Here’s a great side-dish to grill over the coals while your whole pig, briskets, or pork shoulders are roasting inside your La Caja China (or, to just grill over coals, if you haven’t gotten your roasting box, yet.)
I try not to wrench my shoulder while patting myself on the back, but these are GOOD.
“The poblano is a mild chili pepper originating in the State of Puebla, Mexico. Dried, it is called a chile ancho. The ripened red poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe, green poblano. While poblanos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally and unpredictably, they can have significant heat. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity.” (From Wikipedia)
Brisket Stuffed Poblano Peppers
4 Poblano peppers, whole
1 cup smoked brisket, diced or shredded
1lb ground sirloin
1 Tbs Bandiola Barbecue Spice
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
½ lb mushrooms, diced
½ cup brisket broth* (optional)
1 sm onion, diced
1 cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded
Pan fry ground sirloin over medium heat with Bandiola Barbecue Spice, pepper flakes, and onion, until beef is crumbled. If you have brisket broth, add it to the burger and onions and allow to moisture to cook off. Add mushrooms and shredded/diced brisket just before beef is done. Cook until mushrooms soften.
Drain and allow to cool slightly.
Grill peppers over high heat 2-3 minutes on each side until charred. Cool slightly. Place peppers in a large resealable plastic bag; seal and let stand 5 minutes to loosen skin. Remove charred skin from peppers. For pure awesomeness, toss a couple of oak chunks on the coals when you fire them up.
Cut the tops off each pepper, reserve, and gently scrape seeds and ribs out with a teaspoon (leave sides intact.) Set peppers aside.
Stir together burger/veggie mixture with cheese. Spoon evenly into peppers, slightly over stuffing (be careful, if the sides are too soft, they can burst), place caps on top, and pin in place with 3 toothpicks. Toothpicks should be soaked in water 10-15 minutes.
Grill over medium coals, 8-10 minutes or until filling is thoroughly heated and cheese is melted. If the peppers start getting too dark, move to a cooler spot on the grill and cover.
Serve, topped with a dollop of crema (Mexican sour cream), if desired.
Great with brisket, steaks, chops, old boots…whatever. If you have leftover filling, it makes a killer omelet the next morning!
*By the way – brisket broth is the freakin’ elixir of the gods. Save it, freeze it, and use it in this recipe, or to make amazing burgers, meatloaf, soups, and stews. It’s awesome!
As I’ve mentioned before, Mama wasn’t a big fan of cooking, but the few dishes she made, she did very well. One of these was her Deviled Eggs, usually reserved for church pot-licks, and “covered dish” parties.
Oh, how I loved them.
Now, I’m not gonna lie to you, Mama’s recipe was straight out of her old BH&G Cookbook (which is now MY old BH&G cookbook) but I’ve made a couple of very minor tweaks that I think improve the recipe and, hopefully, will keep me from being sued.
Also, BHG starts out the recipe saying, “Halve hard-cooked eggs lengthwise”…without ever giving any instruction on actually boiling the eggs to begin with. Can’t anyone hardboil an egg? Of course. Can anyone hardboil a GOOD egg…not in my experience.
So, here we go…
Mama’s Deviled Eggs
12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved, yolks mashed in a bowl
5 Tbs. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. French’s yellow mustard
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Smoked paprika for garnish
Put the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, cover with cold water (2 inches over the tops of the eggs), add a Tbs of vinegar and ½ tsp of salt. Bring water to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for one minute.
Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes
Strain out the water from the pan, fill the pan with cold water, strain again, fill again, until the eggs cool down a bit. Allow to sit in cold water until eggs have cooled completely.
NOW… Halve hard-cooked eggs lengthwise and carefully scoop yolks into a bowl and mash, setting the whites aside.
Combine the thoroughly mashed yolks and mayonnaise, then stir in the mustard and vinegar. Stir in the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust if necessary. Stir well with a spoon to achieve a creamy texture.*
Fill the egg whites evenly with the mixture and garnish each egg half with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
*NOTE: Mama never had a stand mixer, but I do. When doing a dozen or more eggs, I like to combine the ingredients in my Kitchen-Aide and give them a good whip, for a lighter, fluffier filling. If making less than a dozen (which is seldom) I use a hand mixer.
Also, sometimes I’ll replace the salt with a teaspoon of my favorite bbq dry rub, just to kick it up a notch!
Any secret ingredients in your favorite Deviled Egg recipe?
This is one of my new favorites from our recent trip to Kauai. Had spam musubi and loco-moco at a local cafe with our friend’s the Shores. So good!
If you think you don’t like spam, don’t prejudge this dish, it has a very unique, mild flavor that is far greater than the sum of its parts. The musubi we had there wasn’t fried first, nor did it have the teriaki sauce, thanks to Dane Shores for those great ideas!
Spam musubi molds are available cheap from Amazon.com, or you can do what I did this time (my order hasn’t arrived yet) and make a redneck musubi mold by cutting out the bottom of your Spam can. Be very careful, these cans are sharp when you cut them!
1 can of low-sodium Spam
2 cups of cooked sushi rice (below)
2 tablespoons sweet teriaki sauce
4 sheets of nori, cut in half
Open your can of Spam and turn it on it’s side to slice into 8 equal pieces. Heat up a non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat and add your slices of Spam, cooking and turning until your desired level of crispiness.
Add the sweet soy sauce to the pan and turn the heat down to low. Make sure each piece of Spam is coated with soy sauce. The soy sauce will bubble and coat each piece of Spam with a sticky, salty, sweet goo. Put the Spam on a plate.
Place your half sheet of nori down on a cutting board, shiny side down and put your Spam can or musubi maker in the middle of the sheet. Scoop a generous amount of rice into the mold and pack it down. You want the rice to be compressed.
Add a slice of Spam and another layer of rice, making sure you are packing it down as you go. Use a spoon (or your musubi handle), press down on the rice and use your other hand to pull the mold up and release the musubi. Wrap the nori around the rice, sealing the edges with a bit of water. Here’s a great video that shows how easy this is to do.
Spam musubi are “make and eat” kind of snacks so eat immediately to enjoy the crunch of the nori. Repeat until full.
Gracie lovin' her musubi
4 cups sushi rice
4 cups water
1/2 C tablespoons rice vinegar
6 Tbs sugar
4 tsp salt
1/4 C mirin
kelp, leaf (optional)
Ignore the directions on the bag that the rice came from and rinse the rice only 3-5 times. The water does NOT have to run clear. Place rice to drain in a strainer.
Drain for one hour in the winter, 30 min in the summer. (Sounds strange, but is true). While rice is draining, combine vinegar,sugar, salt and mirin together in a bowl and mix well.
If using a kelp leaf,it should be about 2 in long. Wipe it lightly, cut small slits to make it look like a comb and add it to a pot along with the water.
Add rice to the pot.
Bring quickly to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and DON’T touch it until the end, NO PEEKING. Cook for 15 minutes before removing the pot from the heat but keep the lid CLOSED.
Let rice rest for 10 min and then remove the cover.
Place in a glass dish to cool and lightly fan the rice while adding the vinegar mixture. Mix rice gently, careful not to break it.
I love Mac & Cheese, always have. Even that scary Chernobyl-orange stuff in the box…love it!
Mac & Cheese was our comfort food (and, at 10 cents a box, sometimes our only food) when I was a kid.
Now, of course, I’m old enough to understand that it’s also a nearly-ideal complement for that most perfect of cuisines…barbeque.
So, when a friend posted about having tried a Habenero Pepperjack Cheese from Tillamook Cheese (right here in God’s country), my first thought was, “Holy crap…that would make a killer mac and cheese!”
And, sure enough, it did.
Just enough fire to earn your respect, without losing any of its creamy wonderfulness, here’s the recipe we came up with. A scoop of this, and a dollop of pulled pork between two slices of white bread, and you just might have a perfect meal.
Burnin’ Love Habanero Mac and Cheese
2 cups pasta shells, dry
1 lb Cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz Habanero jack, shredded
4 slices thick bacon, cooked crisp
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
4 tablespoons Mexican sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup butter
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook pasta until “almost” aldente. Crumble cooked bacon.
In a large bowl, toss together pasta with the Habanero cheese and pour into the baking dish. In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, and sour cream, egg, crumbled bacon, heavy cream and half-and-half. Pour over the pasta and cover with shredded Cheddar. Bake uncovered until top is just beginning to brown, about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, melt butter, panko and toast until golden. Sprinkle on top of the macaroni and cheese and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.
“Blessed are the cheesemakers…” “What’s so special about the cheesemakers? “Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.”
– Monty Python, The Life of Brian
Today I am a cheesemaker!
Thanks to my friend Michelle Shores, I learned that, not only does homemade fresh mozzarella cheese have a fabulous flavor, it’s super simple to make!
The rennet and citric acid can be found at the links below, or in health food stores and specialty markets like Bob’s Red Mill.
Great for antipasti and pizza (recipe tomorrow!) this smooth, creamy, delicately flavored cheese is a delightful accompaniment to a host of Italian recipes, plus, the “leftover” whey can easily be used for a delicious queso fresco.
1 rennet tablet
1/4 cup water
2 gallon milk (2%, 1%, or skim)
4 teaspoons citric acid
Pour milk into a non-reactive pot (no aluminum or cast iron). Place over medium heat. Sprinkle the citric acid over the milk and stir a few times.
Crush the rennet into the water and stir to dissolve.
At 88 degrees F, add the rennet solution and continue stirring slowly every few minutes until the milk reaches 105 degrees F. Turn off the heat.
Large curds will appear and begin to separate from the whey (the clear, greenish liquid).
With a slotted spoon or mesh strainer, scoop the curd into a large glass bowl. (If it’s still too liquid, let it set for a few more minutes).
Press the curds gently with your hand and pour off as much whey as possible.
Microwave curds on high for 1 minute, then drain off all the excess whey.
With a spoon, press curds into a ball until cool. Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each, and continue to drain the whey and work cheese into a ball.
In the meantime, place the whey over medium heat and let it heat to about 175 degrees F.
When cheese is cool enough to touch, knead it like bread dough until smooth. When you can stretch it like taffy, it is done. You can sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons salt into the cheese while kneading and stretching it.
The cheese will become stretchy, smooth and shiny.
If it is difficult to stretch and breaks easily, dip it into the hot whey for a few seconds to make it warm and pliable.
Then pick it up again and stretch it into a long rope. Fold over and stretch again. Dip in hot whey as needed to make the cheese pliable.
When the cheese is smooth and shiny (this takes just a few minutes), it is ready to eat.
Shape it into a log or tennis ball-size balls, then store in a solution of 2 teaspoons salt to 1 cup water.
Yield: about 1.5 pound mozzarella cheese
Check back in tomorrow to use this delicious Mozzarella in an old world Caprese Pizza re ipe!
This is my take on the famous Crab-a-cado Salad recipe from Houlihan’s Old Place in Atlanta, Georgia (my birthplace.)
I found the original recipe in my father’s copy of A Chef’s Companion, and substituted the prawns for crab (it was cheaper, and I love prawns!)
Dad used to make the original recipe when he’d ticked Mom off, and was tryin’ to make good.
Perk’s Shrimp-a-cado Salad
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbs ketchup
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup minced celery
1 hard-cooked egg, minced
1 Tbs minced parsley
1 head leaf lettuce (or 4 cups of salad mix)
2 chilled rip avocados, halved, seeded, and peeled
1 lb cooked prawns, peeled and deveined
16 chilled cherry tomatoes, peeled
4 chilled artichoke hearts, drained and halved
4 chilled hard-cooked eggs
16 chilled, whole, pitted black olives, small
Steam shrimp until just pink, immerse in ice water to stop cooking, and cool. Drain.
In mixing bowl, blend together mayonnaise, sour cream, ketchup, and lemon juice. Stir in celery, minced eggs, and parsley. Chill.
Arrange leaf lettuce on four salad plates. Place one avocado half on each plate. Reserve a few prawns for garnish; divide remaining between the four avocado halves. Spoon a fourth of the dressing over each avocado. Place one piece of reserved shrimp on top. Sprinkle each salad lightly with paprika.
Place tomatoes on each end of the avocado. Cut each artichoke heart in half lengthwise, starting at the stem end, and place on each side of the filled avocado. Cut each hard-cooked egg in quarter wedges and place on each corner of the salad platter.
Place one whole black olive alongside each quarter of egg.
If you know me, then you know that my favorite food is oysters. I eat them, I harvest them…heck, I even write about them! I’ve never met an oyster recipe I didn’t like, and I have a whole cookbook full of them to prove it.
Fried, sauteed, grilled, and roasted…if there’s feasting in Heaven (and there will be) oysters will be on the menu!
My favorite, bestest, most numero uno way of eating oysters, however, is just how God made ’em, fresh from the bay, briny and raw. First, however, you gotta get the little suckers out of their shells. All that takes is a good oyster knife, and a bit of practice.
In this video, A Legal Sea Foods chef in Boston shows you how to shuck an oyster. Courtesy video from Legal Sea Foods.
You can serve your freshly shucked oysters on the half-shell, topped with a couple of tablespoons of this sauce, or in shotglasses as oyster bar-type “shooters”. This is my own sauce recipe.
Garlic butter with lemon juice is very nice, too.
2 Tbs hot horseradish
1 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs lemon juice
Combine all and chill. Add salt to taste.
Put a tablespoon or so of sauce on top of each raw oyster in either a shotglass or on the half-shell.
If you prefer your bi-valves cooked, here are a couple of my favorite recipes:
Now, I know my Cuban friends will be enjoying their Lechon Asado on Christmas day, but I thought I’d prepare and post a menu for those of us who were raised in the “turkey and all the trimmings” tradition, as well!
My favorite part about preparing this menu (besides the gut-busting feast that follows) is the fact that, by cooking my turkeys and stuffing in the roasting box, my oven is free for the rolls, dessert, etc.
Here are the recipes I’m using this year. I did two turkeys, and my garlic mushroom stuffing in my Semi Pro (had to do a test run, of course), and it all came out VERY nice.
Just a note…I will never…I mean never…roast another chicken or turkey without brining it first! The differences in the flavor, the tenderness, and the juiciness of the meat are indescribable.
If you don’t have a La Caja China…yet…you can get similar results in a 350 degree oven. I’m telling you, though, I’ve done this both ways, and the oven just doesn’t compare the the roasting box for flavor, or, obviously…volume.
“In the Box” Cooking Instructions:
Place brined turkeys on the counter and allow to come to room temperature, 3-4 hours.
Place each brined turkey (see recipe below) in a disposable roasting pan, breast down, tent each loosely with foil, and place pans in La Caja China. Start 15 pounds of charcoal in two even piles, allow to burn 30 minutes and then spread evenly. Cooking time starts now.
Roast turkeys 2 hours, adding 7lbs of coals every 30 minutes. Dump ashes after the first hour. Just FYI…5.5lbs of coals is exactly one full Weber chimney.
Flip turkeys (breast up) and tent again with foil. Cook 60 minutes, adding 5.5lbs of coals every 30 minutes. Dump ashes after an hour.
Remove foil from the turkeys. Add stuffing to box now (see recipe below.) Add the last 7lbs of coals, and brown the tops of the turkeys for another hour.
Total cooking time: 4 hours
Remove turkeys from La Caja China, re-tent loosely, and allow to rest 1 hour before slicing. Remove foil from stuffing pan and return to La Caja China to brown. Do not add more coals.
Place grill grates over the box and roast asparagus for the last 15 minutes, before slicing the turkey.
Save drippings for gravy (see recipe below), or mix a little with the stuffing.
Serve turkey with Cranberry BBQ Sauce on the side.
Simple Brined Turkeys in La Caja China
(2) 12-14lb turkeys, thawed and rinsed
4 C salt
4 C sugar
1/2 cup Adobo Criollo spices
Water to cover
Boil 1 gallon of water, add salt and sugar, stir to dissolve. Allow to cool.
Generously butter a disposable turkey roasting pan
Melt 1 cube of the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and celery and saute 5 minutes, add mushrooms and garlic, and cook another 5 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat and drain. Mix in the pepper, sage, and shredded meat* Don’t add salt – the brined stock will make it salty enough.
Place the crumbs in a large bowl, add meat and veggie mixture and mix well. Stir in turkey stock* 1/4 cup at a time. The mixture should be moist, but not mushy.
Press the mixture into the roasting, reserving 1/4 cup for gravy. Dot the top with remaining butter, and cover with foil.
*Stock and meat: I usually buy a half-dozen extra turkey thighs, and brine them with the turkey. Rinse and place in a stock pot with the giblets and neck from the turkeys. Cover with cold water (about 6 cups) and bring to a simmer, covered. Simmer 2-3 hours, adding water as necessary to maintain 8 cups of liquid.
Remove meat, cool, and shred, disposing of any bones. Don’t add salt – brining will make it salty enough. Allow liquid to cool then separate the fat from the broth. Use half of each for the stuffing, and the remainder for the Giblet Gravy.
Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, and cover with milk and broth (add more of each, in equal amounts to cover, if necessary.) Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.
Heat the butter and the garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat.. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off extra fluid, reserving. Mash and add the garlic-butter mixture and asiago cheese, add reserved fluid, as needed, to reach desired consistency.
Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve with Giblet Gravy.
Using a sauce-pot, bring the stock to a boil. Add the shredded meat and giblets, poultry seasoning, and raw stuffing to the mixture.
In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch and water, and add to the boiling stock, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add pepper, to taste.
Cranberry Barbeque Sauce
1 Can Cranberry Sauce (jellied).
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Jalapeño, seeded, rinsed, and finely diced
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp Yellow Mustard
Empty cranberry sauce into 2 quart saucepan, whisk, add the remaining ingredients, whisk again, and cook, over medium heat, until simmering.
Cook until the mixture is thick like barbecue sauce.
Simple Grilled Asparagus
3 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and peeled
12 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoon salt
Place asparagus on a plate. Drizzle oil and lemon juice over the asparagus and turn spears until they are coated. Sprinkle with salt and turn again.
Grill asparagus for 5 minutes on La Caja China grill racks. Each minute or so, roll each spear 1/4 turn. Asparagus should begin to brown in spots (indicating that the natural sugars are caramelizing) but should it not be allowed to char. Dripping oil may cause flare-ups. Keep a glass, or spray bottle of water handy to spritz on coals, if necessary.
Remove from grill and serve immediately.
2 tablespoon active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
4 1/2 teaspoons salt
12 to 14 cups bread flour
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, shortening, creamer, salt and 5 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 24 pieces. Shape each into a roll. Place 2 in. apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes (while pies are finishing) or until lightly browned. Remove from pans to wire racks. Yield: 4 dozen.
Pumpkin Praline Pie
3 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
3 cups evaporated milk
2 prepared 10-inch pie crust (uncooked)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup firm butter
1 cup chopped pecans
In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, spice, and evaporated milk until well combined.
Divide the pumpkin mixture between the pie crusts. In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine the brown sugar, flour, and butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans and sprinkle on top of the pies.
Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 40-45 minutes, until all but the very center of the pies are set. Remove and let cool before serving with fresh whipped cream.
There’s a great scene in “Jeremiah Johnson” where Johnson is trying to lure the terrified, starving boy (survivor of an indian massacre) out into the open by making sourdough biscuits, dropping the floured dough into his cast-iron skillet, over an open fire.
“Better get one of these biscuits, boy. I make damn good biscuits!”
On the recommendation of my sourdough Guru, Diane (whose name, I’m sure, you will see mentioned here often, lol) I bought a book called “Alaska Sourdough” written by Ruth Allman.
5 second book review – great history, great recipes, I could have done without the cutesie handwritten script, in favor of a more readable typed font. Otherwise – awesome!
Allman explains that the prospectors in the early days had no yeast so they made their own. It was called “wild yeast.” There are several ways to make this wild yeast or “Starter.” I chose the traditional potato water recipe from Allman’s book.
Potato sourdough starter produces a milder sourdough bread than the stronger rye or wheat starters. This starter is also cheap to make, using only 3 medium potatoes, and the 1 cup of bread flour can be replaced with all-purpose, wheat, or rye flour. What’s best about this starter is that you restart it every two weeks, preventing the yeast from becoming too sour, and you can restart the starter from scratch or by using a cup of the old starter.
3 medium potatoes
water, for boiling
2 cups flour
2 Tbs sugar
Boil the potatoes in enough water to completely cover them (approximately 3 cups).
Cook them, skins on, until they are overdone. At this point the jackets will left off easily.
Mash this up all together until smooth. Now, you have a thick potato soup texture (about 3 cups).
Slightly cool this.
Add about 2 cups of good flour, add sugar, and stir this well.
Had a hankerin’ for Mexican Barbacoa tonight. Here’s a very traditional Pico de Gallo that I serve with this dish…
Perk’s Pico de Gallo
1 white onion, finely chopped
6 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, cored, seeded and finely chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients, cover, and refrigerate for an hour.
(Makes 2 ½ cups)
In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (Spanish for “rooster’s beak”), also called salsa fresca, is a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and sometimes chilis (typically jalapeños or serranos). One of the sources for the name “rooster’s beak” could be the beak-like shape and the red color of the chilis used to make it. According to food writer Sharon Tyler Herbst, it is so called because originally it was eaten with the thumb and forefinger, and retrieving and eating the condiment resembled the actions of a pecking rooster.
In many regions of Mexico the term “pico de gallo” refers to any of a variety of salads, condiments or fillings made with sweet fruits, tomatoes, tomatillos, avocado or mild chilis — not necessarily with hot chilis, or any chilis at all. Thus, the name could be a simple allusion to the bird feed-like minced texture and appearance of the sauce.