MAY 24, 2012–RESTAURANT STYLE SALSA
I have wanted to try Pioneer Woman’s RESTAURANT-STYLE SALSA (pg. 92) since I saw it on her blog last year. I was a little intimidated by the psychedelic chicken the salsa was served in, though. I’ve gotten over my issues with the psychedelic chicken and Scout and I made up the salsa.
But before we go any farther, I just want you to celebrate with me–THERE IS NO BASEBALL PRACTICE, BASEBALL GAMES, SOCCER PRACTICE, SOCCER GAMES, GUITAR LESSONS, PIANO LESSONS, BOY SCOUTS, OR DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS TODAY! My calendar doesn’t even show any birthdays in my extended family. There is one little note on the date though. I have to squint to read it. I think I wrote it small to leave room for all the other practices and events that I thought would fill our day. The note reads, “Drop off LBG at Coach’s 3:15”.
My heart sighed.
My boy was heading off to a baseball tournament with his friend and coach. He would be spending the night away from home in a hotel with his coach and the coach’s son. I had never done this before. It seemed like such a grown-up thing to do to head off to a tournament with his team for the weekend without me. I wasn’t worried about LBG behaving–he might, he might not, he is a boy. I wasn’t worried about him missing me; he would be having way too much fun. I didn’t worry about him staying up late and eating junk food–he’s a kid; it happens sometimes. I worried about him growing up. I worried about how this was a change in our lives, and how it would keep changing.
I remembered this same tournament last year. He made the 10U All-Star team and they traveled to this tournament. Last year he went up with his dad. Last year, a kid had chosen to single him out and pick on him the entire weekend. This hadn’t happened before, and it was really hard. The entire team ended up joining in, and he got covered in mud. He was bullied, belittled, and covered in mud. I wasn’t there. If I had been, my tiger-momma claws would have come out. I hurt SO much when I heard the story. My heart ached so much for my boy. It was one of those really hard growing up experiences. One of those-hurt-really-really-hard experiences. Thankfully, it was a weekend thing and didn’t continue into the All-Star season. In fact, he made some good friends on the team.
And this year I was sending him up alone?
No. He wouldn’t be alone. The LORD would be with him. Coach would be there. His teammates would be there. Parents of his team mates would be there, and after the first night, I would be there with the rest of the kiddos. I called The Hunni again, just to double-check. “Yep,” said his Dad.
Deep breathe. One more prayer. “Yep.” LBG was going.
What happened between last year and this year that I would let him go up “alone”? LBG grew up some more. His team grew up some more. The chances were small and hardly noticeable, but they somehow happened.
A Prayer: “Thank you LORD for these little growing up changes. Help me with the changes to come. Keep my boy this weekend.”
But before he left, he needed lunch. And lunch was my go-to lunch of cheese quesadillas with salsa and sour cream. I used to feel really guilty about cheese quesadillas, but then my sister-in-law Lily said that if I made them on whole-wheat tortillas and added refried beans (protein) the meals was rather a good one.
Scout wanted to make the salsa, so made the quesadillas while she made the RESTAURANT-STYLE SALSA.
I showed her how I cut jalapenos. I use a zip-loc bag over my hand as once I didn’t and scratched my neck. It burnt for an hour or so.
I also showed her how to juice a lime if you aren’t strong enough to squeeze it. Just insert a fork and twist it around.
And then I told her to go out and snip some cilantro. She asked, “What does cilantro look like?” “Just like parsley,” I said. “What does parsley look like?” she asked. So we had to go out together to get the cilantro and some parsley for comparison.
So. . . .Do you know which one is cilantro and which one is parsley?
Why don’t you go ahead and guess. Is the Flat-leaf parsley on the left or right? Are you sure the other one is cilantro?
Let’s talk about cilantro. Cilantro is also known as coriander (moe when referring to the seed) and Chinese parsley.
The leaves are used fresh as heat diminished the flavor and aroma.
The seeds are also harvested and used as a spice called coriander. When a recipe refers to “coriander” it is referring to the seeds, not the leaves. The roots are also used in as a base in Asian soups. (from Encyclopedia of Spices)
Americans were introduced to cilantro in Mexican and Asian foods. It took a bit, but it has become a much-loved taste. (photos and info from Wikipedia)
Coriander grows wild in South East Europe and had been cultivated in Egypt, India and China for thousands of years. It is mentioned in Sanskrit text and the Bible Spanish conquistadors introduced it to Mexico and Peru where it now commonly paired with chilies in the local cuisine. It has since become very popular in the Southwest and Western part of the United States as well as in most metropolitan areas. An interesting note is that people of European descent frequently are reviled by the smell of cilantro. It has not gained in popularity in Europe as it has in many other parts of the world. (from Gourmet Slueth)
Cilantro is a divider. People love it or hate it. This article explains a bit why. If you hate cilantro you are not alone. There is Facebook page for cilantro haters and even a blog devoted to cilantro haters. Julia Child also hates both cilantro and arugula, so even chefs can have aversions. (from NY Times–Dining and Wine).
Like it or hate it, you will want to be able to tell flat-leaf parsley and cilantro apart. They are in fact related–both in the carrot family. When in doubt, sniff. Cilantro has a stronger aroma. Cilantro also has a more “feathery” leaf and is usually a slightly lighter green than flat-leaf parsley. Cilantro stalk are a bit more “delicate” looking than Fat leafed parsley. I mean flat-leafed parsley.
In this photo, flat-leafed parsley is on the left and cilantro is on the right. But of course you already knew that.
And here is an interesting bit of news. Cilantro is an appetite stimulate. Great! Just what I need. Now I know why I can’t stop eating salsa! So let’s get back to our salsa.
PW calles for a can of Rotel in her salsa, but I didn’t have any, so I used “El Pato Mexican Sauce”. (PW uses this sauce in many of her recipes.) Aside from the contents of the “El Pato Mexican Sauce”, I like the can itself. Here in the U.S. almost all of our labels are printed on paper and glued to the can. This was not always the case. The printing used to go directly onto the can. El Pato can are printed directly. You can’t peel off the printing. For this reason, I save them and use them to serve salsa.
I saw an idea in a Pottery Barn catalog recently where salsas were marked as “mild”, “medium”, or “hot”, by the number of dried chiles on a toothpick inserted into the salsa bowl. I love this idea.
Here is Little Man with sour cream on his face.
. . .and his hands.
COMMENTS: The kiddos loved the salsa. The recipe made about 1 and 2/3 quarts so there was plenty. It survived more than a week in our refrigerator, which surprised me as Ree Drummond’s recipe does not contain vinegar (a preserver). I plan on making this again and again and again. I blame it on the appetite stimulator cilantro.
Sending out much love, . . .
. . . and a warning to not eat the entire bag of tortilla chips,