I think it is impossible to watch Julia or read about her without feeling infected by her passion for food and cooking. It just flows out of her with pure joy. Do you ever feel that way when you are cooking? I've found that I'm constantly in awe of how a certain technique will turn random ingredients into something completely different--sugar melting into a rich caramel or flour becoming bread. Or how the addition of just a pinch of an ingredient, say red chili flakes or lemon juice, can completely make a dish. The way science and art combine in the kitchen always surprises me and makes me happy. It helps make the act of preparing a meal a relaxing, enjoyable endeavor.
It wasn't always so. If you remember, I recently discussed how before I discovered the art of mis en place there was a lot of profanity being thrown about while dinner was cooked. Part of that anger/frustration also came from the lack of knowledge. I think anyone who spends much time in the kitchen remembers the time before it was second nature--when you worried over every detail and were never quite sure how a dish would turn out. Often times people who don't cook much don't realize that everyone who does started out at this place and that practice, practice, and more practice is the only way to move past it. It's wonderful to now be at that level where more or less I know a dish will turn out thanks to all that time spent screwing up in the past. This knowledge also leads to the comfort of preparing dinner. It's almost like playing an instrument at a concert--the movements just come out of you naturally as you beat out the rhythms of the recipe. It flows through your body without a thought, even when preparing a dish that is new to you.
This corn salsa is my own invention and I had made it once before, but didn't have a recipe to follow the second time around, a couple of years after the first batch. The memory of how the dish tasted was still there, however, and the ingredients and quantities came together without hardly a thought. It seemed natural that this was the way this salsa was supposed to come together.
Now I will finally get it down "on paper" and share it with others in hopes that they will enjoy it as much as I have, and perhaps one day prepare it from their own taste memory and experience.
Bon apetit, indeed!
Corn and Bell Pepper Salsa
3 ears of bi-color corn
2 small to medium purple bell peppers
1/4-1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c. chopped onion or shallot
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
juice of 2 limes
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
Shuck the corn and clean well. Cut off the kernels and place into a medium mixing bowl.
Cut the purple bell peppers in half and remove the stems, seeds and ribs. Chop into small cubes. Toss into the bowl with the corn. Add the chopped cilantro, onion, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss all of the ingredients together and taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed and more jalapeno if you want a bit more heat. Keep chilled until ready to serve with tortilla chips as a dip or on top of tacos.