Monday, April 5, 2010

Fresh Pico de Gallo Salsa

Following an unbelievably fun (but extraordinarily busy) holiday weekend, I decided after work today that it was time to relax and enjoy the weather.

At least just for a little while.

So I got myself some lemon water (which I looove) and settled down on the back deck with my Kindle, which was a Christmas present from Mr. Vittles (that I also looove).

In case you care, I am currently reading The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (who, for those of you that don't know, also wrote The Other Boleyn Girl).  I'll admit I typically don't like "girly" books/movies - I'm more about thrillers, mysteries, and death & destruction.  But Philippa Gregory's books are super scandalous, and I like to indulge in them every now & again :)

So after reading several chapters, sipping my ice water, and overall enjoying the sun, I got to thinking about the next task at hand- dinner.

I was envisioning something light and fresh to go with the mood of the weather.  But unfortunately anything too fresh would require me going to the grocery store... Yucky.

I will put that one off until tomorrow. 

In the meantime, "Hmm, let's see what we're working with..."

Umm... Operation Fridge Recon was pretty disheartening, particularly in the "fresh" category.

The "nearly-bad lettuce" used to make Thursday's Honeyed Bacon BLTs was now officially bad.  Otherwise, there was a half an onion, a few potatoes, a few small tomatoes, and a lonely lime.

Yikes.  What to do, what to do?

Then I got to thinking about my Easter present from Pammy & Douggy Vittles ... which was a planter full of fresh herbs, YAY!  

Don't worry, it also had Reese's chocolate peanut butter eggs on top for Mr. V :)

But one of the herbs that was included in this glorious gift is CILANTRO.

By the way, I am also attempting to grow my own cilantro from seed.  But I am thinking it's not entirely ready to be used in a recipe yet ...

Yeah... not so much.

But anyway ... onion + tomato + lime + cilantro can only mean one thing in this house - fresh pico de gallo!

I noted that we also have flour tortillas, so with the canned goods I always keep on hand (for just such a lazy occasion), I can either make black bean enchiladas or refried bean & cheese quesadillas to go with.  I will see if Mr. Vittles has a preference when he gets home from work.

Not that I should bother, since his response 99% of the time is "Whichever.  They are both good."

So in the meantime, I'll share with you this very special recipe handed down from generation to generation in the Vittles family.

Its also extremely long and complicated.  So brace yourself.

...ready?  I hope you have at least 2 pieces of paper handy... 

Totally kidding. It's so easy you won't even believe it.  And sadly it's not a treasured family recipe - its based on one in a favorite cookbook that was a gift from my good friend Natalie Vittles, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.

So if you, too, are in the mood for something fresh, I suggest you get to choppin'.

Fresh Pico de Gallo Salsa

  • 2 large (or 3 smallish) ripe tomatoes, seeded & chopped
  • 1/2 large onion (white or red works- I used white today)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic (or one clove garlic, minced)
  • 1/4 C. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Juice from half of a lime
  • 2 t. white vinegar
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/4 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • optional: minced jalapeno or cayenne pepper, to taste (if you like spicy)

Combine tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and white vinegar in a bowl.  Season with garlic & chili powders, salt, and pepper.  Add jalapeno/cayenne pepper if desired.  Stir and taste to adjust seasoning if necessary.

Let sit 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Serve within a couple hours of preparing with tortilla chips, or as a garnish to your favorite Mexican recipes.

Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

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