Cilantro

Cilantro is a herb known for flavoring salsas from tex-mex to authentic Latino dishes.  Try out this Pico De Gallo recipe or make up your own variation of hot peppers, cumin and green bell pepper.

  1.  Something to remember about Cilantro is that a small portion of the population has a genetic trait that causes cilantro to taste like soap rather than its wonderful robust flavor.  Keep that in mind when someone tries your pico de gallo and makes a face.
  2. Drying cilantro is trickier than most herbs, and is typically not as tasty as fresh.  It cannot be air dried.  It will become limp, and lose its flavor, but never dry out completely.  Instead spread it on a parchment/cookie sheet and set your oven to its lowest setting.  Keep the door cracked open and let the heat from the oven and circulating air from the crack in the door dry it out.  Feel it every once in awhile to see if it is crisp like paper.  When it is, take it out and crumble it off its stalks.  Remove the stalks by hand or put it through a large-holed sieve or colander.  Place in airtight container and keep out of direct sunlight.

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked quinoa

1 (4 ounce) can green chiles

1 cup corn kernels

1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup petite diced tomatoes

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 bell peppers, tops cut, stemmed and seeded

 

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, green chiles, corn, beans, tomatoes, cheeses (optional), cilantro, cumin, garlic, onion, and chili powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Spoon the filling into each bell pepper cavity.  Place on prepared baking dish, cavity side up, and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through, about 25 – 30 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.

Mélange of Baby Vegetables

Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 pounds mixed baby vegetables (zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, patty pan squash, trimmed)

2 cups sugar snap peas

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 yellow bell pepper, julienned

1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced

4 scallions, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

  1.  In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the baby vegetables and sugar snaps until tender (1 to 2 minutes for the zucchini, crooknecks, and sugar snaps; 2 to 3 minutes for the patty pans).  Refresh under cold water and drain well.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the vegetables.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the mustard, vinegar, celery seeds, pepper to taste, and oil;  whisk until well combined.  Add the cilantro, chervil, and dill.  Pour over the vegetables and toss until evenly coated.  Serve well chilled.

Honey-Lime Gazpacho

Serve this cold soup as a light entree, a lunch dish, or as a first course.

Ingredients:

3 large ripe red tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut up

2 medium cucumbers, seeded and cut up

2 medium orange sweet peppers, seeded and cut up

1 jalapeno, seeded and cut up

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1/4 tsp sea salt

Lime wedges and green onions

 

In a large bowl combine tomatoes, cucumber, orange sweet peppers, jalapeno, and garlic.  In a food processor, process mixture, half at a time, with several on/off turns until you have large chunks.  Place all of the mixture in the food processor bowl.  Add lime juice, honey, cilantro, ginger, and 1/4 teapoon sea salt.  Cover and process with several on/off turns until the mixture is just a little chunky.  If desired, season to taste with additional sea salt.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Serve with lime wedges and green onions.  Makes 4 (1 1/4 cup) servings.

countryhome.com Sept 2008

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients:

5 – 6 roma tomatoes, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 Serrano or Jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into a bowl.  That’s pretty much it.  I’d suggest you let it sit for at least an hour, but preferably over night.  The longer, the better, as the flavors get a chance to permeate over time.