Cool Cucumber Pico De Gallo

When I was in middle school, we moved out of my dad’s house, and had satellite TV for the first time. Prior to that, we had an OLD TV with an antennae on the roof. Depending on the season, we got 4, 5, 7, fuzzy 9, 11, fuzzy 13, and occasionally 22. I was amazed at the vast quantity of channels on subscriber television. Eventually all the glitz and glamour of channels in the triple digits wore off, and I became seriously addicted to food network. This was before food network sold out and got all ridiculous. It was the days of Sarah Moulton, Gale Gand, Emeril (before he was popular and annoying), Alton Brown was the big star, and Martha Stewart was still aired. Oh Martha, how I miss your classical shows, your homegrown herbs and kahlua mocha cigars, from scratch (I made these once, they were awesome. They are basically a chocolate-studded thinner fortune cookie dough, cooked then rolled into cylinders with kahlua whipped cream piped in and the ends dipped in chocolate shavings. YUM). I digress.

Back in Food Network’s glory days, Sarah Moulton, executive chef of Gourmet Magazine, had the most useful show in existence. While her cooking leaned a bit to the french/exotic side, she often had guest chefs on who would show her their favorite recipes. One of the chef’s showed Sarah her “Cool Cucumber Salsa” and it sounded so interesting that I had to make it. From what I remember, since she was a guest chef and the recipe came from her cookbook, it was only on their website for like a week. I remember printing it off, and losing it after the first time I made the stuff, so the whole thing is pretty much by memory.

The recipe is simple enough (This is enough to feed an army, but it stays good for about a week, and I have a big enough list of people that can’t get enough that I am able to give away quite a lot of it).
4 regular seeded cucumbers, chopped FINELY
1-2 white or yellow onions, chopped FINELY
6 roma or vine ripened tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
2 jalapeños, deseeded and chopped FINELY
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2-4 T white or rice vinegar
Lime juice is a nice touch but not necessary
1 packet ranch dressing mix

It also has a fatal flaw that I’ve been unable to remedy through a vast array of experiments, the water. I suspect it’s a result of the salt in the ranch dressing mix pulling liquid out of the cucumbers and onions. I’ve tried salting the cucumbers and onions overnight, then draining, rinsing and continuing as usual. That was fruitless, it still seeped quite a bit. I’ve drained the salsa after it seeped, most of the ranch dressing mix came out, and adding it back didn’t have the same effect. Regardless, the juice is DELICIOUS and adds a lot to the flavor, so try to scoop it up in your chips, or you could drain it off and marinate chicken breasts in it (YUM) or drink it by itself, whatever. The ranch dressing packet is indispensable. You can use the store brand, I couldn’t tell the difference. I make this often enough that I got sick of paying $1.25 each at the grocery store and found HUGE packets at the restaurant supply store that make like 10x the amount that a grocery store packet does for twice the price, so I bought those and I just guess at how much I’m adding. Anyway, it’s awesome.

I made a bowl full of this stuff for our Cinco De Mayo party at work only to find out that it had been pushed back to the 15th of May, so now I have a huge bowl to go through before making ANOTHER batch in a week. Oh well, I’m sure I won’t have any trouble eating it. Of course I forgot to take a photo of the finished product for this batch, but I have one from another smaller batch, so you’ll have to look at a different kitchen and a different bowl. Tough Shit.

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