A mission statement

Hello, and welcome to My Kitchen and I. Every year I choose a cuisine to explore. This year, it's the year of the Snake! And I'll be continuing to cook mostly Asian foods, particularly Chinese dishes. Have I finally found the best cuisine in the world? Come explore and cook with me and let's find out. Please feel free to share your stories and comment on anything you see here, and thanks so much for visiting. Hope you enjoy the Year of the Snake in food!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Seriously Addictive Cranberry Christmas Salsa!

Warning! Super addictive salsa!
More festive Holiday Sides here
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Part of the #letslunch series. 

Have you seen the price of tomatoes in the store lately!?

Ridickerous ain't it?

Cranberries on the other hand ...

Cranberries are fresh and in season.

Cranberries are festive and feisty.

Cranberries are 48 cents a bag and will do quite nicely!

Pick up a bag, heck take two. You're gonna need a double batch of this stuff. It is seriously addictive! This salsa has a sweet-tart tang and a smoky, chipotle bang that keeps you coming back for more. One bowl ain't gonna be enough, trust me!

Cranberry Christmas Salsa
by Renée

Ingredients: Cranberry, center,
 and, clockwise from left,
jalapeno, onion, ginger,
chipotle pepper, pineapple,
cilantro, limes

 In a saucepan cook until slightly juicy

 1 bag of chopped cranberries
 2 tsp minced ginger
 1 tsp salt
 1 to 2 tsp smoked chipotle pepper 
 1 tsp cinnamon
 Juice from 1/2 a lime
Secret ingredient: 1 tsp cumin

 Don't cook this too long. You're just blending flavors a bit to take the tannic edge off the cranberries. If you want less spicy heat, substitute some liquid smoke for the powdered chipotle pepper, to your taste.

In a small skillet quickly sear 

1/2 medium onion diced
1 chopped jalapeno pepper

Again, don't cook for too long. You're just taking the edge off those onions and blending that jalapeno pepper a bit. Add this to the cranberries. Also add

a handful of crushed cilantro (optional)
1 chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup sugar

Crushing cilantro helps modulate that soapy flavor which so many folks dislike. Cilantro is the authentic salsa seasoning, but this salsa is great without it, too. I tried mint as a substitute and I felt like the cilantro tasted better.

I kept the pineapple fresh because it has an enzyme in it that prevents the cranberries from gelling up. That gives the dip a more usual salsa consistency.

Stir things up well and give this a taste test. Add more sugar if the cranberries turned out tarter than expected, or a pinch more salt if you think it's too sweet. This is incredibly delicious and gets more so after an overnight chill in that deep dark refrigerator. Serve the dip with some red and green tortilla chips and try not to eat — er I mean test — it all before the party!

Psst! You can also sneak some onto salmon or chicken, too, for a super easy, super tasty, super healthy lunch! I won't tell on you because that's exactly what I did!

This mix makes a refreshing salad. Toss in some blue cheese,
chop up the salmon, drizle with some balsamic vinegar and
a spritz of olive oil. Voila! Great lunch!

Cooking notes addendum — I tried this with fresh mint. It was OK, but I don't think that's the way to go. Cilantro is better. I also tried a subsequent batch with some cumin. Now that was a worth while addition. I've amended the ingredients accordingly. I found this works better if you don't cook the cranberries and sugar together. The sugar tends to juice up the cranberries before they are cooked to where you want them.

For more crave-alicious holiday appetizers or party platters, visit This Week's CravingsFestive Side Dishes from the #letslunch bunch are as follows:

Cheryl's Potato Gratin at A Tiger in the Kitchen
Charissa‘s Coconut Date Balls at Zest Bakery
Eleanor‘s Easy Festive Stir-Fry at Wok Star
Ellise‘s Lime-Chipotle Carrots at Cowgirl Chef
Emma‘s Mom’s Hot Crab Dip at Dreaming of Pots And Pans
Felicia‘s Chinese Butterfly Cookies at Burnt-Out Baker
Grace‘s Fruitcake at HapaMama
Joe‘s Maine Homestead Holiday Dishes at Joe Yonan
Linda‘s Baked Salad at Free Range Cookies
Linda‘s Trinidadian Baked Pastelles at Spicebox Travels
Lisa‘s Potato Latkes at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Lucy‘s “Not My Mama’s” Black-Eyed Peas & Greens at A Cook And Her Books
Maria‘s Grandma Dorothy’s Deviled Eggs at Maria’s Good Things
Patrick‘s Baby Pecan Pies at Patrick G. Lee
Rebecca‘s Grandmother Martha’s Potato Kugel at Grongar Blog
Steff‘s Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble at The Kitchen Trials
Victor‘s Roasted Parsnips, Carrots & Delicata Squash Tossed With Sauteed Mustard Greens at The Taste of Oregon


  1. I love that you're thinking seasonal!
    Now just ring the bell when dinner is done and I'll be right over. :)

  2. This really is a festive, gorgeus cranberry salsa (my bf and I discussed the proper way to say salsa..he kept saying 'sawl-sa lol)! Your phot of it looks great makes me want to reach into the screen with a spoon!

  3. Thanks Lisa and Zen Chef for these kind words. These guys both have amazing food blogs, linked in my list of blogs at right.

    Will warn everyone, if you make this salsa, it gets seriously way more addicting the second day! I am eating the stuff now as I type! lol ; )

  4. Krazy! Love love the sound of that with fish....or maybe just a big ol' sack a' tortilla chips!

  5. Thanks Cowgirl, I definitely had some fun with this. Already thinking up more variations on the theme for next party. I'm definitely bringing this dip with red and green chips!

    Also adding your lovely blog to the great cooking blogs list at right. Glad you stopped by!

  6. Cranberries at 48c!!! Over this side of the pond it's closer to 3$ (for 5 ounces of frozen ones). But it looks great, and I think this is just the thing to do with the cranberries we managed to grow in the garden under the blueberry bushes.

  7. Niels Damgaard!! So glad to see you stop by!

    Well, 48 cents seemed to be a one-day only after Thanksgiving sale type thing. I am always on the look out for good deals on fresh produce. The more usual price for 'em is $2.29 a bag over here.

    So you grow cranberries in the garden under the blueberry bushes! Wow that's so cool! I would love to see a picture sometime. :D

    Hope you enjoy the cranberry salsa! I'm making my next batch with mint instead of cilantro. I think that will really make the flavors pop! I'll update this recipe post if I decide that's really better.

  8. I love fruity salsas, and I love how beautifully festive this one is. I think I am going to have to attempt it for a Holiday Tamale Party my friends are having this weekend.

  9. Do let me know how it turns out for you, Madoline. I am going to make another batch for a party I'm going to this weekend but going to try mint this time instead of cilantro.


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