Well hello, my friends.
My apologies for the significant radio silence over the past few weeks. I’ve been busy getting the Princess back to Badgerland for her second year of college.
Ever the multitasker, I also assisted the second-born in preparation for his senior year of high school complete with a significant image change. We went from this…
…to this in the matter of a trip to the salon for a mop-whacking, a spending spree at Kohl’s for some hipster attire, and a lengthy date with razors. Plural, thanks to the massive facial hair my little camp counselor grew over nine weeks at summer camp.
Speaking of which, the summer of 2017 is now officially in the books thanks to the arrival of September. We relaxed and soaked in every blissful moment, and look forward to the day when nobody ever returns to Illinois in August…EVER! Yep – Mr. Musky’s preparing the IL home for the market, so if anyone’s interested in privacy in Chicagoland just seconds from the interstate (a hard combo to come by around here!) then please keep us in mind.
Given all the happenings, I buried myself in a shallow cooking and cocktailing grave. Don’t get me wrong – of course I still appear in the kitchen from time to time, but just not with my normal amount of creative gusto. A quick trip to Trader Joe’s in Madison and my life is saved with his pre-marinated meat and prepared vegetable selections, and wine lands in my glass most often, second only to water. It’s a little sad given we’re at the height of harvest season in the Midwest, with all those ripe vegetables just begging to be toyed with. But don’t fear – good things are on the way.
While perusing the bounty this week at the local health food store, I noticed “Pico de Gallo Juice” for sale. I kid you not, and I almost picked up a bottle just for fun. But at $7 for 10 ounces, I decided I can make my own for about eighty-seven cents.
It’s simple. Throw a tomato, 1/8th of an onion, 1/4 of a jalapeño, a garlic clove, the juice of a lime, and some salt and pepper into a high powered blender or juicer.
And because my head still isn’t on completely straight, don’t forget the cilantro. Like I almost did.
Add 3/4 cup water and whirr it up on the juice cycle, making sure your lid is securely fastened. Like I didn’t. EEK! Then pour it into a ball jar and have even more fun with it.
As I concocted this, my head voice screamed at me. “TEQUILA! MAKE A COCKTAIL WITH TEQUILA! KEEP ALL THE GOOD MEXICAN VIBES GOING AND USE TEQUILA!”
Then a competing voice challenged: “NO! TRY GIN! MAYBE YOU’LL BE SURPRISED BY THE FLAVOR COMBO! TRY SOMETHING UNIQUE FOR A CHANGE SINCE YOU’RE IN A COCKTAILING TAILSPIN AND ALL YOU EVER DRINK IS WINE ANYMORE!”
Then a boring old voice of reason stepped in: “IDIOT. YOU KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO WANT TO TASTE THE PICO DE GALLO HERE. PAIR IT WITH A GOOD VODKA. THE BEST VODKA IN YOUR HOUSE. JUST DO IT!”
I need a shrink. STAT!
Unable to stop all the voices, I caved and tried them all. A little tip for those of you who have your own voices – use a little tupperware to mix your concoctions. If you have four ounce containers, they’re perfect for combining and mixing 1.5 oz of liquor to 1.5 oz of Pico Juice.
My voices all came together and had themselves a brouhaha. At first I didn’t like the Old Tom pairing at all because the flavors competed too much. Old Tom needs to be paired with something pretty simple since it’s so chock full of flavor. The concoction grew on me, but I probably wouldn’t make a giant sized drink with the two paired together. It’s better left as a shot.
The tequila pairing proved complementary and spot on. I could still taste the Pico flavors but unmistakable scent of the base alcohol peeked her head out and donned a sombrero. If you’re a tequila fan, you’ll like this, and I’d recommend going bigger to make it a martini.
But in the end, I really just wanted the taste of summer on my nose, on my lips, and down my gullet. Purity Vodka came through and won the battle of the Pico de Gallo contest. It’s smooth, velvety essence paired perfectly with the juice and allowed the beauty of summer to shine.
Having a party this weekend? Throw a little fun into the mix and have a Pico de Gallo shot tasting contest. See what your friends like best. You don’t have to even go fancy – just combine the options into community ball jars, label them A, B and C, and tell everyone to pass and sip. The alcohol will kill the germs…or something like that.
Enjoy your holiday weekend! I’m looking forward to grilling yummy food and spending time with good friends, and I hope you are too.
- 1 tomato, cored
- ⅛ of a yellow onion
- ¼ of a jalapeño, seeds and membrane removed
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
- 3-4 sprigs of cilantro, leaves only
- ¾ cup water
- An assortment of base alcohols, or if you really want the pico de gallo flavor to shine, then vodka
- Blend the first seven ingredients in a blender on the juicing setting.
- Pour the contents into a ball jar and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- To make the shots, combine 1.5 oz of base alcohol with 1.5 oz of the juice and shake to combine. This works well in little (4oz) plastic containers with lids.
- Pour the contents into shot glasses and have a blind taste testing with friends to see which base alcohol wins.