Sweet and Spicy Summer Salsa

One of the best things about the summer is the promise of stone fruits and berries. Every year, my favorite way to greet the summer is with cherry-stained fingers and strawberry seeds stuck in between my teeth. There is something carefree about food remnants on my body that reminds me to enjoy the summer time and relax.

So for the love of sunshine, relaxation and seasonal fruits, I look forward to waking up Saturday mornings and venturing into the local farmers market located at University Town Center’s parking lot. There is no better way than to start a Saturday morning.

Even though I know where the farmers market is, I always get excited at the sight of white tents from a distance. Once I reach closer to the venue, the scene before me can be overwhelming — vendors packing close to each other, customers walking side-by-side, fruits bountiful for sampling, fresh bread ready for purchasing.

Aside from the fresh food and homemade crafts, the farmers market also provides a place for character. Especially in a place such as Irvine where cars dominate the roads and strangers rarely talk to one another on the streets (what pedestrians?).

The farmers market creates a uniquely casual environment where people are walking elbow to elbow and conversing with each other. Vendors and customers share recipes and talk about the food or the story behind it. I still remember a vendor who gave me a whole blood orange to try. I love how welcoming the atmosphere is at the market. And whenever I go to the farmers market, I look to what is in season as my inspiration for my meals for the week to come.

Since I already break the rules of how to spend summer like a college student by waking up early to go to the farmers market, one rule I seldom break is easy cooking. Nowadays, the meals I eat are more about putting food together than actually cooking. So I was inspired to make something refreshingly delicious and simple enough to devour quickly.

One of my favorite stone fruits, one that I look forward to every summer, is the peach. Perfectly sweet and juicy, it is such a treat to bite into. Because I always eat it in a knife-meets-peach-meets-mouth manner, I decided I need to incorporate peaches in a fancier dish.

Luckily, another thing I enjoy doing during my days is go on SFGate.com and get some “summer reading” on. I say lucky because they feature recipes regularly and I found my inspiration for a summer dish in the form of a salsa — a stone fruit salsa that is.

Keep in mind that for this recipe, you can choose to purchase the components from wherever is most convenient for you. Also, you can tweak it to your personal tastes as I did from the original on SFGate.com.

Ingredients:

•1 medium ripe peach, cut into small pieces

•1 cup cherries, pitted and diced

•1/2 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced

•1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced

•1/4 small red onion, minced

•2 tablespoons lime juice

•1 teaspoon cider vinegar

•1 tablespoon olive oil

•Salt and ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Simply combine ingredients and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. From there, you can choose to eat it at room temperature or refrigerated.

At room temperature, the flavors will be more intense, showcasing more of the onion, vinegar and spice flavor.

Served chilled, the sweatness will be more pronoucned, making the salsa more refreshing and pushing the sour and sharp notes into the background.

Notes:

SFGate.com to pair the salsa with fish, chicken or pork. I simply ate it on its own and then with some tortilla chips. Anyway is fine.