DIY Kitchen: cilantro-mint dip
Did I mention that this was what I meant by our big rafting trip?
Morning rings like a clear blue bell in the sky. The house sparrows nesting under our window begin exclaiming over the day before it is even day. The kids file into our bed, blinky-eyed and all limbs. They seek our big enveloping bodies as if we are the pinnacle of comfort and security (How can it be? I’m still waiting for the grown-ups to beam me up to grown-up land). I marvel over Rose’s summer brown skin — the color, the smoothness, the just-risen-from-sleep warmth. She’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life, every morning. “You’re the best Mommy ever,” Col says, sentimental with morningness. Dan gets up to make coffee. Rose gets up to let the chickens out. Col, with his sproingy river-hair curls, begs me to stay longer. “Okay, one more hug and then I’m getting up,” I say too sharply, hoping this is not the conversation that plays in a nagging loop of regret when I’m an old lady.
We are up. Dan brews coffee. The best coffee, the coffee that with the same equipment, same ingredients, I can never coax as much flavor from. Plus a fat dollop of raw cream. Col builds a marble chute while his journal (ie: writing practice) collects summer dust on a shelf and I can see how easy it would be to slide into unschooling. I neglect to close the bathroom door and Dan catches me squatting over my pee jar (it’s that season again). Our eyes meet in a laugh, knowing that even this at 7:00 am won’t erode our crazy passion.
Outside, it’s hot hot hot. The sky is bluer and the air drier than you can imagine. The neon flashing heat of summer nibbles away at you. The river is salvation. But, like a marriage, you accept this side of the place you love. In the garden, the kids nab peas like hungry magpies. The hollyhocks pop with color.
Some afternoons, the clouds gather like Mamas at the park. They float down in a procession from the mountains, gauzy grey bridesmaids marching to the altar of our valley. I get that feeling, that vague and tingly feeling, like before Dan brings me the coffee, before the kids’ footfalls reach our room, the feeling that something wonderful and lucky is about to happen. The clouds burst open and no matter what they drop: a dainty sprinkle that evaporates as it falls, fierce spanking hail, falling lines of rain, it fills me with gladness. To celebrate I plant cilantro.
I grew that tiny jalapeno and I’m pretty excited about it. This mint is apple mint.
Sometimes it seems like agriculturally, June at 6512 feet is simply the leafy green prelude to the more exciting crops. I was going to say that you make this dip in early summer because your cilantro’s bolting and small children could fall into the mint patch and never be seen again. Then you end up stashing it in the freezer to save you from the scurvy months of winter when you’ll pull it out and shine its green light in your December kitchen. But we ate it on the last day of June and it was absolutely perfect: sweet and green and rich and nutty and pungent and flavorful. The next batch is going in the freezer, promise.
If you have an insane amount of cilantro and it’s all bolting at once and you’re a little overwhelmed by the task of plucking tiny leaves off stalks for days, it’s possible someone will do it for you for payment of half the cilantro. Thanks, Rowan! Also, this picture is for Kathleen, Rowan’s mom. And for Karen, who recently left our homestead for Brooklyn!
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup peanuts (could substitute for 1/3 cup peanut butter or any other nut or seed)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
1 jalapeno (could substitute 1 tsp cayenne powder)
2 cloves garlic
juice of one lime
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Directions Blend in food processor or blender until creamy smooth.
* this is amazing on a slab of grilled red meat.
* this would probably be excellent on fish.
* but it’s also perfect with crisp veggies.
* if the mint flavor is too overpowering, try substituting half for another herb, like chives, dill or parsley.
* you could mix the cilantro-mint dip with yogurt and use as dressing on a green salad or pasta salad.
PS: Giveaway still open for two more days. I’m enjoying getting to know your joyful-frugality through your comments.
Linking with Tasty Traditions