Alright folks…first in line from the Thanksgiving spread is this humdinger of a recipe from the pages of Martha Stewart Living…yes, I’m one of them! I’ve been collecting these issues for years now, and, truly, most of the missing issues from my stacks are from the first year… I figure that I’ll have lots of projects to keep me busy in my old age… but, once in awhile, I notice a recipe that gets my immediate attention, as this one did! It reminds me of the best of what fusion cuisine has to offer: a beautiful bridge between two or three cuisines that stands as a testament to a universal love of good food, fresh ingredients, and hope for a peaceful future.
Although I hardly consider myself to be a food expert in any way, I have seen a few things. And in this little, brightly-coloured side-dish (which is really just fine on its own as a healthy snack!), I am reminded of the orange-walnut salads of Morrocco, the spicy-sweet-sour yum of Thailand, and the chaats and fresh chatnis of India, all combined with an ingredient hailing from the northern part of the globe: cranberries. (Wisconsin, the state I live in is, by the way, the U.S.’s largest producer of these nutritious darlings– so I have no excuse do I?) I made one small change in the original recipe though: instead of peeling and de-membraning the oranges before dicing, I washed them well and used the whole fruit. Certainly this makes for a more rugged salad, but then, there are far too many anti-oxidants (and flavour!) in citrus peels for them to go to waste, so if you feel you must peel, then please do so…
2 C fresh cranberries
1/4 C red onion, minced
1 jalapeno (or other mild to medium-hot green chile), seeded and minced (just one?!)
2 t fresh ginger, grated, or sliced thinly and then cut into shreds
2 stalks of celery, sliced 1/4″ lengthwise and then across into 1/4″ dice
1/2 C sugar (more or less to taste)
2 T lime juice
1/4 C fresh spearmint leaves, sliced into ribbons
1/4 pecans, freshly roasted and chopped coarsely (Walnuts and hickory-nuts are closely-related, so these make a fine substitute)
1)Rinse the cranberries, drain and place in a food processor. Pulse a few times until roughly chopped, or chop by hand roughly into 1/4″ pieces. Transfer these to a large mixing-bowl.
2)Wash the oranges well and dry. Using a sharp knife on a clean board, slice them into 1/4″ rounds, then stack a few together at a time and cut into 1/4″ strips, and then crosswise into 1/4″ dice. Empty these and any juice that has escaped into the bowl.
3)Add the minced onion, jalapeno, chopped celery and shreds of ginger to the contents of the bowl. Mix well.
4)Stir together the sugar and lime juice until somewhat combined and pour this over the salad. Toss well, adjust sweet-sour balance to taste, and then chill for at least an hour or two, mixing well once again before serving. (The flavours continue to blend and mellow as days pass, and even now, at day four past the first serving, the leftovers are quite lovely…and…*munch munch*…gone.)
5)Just before serving, sprinkle the nuts and ribbons of mint-leaves over the top.