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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Fresh chips and salsa go great with summer

Reprinted from Bayside Gazette July 17, 2014
As voices echo through our little street, a feeling of summer, fun and family runs through me like an electric current. It’s a wonderful thing as a parent to have a flash of memory back to the days of my own childhood; a prevailing feeling of worth as I remember the emotions that I attached to certain events in my life and that I now share with my children.
Years ago as we played at the water’s edge, I was teaching my kids how to dig deep enough to reach the tide line, in essence making your own pool at the ocean.  Something that my father taught me in the early 1970s, it was a laughable concept to my friend who was visiting from out of town. He brushed it off as nonsense, but as I taught my kids, you could see bewilderment in his eyes as the bottom of the hole began to fill with water.
Move forward a few years and our next scene is our home. I took my kids outside at dusk to teach them how to summon the bats, those ethereal creatures of the night about who has been written enough negative and cruel passages as to fill the scrolls of Alexandria.
Granted, I do not care to keep bats as pets, but as of today I have yet to be overly pestered or bothered by one. The trick, you see, is to take advantage of their lack of sight and their astounding sonar skills.
At dusk, simply go outside and throw tiny pebbles as high as you can straight up in the air. VERY IMPORTANT:
• Be in the middle of the street and tell everyone to pay attention.
• Do this at your own risk. I assume no liability if you throw like a New York Yankee and break a window.
• Teach your kids how to not catch one of these with their eyes. I suggest safety glasses, although I’ve never worn them. There, you are warned.
As the tiny projectiles fly up and down, eventually the bats will ping off of them with their impressive sonar system. They will mistake them for bugs and begin going after them.  This is not foolproof; there have been a few evenings when we cannot get a single bat to come out.  But more often than not, we find about 6 bats dive-bombing the rocks (and in essence, us) to the squeals, screams and laughs of the children. Fear and humor; hardly a better suited set of bedfellows.
Getting outside seems to be one of the greatest challenges for kids these days. The electronic distractions that we have allowed to consume the day make it tricky to get the children interested in things that fascinated us when we were kids. But I have found that simple exercises such as bat-calling work wonders.
Summer is a beautiful time of year in which we get to understand how things grow, the source of our food if you are like us and at least grow a few things, and of course there is no school; well, for the kids there is no school. Taking advantage of this, we can get the kids involved in the tasks of gardening and the wonderment of natural foods.
In our garden we have two tomato plants that are doing a fair job at producing some fruit, and after a trip to Paul Carlotta’s Berlin Organics on 611, I was inspired to create a simple, summer snack that was enjoyed by not only me but our 9-year old as well. Had he not helped with the planting in our own garden, I hardly think he would have even sampled the goods.
Get outside and dig a hole; summon the bats. Grow some basil and tomatoes. Do whatever makes you happy. And make sure that you share it with a child, yours or not.  It’s the best way for them to learn.

Peach Salsa
makes about 3 cups
3 fresh peaches, diced
1  red bell pepper, diced
1 serrano, diced
1/4 fresh white onion, diced
1  fresh, very ripe tomato, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice, to taste

• Combine all of the ingredients and season to taste.
• Allow to sit under refrigeration for at least two hours.
• Taste again, and adjust the flavor.
• Serve cold or at room temperature.
• Serve with freshly fried tortilla chips, on seafood, pork or chicken dishes from the grill.

Fresh Fried Tortilla Chips
makes 60 chips
10 soft corn tortillas
oil for frying
seasoning blend of your choosing

• Stack tortillas in a neat pile, and cut into 6 equal wedges yielding you 60 soft chips.
• Heat oil to 350, being incredibly careful not to overheat if you are using a pan on the stovetop.  I recommend a fryer.  
• When the oil has reached temperature, add the chips in batches and cook until golden brown.  If you use whole wheat like I did for some of mine, don’t be too upset if they come out dark.  That’s the nature of the beast.
• When the bubbles have mostly subsided and the chips are crispy, remove to a stack of paper towels and season immediately.
• Allow to cool and serve.