I grew up never really liking hot/spicy foods. I don’t remember being revolted or truly hating them, I just never liked them much.
Then all of a sudden, about a year ago, my tongue took on a new identity and decided that I now crave hot/spicy foods like it was my job, which would be a sweet job.
I was suddenly dipping my chips in ‘hot’ salsa, putting a pea-sized dollop of wasabi on each piece of sushi I ate, and thoroughly coating my morning eggs in Tabasco sauce.
I have no logical explanation for it, except to say that it was delicious.
One thing I particularly enjoyed was having a friend of mine over, who comes from Mexico and, no joke, eats jalapenos like I would eat pickles , to teach me how to make salsa. We’d make a quick grocery run and spend the evening grilling, dicing, and seasoning various veggies and peppers to make our own salsas. Most of mine (and all of his) turned out great.
Then I (or maybe my wife…but I’ll take credit for it) had a brilliant idea: To grow a bunch of ingredients for salsa and make homemade salsa!
So one day Linds, Eva, and I made a family trip to a local garden center and I purchased seedlings for 3 tomato plants, a jalapeno pepper plant, and habanero pepper plant, 2 bell pepper plants, some garlic chives, and some cilantro (which died tragically after about a week). I picked up some organic potting soil later that day and that evening designated some areas of yard to be mini ‘gardens’ for my salsa plants.
Now for some reason, I figured once I planted them in the group, I’d be picking juicy, fist-sized fruit that my plants had yielded within a week or two. Ignorant was I.
It definitely took all summer for them to begin to bloom. And I wasn’t annoyed by the wait, as much as I just felt dumb for thinking that soil, sun, and rain was like some sort of Mother Earth microwave that would have me gathering bushels of harvest after a few days.
So all summer I watched my salsa plants. For those of you who live in the mid-west, you know that it was one of the hottest and driest summers we’ve ever had and definitely the hottest and driest in the last 100 years or so. So each evening I would water the plants with Eva in my arms, each day I’d move some plants around (those not in the ground) to make sure they were getting enough sunlight, and almost every morning I would sift through the leaves to see if I could find anything beginning to grow.
And after a few months, they started coming in. First the hot peppers, then the tomatoes, and finally the bell peppers.
It was so much fun! I definitely recommend it to those of you who like to cook with or eat fresh veggies.
I’m not sure why but there was just something so fun about going out in the evening and picking a few tomatoes off the vine for our salads that night. Or grabbing some hot peppers to then toss in the food processor for my next batch of salsa. I don’t know if it was because I did the work to grow them or just the fact that they were in my back yard, but it was very gratifying to eat something that was produced (organically, I might add) within 20 yards of where I sleep and eat every day.
Right now it’s early September and so far I’ve made 3 batches of salsa, each of them slightly different, each of them different degrees of hotness, but all equally delicious.
Therefore, I declare Summer 2012 as: “The Summer of Salsa!”