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Friday, July 1, 2011

cherry salsa

About a year ago, we moved out of the first house we had ever owned as adults, and into the nest that I hope will carry us at least until we empty it of children. We only moved about a mile, and we moved into a very similar neighborhood. We loved the house we had; we had upgraded and redone just about every square inch of flooring and walls in the joint to be exactly what we wanted. We simply had run out of room in that little house that had seemed spacious when we bought is as newlyweds, and was nothing short of cramped for a family of five.

I think, though, the hardest part of moving wasn't that I was going to miss the custom fireplace my husband built. It wasn't how much I thought the spanish tile floors that were installed (while we all camped out on mattresses in the living room) were perfect and could never be matched. It wasn't even the stripes I had painted in the dining room when I was nine months pregnant (someone else had to come back and get the bottom 18 inches of each wall because my belly got in my way). I brought all these memories with me. What I couldn't bring were the neighbors.

Directly across the street from us were the best neighbors anyone could ever hope for. Our first kids were about a year apart in age, and you never met such compatible souls. We were pregnant together and delivered our second kids within a month of each other. We had backyard barbeques on the weekends, we traded walking the kids to school in the mornings, and the two of us moms established Tuesday "wine nights" because that was the night our husbands both worked late. A bottle of wine and a salad, a tray of chicken nuggets, and suddenly we hoped for more late nights at the office.

Of course, we are still friends with our old neighbors. But it's a little different. I don't borrow a cup of sugar from her anymore, and barbecues need to be scheduled ahead of time. Still, though, friends like these are worth hanging on to, worth scheduling into our lives, and (I can only hope) will be here long after we empty this nest of children.

Cherry Salsa

This sweet salsa has a bit of a kick to it too. I chopped the cherries in half to garnish chicken, but you could easily chop them into smaller pieces and use it to dip your chips. If you want it milder, just use a small part of the jalapeno pepper.

4 cups cherries, pitted and chopped
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper (seeds and ribs removed), minced
6 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice

Chop it all up and stir to combine. Make this at least a couple of hours ahead of time (or in the morning, if possible), so the flavors have a chance to meld.