March 25, 2012

THE STINGY GOURMET Makes Cranberry Salsa

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I came home last week for spring break to find a surprising number of responsibilities hoisted upon me, from errands to housework. Trying to look at the bright side, it was sixty-plus degrees in upstate New York all week, there was more basketball on TV than there was talk about the Kardashians, and I had a full kitchen at my disposal. With folks coming over to watch the college hoops games, I had to make some appetizers — and I turned to two of my favorite salsa recipes. Either of these will go well with tortilla chips as a light snack, and can be put together easily with a few cheap, readily-available ingredients. The first item I put together involves a regularly simple recipe for guacamole. It serves a small group of people well and is easy to put together. Take two (preferably red) onions, chop them up and throw them into a blender. Next, cut three avocados, remove the avocado meat from its skin with a spoon and add it to the blender and mix. Add some salt, pepper and lemon juice and mix it together with a fork, tasting it to make sure you have the right amounts of each. The lemon juice will help it become smoother and softer, but you don’t want to overdo it. You can play around with other ingredients like cilantro, bell or jalapeno peppers, tomatoes and others, but this combo is cheap and very simple; it shouldn’t set you back more than 8 dollars at the ingredients at a grocery store. The other recipe is for a cranberry salsa that my neighbor used to make. It goes well on many things, including pork, which is how I first tasted it. Personally, I love the taste of cranberry — I wish it had caught on culturally like other fruits have. Sometimes I wonder why more people don’t have cran-fever like I do (in my perfect world, there would be cranberry-flavored Starbursts). Anyway, take a 12-oz. bag of cranberries and blend them together with some of the chopped onion you have left over from the guacamole you just made. If you did spring for jalapeno pepper and cilantro, throw that in the blender too (1 well-cut jalapeno and 1 cup of cilantro should do). Put it in a bowl again and add the lemon juice, salt, and sugar (1/2 cup) while mixing it with a fork like you did above until you reach the right texture. If you want, I usually add a 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil instead of using lemon juice to dilute it, but I did it without last week and it worked just fine. For both of these recipes, all of the ingredients can be easily found for pretty cheap in a grocery store or by raiding your parents’ kitchen at home. If you have 20 minutes to kill before people come over to watch the Final Four this weekend, I encourage you to try and make these delicious dips — they’ll make the game that much better.

Original Author: Parker Strassburg