The first time I tried cilantro, I thought I was on the receiving end of an elaborate, twilight zone prank- a passing thought that only a paranoid 14 year old can possess (or one with the Olympic-level self-centeredness of a 14 year old). My friends and I were eating homemade salsa with all the mexicali fixings; everyone was gorging and raving about it while I was in hell. To me, each bite was like chomping into a bar of the fancy fragrant soap that my grandmother used to keep in her guest bathroom- they were shaped like little seashells and you could smell the flowery residue on your hands for hours. My friend’s mom, who made it, was in the room so I faked my way through 3 or 4 bites. I couldn’t figure out what was happening, but I assumed I was on deck to be canonized for sainthood for my selfless sacrifice. I found out much later the salsa was just riddled with fresh cilantro. My parents both have a strong taste aversion to cilantro so I’d never tried it before. I guess if you’re not used to it, it can taste like cleaning supplies, then you eventually grow to enjoy it. I like cilantro now! I can eat/appreciate it these days, but too much cilantro still tastes like a sudsy punishment for swearing.
It is a frigid icebox nightmare outside. If you’ve reached the 7th layer of denial like me, you’re drinking a paloma and chopping veggies (and cilantro) to magically transport you to May 5. Join me:
1/2 medium red onion (about 2/3 cup), diced
1 medium green pepper (about 1 cup), chopped
1 large red pepper (about 1+1/2 cups), chopped
1 11 oz. can white shoepeg corn
1 15.5 oz can pinto beans or navy beans
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro (optional)
Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours then serve with tortilla chips.
**WINTER DENIAL EXTRA-CREDIT: Use salsa as a hot dog topping! It’s fantastic and might transport you past May 5, all the way to July.
Recipe source: my aunt Peg!