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DIY Kitchen: cilantro-mint dip

2013 July 2
by Rachel Turiel


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.

Cilantro-mint dip


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

20 Responses leave one →
  1. July 2, 2013

    Sounds yummy. Thanks for the recipe!
    Love the raft!
    And your wee jalapeño! Spent years trying to grown them in Nova Scotia. That is a little cool climate victory!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      July 2, 2013

      Exactly. Must take garden victories where they come. :)

  2. July 2, 2013

    This looks really yummy. Your hollyhock here is blooming, as is the morning glory, in all of its glory.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      July 2, 2013

      The hollyhock is blooming! What color?

  3. July 2, 2013

    Ooh, I’m making this tonight! I have tons of mint and cilantro going crazy in my garden…and garlic scapes! I’ll substitute those for the garlic.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      July 2, 2013

      Mmm. Perfect.

    • July 3, 2013

      good idea on the garlic scapes- me too. if only my cilantro was growing in such quantity. mine wants to bolt before it even gets going… :( i think everything here wants to bolt, it’s like the soil here is made for one thing- turn everything into a very tall tree. rachel what a BEE-YOU-TY-FULL jalapeno you grew. i am excited about hot peppers this year, i had a thai pepper that re-seeded itself very early (they are getting tall tree like but no flowers yet) and a couple of aji colorado peppers that perrenialized, one of those has flowers! so thrilling. (this might be a good variety for you judging by the name? got seeds from horizon herbs. i should just save you some, like those nasturtiums that i never sent. doh!) my hollyhocks are going to be a while revealing their colors, but i see at least 4 of them that survived. i am hoping for that pretty dark purple.

  4. Andrea permalink
    July 2, 2013

    Just when I couldn’t love you more you say something brilliant like…

    pee jar!

    Which I had forgotten all about :)

    Ps. We are having a global warming heat wave over here! It’s scary and i sense the rainforest curling back in protest.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      July 2, 2013

      Someday, when we meet in person we’ll talk about other unmentionables that go from jar to garden.

  5. July 2, 2013

    this is an exquisitely written post. And of course I loved the picture of Rowan :-) Thank you.

  6. July 2, 2013

    Oh yum! I’ll give this a try! And yes, unschooling sounds just perfect to me with the amazing life you are living with your sweet family!

  7. Emmanuelle permalink
    July 2, 2013

    I just love your morning tales, Rachel. This one is particularly “sweet and green and rich and nutty and pungent and flavorful”… like your mint-cilandro dip.

    Sending you love and fresh, moist air from Montréal!

  8. July 3, 2013

    oh i would like to take a refreshing swim in that dip….looks delicious!

  9. July 3, 2013

    I’ve been in the deepest funk today, and nothing could pull me out of it. And then I got here…and I’m smiling again. We’re planning a vacation and your stories are pulling towards Durango. The world just seems so much more magical where you are. Or maybe it’s your family. Probably a little of both :)

  10. July 8, 2013

    goodness, i love this. made a tear come to my eye and I’m not even sure why.

    have a beautiful day!

  11. August 1, 2013

    So excited to hear of someone using urine as fertilizer here in the US, and SW Colorado, no less! And I appreciate your link to the Scientific American article for “street cred”. Have you heard of the “ecological sanitation” concept (also known as EcoSan)? I think you might be interested in that concept: separating toilets to facilitate urine collection for application as fertilizer. Sounds crazy to many Westerners, I know, but simple to implement and valuable addition to small scale crops, and so much better than industrial fertilizers. I want to build one…trying to figure out where to put it. I’d love to hear more about your experimentation!

    And, I enjoy reading your blog, such a lovely description of a lovely life. Happy growing!

  12. Cherie Haaland permalink
    November 5, 2014

    Yuuuuum. Thank you. I am a woman in lust with cilantro. Problem is…. my family abhors it. Even my idolic besties (husband/wife) who introduced me to “real food, real ingredients and real cooking” are strangely averse. (No more MN hot dish!). I love me some cilantro, on anything. This is a great way to trap that herbal gem in a jar….. to be used later on anything I wish to slather it on. No one else here even suspects.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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