Tuesday, July 31

Summer is Time for Salsa and a New Handbag

There aren’t too women I’ve met who don’t love handbags (and shoes, but that’s another post). Recently, I was in Nordstrom when I overheard two women (an attractive blonde and an attractive brunette) justifying the purchase of a bag that was almost identical to the one on the brunette's shoulder.

“Yeah, but yours is more of a mocha color," the blonde explained. "Look -- and she held the bags next to each other-- this is definitely more chocolate than mocha. You have to get it." (See, there is a connection to food already.)

The brunette walked over to an available cashier and purchased her chocolate colored bag. I was astonished. Do women love handbags that much? Then I looked around me: half of the female population of Southern California were in Nordstrom that day, and fully half of them were in line holding new handbags.

Given that most women have inherited the autosomal dominant "handbag gene," it didn't surprise me to learn that even a reusable grocery bag could generate a stir. In case you missed it, Anya Hinmarch, a posh London designer, whose handbags go for hundreds and even thousands of dollars, created an eco-friendly tote bag imprinted with the words, "I'm Not A Plastic Bag." It was designed as a fashionable way to encourage people to stop using biodegradable-resistant plastic bags. It has been selling wildly all over the world, including here in the U.S. at Whole Foods. Women here were so eager to get one of these coveted bags that they waited in line for hours. That’s nothing, however, compared to what happened in Taiwan: In a frenzy to obtain one of these bags, a stampede resulted in 30 people actually being sent to the hospital.

Though I don’t think you should trample the woman in front of you to get one, I do think a reusable tote bag is an easy way to help the environment. Since the lovely Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey? has asked us to share some habits that help protect the earth for this month’s mingle, I’ve decided to submit this post. Though it’s a small thing, using a canvas tote bag can make a big difference. For more about the benefits of reusable bags and for tips click here. Also, Cate of Sweetnicks and Well Fed fame likes the tote bags from reusablebags.com which are made from recycled ad banners and seatbelt straps.

Any reusable bag will do, like this nifty one from my dad, who thought I'd like it for my farmers' market trips. I do; my only problem is I can't find the right heels to go with it. Maybe I'll head back to Nordy's....

This no-cook summertime salsa is a fresh, easy way to incorporate many of your farmers' market finds. Thanks for sharing Blush, the tomato, Alanna! With juicy cantaloupe, crunchy corn, and fiery jalapenos, it's a vibrant and flavorful medley of summer's finest fruits and veggies. Served atop grilled seafood or tofu and a cooked whole grain, such as quinoa (OK, this part requires some cooking, though very little), it makes a lovely summertime meal.

Susan’s Summertime Salsa

Print recipe only here.

1 cup diced cantaloupe
1 cup diced mango
1 cup diced red or yellow bell pepper
½ cup red or yellow cherry tomatoes
½ cup chopped cucumber (peeled and de-seeded)
1 ear of fresh sweet corn (cut from cob)
¼ cup diced red onion or scallions

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about one small lime)
Pinch of lime zest
1 Tbsp fruity olive oil
2 tsp fresh grated ginger (about a 1-inch sized piece)
2 Tbsp minced jalapeno, with or without seeds
2 Tbsp each chopped fresh cilantro, mint, and basil

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl, and toss gently to blend.

Combine the lime juice through the salt in a small bowl; whisk until fully blended. Pour on top of the fruit mixture. Serve either at room temperature or chilled. Stir in the chopped fresh herbs just before eating so they don’t turn brown.


Fresh sweet corn on the cob can be eaten raw, which is delicious and crunchy. If you've never tried it before, then give it a go. You'll be glad you did.

If you don’t like the intensity of raw onions, simply pour some boiling water over them to remove their pungency, or sauté in a bit of olive oil.

You might also like:

Minding My Peas
Swordfish with Pineapple-Mango Salsa
Funky farmers' market produce

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Asha said...

YUM!! Mango and Cantaloupe in salad! I am sold!!:D
Enjoy your Summer bag too.

KellytheCulinarian said...

Sadly, I'm very allergic to mango, but it looks so pretty and colorful.

cookiecrumb said...

Just beautiful. Could you put some in my tote bag for me?

Susan said...

Espadrilles would be ideal to go with your market bag, Susan. And anything would go with that fresh and flavorful salsa of yours.

Abby said...

I'm always a fan of the flipflop with a canvas bag!

I have two I bought years ago from Weaver Street Market that say "The Grocery Bag" and have a big green tree on them.

And I LOVE fruit in salsa. Peach is my fave, actually, but cantaloupe is a fabulous idea!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

While I've never thought much about handbags, you make a good case for a reuseable market bag. And the salsa looks fresher than a perfect summer day!

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

although I already have a man bag, I could go for another one that fits my working lifestyle a bit more than the one I am utilizing now. But I couldn't go to Nordo's to get one. My wife would knock me into next week. I also did not know that you could eat corn raw right off the cob.. I will try that.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

The bag is a great idea~ if everyone does a little something what a difference we could make.

Anonymous said...

How refreshing this looks! Very summery indeed. I do have hand bag weaknesses but nothing like the one you described. I have not seen the "I'm not a plastic bag" bag yet...sounds interesting!

Katie Zeller said...

The big supermarkets here quit offering bags a few years ago. They sell reusable ones from .50 - 1.00 which is great! I've had my original 3 for almost 3 years now. I even bought some to bring to the U.S. for family to use... at least, those who aren't too embarrased by toting their own sacks...LOL
Great salsa - I love no-cook stuff this time of year!

bazu said...

Wow, Susan, I was just telling myself that my last two blog posts have been inspired by you, and now this salsa..! I have a feeling it will find its way into my recipe rotation sooner than later- so pretty! I've never had a salsa with cantaloupe, and they're just now looking really ripe and good at the market.

I too use a canvas bag- it's liberating to not come home with 100s of plastic bags after every trip to the store. We've also gone on a receipt diet and a paper towel and napkin diet, and it's been easier than I would have thought! I have a Whole Foods bag, but unfortunately not the coveted "I'm not a plastic bag one" those sold out in minutes, and I didn't want to wake up at the crack of dawn on my NYC trip to go stand in line for one! Jeez!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Asha-Aren't they just a match made in heaven?

Kelly-Just leave it out or substitute another fruit or veg; It's really versatile.

Cookiecrumb-Sure, you can have some. :)

Susan-Why am I not surprised that would give good fashion advice? :)

Abby-Oh, I like the sound of yours with the tree on it. I love peaches in salsa too, especially with really aromatic herbs such as rosemary or sage.

T.W.-And you'll stay cool too!

Tim-I was actually looking for a gift for someone special. I'm a big Marshall's and TJ Maxx fan for myself. :) As for raw corn, it is exceptionally crunchy and sweet; I do hope you try it.

Sandi-You're so right.

Veronica-Then you've gotta check it out!

Katiez-What an environmentally conscientious move for supermarkets to make.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Susan you've managed to be fun with a very important issue. I have a good collection of reuseable bags that I keep in my car for just this purpose and have done it for years. It took me forever to remember to take them into the store, now it's pretty much second nature. My new favorite is a straw market bag I got in London at Books for Cooks and so has great memories with each use.

Musings of a Housewife said...

WOW. That looks SO good. Here from Scribbit. :-)

I haven't seen those grocery bags. I need to check that out.

Amy said...

Great point about reusable grocery bags. Now there's a handbag I can justify. :) Your salsa looks great, I love the fresh corn right off the cob!

SteamyKitchen said...

Girlfriend I always have a rule. Every new handbag deserves 3 pairs of coordinating shoes.

So go shopping.

Pille said...

That was a nice gesture from your dad, Susan!!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

I'm with Jaden!! I have a shoe and handbag tick and believe every new shoes needs at least one matching handbag and vice versa.
The salsa however, is a match made in heaven and it brings out the true summer flavors. Brilliant!

WokandSpoon said...

ummm....I just bought 2 brown bags as well with the same justification! hehe! Love the summertime salsa! Now all we need over here is the summertime!

sra said...

Fun post, and conscientious too! Here in India, most people would take cloth bags or baskets to go grocery shopping, but supermarkets and plastic carrybags ended such good habits!
The salsa looks lovely.

Anonymous said...

This looks light, luscious and lovely. I love fruit salsas.

Monika K said...

Just stumbled across your blog (thanks to Bazu) and thought I'd tell you how much I enjoyed reading your post(s). I've justified many a bag purchase to myself but buying cloth bags to use at the grocery store was definitely one of my more satisfying bag aquisitions.


Patricia Scarpin said...

I would love to get one of those bags, too!
And the salsa looks wonderful, Susan - even with the cold weather here, it's pretty tempting! :)

J said...

The salsa looks perfect for summer!

Btw, you've been tagged

Warda said...

Different shoes will helps you decide Susan. Just don't worry about your salsa, I 'll watch it for you while you go shopping.

Nora B. said...

Reusable bags are a great idea. I have a few versions - the cloth type (that's easy folded into my handbag) and the more sturdy "green bags" for heavier items. I feel guity when I forget to bring my reusable bags. But I do try to use the plastic bags a few times to get the most out of it.

This salsa looks so vibrant and refreshing.

p/s: you should have seen what happened in Taiwan and Singapore during the Hello Kitty freebies give-away many years agao. Scary.

Mishmash ! said...

Last time it was your signature BBQ sauce and this time it is susan;s summer salsa.....hmmm....next time I see you saying, "Oh..I have opened Susan's Ristorante " :)))))))


Stella said...


Anonymous said...

A great, entertaining post, Susan! I've witnessed the shoe gene [a close relative of the handbag gene] up close and personal with my wife and younger daughter. Once when Laurel was about seven, we were walking down Michigan Avenue and she stopped dead in her tracks. A shoe store had its doors open and air conditioning blasting, blowing the smell of leather seductively onto the sidewalk. She inhaled deeply and exclaimed, "I just LOVE shoes!"

Regarding tote bags, if you use them at Trader Joe's--or even reuse their paper bags--they enter you into a drawing for a free bag of groceries.

s'kat said...

I don't think I would have any problem just eating it straight, with a spoon. Lovin' the summer!

christine said...

Gosh that salsa looks so delicious and refreshing! And you've just inspired me to bring a new canvass tote bag with me to my trip to the market tomorrow. :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Bazu-Wow, you're better than I am!

Tanna-Why does it not surprise me that you've been doing this for years? :)

dcrmom-Thanks for visiting! And thanks to Michelle!

Amy-I must admit, it's addictive!

Jaden-Dang, I've got some serious shoe shopping to do!

Pille-Wasn't it? :)

Meeta-I'm not surprised; you both strike me as elegantly hip. :)

Wokandspoon-Shall I send you some warm weather? ;)

Sra-Same here, but some areas are pushing to move away from it.

Christine-Oh, thanks!

Monika-I'm so glad you stopped by; any friend of Bazu's is a friend of mine!

Patricia-Come on over and warm up! ;)

Jyothsna-It is really summery!

Rose-Good deal. ;)

Nora B-Good point about the different types of bags and reusing the plastic ones. Thanks for the tips!

Shn-If I do, you'll be on my VIP list! :)

Valentina-You're so sweet. Thanks!

Terry B-Hah, I love that story. That's classic! Thanks for mentioning TJ's. Fortunately, I know about it. Unfortunately, I've never won in 4 years. What can you do? :)

S'kat-I don't either. ;)

Christine-Oh, glad to hear it! Then you'll inspire someone too!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

When I first started hosting cooking groups, I had canvas tote bags made up for everyone so they could do their food shopping in reuseable bags. Now the bags have become their own status symbol! And they've toted quite a lot of groceries in the five years the cooking groups have been cooking together.

Anonymous said...

We also have our shopping bags with us when we do our shopping whether it is supermarket or street market down the street.

Anonymous said...

Summertime salsa indeed! I can imagine this going quite deliciously over some lightly marinated chicken or fish! Will wait till corn is in season again though, as at the moment the raw corn I've tasted is not too juicy or sweet :/

Kajal@aapplemint said...

i love the idea of putting cantaloupe in your salsa, a very refreshing n light flavour . And pls dont get me started on handbags ... u never seen to have the perfect one and are always in the quest for one !ditto with shoes:D

Anonymous said...

I don't buy them very often, but I am a sucker for a nice handbag. And I'm also a fan of that fabulous salsa--beautiful picture.

Toni said...

I'm with Susan on the espadrilles. They are so very summery and comfortable, they'd make the walk to the market and back a breeze! And the salsa? Oh yes! Perfect summer recipe!

Anonymous said...

What a great post...
I must get one of those bags. I love it!

Charlotta-love said...

I tried this recipe this weekend and it is, in one word: delicious, refreshing, succulent, heavenly, healthy, terrific, inviting, scrumdidlyumptious, and more. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This was a good nudge. I've been meaning to get a string bag to carry to the market but I only think about it before going to the market and then promptly forget about it until the next time I go to the market. But thanks to this post I'm just about to order one.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Lydia-What a great idea-eco-friendly and chic!

thecookingninja-I'm so glad to hear it.:)

Ellie-Yeah, it has to be supremely fresh to be good.

Kate-The ones I like best are always the ones that are least comfortable.


Toni-I agree; definitely espadrilles.

Kristen-Oh, thanks!

Charlotta-love-You get a gold star for using the word, "scrumdidlyumptious." ;)


Stella said...

Not only are your dishes yummy but I love the HEALTHY colours of them!
I could eat your cantaloupe right now. Hmmmmmmmm....

Lis said...

Your salsa looks so fresh and beautiful with all those colors! I'll be trying this soon, thanks =)


Anonymous said...

first off, i LOVE that bag. i've got just the shoes to gp w/it :)

second, how amazing is the corn right now?! so sweet, mmmmmm YUM.

third, that salad looks wonderful..

Chubbypanda said...

Lol. I just use the standard Whole Foods green bag. I think I have a Trader Joe's bag around somewhere too.

My friends don't understand why I have a large plastic bag of plastic bags in my closet. If I end up coming home with one, I try to reuse it as much as possible before putting it in the recycle bin.

That's a lush looking dish.

Anonymous said...

That salsa sounds delicious and so fresh! And it looks wonderful on the fish :)

I also use a reusable bag for the market :) Your's is so cute!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Valentina-The cantaloupe adds just the right sweetness.

Lis-Hope you do!

Aria- I cannot stop eating corn. Seriously.

Chubbypanda-Yeh! Bags everywhere.:)


Jeanne said...

What a fabulous mix of flavours! I can imagine this going down a treat on a nice bit of seared tuna... Mmmm! Love the handbag story - especially the genetic theory :) And best of luck getting matching heels. For full eco-marks You might try the vegetarian shoe store we have down in Brighton (no, I'm not kidding...) Although I suspect you must have a few of those in California too!

TBC said...

It's my first time here.
Your salsa is looking so pretty & colorful!

Gumbeaux Gal said...

LOVE your blog! This salsa looks fantastic.

Are you in SoCal? So am I. Feel free to check out my food blog at http://gumbeauxkitchen.blogspot.com/

Keep up the tasty work!