DH Cooks: Tomatillo Cream Sauce and Avocado Butter

DH has realized that he needs hobbies that aren’t computer related.  He spends roughly 50-60 hours each week on a computer at work and then comes home to study and work on them some more at home.  Anyone who has worked with computers for very long knows how rough that can be on your hands, arms, neck, etc with all of the repetitive motions that requires.  So, he started his search for a new hobby and settled on cooking.

I don’t know if you know this, but DH is not a cook.  He can open a can of whatever and heat it up on the stove.  He can make a killer grilled cheese sandwich.  And his heart attach sandwiches are awesome!  We’ve even had some pretty good Swedish meatballs before.  Other than that, though…  DH doesn’t cook.  Don’t get me wrong; he can follow a recipe, but he admits to not understanding why someone would put salt AND pepper on meat that they’re cooking.  Well, his quest to understand cooking and food resulted in the purchase of a Mexican Cookbook from Half-Priced Books.  He planned to start at the beginning and work his way through.  Each week or so he’ll cook a different recipe.  This week it was Tomatillo Cream Sauce and Avocado Butter.

Tomatillo Cream Sauce

Tomatillos in Water

De-husk and quarter 11oz of tomatillos.  Put them in a pot with about 1/2 cup of water or stock.  Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the flesh is soft and transparent. (We used way toooooo much water, you’ll find out why it’s a problem later).  While those are cooking away, take de-seed 2 serrano chillies and smash 4 cloves of garlic.  Put the garlic, chillies, the cooked tomatillos and liquid in a blender.  Blend until almost smooth.

Blended tomatillo stuff

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet and add the tomatillo puree.  Cook gently, stirring non-stop until it reduces and thickens.  You want it to look like the green sauce you’d put on tamales.  (We put way more than 1/2 cup of water in the pot with the tomatillos so this took FOREVER to reduce). Chop a bunch of coriander or cilantro and add it to the sauce with salt to taste.  Cook for a few more minutes.  Stir in 4 oz of heavy cream and warm the sauce through – don’t let it boil!  Serve at once.

Avocado Butter

This recipe is by Alton Brown of the Food Network.

Into the Food Processor

Put into the food processor: flesh from 2 ripe avocados, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tbsp chopped cilantro, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp ground cumin, 3 tbsp unsalted butter, salt to taste.  Blend until smooth.


Avocado Butter

Wrap the avocado butter in parchment paper (form into a log) and refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.


We cooked some tilapia in a tablespoon of butter with salt and pepper, then topped half with the avocado butter and half with the tomatillo cream sauce, and ate it with a side of brown rice.  It wasn’t attractive but it tasted good!


Our First Tequila Sunrise

Final Thoughts

The tomatillo cream sauce was surprisingly good.  I was really worried that it would suck hard, but when you pair it with the tilapia, it works.  The avocado butter was really good on its own, but not so good with the tilapia.  I think it would be great as a spread on a BLT or just on some toast as a snack.

We have some extra tilapia because a dinner guest got his nights mixed up, so we’re going to try cooking it differently tomorrow – put the avocado butter on top while it’s cooking (so it gets all melty) and then top the fillets with the cream sauce.  It should be awesome!

You know, we’re doing this so that DH can learn how to cook, but what it’s teaching me is how to step aside and let him cook.  Before, I’d step in and kinda kick him out of the kitchen instead of explain how to do things.  On DH’s cooking nights he figures it out with only a few comments from me.  If there’s a technique to learn, I show him on one part and let him take over from there.  It seems to be working well… even if I have a lot of trouble letting go of that control.

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