Simone Appetit: Cranberry Salsa — fixin a traditional fixin
Truth be told, I have never been a big fan of anything cranberry (unless it is those cranberry cream cheese triangles they sell at Starbucks this time of year) and that dislike especially applies to cranberry sauce.
First of all, it is not even a sauce and, secondly, that commercial of those two guys standing waist-deep in cranberries is just not very appetizing. Cranberries never stood a chance with me once that hit the airwaves. This is not to say that I don’t make a mean cranberry relish (Again, it is not a sauce.)
What I do is follow the directions on the back of the bags of fresh Ocean Spray cranberries, substituting orange juice for the water, brown sugar for the white sugar, and, while cooking, add a half teaspoon of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and a splash of Grand Marnier, if there is any left once my mother-in-law arrives for the holiday. (It’s for me, not her.)
It is always a hit, but then, guess what? There is always a ton left over. This year I am spicing things up a bit at my Thanksgiving table and serving a cranberry dish I have come to love (strong word), make that enjoy: cranberry salsa. It has all the traditional qualities of its jiggly counterpart, but is so much more refreshing and, thus, suited to a heavy Thanksgiving meal.
Leftovers? Serve a few large spoonfuls over a block of cream cheese with Triscuits (original) crackers on the side for a great appetizer. Also makes for a nice hostess gift so that, unlike me, you won’t get “that look” when you arrive for dinner toting a jar of horseradish which, like me, you prefer over cranberry sauce.
If the kids complain because they miss the dish of red wobble, just bust out the canned stuff and tell them they are lucky there is no liver in the stuffing.
1 bag (12 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 an apple, peeled and cored (chopped if you do not have a food processor)
1 jalapeno chili, finely chopped
1 / 2 cup sugar
Zest of one orange
1 bunch fresh cilantro
2 limes juiced
Dash of salt
Either mix cranberries, apple and cilantro together in a food processor (about 10 short pulses) or blender until coarsely shredded. Combine this with the chili, orange zest, lime juice, sugar and salt in a medium bowl.
Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes for the cranberries to soften in the sugar. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
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