Lesson 2: Learn. . . then Love

Lesson 2: Learn. . . then Love

Tomatillos, onions and tomatoes

“Why do you like stupid men?”

I am toasting tomatillos on a tiny comal when Chef Estela bluntly asks me this question.  My eyes popped. “What?”

Chef Estela shakes her head.  She is preparing Pipian Verde (Oaxacan Green Mole).  “Look at what we did here,” she says, “we slowly sauteed the onions, then the tomatoes and finally added the garlic.  That’s because each of the ingredients need time to get to know each other, then they can love one another and create a great meal.”  She moves onto a pot of Chile Pasilla.  “Time,” she says, “women need to take their time with men.”

I’m now cooking in silence.  She nods and continues: “People need time to learn about each other, then they can love.”  She puts down the wooden spoon in her hand and looks at me.  “Has any man taken the time to get to know you?”  I shake my head.  “Then why do you like stupid men?”

Chef Estela gives me a visual

My eyes meet hers and she gives me a warm smile.  I start to giggle.  “Look,” she says, “you have a book, yes?”  I nodded.  Indeed, I have a cookbook.  “Good,” she responds, “you take your book and put it in between your legs.  And if any man wants to go there, they need to get to know you first!”

I have yet to stop laughing.

Chile Pasilla (Pasilla Sauce)
Chef Estela Silva, Mexican Home Cooking School

5 or 6 dried pasilla chilies
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 onion, left in tact
4 garlic cloves (2 cloves minced, 2 whole)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 or 4 roma tomatoes
6 tomatillos

  1. Bistec en Chile Pasilla

    Toast or broil the tomatoes, tomatillos, 1/2 whole onion and 2 whole garlic cloves until blackened. Set aside.

  2. Slice open the chiles and remove the stem and seeds.  Toast chiles until they blister then add to 1 cup of hot water with the charred onion.  Soak 5 minutes.
  3. In a blender, combine the charred tomatoes, all the onions, garlic cloves, chiles and tomatillos with 1/2 cup of water (if you want it spicy, use the chile water). Process until smooth, adding more water if needed.
  4. Use with beef, pork or chicken.  Add potatoes to make a stew.


  1. This was really great. Thank you.

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