This tomato salsa is roasted over the grill to add some depth and flavor to a homemade salsa combination. Can it for later or serve it fresh.
I got up from the couch in a huff. The majority of my marital disagreements focus on two things: church and a clean house. They often come when I’m stressed with work and life and am trying to juggle too much. This isn’t anything new, but it’s usually a word or a comment that sets me off, gets me thinking about all the other things that have been irking me, the things that weren’t important enough to mention at the moment, but suddenly they are all culminating into one giant ball of me being irritated with you.
The huff was cleanliness related. I retreated to the kitchen, clanking dishes together as I loaded them into the dishwasher, sighing at the state of the kitchen, torn apart to create a makeshift photo studio as I finish the photos for my cookbook. Ole retreated to the basement to manage other domestic chores that seem to consume all the time we could have, should have, would have if only.
A small head of blonde hair appeared in the doorway looking bleary-eyed and sad. “I can’t find Pooh,” said a sad voice. She headed downstairs to look for the beloved worn and dirty stuffed toy that she held tight every night, and she returned without him, slowly sulking back to her room to look for him there.
I was mourning the lack of downtime as I stared at the clutter and continued loading dishes, thinking of the to-do list items still yet to be done before I could head to bed when my husband sprinted up the stairs. Loudly.
Within seconds he had crossed the house, shoved through the boys’ bedroom door and emerged with Kjell in his arms and then on the couch, where my son would sit, frightened and with his voice shaking to tell us, “I can’t see you! Where are you?!” Yet we were there, not a foot from his face and his open eyes, Ole already sliding his shoes on and getting ready to head to the emergency room.
Somehow this has become something we’re prepared to do: emergency rooms, sedative drugs and tubes shoved down our baby’s throat. It’s something that causes time to stand still, where nothing else matters, not deadlines nor laundry nor dishes. Everything stops for one small boy who is now being forced to say his ABCs in the back of our car. Minutes pass and the letters stop coming from his small lips, as I try desperately to get him to hang on, to tell me hello, to say something to me.
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is watch your child go from talking to seeing his eyes gloss over, his body go limp and his breathing to slow to barely a whisper. I’m hovering above the ER room, watching a team of doctors and nurses crowd my baby, seeing myself there among them, holding his cold hand and wondering if this time he’ll still wake up the sweet boy I know he is. I see the IV go in, a tube down his throat and a call for an ICU bed.
It’s all too familiar. Too much of the same. A new night, a different doctor, the same result.
There was a bit of a warm spell the first two weeks of October. The sun was hot and powerful, the air warm. While some perhaps wished for the cool of autumn, I sat and enjoyed the sun, begging it to last…for my tomatoes.
A cluster of green tomatoes hanging on the vines, not yet ripe and still blossoming and growing. I hadn’t resolved to frying them green or turning them into chutney just yet. I still wanted them fresh and ripe, ready for sauce, salsa or to be sliced for dinner.
Two weeks later, the air has cooled. Long sleeves have become necessary, but I have 20 red (and a few orange/yellow/black/striped) and ripe tomatoes and only a handful of green. My freezer is full of sauce, and I have jars full of salsa. Now to decide what to do with the last 20, but not before I eat a few just as they are.
Like my tomatoes, I wish I could keep my son in the moments when he’s healthy and running through the backyard yelling with joy far too loud. However, these are things that I have no control over, the changing of the seasons and whether or not the outcome for Kjell will change. In the moment, I’m going to savor every bit of it and do what I can to preserve it.
2 large whole onions
5-6 garden salsa peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups lime juice (bottled)
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup packed cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
Heat grill to medium-high. Slice tomatoes and onions in half. Remove seeds from peppers, if desired. Rub olive oil over all vegetables. Place on grill over medium-high heat, turning once, until skins blister and char slightly. (Alternatively: Roast at 400º F in the oven until charred.)
Remove charred skins if desired. Add tomatoes, peppers and onions to a food processor and pulse lightly 5-6 times to combine. Place a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute garlic for 30-60 seconds until fragrant and then pour in tomato sauce. Add in lime juice and salt and bring to a low, rolling boil. Reduce heat and boil for 10 minutes. Toss in cilantro and cumin and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Can salsa in 8-ounce or pint-sized jars, leaving 1/4″ of space at the top. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
Any jars that do not pop and seal properly can be stored in the fridge and eaten within a week. Sealed jars can be stored in a dark, cool place until ready to consume within 12 months.
Makes approximately 7 pints salsa