Hailing from a long line of beer- and brat-loving Germans, it should come as no surprise that my tastebuds are quite attuned to things like saurkraut (the presence of which always caused an uproar at the dinner table when we were kids, as my younger brother referred to it as “sour crap”), potato pancakes, and the ubiquitous green bean casserole. Potluck supper, anyone? But somewhere along the line, I was introduced to flavor, and spice, and everything nice. I can go through three bowls of salsa to just one basket of chips. There is no such thing as “dipping” my chip into the salsa; it might as well be gazpacho, and I might as well scarf it down with a spoon. And the hotter, the better. Bring on the habaneros, and don’t give me any of that mild roasted stuff. That’s for pansies. Folks, believe it or not, this German gal can handle the heat. And when it comes to summertime, I’m all about the homemade salsa. Years ago, my mom brought in a harvest from the garden—jalapeños, tomatoes, and cilantro. And she put it all together, added some of her secret seasoned salt, and OH MY GOSH it was the best thing ever. EVER. My mom and I could polish off a batch together in minutes. It was just the thing to beat the summer heat, and when we ran out of chips we’d shovel it onto saltines. It made no difference: it was just a vehicle for getting the salsa into our mouths. This is one of those recipes that comes together quickly and gets eaten up even faster. And it’s totally customizable, so if you can’t take the heat (ya pansy), just cut back on the peppers. Mom’s Famous Salsa 2-3 cups fresh tomatoes, crushed (alternately, use 1 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained) 1-2 jalapeños, to taste; seeds can be removed 2 cloves garlic 1 large handful fresh cilantro 1/2 an onion (optional) salt squeeze of lime In the bowl of a food processor (alternately, use a blender), pulse the garlic, jalapeños, cilantro and onion if using until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the tomatoes one large spoonful at a time, pulsing after each addition. Taste-test and salt accordingly. Add a squeeze of lime, taste again, and adjust. Serve chilled with tortilla chips, and be ready to pass along the recipe to those in attendance.