Sometimes you zig, sometimes you zag, sometimes you shrug

When you're teaching cooking classes your refrigerator can become a bizarre hoard of odd bits and bobs. What will keep til next week? What needs to be used up? What was forgotten in the back of the bin? (Don't ask.) This week I had bundles of herbs, cilantro, parsley, and thyme. 

Tip: I've found the best way to store most herbs is to wrap in paper towel and place in an open zip top bag. This helps regulate the moisture and humidity. If you can remember to, grab your kitchen Sharpie and mark those bags! This will save time opening and unwrapping. (I get them into the bags but seldom actually label them.)

Recipe testing for classes and clients, as well as planning dinner for us, I wind up with a constant internal dialog, something like air traffic control, but instead of planes crashing and fiery deaths, there's the possibility of food waste. In my family, these were disasters of nearly equal proportion. It's hard to shake. That cilantro needs to be used up. Should use that ground turkey up before the chicken breast which should be thawed by tomorrow. Too much parsley, how'd I end up with so much parsley? Those zested limes need to be squeezed into something.

A few days ago, this terrific sounding marinade called Schug that passed through my inbox and got the wheels turning. Then I came across this post about Zahav in Philadelphia which is apparently good enough to warrant a trip only for its food. (Noting this for Cody & Carlos.)

After two nights of Instant Pot pasta recipe testing (turkey fauxlognese", almost there), I'm ready for a switch. The basic idea was to take the pile of herbs and use them up. Yesterday I made baba ganoush with gifted eggplant from Sunday's North End tour. I made freekeh tabbouleh using up most of the parsley (or so I thought) and a good bit of the mint, the cilantro. I made hummus, too and enjoyed a proper, sloppy feast. 

Decided to make schug to marinate the chicken and serve with tabbouleh and fresh salad tonight. I'll have meal three of the baba ganoush (he won't touch it) and he'll have some chicken. We'll both share the freekeh tabbouleh. Sounded perfect. I reached in for that parsley. Oh. Mint. I reached in for the cilantro. Oops. TWO bags. 

This is where your kitchen improv skills come in handy. Altering the schug recipe, and borrowing from Zahav & Gayle, I made a pesto based on what I had to use, what was on hand, and what I know would go well together. While parsley loves lemon or orange, cilantro favors lime. Mint is pretty happy playing on both teams. When we're adding coriander and chiles, I reach for cumin. Bonus, I used up the last bit of gremolata, too. 


Because, why not?

  • 1 C cilantro
  • 1 C mint
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 limes, juiced 
  • scant tablespoon each: ground coriander, ground cardamom, kosher salt
  • scant teaspoon ground cumin
  • 10 serrano chiles, stemmed removed (half seeded)
  • 4 garlic cloves

Processed in food processor, pouring canola oil in thin stream to achieve a loose pesto, probably 3/4 C.

(and because I had it to use, about 2 tablespoons of gremolata: orange zest, garlic, parsley.)


Cilantro Shrug
Lime Cilantro Shrug

If you're on team cilantro, here's a cilantro pesto recipe.