Posts Tagged ‘salsa

14
Aug
11

Where’s the Beak?

The Artful Dodger hipping Oliver to street lingo

“You do know what a beak is, don’t cha?” “It’s a birds mouth, isn’t it?” “For your information, a beak’s a magistrate.” That line from “Oliver”never made sense to me. Where is the connection? Anyone?

The Spanish word for beak is pico. I had a friend in Mexico nick named Pico because he was blessed with a hooter resembling that of Ringo Starr.

Pico de gallo is a popular salsa we like to pour over our tacos and enchiladas. But why is it called “rooster’s beak?” Again, where is the connection?

I consulted the “Food Lover’s Companion”, my first go-to book when I have a culinary connected conundrum. According to that source, “Pico de gallo [PEE-koh day GI-yoh] ….is a relish made of finely chopped ingredients like jicama, oranges, onions, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers and cucumbers along with various seasonings. This condiment was so named because it was once purportedly eaten with the thumb and finger, an action that resembles a rooster’s pecking beak.” Ok, I guess that makes some sense.

Here’s what I found on Wikipedia:

Another suggested etymology is that pico is derived from the verb picar, which has two meanings: 1) to mince or chop, and 2) to bite, sting or peck. The rooster, gallo inSpanish, is a common metaphor for the hyper-masculine (“macho“) male in Mexican culture. One example of such machismo is taking pride in withstanding the spicy burn of chilis.

However, neither theory can be considered definite, as they assume the use of hot chilis. In many regions of Mexico the term “pico de gallo” refers to any of a variety of salads, condiments or fillings made with sweet fruitstomatoestomatillosavocado or mild chilis — not necessarily with hot chilis, or any chilis at all. Thus, the name could be a simple allusion to the bird feed-like minced texture and appearance of the sauce.[2]

The pico de gallo I am used to seeing and eating in California and the Pacific Northwest is more of a salsa or salsa fresca. Tomatoes, onion and garlic are the staple. And it’s chunky yet a bit on the soupy side, so I can’t imagine trying to peck that up with your dedos (that’s Spanish for fingers).

My simple, spicy version of Pico de Gallo

Enough scratching and pecking for the significance of the name of this spicy concoction. Here is my simple version of Pico de Gallo:

3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

½ yellow onion, finely chopped

3 large cloves garlic, finely minced

1 large jalapeño, finely minced

salt and pepper to taste

chopped cilantro (optional)

Rough to finely chop the ripe tomatoes

These summer beauties were the perfect ripeness!

chop the onions

make sure they are pretty fine

ditto the jalapenos - keep the seeds if you want the heat or remove for a less heated condiment

Remove the skins from the garlic cloves

The easiest way to remove the skins from garlic is to chop off the hard, woody end and using the flat of your chefs knife, give it a good firm bash with your fist.  Did that make sense?  Place the knife on it’s side over the garlic clove.  Make a fist like you are playing one-potato-two-potato and smash it down on the knife.  One smash is all you need do.

Finely chop all of that beautiful garlic

Place it all in a mixing bowl and give it a good stir.  Season with salt and pepper to taste,  You can also add chopped cilantro if you like.  I didn’t have any on hand the day I made this, otherwise it would have made it in there too.

Spoon over your favorite Mexican dishes or anything that you like. It's great on it's own with some tortilla chips.

Whether you call it pico de gallo, salsa fresca, tomato relish or Mexican ketchup, it doesn’t get any easier to make.  Team it up with some guacamole and get the party started.  Hmmm….where’s that avocado?

16
Jul
10

Electrolux #splits: Split from Tradition

Perfectly decadent summer treat

Many of you regular readers may have noticed the nifty badges to the right.  That’s right, Vampire Gran is  now a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher. Yay!  That said, I am joining with other Foodbuzz publishers in helping to raise money for OCRF, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.  Foodbuzz has teamed with Electrolux and actress Kelly Ripa to raise money for OCRF.  For more information about this important cause, please go to Kelly Confidential

Foodbuzz has a little something they like to call Top 9 Takeover.  They ask all of us Featured Publishers to construct a post around a theme, then for one day only, all Top 9 posts reflect that theme.  Sounds pretty straight forward. 

How am I contributing to OCRF, you may wonder?  Well, here’s something pretty cool.  For every Banana Split posted by a Featured Publisher created by July 16th, Foodbuzz will contribute $50.00 to OCRF.  So, by tempting you all with my wicked goodness, I am helping ovarian cancer research.  My ovaries would probably thank me, if I had any! 

I opted for using zero fat sorbet instead of traditional ice cream

Katie and I have been eating so healthy these days that the thought of a traditional Banana Split kinda gave me nightmares.  Since I am a total newbie to Foodbuzz and I really, really wanted to participate in this challenge, I decided to make my entry a more healthy version of the soda fountain staple.   My banana split is a  Tropical Treat.  Tropical, Raspberry and Mango sorbets with layers of banana and a fresh pineapple, mango, peach salsa.  I topped it off with a not-so-healthy swirl of coconut whipped cream, toasted almonds and a beautiful Bing cherry! 

The only thing with fat in it, Coconut Whipped Cream. Oh, yeah!

 Here’s how I made the fruit salsa: 

Start with a sweet, fresh pineapple

I actually had the produce guy at Safeway cut a couple pineapples to try before I purchased one.  A lot of people don’t know that you can do this, ya know.  Trust me, I work in a grocery store.  They would rather have you try before you buy so they have a happy customer. 

Chop the pineapple up as fine or as chunky as you like

The produce man picked out a great mango for me. 

Perfectly sweet and juicy mango. Yum!

Remove the pit and peel and start chopping. 

Chop the same as the pineapple

I also bought a decent peach.  I really love summer fruit. 

summertime = peaches

Combine the fruit and chill

I added a little honey to make it a wee bit more saucy and a pinch sweeter.  

Slice a banana and whip some cream

After you whip and sweeten your heavy cream, fold in a couple handfulls of sweetened, shredded coconut.  I used a large pastry tip to pipe my cream on top of  my banana split, but you could also use a spoon. 

You will not miss the ice cream or sugary sauces, trust me

I put a few slices of banana in first because I want that last bite to contain banana.  Next I added a scoop of tropical sorbet.  Top with fruit salsa and a few more banana slices.  Scoop of raspberry sorbet, more salsa and banana.  Mango sorbet, salsa and banana.  Top with coconut whipped cream, toasted almond slices and a cherry on top.  Viola!  A banana split that won’t split your pants. 

I can't help it, I just want you to keep looking at it




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