Pico de Canario

pico de canario Pico de gallo (literally “rooster’s beak”) is a chunky, fresh salsa found at most Mexican (or vaguely Mexican) restaurants these days. This is a tangier, mango-ier version of the salsa, which I have named after the only non-fictional yellow bird that I could translate into Spanish: the canary.

Makes: 4 cups
Total kitchen time: 20 mango-maddening minutes

Shopping list:

  • 1 large, ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 4 tomatillos, husked and diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • coarse salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
  1. If you’ve never worked with a whole mango before, it can be a bit daunting. First, be sure to wash the skin very well before peeling the fruit. Mango tree sap causes itching and mild irritation, like poison ivy (this is why you should NEVER burn mango wood). The mango has a long, solar car shaped pit that runs vertically through the middle. Slide your knife down through the top of the fruit, slightly to one side, When you hit the pit, try to follow its contour. You may have to make several cuts to get the flesh off, but you’re going to dice it anyway, so who cares?
  2. Once your mango is peeled and chopped, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. This will give the flavors time to mingle.

Serve with chips, fish tacos, or as a very fancy churro topping!

Sweet and Savory Carrots

sweet and savory carrots I grew up on these carrots. Adding depth to a naturally sweet vegetable, this recipe will make you think twice next time you reach for the steamer. As a variation, puree the carrots at the end of the recipe and sprinkle with fresh sage.

Serves: 4 smugly-sarcastic rabbits
Total kitchen time: 20 mins

Shopping List:

  • Carrots (a-duh? But seriously, a note here. Try to find beautiful carrots. For your sake and mine, don’t buy a pre-packaged bag of those mini carrots. Those are for 5-year olds to dunk in Ranch Dressing. You want the big boy carrots.)
  • 1tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups water
  1. Clean up your carrots with a vegetable peeler. Get rid of the tough outer skin, but try not to go all mechanical pencil sharpener on them. That’s food you’re wasting.
  2. Arrange the carrots in a single layer in a large skillet. Sprinkle over the cloves and cinnamon. Toss to coat.
  3. Add the water and honey and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until carrots are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

(How I learned to love) Brussels Sprouts

brussel sprouts People tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to the mention of brussels sprouts. However, they have gotten a bad rap from bland preparation and inelegant presentation. In this recipe, I proudly cheat my way to delicious brussels sprouts through the cunning use of dairy.Serves: 4 as a side dish
Total kitchen time: 35 minutes

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • (kosher/sea) salt and (freshly gound black) pepper to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 425F and set your top rack about 6 inches from the broiler.
  2. Clean the brussels sprouts under cold water to remove any dirt. Cut the brussels sprouts in half.
  3. Next, we want to par-steam the brussels sprouts to get them soft, but not cooked all the way through. You can steam them in a vegetable steamer if you like. I’ve found that microwaving them in a baking dish with 1/2 inch of water for 7 or 8 minutes works just as well.
  4. Place the brussels sprouts cut-side-up in an oven-proof baking dish, just large enough so they stack 1-2 sprouts high. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Heat the half and half and cream until it just barely starts to boil. Pour over the brussels sprouts. Top with the shredded and grated parmesan.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
  7. Serve to a cautiously optimistic audience, who will soon have a whole new appreciation for this wonderful vegetable.