An emphatic ‘No!’

Jamie shares some foodie cooking tips for Cinco de Mayo.

My mother, an excellent cook, would respond with an emphatic ‘No!’ when my brother and I would request a Mexican meal of tacos for our special birthday dinner.

“How about a fajitas? I can make that good marinated grilled chicken and homemade salsa. How about that?”

We would crumple our noses and shake our head. What we wanted was tacos. With ground beef. And taco shells that would break in my hands. And taco sauce from that astronaut packet. Viva Mexico!

In college, I spent a month studying in Mexico and realized what real Mexican food was all about. The pungent scent of cumin and queso fresco made from whole milk. Cilantro, fresh and green, and tasty tortillas and chili’s for a kick.

After experimenting with these flavors, I love making homemade salsa. This recipe is so bold, I recommend storing it in a glass container. Your plastic would never be the same.

4 to 5 ripe plum tomatoes

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped.

8-10 sprigs cilantro, leaves chopped

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 green bell pepper

1 small white onion

The juice of one lime

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt

Core the tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and squeeze out the seeds. Chop the tomatoes and place in bowl. Take care, and seed the jalepeno, then chop finely and add to the tomatoes. Add chopped cilantro, garlic and green pepper to the mixture.

Peel and chop the white onion. If you like less of an onion taste, put chopped onion in a strainer and rinse. Shake out the excess water and add to the mixture.

Taste and season with lime juice, cumin, chili powder and salt.

Let stand to allow flavors to marry together.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.