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Stop adding sugar to your salsa, or I’ll unfriend you

When the heat of the day is at its crux and the thought of heating up your kitchen makes you cringe, what do you magically pull out to make? Throw some cans together and make soup? Cold meat sandwiches? Frozen pizza?

I have air conditioning, so Iím not sure what Iím complaining about. My kitchen stays a cool 70 degrees, winter or summer, and the cooking outlook for any given week is about the same. Iím hearkening back to the days spent sweltering in my upstairs room at home with a fan to dry the sweat trickling down my neck. The only thing I cooked then were trays of chocolate chip cookies.

Heat never stops cookies.

Last summer my backyard was under water and drowned. This summer itís dry as a bone, and my plants are crying in their pots every day for water. The farm markets are beginning to thicken with more bounty, and Iíve discovered as the hot peppers come ripe that they are going to be extra hot this year.

Dry, hot summers produce hotter-than-fire peppers. I can live with that. Just the other day I made a homemade salsa with several tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, onion and dried chile de arbol peppers. I roasted them in my comal, a flat pan from Mexico, and blended them to deliciousness.

The salsas Iíve learned to make from Mexico are holy. Holy: religious or morally good. I would say that salsa is a religion in my book. Donít even talk to me about the salsa we make in this area because I will shut you down. Sweet, thick and nothing like the blessed burn that comes with a real salsa. We might as well be eating dessert with all the sugar. No thank you.

Bowls of salsa with hot tortillas stuffed with cheese and beans, thatís a good summer supper, hot and gooey, dipped in the cool bowl of spicy goodness. Itís a go-to for me. Iím not much of a meal planner. I go to the store and make sure I have a variety of things I can throw together.

I have chicken, beef and pork chops in my freezer along with cans of tomatoes or veggies and whatever is fresh at my favorite farm market. We had fresh corn last week, and I canít wait to sink my teeth into several more cobs as it comes ripe. Iíve also been eating peaches sliced in half right over the sink as the juice slips down my arm. Thereís no better way to eat them than that, all the flavor sliding down your throat.

I wish I was a canner and a freezer of all things garden, but that gene seems to have missed me. For as much as I love to cook, Iím not a putter-upper of produce. The extent of that for me is making strawberry freezer jam. I do wish Iíd freeze some corn, but in the middle of winter I donít seem to miss it, so why do it?

Iím content patting out homemade sopes, thick tortillas with a lip, and spreading homemade salsa and queso fresco over the top or maybe a pork or beef roast with a blender full of spicy concoction to slowly roast in, shredded and layered over a delicate rice or piled in tortillas with smoky homemade beans. Also, some chicken thighs simmered in a roasted tomato sauce and served with crunchy red potatoes that were fried with a sweet onion or thinner-than-a-breath steaks drizzled with hot salsa and fresh green beans and garlic are always good.

Whatís cooking in your kitchen this hot summer?

Published: August 3, 2016
New Article ID: 2016708039989