At the end of three years, I had learned a huge amount of Spanish (I had thought I was fluent before taking the job, but the Spanish spoken in Texas is so different from what I’d practiced while studying abroad in Argentina that I had to learn new words for much of what I wanted to say). Most of them had learned a huge amount of English, and had learned to read in both languages. I had also learned so much about teaching, about children and families, and about life. I know that sounds very expansive, but it was a foundational experience for me, and I think of those kids and their families almost everyday. Shockingly (to me, because it makes me feel so old), they’re in middle school now, and I’m happy to still be in touch with several of them.
Pico de gallo de frutas
Prep time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4-6 side dish or dessert servings
4-6 kiwis, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces (1-2 cups chopped)*
1 pound jicama, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces (1-2 cups chopped)*
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered (1-2 cups chopped)
Juice of half a lime, or to taste
Sea salt, to taste (I used Maldon)
Ground cayenne pepper
or other ground chile (chile en polvo), to taste**
Lime wedges, for serving
*I have this set of peelers, and found it easiest to peel the kiwi with the serrated one. However, the vegetable peeler (smooth blades) is best for peeling the jicama. Jicama is sold at some Whole Foods stores, and many Asian and Hispanic markets.
**Any pure chile powder will work in this recipe (chili powder as sold in the U.S. is not the same thing, because it contains several additional ingredients like garlic and oregano that do not complement the fruit well). I tried both cayenne and chipotle pepper and preferred the cayenne. You could also try ground ancho chile or chile de árbol.
Place the chopped fruit and jicama in a large bowl, and toss with lime juice to taste (if you want to serve the finished salad in a Mexican flag design, toss each kind of fruit in a separate bowl, then arrange on a platter). Sprinkle some sea salt and cayenne pepper on top of the salad, or provide small dishes of salt and cayenne and let each person add the desired amount to their own serving. Serve cool or at room temperature. This salad is best right after it’s made, but leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and eaten the next day. My salad was still delicious, although not as vibrant, when I ate leftovers the day after.