Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cranberry Salsa to Eat and Drink

No, not another Christmas post. Well, we did first start eating cranberry salsa when we were looking for a festive side dish to take to a vegan party around Christmastime. I tried several recipes but the one that has worked the best has been one I found on My only variation from their recipe is that I chop everything by hand rather than using a food processor, so my salsa stays nice and chunky.

Having recently discovered that Greek yogurt makes a great substitute for sour cream, we decided to press our luck and see if it would support our new favorite salsa. Yes! It does a great job. Even turns a subtle shade of pink.

The combination of salsa and Greek yogurt makes for a terrific chip dip or just saves a step when piling toppings on to various Mexican dishes. Here's what it looks like when topping one of our quick and easy standbys: tostadas with refried black beans, spiced sweet potato puree, and sauteed kale with garlic. Although it looked spectacular and tasted pretty good, I think we may have overdone the mix of flavors just a bit. The salsa would probably have done better jazzing up a less complex tostada (maybe just refried beans and cheese).

Still, doesn't that look festive? But wait, there's more. One of the reasons we created a dipping version of the salsa is that on its own, it does tend to be very juicy. Drips are a major hazard when dipping chips in cranberry salsa. Stain city. We started to wise up and strain the salsa. That reduced the drip risk but also inspired yet another recipe. This time: a drink.

Cranberry Salsa Margarita on the Rocks

1 oz. tequila
1 oz. cranberry salsa juice
2 oz. club soda
splash of lime juice
splash of orgeat

Combine the ingredients in a rocks glass and add ice. So easy.

This drink has quickly become one of my favorite warm-weather bevvies. It's not too strong, not too sweet, and best of all, makes me feel virtuous for recycling the salsa juice. Grab a bowl of blue corn tortilla chips and enjoy a cranberry salsa margarita out on the deck as you watch the sun set. Could life be so bad?

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