Good Salsa And Other Reasons I Enjoy Cooking

meryl julia

I just made some of the best salsa ever.  I borrowed a recipe form my friend Larry and adjusted it to my liking.  Basically, I took half a bag of assorted peppers from Costco (red, yellow and orange) added about 8 serrano pepers, 24 cherry tomatoes, a big handful of cilantro and a clove of fresh garlic.  Then added a touch of salt, pepper and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice.

My favorite part, and this is ironic since I’m not really detail person, is the preparation.  It’s critical that before I put an ingredient in the blender, I have to really, really finely chop all of it.  This takes a lot of time, and I have to be careful not to slice my finger off (close call today btw).  The garlic has to be peeled down to it’s moist center, cilantro has have leaves and stems separated (but not completely). It’s highly detailed and repetitious.

There’s something calming, peaceful and highly fulfilling about the process.  I love to take a couple chips and taste-test along the way.  Add a little more garlic, maybe a few more tomatoes, etc.  The tactile nature of it all engages all 5 senses, taste, touch, sight, hearing and especially smell.   Knife in hand, cutting board beneath the ingredients and with each crunch and slice of the knife the pungent garlic, the unique spicy smell of cilantro and the the peppers waft up from the countertop filling my mind with memories of past recipes.

Each ingredient reminds me of other dishes, and the satisfaction of the final product, savoring each bite of the newly amalgamated dish and realizing that I don’t have quite the appetite I thought I did because of all the quality control testing along the way .

All of this is so satisfying for me, I don’t even mind doing the dishes after – and if you know me, that’s a big deal.  Sometimes it’s just nice to forget about the other cares of life, work, finances, projects, etc. and just engross myself in a simple process and harken back to simpler times. Plus, I really, really like good food.