Ode to Cilantro

Sweet Cilantro Vin

I . LOVE. CILANTRO.

I went to Hugo’s with the boy last night. It’s pretty pricey, but it’s also right down the street so we splurge there more than we should. It’s a more upscale Mexican restaurant in this beautifully restored building from the twenties. They basically serve gourmet takes on Mexican inspired, regional cuisine. So, not your typical grease-filled TexMex cuisine. To start I had their Oaxacan margarita because – what’s Mexican food without a margarita. The Oaxacan margarita so smokey and light, definitely my favorite on the menu. In my opinion it’s even better than their $28 “Greatest” marg. For dinner I had a really good seafood stew full of veggies with fish and shrimp and octopus. Not sure how healthy it was, but it seemed light-ish. One thing I was surprised it didn’t come with was avocado or cilantro. Once those additions were made, it was perfect. I never get how people can eat Mexican without cilantro. It gives such a crisp flavor and adds complexity and coolness to spicy dishes (like the stew). It pretty much enhances everything.

People either love or hate cilantro. I read somewhere that it actually tastes different to different people. (Maybe this NYT article?) Personally, it’s one of my favorite herbs and I pretty much incorporate it into everything. I don’t think I could ever date or really even be good friends with someone who was a cilantro hater because we could never share food. (I also LOVE sharing food, or asking for “a bite”) Since we’re on the subject of things I love, I also love a good, quick salad. Just pick a type of greens, use up those leftover bits of veggies, throw on some shredded rotisserie chicken for good measure and you have an easy lunch or a light dinner. So, of course … BOOM– Salad+Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette and I am in heaven. This doesn’t keep quite as well as some other vinaigrettes I’ve made and I’m not sure why. Maybe the cilantro eventually gets that bitter flavor, but once it starts to get a sour smell – throw it out.
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Polar Vortexas and Healthy Corn Chowder

Healthy Corn Chowder

 

Last Friday in Houston we had what I believe was our first freeze of the season. I woke up to heavy frost on the roofs, ice on the doorknob outside, and a newsfeed of icepocalyptic proportions. This, of course, constituted freeway closures and most people didn’t go into work or school. It may take a blizzard up north to constitute a snow day- but a little ice and some cold puddles means we will shut our city down.

By Sunday we were back in the 70s, the sun was shining, and I brunching on the patio at Canopy while watching their valet back into a car. (He literally backed right into another car that he had just parked barely three feet away from the patio full of patrons and then went to get another car like nothing happened. Brunch and a show!) Then later I enjoyed an ahhhmazing bacon Bloody Mary and played a pathetic game of corn-hole at BAC. I was hoping the warm, patio weather would stick around, but by Tuesday it was another “snow day.” So I decided to play around with making a healthy version of corn chowder to help me face this roller-coaster of polarvortexas we were experiencing.

My healthier rendition of corn chowder hit the spot AND I got to use the immersion blender I got for Christmas. (Dude– get one.) Definitely an easy, cheap meal that is low in calories (264), fat (0g – not a typo), carbs (3g), and sodium(406g). One that will make the weeknight dinner rounds again.
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