On June 21st, Father's Day, our son and daughter-in-law came over to spend the afternoon with us. We haven't been together much because of isolating, and this is only the second occasion we have seen them since this all began. Very special for the four of us, still being sensible about being in our appropriate space, no hugs coming or going, but the time together was magic. Knowing what others are going through we will never take our time together for granted.
In between our regular favorite dishes that are tried and true, we also enjoy making ethnically diverse dishes. This week we settled on Mexican cuisine, and though we have been to several restaurants over the years, in all the places we have lived, we haven't cooked much at home. With practice we are getting more confidence and felt it was time to rectify that situation, especially as our son and daughter-in-law enjoy it as much as we do. With them in mind I chose this week's recipe from The Spruce Eats which you can find here.
I always recommend checking out the original (you can get there by clicking on the red lettering above). There are tips shared, fun professional photos, and it is always useful to watch the video if provided. The prep time is longer than most of our meals, definitely worth the finished result though.
Fresh Pico de Gallo
cups (6 to 8 servings)
tablespoons onion (finely chopped)
small cloves garlic (minced)
large ripe tomatoes (peeled, seeds removed, and chopped)
2 chili peppers (jalapeño or serrano), chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
tablespoons lime juice, plus more to taste
ground black pepper
Put the chopped onion and minced garlic in a strainer/sieve. Pour 2 cups
boiling water over them and let drain thoroughly. Discard the water. Allow
the chopped onion and garlic to fully cool.
Combine onions and garlic with chopped tomatoes, peppers,
cilantro, and lime juice. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to blend the flavors.
The website's notes are as follows:
Serve as a dip or a condiment with Mexican-style dishes, and enjoy enjoy.
hot or mild chile peppers in the salsa. Jalapeño peppers, serrano,
New Mexican, and Anaheim are good choices.
caution when chopping the peppers and be sure to wash your hands immediately
following the cutting.
you want a spicier salsa, keep some of the pepper seeds in the mixture.
you prefer milder salsa, make sure all the pepper seeds and ribs are removed.
tomatoes are an excellent choice for salsa. They are firmer and have fewer
seeds, and they're easier to dice.
you store this salsa in the refrigerator for a few days, the tomatoes will
continue to release their juices. Simply drain the salsa prior to serving to
keep it from having too much liquid.
you're not a fan of cilantro, omit it or add fresh parsley.
extra texture and color, add about a few tablespoons of drained and rinsed
black beans and a few tablespoons of cooked corn kernels.
Our shopping trips have been curtailed somewhat, and when I had difficulty getting just one jalapeno pepper, I put a small can of chopped jalapeno peppers on our grocery list. It was a great substitute. Below you can see the one we bought, but there are several other brands available at local grocery stores.
As mentioned, the prep takes longer than usual but with the two of us we cut that by half. Once all items were prepared, it was a breeze to put everything together.
We made it the day before our family meal. That night we ate a small sampling and it was excellent. We served it with lime flavored tortilla chips.
Not everyone likes Cilantro and I would say if you feel strongly against it, try chopped parsley, or as suggested in the original recipe, leave it out altogether.
We added the Cilantro and lime juice a little at a time, and taste tested after each addition. We ended up using all the Cilantro I cut up, and the 3 tablespoons of lime juice. Entirely up to your own taste.
This appetizer was a big hit with everyone.
I will have other meals we shared in future posts.
(Provecho – The Mexican “Bon Appétit”. In Mexico it is customary to say “provecho” (proh-veh-choh) before starting a meal, or when you enter or leave the presence of someone who is eating.)
I never had the opportunity to try Mexican food before I came to the States almost 45 years ago. The only restaurants in my town before leaving the UK, were either Indian or Chinese. We enjoyed both but visits to them were rare, as it wasn't our way to eat out unless it was a special occasion, like a birthday.
A memory from 40 years ago and one I may have shared before. As new parents, hubs and I had not had much time or energy to enjoy a restaurant meal, and again didn't usually go out unless it was a special occasion. However, one day we thought just once we would go out for no special reason, other than to get out of the house and enjoy a good meal. As we were new in the area we didn't know anyone long enough to feel comfortable about leaving him. So, we took our very young son with us. It was the very first time we had attempted this. If he got fussy we decided we would take turns to carry him outside, so as not to disturb any other patrons.
At the time we were living in Long Beach, and we picked a restaurant at random. I wish I could remember its name, but it might not even be there now. The staff couldn't have been nicer. We timed our visit and missed the busy lunch hour, but in a bit of a hurry we sat down and ordered, thinking we had better try and get in and out as fast as we could. Just as our meal arrived our son woke up and started crying. Hubs got up to take him out but our waiter saw what was going on, walked over and asked permission to hold our son for a while, so that we could enjoy our meal. Hubs placed our precious child in his arms.
He cradled him and started rocking him gently, and quietly sang him a Mexican lullaby while walking around the restaurant near us. The warmth on his face as he looked down at our son was magical and I can still see him. He had children of his own he assured us, his youngest not much older than our little guy who had already fallen asleep. But this kind man still held him and rocked him as we talked with him, and we were able to finish the rest of our meal with ease. I have never forgotten his kindness and never will.