Monday, August 7, 2017

Pico de Gallo and Rally Time!

It's Rally Week here in the Black Hills!

That means hundreds of thousands of bikers are in town for the week. The numbers seem to be down this year, but the usual attendance is in the neighborhood of 400,000 to 500,000. There are bikers from all over the world who will be flocking to our area in the next few days.

And they give me a good excuse to stay close to home and meet my looming deadlines. :)

Meanwhile, we still have to eat.

I'm loving my Instant Pot and freezer meals for these days of BICHOK...

(more on the Instant Pot and freezer meals in a future post...)

But even when tacos are crazy-easy, you still want something fresh to go with them, right?

So I pulled out this recipe that I shared here at the Cafe a few years ago. It still makes my favorite Pico!

Pico de Gallo

Use super fresh, late-summer-garden ingredients for this one!

A couple things about the veggies – 

I use Roma tomatoes because they have more flesh and are firmer when you chop them. I always get rid of the tomato guts when I make Pico – just slice the tomato in half and hollow it out. The flesh that’s left is firm and will hold its shape in the mixture.

If you aren’t familiar with tomatillos, they’re like little green tomatoes wearing jackets. You know a tomatillo is ready to use when its papery jacket is dry and starting to split. To use the tomatillo, take it out of its jacket, wash it, and remove the stem with the point of a knife. Then just slice and chop it.

I used Anaheim chilies in this batch of Pico, because that’s what I had in the freezer. You could use any hot pepper – jalapeno, Serrano, habanero – as long as it isn’t so hot you don’t want to eat it. The Anaheims are a bit milder than the others. Oh, and make sure you wear gloves when handling hot peppers (I keep disposable latex gloves on hand), and remove ALL the seeds.

And the final hint – when I’m chopping veggies like tomatoes (firm skins, tender flesh), I always use a serrated knife – actually an old steak knife from who knows where (I had it before we were married thirty five years ago). The serrated knife cuts through the outer skin without crushing the more tender flesh of the fruit or veggie.

Ingredients (makes about 4 cups of Pico de Gallo):

3 Roma tomatoes
2 Tomatillos
1 Jalapeno pepper, Anaheim Chile or other hot pepper to taste
¼ Bell pepper (green, yellow or red)
¼ onion – yellow will be stronger than white
¼ cup chopped Cilantro, or more – I tend to use more like ½ cup
1 Tablespoon lime juice
Salt to taste

Chop the tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and onions to uniform sizes – I like anywhere between ¼” to ½”.  Stir together. Isn’t it pretty? Like Christmas, or the Mexican flag!

Stir in the chopped cilantro, and then the lime juice. Taste it, and salt it if needed.

Cover the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving to let the flavors blend.
Serve with chips, or on tacos, or as a garnish for enchiladas, or as a topping for salad …


Before the Bikers hit town last week, hubby and I took an evening hike in the Hills. There just happened to be a piece of land for sale that I had heard about. It's actually an old mining claim, a mile or so off the main road...

These ladies and their babies weren't sure they were happy about us cutting through their playground!

Ranchers can lease National Forest land to graze their cattle, and that's what is happening here. We were hiking along the road, and they weren't sure they wanted to share the right of way. They were as skittish as deer, but we gave them a wide berth, and everything turned out fine.

After about a mile of hiking, this is what greeted us:

Isn't that gorgeous? And - except for the cattle - completely off the beaten path. We'll take another hike out that way someday when we have a little more time.

But back to the recipe - what's your favorite way to eat Pico de Gallo?

Jan Drexler loves her family, her home, cooking and just about anything made by hand. But she loves her Lord most of all.

Stop by Jan's website to learn more about her books:


  1. Such pretty cattle!
    White Angus???? ARE YOU KIDDING???? But no, look at this! WHITE ANGUS BEING DEVELOPED

    1. White Angus? It makes sense in Florida - I always feel sorry for the Black Angus and Simmentals in July and August. Our sun is so strong, and black hair/fur absorbs the heat like nobody's business! The cattle must get so hot.

      So white cattle in Florida makes all the sense in the world.

      Even though I'm not sure if that's why they're developing that color. :)

      The white calves in the picture are most likely Charolais crossed with the Angus - either red or black mothers. There were some Herefords in this bunch, too, but they ran off before I could get the picture taken.

  2. My family loves pico de Gallo... We have something similar at every party (although the layered taco dip seems to be more popular currently). I'm in love with your hills and your wildlife and not-so-wild-life. Gorgeous! What vistas, Jan!

    I had to put socks on this morning. Temps dipping into 50s overnight .... My toes were cold!

    And so it begins, LOL!

    While Mary Jane is trying to escape 108° (I cannot even imagine...) I'm donning socks.... on purpose.

    I'll be praying for this wonderful writing week for you... hunkering down is a wonderful thing!

    1. I love that layered taco dip! But I'm the only one in the family that does. I'll have to take it to the next carry-in dinner!

      And I'm wearing socks, too! And I got out my fall/winter/spring bathrobe for chilly mornings.

      We're back to normal summer temperatures here. Highs in the upper 70's and low 80's, and night time temps in the 50's.

      The way summer SHOULD be. :) I love living in the north!

    2. Ohhhh, I dream of temps in the 50s at night. It won't turn that way until late September for us. Of course, on the west side it's like that all the time, even when it's hot in the day. SO NICE. When it cools down at night we can sleep!

  3. Jan, thank you for this recipe again! I love pico. One quick question... I thought you had to blanch or cook the tomatillos. That's why I've never used them. So you can use them raw? Maybe the recipe I saw ages ago only blanched them to peel them. Or maybe the recipe for salsa verde is different. Just using them raw would be much easier!

    1. I've never cooked the tomatillos for the Pico - I just use them like fresh tomatoes. But I have seen recipes that use them cooked, like sauces.

      I add them for the color and the milder taste (to me, they taste more like spicy cucumbers than anything else), but you could easily leave them out.

    2. We peel, wash with soap, roast on high heat until charred (rolling constantly as they cook) and then blend in the blender.

  4. Oh no -- when you tell us about the bikers hitting town I know the summer is almost over. Wait. I don't enjoy the heat so that should be Yay, summer's almost over. :-) We just got some cooler temps -- sweater weather in the early mornings and I'm ecstatic. Plus it's not raining so I'm heading out to the garden. Finally. Happy writing week, Jan.

    1. That's right - by the time the Rally is over, many schools are also starting and our tourist season is winding down. But that's my favorite time of year! In the north, we enjoy a long autumn of beautiful weather and cooler temperatures, which is why a lot of empty-nesters vacation in September and October. :)

      And yes, I love sweater weather!

  5. Apparently I'm the only one here who has never tasted Pico. It looks good, but working with peppers kind of terrifies me.

    We're having the same cool weather here - glorious even though it is raining. It's perfect weather for the editing I'm doing.

  6. I meant to add that when we were in Maine, there were more bikers than I'd ever seen in one place before. It made me wonder if there was some kind of event somewhere. It was nothing like your numbers though!

  7. We eat so much pico de gallo in the summer! it's a mainstay at the table. We also add a little cabbage for some crunch. Good way to use up produce!