Cranberry And Pomegranate Salsa

by Marjan

Chill the Champagne and ring in the New Year with your family and friends to celebrate the start of 2016! I can't imagine a more joyous time of year. Close the chapter on 2015 and have hope and joy for a new beginning. Take out your dancing shoes, put on your best party dress, and celebrate! For me, it is all about being present with those I love, good music, Champagne and food!

Holiday entertaining can be time consuming.  We can probably all agree time slips through our fingers quickly during this time of the year. Work deadlines, parties, shopping and winter weather conditions are just a few hurdles which consumes time away from savoring the season. Therefore, for my gatherings, I look for easy to make recipes which can be prepared in advance. Using pomegranate seeds and cranberries, I have come up with a salsa recipe that can be served as appetizers and as a cranberry side dishes to compliment roasted turkey or ham. This cranberry and pomegranate salsa is beautiful as crostini appetizers served on toasted bread and cream cheese. As a side dish, I simply serve the entire salsa in a bowl garnished with cilantro and orange zest. Pomegranates provide a juicy pop of flavor and crunch pleasing to the palate and eyes. Try this easy to make recipe which can be prepared days in advance and served two ways! Two for one- it does not get easier than that!

My heart sings with delight as I witness pomegranates readily available in most grocery stores and farmer's market.  This was not the case when we first arrive in the States forty years ago.  I still remember my classmates inquisitively asking me about the 'shinny little red seeds' in my lunch bag.  Growing up in the States, my parents always had pomegranate trees in our yard; therefore, we would enjoy this delicious, healthy fruit while most Americans didn't know about these antioxidant jewels. Nowadays, pomegranates are seeded and packaged for sale even at Costco! This fruit has become mainstream for certain! Don't forget our recipe for Pomegranate Jello! This recipe is also beautiful, delicious and easy to make in advance.

Happy New Year and may your heart and soul celebrate all the days of the year!

Serves 12


1 lb. bag fresh cranberries
3 tablespoons roughly chopped ginger candy
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
zest of one orange
1 cup pomegranate seeds
cream cheese
baguette sliced and brushed with olive oil; toasted in the oven for 7 minutes at 350 degrees F
*cilantro leaves for garnish
*option of adding a little spice with a dash of cayenne pepper

In a food processor, roughly chop cranberries, ginger candy, and add sugar.  Transfer to a bowl with a matching lid. Add to mix cilantro, 3/4 of orange zest, pomegranate seeds and cayenne pepper if using.  Toss well together; close lid and refrigerate for at least two hours. If serving as cranberry relish sauce, simply place salsa in a decorative dish and garnish with cilantro leaves and remaining orange zest.  As an appetizer option, spread 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese on each toasted baguette slice and top with 1 teaspoon of salsa.  Garnish each with orange zest. Enjoy!


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