Thursday, July 05, 2007

In Spite of my Mother...

I have come to the conclusion that I LIKE tomatoes. Now this might not seem like any great epiphany to you but my MOTHER would certainly be shocked to read this. My WHOLE life I have said I hate tomatoes. When I was growing up mother (who would sprinkle salt on a whole tomato and eat it like an apple) always put tomatoes in our dinner salad and MADE me eat them. So, I would pick out the tomatoes and choke them down by themselves. Don't tell my Mom but, I actually would swallow them whole which I also did with peas (which by the way I love now) and lima beans. This would INFURIATE her. "If you hate them so much why would you eat them by themselves???" my reply, "I love salad. "
My answer was simple and I think, quite insightful for a small child. I wanted to enjoy my salad. Savor my salad. If I ate the salad with the tomatoes it would have ruined it. It is also further proof that I was a foodie even back then. I can also vividly remember the sausage pizza we had every Fri night (and cold pizza left overs for breakfast Saturday morning) from Jacks Pizza. It was just recently that I realized that the reason that I loved that pizza so much is that the sausage was perfectly spiced with loads of fennel seeds. SEE ... what 5 yr. old has such a distinguished palette?
I also have vivid memories of going to my Grandparents and my Grandpa giving me a glass of Buttermilk. Sprinkled with a dash of salt and pepper. I loved tang of the buttermilk and the feel of it coating my mouth. I would drink it like a wine connoisseur ... rolling it around my mouth and over my tongue before swallowing it. OK, maybe I was a strange child ..but then again, look at me now. Are you REALLY surprised?
Once again, I have gotten off topic (but it was a nice stroll down memory lane) back to tomatoes. So though I hated tomatoes I loved catsup and tomato soup (with grilled cheese of course) and of course spaghetti. But as I have gotten older I have continued to add more and more tomatoes to my diet. But I have always been resistant to any raw tomato. Several years ago I decided that a small amount of tomato on Mexican food was really good. I love salsa but I stuck to the more thinner kind with less chunks in it. Then I tried Sams club "Fresh Salsa" sold in the refrigerator section and I was like ..HEY that's pretty good stuff. Then I decided to try to make my own Pico de Gallo. That was it, I was hooked!!! I was beginning to realize that I could no longer claim to hate tomatoes when I started eating the Pico De Gallo by its self. With a spoon! But, when I was cutting up tomatoes for it the other day and the juice ran down my wrist and I licked it a thought MMMM...I knew I was busted! Now you will still not catch me putting a slice of tomato on a burger and you will NEVER catch me putting them in my salad (thanks to MOM for traumatizing me I love tomatoes in lots of other things!

I am sure you are saying ..."geeze is she EVER going to get to the point? know ... like an actual recipe?????" Hey it's my blog! You're not the boss of me! Anyway, I made some Pico the other day and I was planning on adding shrimp and taking it to work for lunch. But through the course of the day I would walk by the fridge and take a spoonful (or 4) of it. By the time I got ready to pack my lunch for the next day. There was a pitiful amount of Pico left. Even with a lot of shrimp it was not going to make a very substantial lunch. So I came up with this tasty (and WAY simple) little dish and was very satisfied with my lunch. I have reworked it to make more than a single serving here. You can use a store bought Pico de gallo but really, its quite simple to make and SO worth it. It also allows you to make it as hot or as mild as you like. I would recommend making the Pico a few hours before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients to let the flavors develop and for it to get "juicy." It's fresh and light and very summery!

Pico De Shrimp and Pasta Salad

3 cups fresh Pico De Gallo (click on link for recipe)
8 oz steamed Shrimp cooled
4 oz of Orzo cooked according to Pkg. and cooled
Salt to taste

Fold together first 3 ingredients. Salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least 30 min.

Approximately 4 servings for a main dish (light lunch) or 6-8 as a side dish.

* I used the frozen precooked shrimp thawed and drained before adding to Pico.

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