Happy Boxing Day, or, as we usually call it, Recovery & Cleanup Day. I have spent about 90% of my time today on the couch. It. Feels. Fantastic. :D
But for the past two days, we hosted Christmas festivities for our family here at the FeauxHouse. Lots of preparations and cleaning and cooking---ohh the cooking. Ham, my mom’s chicken & noodles, spiced walnuts & almonds:
…relish trays (that got lost in the back of the fridge, so I’ve been snacking on them today), and a few good helpers to make the rest of the dinner go smoothly:
(for the record, because of an unfortunate incident I’ll refer to as the “FeauxPantry Potato Famine of 2011”, we had to do half instant, half freshly boiled potatoes for our mashed potatoes, but they turned out delicious, as always, because we are Professional Kitchen Improv-ers here.)
And to mix things up a bit, of course a new recipe was in order! I was supposed to make pepper poppers for a work potluck earlier in the week, but had to miss the potluck due to a family funeral. So I still had all the makings on hand. I stumbled across this recipe and HAD to try it.
(LOOK at these colors! Does this not scream “Merry Christmas”???)
2 cups fresh cranberries
3 green onions, chopped (or a tablespoon of dried chives)
1/8 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 small jalapeno, seeded & finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
1 – 8oz package of low-fat Neufchatel (essentially light cream cheese)
crackers for serving
Using a food processor, chop the cranberries.
(You could feasibly do this by hand, but the processor makes this recipe a snap. I was done in less than 10 minutes.)
Add the green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, sugar, cumin, lemon juice and salt and pulse until the ingredients are well combined and very finely chopped. Then wrap your processor bowl in saran wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight) so the flavors can develop and the cranberries lose just a bit of their tartness. (This also gives the jalapeno a chance to mellow out as well.)
(I can’t get over how gorgeous this is. I LOVE those colors!)
Now, a quick note: If you are going to be serving this to people who aren’t keen on spicy foods, no worries—by the time everything had had a chance to rest and we served it, there was hardly any heat left from the jalapenoes, just a nice hint of flavor. However, if you’re serving this for friends who don’t mind some spice in their food, don’t hesitate to double the amount of jalapeno. The cream cheese will balance out the capsaicin in the pepper.
About an hour before you’re ready to serve, whip your cream cheese so it gets smooth & a little fluffier. Then spoon the cream cheese into a bowl (I used two bowls, because I’d be serving it for two different dinners) & then spoon the cranberry mixture on top.
We had 7 people eating the first night & pretty well finished it off, and 6 adults the second night & they ate about half. So that should give you an idea on servings.
Anyway…you can serve as is, and leave that gorgeous red on top, or you can mix it up a bit so the guests are sure to get enough cream cheese with their cranberry. (That’s what we did.)
Really loved this, and WILL make it again. The flavor combination seemed unusual at first but it really worked well. The sweet from the sugar, tart from the cranberry, a little heat from jalapeno, hint of smoke from the cumin, and of course the cilantro…then you add a buttery cracker and it’s just heaven.
So, happy holidays everyone! Hope you get a little rest & relaxation in before the New Year!
Shared on 33 Shades of Green's Tasty Tuesday