Monday, January 11, 2010

The Magic of Cilantro

Have you ever woken up in the morning with a deep, burning desire to make homeade pico de gallo? Well, that is what happened to me yesterday. I was thinking about how tired I am of lugging my kids winter coats, hats, and scarves around, which led to thoughts of wearing sundresses and sandals, which led to a totally random thought of growing tomatoes. After thinking about growing herbs and tomatoes, I realized that the only thing to cure the winter blues may just be some homeade pico de gallo! Not really, but bear with me here.

I NEVER EVER completely trust or believe anyone who says that they do not like cilantro (or avocados for that matter). How is it possible not to love cilantro? I can't imagine life without it, so I just try to keep my mouth shut when people say such crazy things. Thankfully, Kayleigh and Michael got me Pioneer Woman's cookbook for Christmas. I have been using her recipes online for months now, so you can imagine my excitement to read all her tips about homeade pico de gallo, and her quote that you can never get too much cilantro. A woman after my own heart!

I am very weird about "atmosphere" in the kitchen. I always listen to music when I create in the kitchen and certain music suits certain recipes better. So for today's pico, I listened to Rodrigo y Gabriela. Most people know that we have VERY eclectic musical taste in our household, so it shouldn't be a surprise that we listen to this duo of Spanish guitarists. I never claimed to be normal.

Here are the ingredients you need for some fabulous, summer-thought-inducing pico de gallo. The key to this is that the amount of tomatoes must be equal to the amount of onion and equal to the amount of cilantro. This balance of flavor is important!
I used my new knife that I got for Christmas to chop my tomatoes. I have a chopper and a food processor, but usually I just like doing things the long way. It makes me feel......rustic. Hahaha! I like the act of standing in the kitchen forever and chopping away your troubles!

Look at this beautiful cilantro! I tossed the cilantro on top of the tomatoes.

Today I used fresh jalapenos for the first time ever. I diced them with my super, awesome, phenomenal knife into tiny, tiny pieces....mostly because I was scared of the flavor. I should not have been scared though because they weren't too spicy, since I scraped out the white fleshy part and seeds. (Special note to contact lens wearers: Do not, I repeat, do NOT rub your eyes after scraping out a jalapeno with your fingers.)

One time I heard (maybe from Rachel Ray) that if you put lemons or limes in the microwave for 30 seconds, then roll them in your hands, you can squeeze out much more juice. This trick has proven to be true in countless recipes. Holy cow, my microwave is diiiiirrrrrrty. I am a very messy cook!
After combining equal parts tomato, onion, and cilantro, you toss in one or two diced jalapenos. Then you squeeze half a lime over everything. Then add salt and stir together, so that all the flavors can get to know each other.
"Hi, my name is cilantro. People claim to hate me. Liars!"

Because I was feeling nice and the sounds of Rodrigo & Gabriela were so inspiring, I actually made a non-onion seperate batch for my husband. I'm not sure if you can call it pico de gallo without the onion! I threw some extra jalapeno into his batch because I know he likes it SPICY. I have to say he truly appreciated this grand gesture of kindness and thoroughly enjoyed the onion-less pico.

Now for the final picture....
Grilled chicken breast with the homeade pico de gallo with homeade black bean soup topped with....more pico de gallo. Originally, I was just going to make black beans. The side of the can had a recipe for a very easy black bean soup and I actually had all of the ingredients, so I went for it.
This dinner was pretty good. When we are trying to lose weight, we tend to avoid carbs and sugar. That is just what works for us best. This dinner was almost completely void of carbs.
Since this post has to do with food, I have to confess that I have been thinking a lot lately about making a seperate food blog. Maybe I will start that....right after I learn how to sew, sell a few homes, organize my house, and save the world.


Beth Terry Merchant said...

I do believe I suggest a couple months ago you start the food blog. You need to so all your recipes are in one place for all of your loyal foodies like myself! You could have recipes from just bloggers from time to time...