I very clearly remember the first time I tasted cilantro.  My husband and I were on our first winter vacation.  We were sitting on the second floor of one of those crazy Mexican places like Carlo and Charlie’s.  Now this was more than 15 years ago and these places were quite the novelty back then.  This is how I make my guess of the authentic Mexican version:  Combine 3 chopped tomatoes, ½ c chopped white onion, 1 jalapeño seeded and chopped, ½ c chopped cilantro, 1 clove of garlic chopped with 2 t freshly squeezed lime juice and salt to taste.  For a different twist I sometimes add a chopped up “pickling” cucumber.  Let the flavours blend before serving.  Consume with La Cocina taco chips (locally made and the best chip I have ever tasted).salsa3inch

I am currently reading a enthralling book that I will blog about when I have completed it but this is what I read last night about an authentic Mexican salsa:  “When it was mixed together, the salsa was a celebration of red and white and green, cool and fresh and alive.  On a tortilla, with a bit of white queso fresco, it was both satisfying and invigorating, full of textures and adventures, like childhood help in your hand.”

One of my favourite treats when I’m trying to “drop a few” is a half of a toasted whole wheat bagel with a bit of light cream cheese, covered with cucumber slices, salt & pepper and tons of cilantro.  It tastes like spring time in my mouth.

A cilantro dish that my  family loves is adapted from Bonnie Stern’s Heart Smart Cooking.  Cilantro-Grilled Chicken Breasts:  Marinade: in a food processor chop 4 cloves of garlic, 1 small onion, and 1 cup of cilantro including the stems.  Add 2 T of Thai fish sauce, 3 T of freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 T rice vinegar, 2 T hoisin sauce and ½ t hot chillipaste.  Process to form a paste.  Spread over 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast and refrigerate up to 2 hours.  Remove chicken, shake off excess and grill.  

My daughter's new location is Kayamandi Township, South Africa

My daughter's new location is Kayamandi Township, South Africa

A recipe that I have not yet tried are spicy African Potatoes from the Focus on Africa- Fundraising Cookbook that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry.  Brown a sliced hot red chili pepper, sliced thinly lengthwise in 3 T olive oil.  Add 1 t cumin, 1 t sesame seeds.  Heat until the seeds “hop”. Set aside. Boil 6 large potatoes cut into cubes.  Mix with spices and peppers.  Stir in an entire bunch of finely chopped cilantro.

A drink that we Canadians love is called a Bloody Caesarand many bartenders mix it with their own enhancements-some use a splash of dill pickle juice, others rim their’s with a mixture of rock and celery salt.  The very best version was one that I had with cilantro!Kath's Caesar

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