You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.– Dave Barry
If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it.
– Erma Bombeck
|Rick at his birthday dinner.|
photo by Erica
Rick's birthday is tomorrow. We presented workshops and a concert up in Rhode Island over the weekend, so drove up to Massachusetts on Friday to stay with Rick's sister and family. She and her husband wanted to take Rick out for his birthday, so on Saturday evening, after the workshops, we drove a few towns over to eat at their favorite Mexican restaurant. Lisa managed to whisper to the waiter that it was Rick's birthday without him hearing, so he was completely embarrassed and flustered when a whole group of waiters made their way over to our table with a huge sombrero and plopped it on his head while boisterously clapping and singing happy birthday. My nephew, my brother-in-law, and Erica all snapped photos of Rick with their cell phones and immediately started e-mailing them off to friends and family. I asked them all to forward me the photos, too, so I could stick one in my blog for all the world (or at least anyone who happens to read my blog) to see. Hey, Rick is a good sport—he even fixed this photo up a bit for me while shaking his head and asking if I was seriously going to post it. You bet! I'm not sure if I've ever laughed as hard as I did when that sombrero hit his head. Sometimes it can be hard when everyone seems to be laughing at you, but laughter is a good thing. And when it's shared, it binds people together. Laughter is infectious, and just plain old makes you feel good. So, many thanks, Rick, for enduring a rousing rendition of happy birthday in a crowded restaurant.
The salsa at the restaurant was good, but I kinda like the one I make better.
Basic Salsa Mexicana
• One 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes (or use 3 fresh tomatoes)
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped green pepper
• 1 small jalapeño finely chopped (or skip the green bell pepper and add another jalapeño or serrano pepper)
• 2 teaspoons lime juice
• 2 teaspoons salt (Note: this is a lot of salt, so add a little at a time and stop when you think there's enough for your taste. I was skeptical at first when I read the original recipe in a Mexican cookbook, but ended up liking a decent amount of salt, although I think I stop closer to one teaspoon than two.)
• a lot of cilantro, chopped (up to half a cup)
• Optional: Add a clove of minced garlic and/or a dash or two of Tabasco sauce to taste
Adjust the seasonings to taste. Stir well and let sit for a bit before serving to blend the flavors.