Odds and Ends

21 Oct No Comments Tamara Culinary, Progress

A bit of news this week: we finally, FINALLY, submitted our application to the County of Eldorado for our special use permit for Reverie Retreat. The day we submitted it, October 9, was almost three years to the day that we first met with county planning staff while we were in escrow on the Reverie property.



I wonder if I had known that it would take three years to get to this point if I would have gone ahead at the time. But here we are, and this train is still moving. Submitting our application is just the first step in the process – it will take the county 4 to 5 months to review and (hopefully) approve our application. Then we can start the build-out. I was hoping to be open by fall, 2016, but that seems ambitious at this point given that we will have to build everything and then get the final permits from the building and health departments before we can open. I’m guessing that it will probably be more like early 2017 before we are ready to open.

A lot has happened in the last three years and it’s been a crash course in all sorts of subjects for both me and Ramon: agriculture and orchards, integrated pest management, catering, learning how to plant the right things and then cook from the garden, preserving and fermenting, irrigation systems, wine, real estate and business loan financing, how to cut down a tree, marketing, sales taxes, legal structures, insurance, accounting, landscape design and ecosystems, and of course site designing and dealing with the county. There is probably a lot more but that is what rolled off the top of my head as I am typing this. I feel like I’ve spent the last three years in an intensive training program while still working full time!



In other news, the summer garden is winding down, and I’ve been pickling and preserving like crazy for the past few months. I just put up a big jar of jalapeños that will ferment for three weeks, and I’m trying to use up the last of the tomatillos. I already made pickled tomatillo wedges and several jars of salsa verde, but I still probably have 5 lbs or more of tomatilos to deal with. So last night I experimented with a sauce for chicken which turned out really well. So if you are still finding tomatillos in the farmers market (or better yet, they are still in your garden), try this sauce – everyone in my household thought it was delicious:


Serves 6

  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • 1 ¼ lb. tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 6 oz. mild green peppers, such as Anaheim or poblano, stemmed, sliced in half lengthwise and seeded
  • 4 Thai chiles (or some other small spicy chiles), stemmed, sliced in half lengthwise and seeded olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 12 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (such as sauvignon blanc)
  • 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 lb. green beans, ends removed and cut into
  • 2 inch lengths 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast the pepitas for 4 minutes until golden. Raise oven heat to 500 degrees. Put the tomatillos, mild green peppers, and chiles on a jelly roll pan, toss with olive oil, and roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until charred in some places. Put everything in a blender, including the juices that collected in the pan, along with the garlic and the pepitas and blend until smooth.

Cook the green beans in boiling water for 3 – 4 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside.

Preheat a large sauté pan until hot, add olive oil to coat the pan, and pan fry the chicken thighs until brown on both sides (you might have to do this in two batches). Remove the chicken to a holding dish. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce it to about 2 tablespoons. Reduce the heat to medium, add the tomatillo mixture to the pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Add the coconut milk and simmer for five minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add salt and lime juice to taste (I used ½ tablespoon salt and the juice of 1 lime). Add the chicken and green beans and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes more, until the chicken and green beans are warmed through.

Serve over rice.

I think this would be good with zucchini instead of green beans, or even sautéed peppers. Green beans are just what I happened to have in abundance from my garden yesterday.