aunt mary’s salsa recipe

staying cool in all the change ::::


This week, I am currently stress cooking, listening to Imogen Heap, smelling the wonderful aroma of tandoor-style chicken, vegetable enchiladas, cauliflower soup with pesto— and feeling the heat of the oven and stove folded on top of the already humid Atlanta summer. On days off from work, I often stack numerous recipes on my to-do list, prepping freezer backup meals and for the week.


My stress is related to some potential kitchen changes. We could be moving to a new home in our current locale in the next two months — something I did not expect to happen for at least a year. Nothing is settled though moving quickly in that direction.

With that news taking more than a cheetah’s pace with all involved and in my head, my stress cooking serves to refocus me while still curving those foci ever-so-slightly to the periphery and horizon. Where will put our whiskey glassware? Will we hang the pots or stuff them in a mousy cupboard? Does the antiquated gas stove really work well enough to keep it? Will the kids like their rooms? How long will the commute to work be? Are we going to rip up the carpet? Will the kids like their new school? Can we get to know our neighbors? Will I find my sweet spot in the house, awash with that clear, ambient white morning light from the windows, turning golden on Sunday afternoons, dust motes settling in dusk? And so I think of this same light in my eyes as we definitely settle here, my golden years imagined in the same house my kids grew up in. I can only hope we can be so lucky.

In the heat and busyness, my go-to snack is a rich salsa. So many of the bottled ones fall flat. This recipe is from my Aunt Mary, a recipe we tried many years ago at her and my uncle’s house, and always loved it. It’s a great recipe for the summer, keeping the stove and oven off to stay cooler. If you have time, allow it to sit for a few hours to meld the flavors. It’s not authentic Mexican, rather, Tex-Mex’ed up with a dose of my aunt’s Republican wiliness no doubt. Yeah, I’ve changed it slightly. Definitely more palatable than the Republican National Convention this week (what a mess).

If my posts are a bit erratic in the next couple months, you’ll know why. Just finding that light (and unpacking HOARDS of boxes).


One year ago: tagliatelle with poppy seeds and prosciutto

Two years ago: one-eyed chihuahua cocktail

Three years ago: angel food cupcakes with mascarpone frosting and apricot compote

Four years ago: a review of some napa restaurants and chia honey limeade

Five years ago: lemon-lime gummy candy and homemade tofu (but the black soybean tofu is better!)


aunt mary's salsa recipe
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 ounces finely chopped ripe black olives (You choose the variety, although the cured olives are too strong here.)
  • 4 ounces finely chopped green chiles
  • 1 pound coarsely chopped tomatoes, drained well
  • 1 small bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt (If you use canned tomatoes, you may need to edge down the salt.)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons mild chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon or more hot sauce (I like Valentina)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (I like apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. Mix everything today and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes or refrigerated for at least an hour. The flavor is even better after refrigerating overnight. Enjoy with fresh tortilla chips.


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