2013 Food Challenge: Parsley and Cilantro

Parsley and Cilantro
I have not been doing too well with the 2013 Food Challenge, and I apologize. With the last stages of divorce unfolding, injury, loss of job, looking for job, getting ready for school and my 13-year-old to remind me daily of how bad I am just-in-case-I-forgot among other life events, a food challenge was not something I thought I could keep up with any longer.

But I was wrong. If I can keep up with a fucking burpee challenge as I travel across the country, getting on my hands and jumping around on filthy gas station grounds from Florida to Colorado to Florida in 9 days, then I can certainly keep up with my own food challenge.

And that was the challenge this week. Living in a hotel for 6 days with a hot plate, a microwave and the bathroom sink. True to the principles I learned at the Climbers Ranch, I had a cooler-full of ready-made foods like soup and beans, and a cast iron pan at hand. Eggs, garlic, broccoli, butter, kale, parsley and cilantro.

Why parsley and cilantro? Just like kale, those two incredible greens need no knife in order to be eaten. Hold them by the stem, and pluck the leaves out using the same technique used for kale: take two fingers, and run them through the stem. Wherever the stem breaks, that means the part that is left with the leaves is soft enough to be eaten. Then I can decide: eat the leaves whole, or chop them up as finely or coarsely as I wish.

Use them on eggs, meat, soups, pasta, beans, quesadillas... such an easy way to add freshness to a meal. Color, vitamins, life. Just sprinkle at the end of cooking, on top or on the side, and watch a monochrome meal come to life. Or sautée it with garlic, salt, olive oil or butter, and add it to pasta or polenta, with or without tomatoes, with or without onions. Cheap, simple, beautiful.

Keep the unused parsley and/or cilantro on a glass with water on the kitchen counter, and notice how it enlivens the kitchen as well. They give freshness in the spring and summer, and life during fall and winter.

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