blackberry salsa {still + life}

Somewhere along the way, I've developed a love of fruit and veggie salads. It's that combination of sweet and savory that gets me every time. This salad has been a go-to a lot this summer after I rediscovered it, and our produce-stand watermelon produced a wonderful watermelon and feta salad. (Get what I did there? The produce stand produced...). So when I saw a blueberry salsa, meant for fried catfish posted here by Patrick Evans-Hylton, a local, beloved chef, I was keen to try it.

Only we were having blueberries for dessert and we weren't having fried catfish.

Enter the blackberry. I figured if it sounded good with blueberries, it must also be pretty awesome with blackberries, right? And if it sounded good with fried catfish, it might also be good with grilled chicken right?

Here's what we did.

We marinated our chicken with Stonewall Kitchen's Roasted Apple Grille Sauce. Then Neel took over the grilling part. (He did some corn on the cob too. I can't seem to get enough of it this summer.) And here's how we did the salsa:

Blackberry Salsa, adapted from Patrick Evans-Hylton's Blueberry Salsa

2 10 oz. packs of blackberries
1/2 of 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine
1 small red onion, chopped
2-3 small red and yellow sweet peppers, chopped
a handful of cilantro, chopped fine
juice of one lime
a couple glugs of olive oil (Evans-Hylton calls for 1/4 cup. I just glugged.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper

Divide the berries into thirds, chopping 2/3 and leaving 1/3 whole. Combine chopped berries with jalapeno, onion, peppers and cilantro. Add lime juice, olive oil and whole berries and gently stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste, chill and serve alongside chicken, fish or even pork or beef.

I just want to go on record that every time I try to type "fried" I type "friend," which feels appropriate.

check up

Well, the honest truth is that I haven't been feeling well lately. I never got my groove back after our trip, and to be completely truthful, this started before we even left. It's the migraines, of course, which have reared their ugly heads. I cycle in and out of that, and if you've known me for any length of time, you know summers can be hard on this head of mine. But there's more this time. Fatigue that's hard to shake. Crazy fatigue. Hard to get out the door fatigue. Hard to do much more than one thing a day fatigue. Some days I pick laundry. One load. Some days I pick the grocery store. Some days I pick nothing. Those aren't great days. Add to that some an unusual pain in my hip and some muscle fatigue (gah, more fatigue). I feel like every day I'm navigating a pain and lethargy cycle. It's annoying and confusing and things feel like they're falling apart a little bit around here.

I told the doctor that I'v diagnosed myself with Chronic Irritability Syndrome. He's on it. Five vials of blood, and we'll get to the bottom of it, I'm sure. Actually, I can tell you just what the blood work will reveal: nothing. I'm actually quite healthy! I'll just start feeling better. Until then? Chronic Irritability Syndrome.

And yet everywhere I look around me, there's abundance. My family? Well, they take care of me every day. No complaints. Just concern. Our neighbor Autumn brought us squash and cucumber and Swiss chard from her garden. And from his garden, our contractor John brought us a zucchini the size of a newborn baby. It's my dad's birthday (Happy, happy day, Alfie!) My friend Jackie had a thrilling project come up this session, and she asked me to teach her class on Intro to Digital Photography. It's her favorite class to teach, and it's the first class I took. As you can imagine, I'm excited. But I'm touched and honored too. Beyond it really.

So when I take the long view, things are good. There's abundance all around me. All that other stuff will take care of itself. Patience, grasshopper. The only way out is through.

Pan Fried Zucchini, thanks to John, our contractor

1 zucchini
2 eggs beaten
1 package seasoned fish fry breading, like Hilltop or McCormick's or make your own.
Salt and Pepper
Oil for frying

Slice the zucchini into rounds (or if it's ginormous, half-rounds). Dredge each slice in the egg wash and then the batter and set on a platter, careful not to stack the slices.

Once you've dredged all the zucchini, pour enough oil into the bottom of a fry pan to coat the bottom, and heat on medium high.

Once the oil is sizzling, add the slices of zucchini, careful not to crowd them. You'll probably have to do this in batches.

When the zucchini is brown on one side flip each slice and brown the other side. (The zucchini should be easy to lift from the pan when it's time to flip.) Repeat with the remaining zucchini, draining on paper towels.

Serve with salt and pepper (and hot sauce if your name is Cal.).