Saturday, January 5, 2013

Weekend Cooking; Party treats

(cranberry salsa)

Over the last few weeks I've done a lot of cooking.  When I cook I like to cook with love, with feeling, with happy thoughts in my head which takes me beyond the mundane of just cooking a meal, if that makes sense. It's more than that or I might as well stop and go buy a take-out pizza!

We had guests to entertain a few nights before New Year's Eve and I wanted to prepare a few special recipes.  I had already made this hummus recipe because Eldest daughter likes it so I planned to serve that with crisp celery and a variety of crackers including these snappy little rice crackers from Blue Diamond that I love.  I planned on serving quesadillas cut into thin wedges for an appetizer and served some of our own famous salsa with that.  I wanted something just a little bit more and found it in this cranberry salsa recipe that I served with those little scoop chips that are perfect for well, scooping dips.

Cranberry Salsa

12 oz. cranberries
1 granny smith apple
1 red or orange pepper
3 T. cilantro
3 T. pickled jalapenos
1/2 of a red onion, diced
1/3 cup apple juice
3/4 cup sugar

Chop first six ingredients.  Mix apple juice with sugar in a small saucepan and heat until dissolved.  Mix juice mixture with chopped ingredients and stir thoroughly.  Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

My modifications:  I didn't chop up the cranberries because I like whole berries so I added the berries to the cooking apple juice (I used cider)  and let them pop, pop, pop.  I replaced the sugar with honey because why not?  

This dip is tangy and wonderful on a tortilla!  Our friends wanted some to take home with them (and they took a container of hummus as well!).  I took a small container of it with me to work on Thursday and Friday and ate if with blue chips for lunch and I still have a little leftover for a sometime soon treat. 

hummus plate mid-preparation
The original recipe is published in a school cookbook our staff put together a year or two ago. I found that recipe while I was looking for my friend Stephanie's margarita recipe.  Two recipe hits just pages from each other.  The margaritas were a perfect balance for the spicy appetizers on our table.

I used Katie Workman's The Mom 100 Cookbook to pre-make our New Year's Day brunch menu.  My mother-in-law made a french toast dish like this for us one year at the beach but dang if I could not find that recipe.  It is such an annoyance when I know I've had a recipe but I've lost it in the midst of my recipe chaos.  Katie saved me though as I paged through a few books looking for something similar.  This one is it exactly I believe.  It was so delicious served with warmed maple syrup and a dap of real whipped cream.  I'll save that one for next week's post.  

This post is linked to Beth Fish Reads where many other fabulous food-related posts are waiting for you to check them out.