Hello little bird! I was so happy to see this little white-breasted nuthatch yesterday. People have been complaining about the weather a lot lately–it’s like we’ve had two Januaries–but this little bird seems fine with it. He was flitting back and forth between our sugar maple tree and the horse chestnut.
Maybe it’s because of the dull weather, but I’ve been craving food that’s colorful and festive. So I was thinking salsas, but so many salsas call for nice, ripe tomatoes. This is just not going to happen in the beginning of March in the Midwest. But I did find a wonderful recipe for a banana salsa, and then for a strawberry salsa. As unlikely as they may sound, they are delicious–fresh and fruity, though not particularly sweet. So I went on a chopping rampage, and serve them up in my favorite footed bowls. These bowls were a gift, so I’m not sure where they came from, but they always make me smile. These salsas are nice additions to a meal that might be otherwise, well, dull. We will be having them tonight with baked pork chops and yellow rice and a deep red wine.
1 quart (4 cups) chopped fresh strawberries
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Taste for seasoning, especially for salt. The seasonings will depend a bit on the ripeness of the strawberries, so don’t hesitate to add more salt, lime juice or cilantro.
This recipe makes a fair amount of salsa, so you might want halve it first, just to try. It comes from Pillsbury Brunches & Desserts.
Never thought I would like a banana salsa, but this is so good. The original recipe comes from Mexican Flavors by Carpenter and Sandison–I have tweaked it for my kitchen. If you enjoy it, they note you can substitute mango, papaya, or pineapple. But the gentle fruitiness of the banana is so good, and bananas are available all year round.
2 firm bananas
1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded
1 green onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Peal the bananas and cut lengthwise into long strips. Cut across into 1/2″ cubes. Mince the red bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, and jalapeño pepper. Combine with the bananas, and the rest of the ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
Cooking notes: The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger, but I found it more convenient to use the powdered form. I know it’s not the same, but it was still good. Also, instead of the brown sugar, I grated a Mexican sugar called piloncillo, and used that–it has an interesting molasses flavor. Also, the original recipe called for an entire red bell pepper, but I found it overwhelmed the bananas, so I just used half. But it does depend on the size of your pepper.
The nuthatch wasn’t the only bird I’ve seen recently. This little black-capped chickadee posed obligingly yesterday in the cold wind.
Peace to you. Fran