Cilantro vs. Coriander
The leaves are called cilantro and the seed is called Coriander. They can’t be used interchangeably. Cilantro has a different flavor profile and has a citrusy, green taste. And if you use too much, it tastes like soap! That’s why I think some people don’t like cilantro. We use cilantro in Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian and Southwestern dishes.
Coriander is the seed of the plant and has a lemony taste. I use it in marinades, with poultry, and with root vegetables.
Growing Cilantro: Cilantro does best in cooler, sunny weather, and the funny thing about cilantro is that it can’t be pinched back a lot like, say, basil, as it doesn’t recover. It bolts to seed pretty quick. I like to plant it in now in early spring and then make successive plantings every few weeks. The leaves start out nice and large, like flat leaf parsley, but lacier, then they get smaller and smaller and wind up almost fern like as the plant begins to flower and then goes to seed.
You can also plant the seeds in the fall – just sprinkle them with soil and let them sleep all winter long. They’ll be among the first herbs to sprout in the spring.
Health benefits: Cilantro contains calcium and will help remove heavy metals, like lead, from the body.
Carol’s Chicken Diablo with Cilantro
From best friend Carol Spry Vanover, who loves good food with a healthy twist.
Here’s my adaptation:
1 can cream of mushroom soup, regular or low fat
1 cup salsa
1 teaspoon cumin
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 (2 1/4 oz.) can sliced black olives, drained
Salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro to taste
Mix soup, salsa and cumin. Put chicken in sprayed 9×13 baking dish. Bake at 3500 for 20 minutes. Arrange artichoke around chicken. Pour soup mixture over top, sprinkle with olives. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, until chicken is done, no longer pink in center. Season to taste and sprinkle with cilantro. Carol says: “A very tasty side dish is any Mexican style rice. I usually cook the rice in chicken broth and add typical Mexican flavorings and black beans.”
Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad
This was shared by a radio listener and next time I make it I’m going to add some minced garlic to the dressing.
Mix together gently:
3-4 cups or so shredded romaine lettuce
2 generous cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
1 container cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, diced
About 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
Corn: 10 oz frozen, thawed, or equivalent fresh or canned
Go to taste on these ingredients. Add more of the seasonings if you like.
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus extra for garnishing
2/3 cup sour cream
Minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce (optional, go to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Juice of fresh lime: go to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with extra cilantro. Serve immediately.
Tip from Rita’s kitchen:
Process canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce in food processor or blender. Easier to measure. Store in frig – lasts just about forever.
Four bean salad with cilantro
I’ve made versions of this on TV and for my classes. Here’s a favorite.
4 cans beans drained and rinsed and drained again: Garbanzo, Red Beans, Black Beans, Kidney Beans or your choice
l bunch green onions, chopped
5-6 plum tomatoes, chopped
Handful of ea: Chopped cilantro and parsley
4 ribs celery or more to taste, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1-1/3 cup olive oil or more to taste
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cumin or more to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder or more to taste
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried oregano