Dinner in 30 Minutes

Tomatillo Chicken Tacos

Makes about 12 tacos

This simple sauce of tomatillos, chili peppers, onion and cilantro couldn't be easier to make, takes less than 30 minutes to toss together and tastes far superior to any of its jarred counterparts.

If you prefer, skip the corn tortillas and serve it over rice instead.

Adapted from "The New American Chef," by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page (Wiley, 1993):

8 ounces (5 to 6 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed

1 to 2 jalapeno chili peppers, stemmed

11/2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1/2 medium white onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

11/3 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (from 1 very large chicken breast)

12 corn tortillas (plus a few extra, in case some break), warmed

1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco (optional; may substitute feta cheese)

Preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Place the tomatillos and chili peppers on the foil and broil until blackened and soft on one side. Turn and repeat on the other side. Set aside to cool slightly. If a mild sauce is desired, halve the peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Transfer the onion mixture, tomatillos, chilis and any juices on the foil to a food processor or blender and pulse until pureed to the desired consistency.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add the puree and cook, stirring frequently, until noticeably thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, cover partially, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. (The sauce will be a little soupy.) Stir in the cilantro and season with salt to taste. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is warmed through, about 5 minutes.

To serve, spoon a portion of the filling into a warm tortilla, sprinkle with cheese if desired and fold it over. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 6): 253 calories, 16 gm protein, 29 gm carbohydrates, 9 gm fat, 38 mg cholesterol, 3 gm saturated fat, 462 mg sodium, 4 gm dietary fiber

-- Renee Schettler

SHOPPING CART | Scripture Candy

Today there seems to be candy for every occasion. Even prayerful ones.

Ranging in price from a nickel to $2.50, scripture-inspired candies include individual mints and tangy tarts with Bible passages on the packaging, Bible bars containing the foods of Deuteronomy 8:8, fish-shaped or cross-emblazoned mints and a Jesus Loves You candy necklace.

Available at the gift shop of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave. NE; call 202-526-4433.

EQUIPMENT | Switchits

We're highly skeptical of many new-fangled gadgets. But we'd rather not go back to life as we knew it before Switchits.

Crafted from stainless steel and stain-resistant silicon, the Switchit is a dual-ended spatula that handily scrapes the otherwise difficult-to-reach corners of pans and bowls. It's cool-looking, easy to grasp and heat-resistant up to 500 degrees.

Switchits come in two sizes -- long (about $9.95) and large (about $8.95) -- and are available in pastel colors: lime, strawberry, mango, blueberry and clear (not shown).

We found Switchits at Sur la Table and Rodman's locations; also available by mail order from several online cookware purveyors. For more information, see www.chefn.com.

BOOK REPORT

JIGGELO: Inventive Gelatin Shots for Creative Imbibers

Authors: Mary Breidenbach, Barrett J. Calhoon and Sharon L. Calhoon

Publisher: Ten Speed Press, $12.95

Dreamed up by the authors during a "lively evening of inventive imbibing," the inspired creations included in this thin paperback will take readers well past the standard Jell-O-and-vodka combo enjoyed on many a campus. Including recipes ranging from old-school concoctions with minimal ingredients to newer, trendier cocktail shooters using a whopping 15 ingredients, this book will lead those looking to recapture their college days down the right, though wobbly, path.

TODAY'S TIP

To make your own superfine sugar, process granulated sugar in a food processor, blender or coffee grinder.

TO DO

THURSDAY: Kosher cooking demonstration with chef David Dahan sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. $48 for nonmembers. 6:30-8:30 p.m. 6125 Montrose Rd., Rockville. Call 301-348-3840.

THURSDAY: Opus One wine dinner at the St. Regis Hotel restaurant. $249 includes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 923 16th and K streets NW. Call 202-879-6960.

FRIDAY-SATURDAY: Middle Eastern food festival at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church. Free admission. Friday, noon-9 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 4335 16th St. NW. Call 202-723-5335.

SATURDAY: Sushi-making class at Kaz Sushi Bistro. $65. 12-2:30 p.m. 1915

I St. NW. Call 202-530-5500.

SATURDAY: What Is American Food and Drink? -- discussion celebrating the publication of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America at the National Museum of American History. Free. 1-4 p.m. Carmichael Auditorium, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Call 202-633-3582.

SATURDAY: Grappoli Imports wine dinner at Spezie Ristorante. Sponsored by the Wine Specialist. $110 includes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 1736 L St. NW. Call 202-467-0777.

SATURDAYAnnual Wine Appreciation Day at Magruder's Free. 1-4 p.m. 5626 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-686-5271.

SUNDAY: Vegetarian chili tasting to commemorate World Hunger Day. Prepared by graduates of D.C. Central Kitchen's culinary program. Free. 11 a.m.-noon. FreshFarm Market, 20th St. NW between Massachusetts Avenue and Q Street. Call 202-234-0707.

TUESDAY: Wines from Friuli, Italy -- wine tasting and lecture at Casa Italiana Cultural Center. First in a series. $48 per class. 6-9 p.m. 5951/2 Third St. NW. Call 202-638-1348.

RESERVE NOW

OCT. 20: Wine and game dinner at Ristorante Terrazza. $110 includes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 2 Wisconsin Circle, Chevy Chase. Call 301-951-6862.

OCT. 21: Hanzell Vineyards winemaker dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. $145 includes tax and tip. 6:30 p.m. 1330 Maryland Ave. SW. Call 202-787-6868.

OCT. 21: Discussion and book signing with "Cooking With My Sisters" authors Adriana, Mary, Lucia Anna, Antonia and Francesca Trigiani at Olsson's Books and Records, Alexandria. Free. 7 p.m. 106 S. Union St. Call 703-684-0077.

OCT. 24: Arts of the Table -- fundraising sale featuring a cooking demonstration with Anne Willan and discussion with Todd Gray. Benefits Les Dames d'Escoffier scholarships and grants. $50. Noon-4 p.m. Restaurant Nora, 2132 Florida Ave. NW. Call 202-973-2168.

PLEASE NOTE: Space limitations sometimes prevent Food from publishing all submissions. For possible inclusion, send notices to: To Do, Food, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington D.C., 20071 or food@washpost.com. Submissions must be received at least 14 days prior to publication date.