Simple Pico de Gallo

I love cooking on vacation…especially when I have a bunch of hungry tummies who are just aching to eat. So when The BF, Scott and Jonah walked in from the grocery store (and woke me from my nap) yelling, “Alejandraaaaa!!! Come make something for us to eeeeaaaat!” I couldn’t really be annoyed.

When I’m on vacation I don’t want to cook fancy, hard to make food. I want to eat fresh, familiar, soul warming stuff. And for me, that’s Mexican food. The first two things I made the boys was my Best Guacamole Ever and Simple Pico de Gallo. Add tortilla chips and a stack of Skip-Bo cards (okay, and booze) and you pretty much have your afternoon laid out for you.

If that bowl of heaping freshness doesn’t make you happy, I don’t know what will.

Two things I *always* buy too much of at the store: tomatoes and onions and garlic. I don’t know why but I do. Lucky for me, these are three of the five or so ingredients you’ll need to make this super simple side/topping/scoopable dish. Plus, the farmers markets are just brimming with tomatoes right now! So go! Get to it! Recipe after the jump!


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The Best Guacamole. Ever.

What goes better with carne asada tacos than guacamole? Um. Nothing.

I love guacamole. It’s my favorite summer snack. Sometimes the avocados don’t even last long enough to make it into the bowl for mashing…I just love to eat them with a sprinkle of salt.

Everyone has a trick to making the best guac ever. Well, mine is cumin. Balk at it if you want, but it totally changes the stuff. Including it is to make your summer bbq memorable. To not include it is to, well, miss out.

Ok, not really.


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Cilantro Garlic Yogurt Sauce & Grilled Chicken

Finally, folks! Here is the first in a series of long-awaited Beach Trip Cooking Posts! Oh yayer! I know you’re as excited as I am!

Before we left for Rehoboth Beach, DE (over a week ago now) I had grandiose plans for laying out a menu for each day, shopping ahead of time, marinating meats over night, bringing an ice-pack bag for delicate foods or spices from my own cupboard.

Yeah none of that happened. Work was crazy, The BF moving in cause mental havoc I couldn’t overcome and I was just tired. We left for the beach on a Wednesday and I’d had a friend staying with me until the Sunday before. It was just. Too. Much.

Fast forward to Wednesday, the day we were set to leave. Of course the day before you’re supposed to be out on vacation it’s like the whole world voms in your Outlook Inbox! So in between meetings, prepping documents and taking phone calls I hopped on Epicurious with a vague idea of what I’d like to cook. This, our first recipe in the beach installment, was born of me wanting to marinate chicken in a greek yogurt sauce.

If you’re anything like The BF you are totally weirded out by the idea of a) marinating in dairy and b) grilling dairy. Well, I wasn’t and so off we went. (Ever heard of buttermilk chicken? Yeah.) I didn’t want a predictable tzatziki, and the abundance of cilantro at the markets has really inspired me lately…so when I found this recipe I was done looking.

It was easy enough to pull together, and very refreshing. As a marinade…eh…it’s a toss up. I’m not sure the meat gained too much from marinating it in the sauce except for an occasional note of charred cilantro, but it was a nice thought. What it was good for was dipping the grilled-to-perfection chicken in after the fact!

If you are using the sauce as a marinade, like we did, be sure to reserve about 3/4 cup for dipping the chicken or veggies later! This leaves you enough sauce to marinade up to four thick chicken breasts. I went for boneless, skinless.


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Juicy Turkey Meatballs with Ramps and Cilantro

Know what I love? Meatballs. Know what I love even more than meatballs? Spaghetti and meatballs!

So I set out to make spag and balls (a phrase my very “New York” friend Phil taught me) one night. I started with a Best of Cooking Light Italian Favorites meatball recipe as inspiration…and I use the term inspiration because the only thing similar to the Cooking Light recipe and my meatballs was that they both are made of meat.

I’ll date this recipe when I say this, but it was the height of ramp-madness at the farmers markets when I made it. I had ramps…I had to use them…and I wasn’t going to make Spring Pad Thai or Spring Risotto…I was on a meatball kick! (Has anyone noticed by now that my dinner and cooking choices are driven, largely, by freak cravings that must be satisfied?) I also had a large bunch of cilantro that was intended for an herb salad I don’t think I ever got around to making. These ingredients had to be used or else my market buys were going to go bad.

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