It’s that time of year again. That runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, I-never -want-to-get-out-of-bed time of year. It’s as if December was one fabulous month-long holiday party and January is the painful hangover day after. Except, worse than a hangover, its contagious. In an attempt to combat this cold season, I’ve been stocking my kitchen with citrus fruits. Blood oranges, cara caras, navel oranges, and the large and succulent oro blancos are spilling out across my counter top like a still-life painting from the Italian Renaissance. I take pride in my artillery of vitamin C. I admire these seasonal treats for their vibrant beauty and expected health-benefits. I’ll often just pick one up, give it a sniff, a little squeeze and toss it into the air and catch it.
But truth be told, my oranges and grapefruits did not save me from catching the worst cold I’ve had in years this winter. This is not to say that I’ve given up on them. In fact, this morning upon arriving at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market to tag along with the Lucques chefs, I told Chef de Cuisine Javier, “Ben (my boyfriend) has the cold now, I need to get him more citrus fruits and some orange juice from farmer Peter Shaner….” I was on a mission. Now Javier is probably the nicest chef you or I will ever meet. But when he needs to get a point across, he has the most sobering, deadpan, serious look on his face. “No. Dude. It’s chips and salsa man. You gotta make him chips and salsa.” I looked at him like he was joking. He wasn’t. Did I also mention that Javier makes the best salsa you’ll ever have in your life? Well, he does. And here’s his secret recipe for the alleged cold-buster.