Salsa: Good for potlucks, not for faces

by Landon Bubb, AFM Public Outreach Intern

My most recent quest for farmers market goodness left me sweating and crying at a potluck. Let me explain. I had a freakishly busy weekend with a potluck tacked on for Sunday night. Saturday morning I wandered, contemplating simple and easy but fresh contributions. After seeing Native Sun Farm’s crate full of bright red, orange, and yellow baby tomatoes and rainbow assortment of peppers it was settled: I can totally do salsa.

Beautiful tomatoes from Native Sun Farm

My Sunday was totally booked with salsa prep time not making the cut in my google calendar. I show up to campus for my first meeting with my portable kitchen in my bag. Stuffed in my satchel were all my veggies, salt, oil, my sushi mat doubling as a cutting board, tupperware, and a neon green plastic cake knife. I figured it was the knife that would get me the lowest prison sentence for having on campus. Between meetings I washed the veggies in a bathroom sink with sideways glances from hand washers then set up shop outside. I recommend never using a cake knife for cutting vegetables. It basically just tore everything instead of dicing resulting in...

Landon’s 15 Minute Super Chunky Salsa To-Go

¾ of an onion (Lazy Willow Farm)

½ lb of sweet peppers (Native Sun Farm)

3 hot peppers (Native Sun Farm)

3 jalapenos (my friend Adam was growing some)

Unrefined Sea Salt (Daily Co-Op)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Trader Joes)

Elephant Garlic (Harvest Moon Garden)

1 pint Baby Tomatoes (Native Sun Farm)

1. Dice peppers, garlic, tomato, onion to your prefered chunkiness

2. Lightly drizzle olive oil and salt. (I’d recommend adding a tomato puree if you had the resources)

3. Shake

4. Munch

In my ravenous state, I forgot to document the final product.

The tomatoes were succulent enough to carry the dish without much olive oil but if you’re a fan of more fluid salsa consider making a tomato puree to hold it all together. The Elephant Garlic from last week worked perfectly in this dish. Chunks of conventional garlic would be an overwhelming surprise but the mildness of the Elephant Garlic added fresh garlic flavor without overpowering. Because I used such large chunks of pepper, there was the fresh veggie crunch that I’ve never experienced in salsa

I’m a big fan of spicy. Back in high school in order to prove our allegiance to each other we all ate a habanero pepper. That being said, this was way spicy. Not only that I got pepper hands real bad. I’m no novice to pepper residue so I washed and sanitized my hands twice times afterwards assuming that would be enough. It wasn’t. So finally at the potluck I innocently wiped my brow and minutes later my face begins to tingle. “Huh..“ I think. Minutes later I’m  assaulted by simultaneous burning on my forehead and eyes. In crises like this nobody knows what to do: “Grab some butter!”, “Get some vaseline!”, “Rub your face on my hair!”

So two tips. Six hot peppers is way too many peppers for a dish this size. Also, wear gloves when chopping peppers and use a good, sharp knife. And as always, try new food, support local, eat well and be well.