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Cranberry Grapefruit Salsa

Summer Fest 2009.

Sounds like a groovy 60’s, peace-love kind of thing, doesn’t it?

Oh, it’s groovy, alright. Summer Fest is a blogging project masterminded by a group of talented food and garden bloggers with the sole purpose of sharing, so it does have something in common with the free-spirit decade.

illustration by Matt Armendariz of Mattbites.com

Matt Armendariz illustration

I found out about it on Margaret Roach’s lovely blog, Away To Garden. You can also read about it, if you haven’t already, on one of the other co-creator blogs:

Steamy Kitchen
White on Rice Couple

And, look for “special appearances” by:

Shauna James Ahern, aka the Gluten-Free Girl, the lovely and talented Marilyn Pollack Naron from Simmer Till Done and writer-cook-mom-multitasker Paige Orloff from The Sister Project.

The whole point of Summer Fest 2009 is to share.

Share tips, recipes, anecdotes, sad-but-true mishaps, brilliant successes, not-so-brilliant successes — anything. How? Leave a comment. Here and on the co-creators’ blogs.

Each week will feature a different theme. This week is all about herbs. Next week is stone fruits (not stoned fruits, mind you), followed by beans & greens and a glorious finale week celebrating that special Queen of summer fruits: the tomato.

Of course I want to join in on the fun, so I’m talking about two of my very favorite herbs, cilantro and mint, using them together in a bright, kicky citrus salsa. I really shouldn’t say favorite, because truth be told, I love ALL herbs. Never met an herb I didn’t like. Can’t say that about all edible plants (ahem, brussels sprouts?)


The great thing about cilantro, other than the lemony flavor, is that you can use the whole herb, leaf to stem. And you certainly can’t say that about rosemary, can you? Oh, wait, actually, you can.

You can use rosemary stems to flavor stocks, soups and sauces, and if they’re woody enough, you can even use them as spears for grilled shrimp, but with cilantro, you can eat the whole sprig.


About mint. Mint is a greedy little herb, I learned after the first planting. It will take over a garden before you know it. Consequently, I’ve banished it to a pot, where it grows nice and contained, and frankly seems happier with boundaries (kind of like my dogs, and children so I hear, and in no way am I condoning the planting of children in pots.)

I’m always making salsas around here (living in the southwest, salsa-eating is state law…kidding…sort of).

Earlier this summer, I posted a recipe for fresh cherry salsa but today, I’m making a cranberry grapefruit salsa. This recipe is really more of a holiday salsa. Citrus is a winter season fruit and even though it’s available year-round.

Top grilled fish (halibut and tuna come to mind) with this mouth-puckering salsa, or serve it with blue corn chips. It’s even fun to serve with cheese quesadillas instead of traditional tomato salsa.

So, welcome to Summer Fest 2009. What do you think?


Cranberry Grapefruit Salsa

Makes 3 cups

2 large navel oranges
1 pink grapefruit
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 jalapeno (remove the seeds if you must)
2-3 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
2-3 tablespoons chopped mint
1/2 lime, juice only
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
*1-2 teaspoons Agave nectar or sugar (optional)

1. Cut peel and white pith from oranges and grapefruit. Cut between the membranes to remove the citrus sections, then cut the sections into small chunks.

2. Place the citrus in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients (cranberries through lime juice). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Rest the salsa about 1/2 hour, give or take, before serving. Will keep about a day, maybe 2, although it looks best the day it’s made.

*Sometimes, you just want a little sweeter taste than what some citrus offer. If your lips purse together and you shake your head after the first taste, add a teaspoon or two of agave nectar or sugar to tame the tartness.


Filed under Recipes

Salsa Bliss…

salsasIt’s no secret that Mexican food is my favorite cuisine. I like gourmet Mex, Tex-Mex, and everything in between. I even tend to judge a Mexican restaurant first on it’s salsa offerings.

El Chubasco in Park City, Utah gets high marks for it’s salsa bar. Sitting smack dab in the middle of the dining room of this cheap eats (one of the very few inexpensive restaurants in Park City that isn’t a chain) is a salsa bar, featuring more than 15 different salsas, all made from scratch.

Each salsa is labeled with chiles to indicate the heat level, with one chile for mild and four chiles for set-your-pants-on-fire hot. Most are in the three chile range, and those were spicy enough for this gringo.

I felt like a kid in a candy store on my first visit, sampling nine of the 15 or so salsas. On subsequent trips, I showed only slightly more restraint by taking just four or five. My favorite was the arbol, a smoky roasted tomato and chile de arbol (a skinny – usually dried – chile similar to cayenne) salsa, but I also loved the fresh, pico de gallo, studded with enough fresh, minced serranos to wake up any slacker taste bud.

Pico de gallo is really a simple salsa to make. It’s best to make it in late summer, when tomatoes are at their peak, but I make it all year, substituting Roma tomatoes for regular ones. It’s a great accompaniment to grilled or baked fish.

Pico de Gallo
Makes 2 cups

1/2 of a large, white onion, finely chopped
2 pounds tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
2-3 jalapenos or serranos, minced (remove seeds for less heat)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1/2 or 1 lime (to your tastes)
Salt and pepper

Toss all ingredients together and let rest 10 to 30 minutes before serving. Keeps 3 days, covered in the refrigerator.

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Filed under Recipes