Posts Tagged With: cilantro

Cooking from Memories

pork tomatillo stew

Memoir is an interesting genre. The work is autobiographical, but the author chooses to emphasize a specific theme and/or focus on a shorter period of their life rather than telling their whole story. I enjoy reading memoirs and biographies, because I can learn about worlds that are completely different than mine without leaving earth. Sometimes I am tempted to covet their wealth and opportunity.  At other times the character’s struggle and despair are such that I am reminded to be thankful for the eternal hope that I have.

One of my favorite popular authors is Ruth Reichl. When she shares stories from her past you can feel along with her. When she describes the aromas, flavors, and textures of an amazing meal you are as satisfied as if you had been sitting at the table with her.

Recipes are sprinkled through Reichl’s books. This morning I took inventory of the ones that are included in Tender at the Bone.  A stew made from pork and tomatillos was especially interesting to me, because the bag of tomatillos from Produce Junction was larger than I had needed for a large batch of green sauce.

Ruth instructs the cook to prepare the stew on the stovetop. However, my Saturday plans wouldn’t allow me to babysit a simmering stew for two hours. Instead, after browning the pork and sauteeing the garlic and onions, I tossed everything into a crockpot.

Four hours later, we were home and ready for supper. My husband said the “juice” was good, but he isn’t so sure about the beans being included. I can’t say that the stew was amazing, but I can’t say that it is the recipe’s fault, either. When I cut the recipe in half some of the ratios didn’t quite match.   Also, I don’t keep “dark beer” on hand, so my blackstrap molasses substitute certainly affected the flavor.


Categories: Books, Food and drink, Pork, stew | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Church Picnic

church picnic shelter

Summer is drawing to a close. Schools have started. Sunsets are coming more quickly.  Since the state parks close at dark this means that the time for grilling at the park will soon pass as well.

Our church family enjoyed a few hours together this past weekend. Planning and organization was made a bit easier by the use of Mailchimp. With this internet tool, attendees are invited via email to R.S.V.P. and sign up for items to contribute to the event.  When you visit the web page you are able to see which other guests have replied and what parts of the menu are already taken care of.  Depending on how the host sets up the form you can choose to be general or specific about what you plan to contribute.

I signed up to bring a side dish. Other categories included designated fruit salad, and bags of chips, so I figured that they were looking for something more like a vegetable when they typed in “side dish”.

Southern Living had a recipe for Street Corn Salad that looked attractive with the variety of colors. The simplicity of preparation was also attractive, since there were only two steps to follow:

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients; whisk in olive oil.
  2. Stir together corn, radishes, and tomatoes in a medium bowl. Gently stir in dressing; spoon mixture onto a serving platter, and sprinkle with cheese.

I made changes to the ingredients list in order to save money: eliminated the $1.99 radishes, used lemon juice instead of fresh limes, sea salt instead of kosher, thawed frozen corn instead of scraping kernels off the cob, substituted grape for cherry tomatoes, and used up the half container of feta cheese that was in my fridge instead of buying Cotija…should I even pretend it is the same recipe?

Here is my list of ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 – 1 lb. bags frozen corn, thawed
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into halves
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled



Categories: Cheese, Food and drink, Salad, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aji Verde


Another cooking blog posted a recipe for a Peruvian Green Sauce and for grilled chicken skewers to go with it.  We had leftover chicken from an evening at a state park, so I only had to prepare one of the recipes.

My husband wasn’t excited about my blending together ingredients for a different green sauce. He was more than content with the Mexican version made with tomatillo. However, the idea of a pesto-like green sauce fascinated me. Would basil and cilantro work well with parmesean and jalapeno?

Yes! Especially if you have some blandish chicken to dress up with a kicking hot sauce. And after a quick taste test, my husband agrees.

As always, I changed a few ingredients.

Aji Verde


1 large jalapeno
1  medium-sized bunch of cilantro
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon honey
1 T minced or chopped garlic
1 olive oil
juice of one fresh lime

½ cup mayonnaise

Puree all of the ingredients except the mayonnaise in a blender. Add the mayonnaise and run it again until the mixture is evenly combined.



Categories: Food and drink, Herbs and Spices, sauces & condiments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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