A good spicy challenge strikes a balance between flavor and fear.
My son loves spicy food. My husband and I do not love spicy food, and we have no idea where Jason got his taste for it. We didn’t even notice his penchant for spice until he was about 12 years old, and we were guests at a ceremony that designated the Walking Box Ranch for inclusion in the National Registrar of Historic Places. I bring up the Walking Box Ranch story because it is important in the story of Jason and spices.
Former home of Rex Bell and Clara Bow, the ranch is in Searchlight, Nevada, and the 1990 ceremony included a western-themed meal and tours. Because my husband was news director of a television station in Las Vegas at the time, we were invited and were able to bring my brother and his family who were visiting us that weekend. The festivities included wagon rides, games, tours of the ranch, and a chuckwagon luncheon that included BBQ, corn on the cob, baked beans, and chili.
The food was not ready on time, but eventually the cooks handed out bowls of the hot chili con carne to all of the starving attendees. Not only was the chili hot (as in warm), it was hot. Hot chili. VERY HOT CHILI. I swear we could see smoke flying out of the ears of each person as he/she ate a spoonful of the stuff. Most of us shoved the bowl away, but my brother, Mike, and Jason ate all of theirs right up.
Now 41, Jason still loves spicy food, and the hotter it is, the better. He and Sandra have raised-bed gardens in which they grow all sorts of peppers (and other more mild veggies). Jason makes his own salsa as he finds the store-bought a little too tame. Sandra likes spicy food, too, but she has more of a limit on how much heat she can take. Mom (Moi) can take very little.
I asked Jason to share his recipe for salsa so any readers who wanted could make their own. It’s very easy, and you can heat it up (or cool it down) by adding more peppers and spices to it.
28-ounce can of whole or diced tomatoes
2 10-ounce cans of Rotel tomatoes with chiles
1/2 large onion
1 jalapeño pepper
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
Dash of sugar
Chop the onions, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro. Put the remaining ingredients in the blender and pulse until they are finely chopped up.
Add the onions, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro and pulse until blended.
Enjoy. Jason tells me that the recipe is basically what restaurants use to make their own salsa, although his is a lot hotter, of course.
My son is a good cook, so I did try the salsa…..a very small bit of the salsa….a very small edge of a chip dipped in the salsa….. It was HOT. It smelled hot. It felt hot.
Mom will stick to the mild, store-bought stuff.