Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Using late summer bounty #mngarden #salsa #freshveggies #recipes


pico de gallo

It’s the same struggle every year: what to do with WAAAAY more veggies than I anticipated. One of the best parts about a veggie garden is that very bounty, if you have something to do with all those veggies. I’ve convinced my daughter to bring some of them to her work to share.

There’s something about home-grown tomatoes … I think there are a lot of people that only grow tomatoes because of the taste. Store-bought tomatoes can’t compete with the flavor of a sun-warmed, fresh-picked, red-ripe (or yellow or pink or whatever other color you have) tomato.

garden-fresh tomatoes

This is about the same time the pepper plants are starting to split and fall over because of the sheer weight of the peppers. And we won’t talk about the four (!!) jalapeno plants I have. I don’t know what I was thinking, except those were the plants that came up when I started the seeds this spring. A person doesn’t need more than one jalapeno plant unless they go all out making poppers. Sheesh!

red bell peppers and jalapeno peppers

We plant enough onions to last at least halfway through the winter (we use a LOT of onions), though this year when I planted my onion seeds (I’ve been starting my own onions in the house in, like, March), not as many of them came up as in years past, so I had to get sets from the local greenhouse. Those onions had a tendency to form multiple bulbs, almost like huge garlic. Which might have been okay if I’d pulled them before we got two inches of rain that collected in the pockets of those multibulb onions. So many started to rot! Sigh. We rescued what we could, but next year I’m thinking I’ll order onion plants again. At least I’ll get the variety we like, instead of generic “white” onion sets.

three onions

Have you ever heard someone say you only have to plant dill once? That’s because it reseeds like crazy, and you’ll get volunteers coming up for years. Cilantro is kinda the same way, though it works better if you plant some every couple of weeks so you always have some that isn’t going to seed.


Every year when I have an abundance of tomatoes, I make pico de gallo. The first time I had it was when hubs and I were in Mexico with his sister. It was soooo good! And so simple. Tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, and a splash of lime juice.

My daughter will eat pico de gallo with tortilla chips and call that a meal. So, in case you are interested, here’s the “recipe”. It’s like when you ask your grandma for just about any recipe that isn’t a dessert: no exact measures. It’s all to taste:

Fresh tomatoes: enough so that when they are diced, you end up with maybe 3 to 4 cups.

Fresh sweet peppers: enough so that when they are chopped, they are about a third to a half of the volume of the tomatoes (so 4 c of diced tomatoes would need about 1 1/2 cup or so of peppers)

Fresh onions: again, enough so that when chopped they are about a third of the volume of the tomatoes. To taste, though, and depends on how strong your onions are (and some of ours are so strong they can make your eyes water from halfway across the kitchen).

Fresh jalapeno peppers: to taste, and it depends on how spicy the peppers are and how spicy you like it. We’ve had jalapenos that were OMG hot, and some that were meh. I’ve been using about three without the seeds and ribs (which is where most of the heat is).

Fresh cilantro: finely chopped, to taste. Some people think cilantro tastes like soap, I think it tastes great. I add about 1/4 c or so, again depending on volume of tomatoes.

This is my method. No, I haven’t combed through Pintrest or Allrecipes.com to find a recipe. It works, it’s unstructured (read: rebellious), and makes me feel good because everything is from the garden (except the lime juice).

Dice the tomatoes and put them in a strainer to drain (I put the strainer over a bowl to catch the juice, which Hubs uses to make soup or whatever (hey, he loves to cook!)). Trust me, there’s a lot of juice in them tomatoes. Stir in a bunch of salt, start with about 1 teaspoon for sure if you have about 3-4 cups of tomatoes (yes, THAT much, and no, I never measure πŸ™‚ ). Mix it into the tomatoes. let them drain. The salt will pull more liquid from the tomatoes.

Chop the rest of the veggies and stir them into the tomatoes in the strainer. It’ll keep draining. Taste it now to make sure you have enough salt. Don’t be afraid to add more; it’s surprising how much it can take. Make sure the flavors balance and adjust as needed (that is, add more tomatoes or onions or whatever until it tastes good).

Put the salsa into the container you will serve or store it in, then add a splash of lime juice (try a capful if you need a measure). Mix well, taste again, add more juice if you think it needs it. And that’s it.

Note that after you put it in the fridge the flavors get muted; that’s the tomato, I think. Tomatoes always lose some flavor once they’re refrigerated.

Damn, now I’ve got the munchies. I’ll get back to my writing after a little snack πŸ˜€

Enjoy your weekend! Keep on Writing!

Nyx, Tibbers, and my son’s girlfriend’s cat, Stella

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, four chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

9 thoughts on “Using late summer bounty #mngarden #salsa #freshveggies #recipes

  1. What a bountiful harvest, Julie! That’s fantastic! Everything does look delicious. Thanks for sharing your pico de gallo recipe, too. This is the payoff you get for that hard work in the garden earlier in the year…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, this is the best part of having a garden. When my husband and I grew our first garden, way back in the day, we reveled in our first harvest of green beans, sweet corn, zucchini, etc. I always try to remind myself of the benefits while I’m cursing the weeds πŸ˜€

      Have a wonderful weekend, Margot!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic, Julie. You have presented both beauty and health and made me hungry in the process. πŸ™‚


    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is the problem with homegrown fruit and vegetables, they all get ripe at the same time. Our birds are all waiting to see what this year’s fruit trees will yield. We may have to build a runway for them if they get as fat as last year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! That mental image of a runway for the birds to the fruit feast! And yes, everything gets ripe at the same time, and then you scramble to figure out how to preserve everything before it goes bad, because you can only each so many green beans πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      Have a great weekend, Roberta!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like you need a lime tree (will those grow there?) to round out your complete pico de gallo garden! We grow several of our own ingredients for Hubby’s fab salsa, which *I* can eat as a meal with chips. We have a lime tree, but it’s very slow to produce. :/ We will plant our own cilantro. I’ve told him so, after reading this post. I’ve been thinking we need to do that.
    And wow, three GATOS!!!! And not even George! (Was that the other cat’s name?) Seems your son and his girlfriend bonded over their love of cats! They’re clearly good people. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • In a way, I wish lime trees would grow here, but then again, so would other lovely warm-climate things like poisonous snakes and scorpions and lizards. Yes, plant your own cilantro! Every two weeks plant some so you always have some that isn’t going to seed (it even lasts through a frost here πŸ™‚ )

      George is my son’s girlfriend’s sister’s cat. Stella is her cat. My son won’t even bring Nyx and Tibs here to visit anymore because Stella would be lonely without them. Sigh. I suppose I’ll have to make more trips to visit him … erm, the cats πŸ˜€ My son and his girlfriend both love animals: he has the two cats and some fish. She has one cat, two hamsters, a leopard gecko, and fish.

      Happy Writing, Betsy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I put cilantro (and onions) on the list!
        Son’s girlfriend’s sister’s cat?! Ach! Can’t keep track! They’re all fuzzy furballs to me! πŸ™‚ Why can’t Stella just come with Nyx and Tibs? Oh, Zoey would flip, though, wouldn’t she? Cats and their drama! ;P

        Liked by 1 person

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