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Thursday, December 17, 2009


Cilantro, also known as Chinese parsely. You may be unknowingly familiar with it's fruit: "coriander" or the coriander seed. The Chinese use cilantro in Asian cuisine like the Italians use parsley in their cuisine. As far as I'm concerned, cilantro can often be substitued for parsely in many a recipe. I happen to be one who loves this particular herb. Some have said that it has a bit of a "soapy" flavor to it, but I am partial to it. I love it on my fried eggs, it is a must-have in any fresh salsa or guacamole, seafood, chili, and curry dishes. Add this herb in at the last minute, as heat tends to diminish it's wonderful flavor. Generally speaking, when using fresh herbs, it is advisable to tear the leaves and add them in briefly just before serving, or even better, as a fresh garnish on top. Cilantro is widely available in chain grocery stores. Bonus, it's cheap and an excellent way to add fresh flavor to any meal. So, I encourage you to pick up a bunch on your next grocery trip and start experimenting. Just to get you started off on the right foot, here's an easy salsa recipe:

4-5 on-the-vine OR roma tomatoes
handful fresh cilantro;rinsed, stems & all (about 3/4 cup)
1 serrano pepper, seeds and all
1/2 jalapeno pepper (or more if you like hot salsa, 2 jalapenos would make this "hot")
1/2 of a medium sized red onion
1/2 of a medium sized green bell pepper
1 tsp cumin
salt & pepper to taste

Blend (or process) two tomatoes with the list of ingredients to a slightly chunky puree. Then hand chop the remaining tomatoes and add them to the puree to give the salsa some texture.

The longer is sits, the more robust the flavors will become. Garnish with more cilantro & serve alongside your tacos or with blue corn tortilla chips.

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