Hi, I’m Aaron Lynch, I’m the chef-owner of Hidden Julles Cafe in Haymarket. I’m excited to share where my recipes come from. I often find myself sharing these stories with guests that come into the cafe. It gives a better experience to the meal and hopefully inspires people to think outside the normal constraints that we are all used to.
When I first opened Hidden Julles Cafe, I followed (and still do), a slogan:
“Local, Organic, Natural”
This slogan came from talking to other restaurateurs. I learned that most of the time, processed and compromising products were being used. My passion for Hidden Julles and our recipes quickly became two-fold, to help support our local community and to use only the best of ingredients. I asked myself, “what products would I feed to my own children?” So, we use local organic products as much as possible. When local is not available we use organic and natural (non GMO, no pesticides, no antibiotics) products from trusted distributors.
Hidden Julles Cafe is named after my mom, Julie Ann Stevens Lynch, she was an amazing influence on so many lives and is a driving force to keep us grounded in the products we use. She loved avocado oil and Himalayan pink salt. A few years ago, I had a baker ask me two weeks after she started, “Where is your salt?”. I pointed to the Himalayan pink salt. She responded, “No, your white salt”. I smiled and said, “Himalayan pink salt is all we use”. She then asked me, “Where is your oil”. I then pointed to the bottle of avocado oil. She said, “No, your vegetable oil”. I smiled again told her, “Avocado and olive oil is all we use!” I then proceeded to tell her about my mom and where the core products came from. She said, “Wow, I’m going to like it here!”.
We are excited to share the origin of our recipes with you in hopes that you are inspired to create these goodies in your home kitchen. At Hidden Julles Cafe, we make as much as we can in house including hand-rolled tortillas, baked goods, sausages, smoothies, paleo wraps, sauces, etc. Many of those recipes will be shared in future articles.
Most of our recipes evolved through interaction with customers just like you. Please know that we’ve had MANY recipe failures and that is how we learn and grow. We encourage you to experiment, fail, and grow in your kitchen. Feel motivated to make this recipe and all recipes your very own. Our hope is that you will create your own origin of recipes! Food creation should be inventive, interactive, messy, and yummy!
Today we will be sharing the recipe for our renowned, yet simple-to-make Salsa Verde!
I adore sharing our journey with this recipe. After tasting a delicious pre-made, jarred organic salsa verde, I instantly knew that a local and fresh alternative would taste even better. I quickly found out from talking to local farmers that tomatillos are not usually grown in this area. Tomatillos are the green tomatoes with the husks on them. My guess is that the husks confuse and intimidate us in the kitchen. I’m here to tell you, don’t be afraid of those paper-thin husks! Tomatillos are ridiculously amazing! I convinced local farmers to grow organic tomatillos for me by establishing relationships with them and by literally buying everything they had when they asked me what produce I needed. They grew so many tomatillos for me and I had an overabundance to experiment with.
I will now do a shameless plug for the three local farms I get my ingredients from: Messicks Farm, from Bealeton. Brightberry Farms, from the Plains. Green Wizard Farms, from Haymarket. Visit these farms and buy their amazing produce!
We had such a playful time experimenting with this Salsa Verde recipe. Here is the recipe we use everyday at Hidden Julles Cafe. Feel free to try your own variation in your kitchen!
2 lbs. tomatillos
3 whole, peeled cloves of garlic
1 medium sized red onion
1 bunch of cilantro
1 tablespoon avocado oil
Himalayan pink salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Husk, wash the tomatillos, and cut them in half
Put tomatillos in a deep baking dish
Throw the garlic in the baking dish
Cut the stem off of the jalapeño, cut them long ways (if you don’t want in too spicy, de-seed the jalapeño) and throw them in the baking dish too
Roast for 30-45 min
While roasting, dice the onion
Sauté the onion with the oil in a skillet on medium-high heat until they are translucent
Cook tomatillo mixture until it is slightly browned.
Then, cool both the tomatillo mixture and the onions until room temperature.
In a big mixing bowl or blender, blend the tomatillo mixture with the onions and cilantro (Blend with a stick blender or a regular blender in small batches.)
Enjoy your Salsa Verde!