of cardboard. Aaron -- a seasoned bread-baker himself, although he hasn't made any in a while -- suggested I start with a simple white bread recipe, which would be more forgiving, and then take my new skills up a notch by introducing heartier grains.  Too stubborn to compromise, I did study up on the subject a bit, by way of The Tassajara Bread Book and The Complete Tassajara Cookbook, by the now-famous zen chef Edward Espe Brown. (I also recommend this documentary about Brown. Good stuff.) I realized that my past attempts have failed because I used water that was too warm, and thus killed the yeast at step one. I also used recipes that called partially for white flour, but used whole wheat instead; these recipes weren't designed to make a good loaf of 100% whole wheat. 

Brown's basic bread-baking tips corrected my too-warm water mistake -- easy enough to fix going forward -- and his (very basic and easy) recipe for Overnight Whole Wheat Bread -- made of just whole wheat flour, yeast and water -- promised a semi-sourdough taste without the trouble of a sourdough starter. And its title offered the instant appeal of bread-making while we slept. 

As it turned out, although there is an overnight component to this bread's creation, a substantial part of my Sunday was also spent attending to its subsequent steps. Like most yeasted breads, the hands-on time wasn't all that intense, but I had to be around for several rises and to put the bread in -- and take it out (ahhhh)  -- of the oven. This might have been tricky on a week day, since I'm in and out of the house, but it was fine for a Sunday. We were kind of just kicking around anyway, relaxing after the eventful week before (my birthday was last Monday -- woot! -- and Thanksgiving of course quickly followed), and it was nice to attend to bread baking at the same lazy pace, and likewise to do our down-time thing against an olfactory backdrop of hot bread in the oven. (That Kaspar couldn't eat the results, due to his wheat and gluten allergies, was not really a big deal. I do plan to bake some bread with the same flour blend I use for his chocolate chip cookies, though, now that I'm getting the hang of this thing.) As for the actual results, the bread was substantial without being brick-like in the least, and it tasted amazing. Mission accomplished!

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Before going out for my birthday dinner (Aaron wined and dined me while K stayed home with a sitter)
I used substantially more flour than Brown's recipe called for, since my dough was super sticky. I've modified the proportions below to reflect this, but when you do this at home, add about a half a cup of flour at a time as you're kneading, and stop adding the flour when your dough forms a smooth and pliable ball, instead of caking itself in sticky globs onto your hands and work surface. 

Here's what you'll need: 

Evening: 

1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups warm water (just barely above body temperature will be perfect)

Morning:

1/2 cup warm water (again, just barely warm to the touch)
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
5-ish cups whole wheat flour

What you'll do:


Evening: Dissolve the yeast in the water, and stir together (in a large bowl) with the flour, about 100 times. Cover with a clean, dry dish towel and set it aside until morning.

Morning: 

1. Dissolve the yeast in the water, and add -- with the salt and additional flour, beginning with 2 1/2 cups and slowly adding more as you go -- to your mixture from the night before. 
2. Turn out onto a floured work surface, and knead your dough, adding more flour as necessary so it isn't sticking to everything (see note above).
3. Knead your dough about 300 times (no need to count). Place the kneaded ball into an oiled bowl, and let rise for 3 to 4 hours.
4. Shape dough into 2 loaves, and place them either in oiled loaf pans, or on an oiled baking sheet. Brush the tops of the loaves with water, and let rise for another hour. 
5. About 15 minutes before baking (so 45 minutes after step 4), preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
6. Brush the tops of the loaves with water again -- I actually used a bit of coconut oil, and next time may add some garlic and herbs to olive oil and use that -- and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the loaves are browned on bottom and top. (I went for the full hour, and they were perfect.)
7. Remove from oven, slice, top with coconut butter (current addiction), and enjoy! 


 
 
I finally created a chocolate chip cookie Kaspar can eat. (In *almost* a single mouthful. Wow.)

Click "Read More" below for the recipe!


 
 
We received a bunch of tomatillos and chiles in our CSA box this week, and made this delicious salsa with dinner this evening.Thought I'd share it with you as an early 4th of July present, so you can bring the big guns to your friendly neighborhood BBQ. Also experimenting with a giant font even my grandma could read. Let me know what you think! Food and font. Have at 'em. 
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1. Toss (about) 2 cups husked, sliced tomatillos, 2 whole cloves of garlic and 2 to 3 whole serrano chiles into a skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until tomatillos are soft.






2. Remove chiles and garlic from pan. Thinly slice chiles, and remove garlic from skin (just squeeze it out). Grind both ingredients with a mortar and pestle until they form a paste.
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(Don't you love it when men cook?)
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3. Mix chile/garlic paste, tomatillos and the juice from 1 lime in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped, and a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. Salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips, as a sauce over grilled chicken, or in any way that strikes your fancy. 





Happy Birthday, America! Here's to a future of healthcare, and happiness, for all.