A tour into my heritage and a salsa recipe….
I hope y’all have recovered from the long Labor Day weekend and are working yourself back into the swing of things. For us, returning to routine was a good thing. I find that the entire household works best when structured. If I had my way we would probably be living like a bunch of barefoot hippies, much less a slave to the grind than we have become. Alas, I read somewhere that kids do best when working with predictability and routine (thanks a lot reading) and because I’m such a “good parent” I acquiesce and go with what works.
Not that our weekend was wild and crazy anyway. I mean, it did start out with a dead baby bunny being dropped at my feet at 7am Saturday morning (more on that later), but we kept it pretty low-key after that. In fact while most of you were being super American and celebrating labor (such a widely misunderstood holiday, don’t you think), I was forcing my family to chase after one of my wild hairs and spend their time in the land of meatballs and particle board furniture. Because nothing says AMERICA like Ikea.
Perhaps it’s the fact that we’ve been on an ancestry.com kick lately. Or maybe it’s the urgent push I felt this weekend to redo Dillons room (thus the Ikea trip). But today I’ve been pondering nature versus nurture, and how who we come from shapes who we are.
Dragging people, mainly my poor put-upon family, into a wild goose chase to appease on of my wild hairs is nothing new.
There was that time back in 2011 where I decided that I was going to become the best home gardener that ever gardened and somehow coerced my father in law, God bless him, into creating two awesome raised bed gardens so that I could pursue what was sure to be a long-lasting passion of mine. Never you mind that those very same gardens now contain a jungle so neglected and so scary that no one has ventured on that side of our house for months.
And that day just a few weeks ago when my filthy garage entryway door was bothering me so much that I had to paint it RIGHT THEN and THERE. Whipping out some old chalkboard paint I went to town, not really bothering to prep correctly or think it through. It turned out just fine, but in my haste to make it happen I inadvertently created more work for Jeff, who had to take the door knob and lock off and help me tape the top of the door that I can’t reach when he came home after a long days work.
Clearly a pattern of behavior, my urgent drive to get Dillons room finished because WE MUST DO THIS RIGHT NOW OR SURELY WE SHALL DIE is just the latest example of my passionate nature.
I call it passion. You call it insanity.
You say potato, I say Po-TAT-o. Can’t we all just get along?
This type of *passion* is great, and good things come from it. It adds flavor to life, creates magic (and sometimes disaster), and it’s what made me a great employee before and a great mom still. But the push, the drive, the insistent nature that comes with it, I’m sure it can be maddening, especially for my poor husband who is often left cleaning up the mess after my tornado has roared through.
And all of this had me pondering where on earth this comes from. My parents, gentle in nature, didn’t seem to have this passion. Sure, they loved to get things done as much as the next person, but there was no mania about it. There was no urgency. Jeff thinks it’s because I don’t like staying home quite as much as the next person and worries that I am discontent. On the contrary, I view the time to pursue these passions as a blessing and a luxury I missed for quite a few years.
No, to figure out my nature I had to go a bit further back into my family tree to my maternal grandmother, Gigo. The name says it all, don’t you think? A 1950’s housewife of the Ozzie and Harriet era, Gigo was colorful, complex and prone to fits of passion of legendary proportion. Somewhat of an oddball for her time, I imagine that we are a lot alike. Banging her own drum and being content to follow her whimsy, my grandmother is my insane spirit animal. When everyone else was wearing pearls and aprons, Gigo was donning leopard print robes and feather heels. Furiously painting the tiny kitchen of their New Jersey home bright purple one day because she has always wanted a purple kitchen and WHY NOT? Being so wrapped up in telling a good story to the entire family at Easter dinner that the f-bomb just accidentally falls out in front of your gaping grandchildren. I feel you, Gigo. You’re my boo. Without your passion I wouldn’t be who I am today. I know it’s a demon at times. I know it sometimes is more trouble than it’s worth. But you made a beautiful life with it, and I can only hope to do the same.
And because my poor husband worked all weekend and still appeased me by putting together three ridiculous Ikea shelves (Seriously Ikea, can we chat about your instructions for a second?) I am making him a special treat. A native Texan, this man loves his salsa. So I’m making him not one but TWO of his favorites for a quick after-work snack. They are basically the same and share the same base, the only difference being tomato vs. tomatillo–or if you want to simplify it–color. Make one or both. Either way, they’re both delicious.
It’s a small gesture for all that he has to put up with, but, like my grandfather before, I have a sneaking suspicion that he loves this quirky side of me too. At least I hope.
Roasted Salsa Two Ways
Roasted Salsa Two Ways
Quick, easy homemade salsas with roasted tomatoes and tomatillos
- 1 lb Tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
- 1 lb Tomatoes, quartered
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 2 jalapenos, roughly chopped
- 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 lime
- 2 tsp salt, divided
- pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450.
Put quartered tomatoes & tomatillos in a largoe bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper and mix really well. Use your hands. Don't be afraid to get dirty.
Roast tomatoes for 20 minutes until golden and beautiful.
Separate the tomatoes and tomatillos. Add roasted tomatillos ONLY to a high powered blender along with half of the chopped onion and cilantro, one jalapeno, juice of half the lime, 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste.
Blend on high until desired consistency, tasting to be sure the flavor is how you like it.
Clean out the blender and repeat with the roasted tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients.
*this is a highly customizable recipe. I kept the jalapeno seeds in for the red salsa but took them out for the green. Adjust this based on your desired level of heat.
*The salsas will keep for one week in the fridge if stored in an air-tight container.
*goes very well with margaritas!