Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sangria & Salsa

Rather than the usual beer or margaritas that I serve with Tex-Mex food, I decided a pitcher of sangria would be the perfect accompaniment to the chicken quesadillas with homemade corn-and-black bean and choco-tomato salsas.

1 bottle dry red wine
Juice of 1 lime
1 lime, cut into thin slices
1 orange, cut into thin slices, the slices quartered
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Grand Marnier

Stir together the juices, wine, Grand Marnier and sugar, stirring well until the sugar dissolves. Pour into a pitcher and garnish with the fruit. Serve over ice.

The salsas were pretty easy to toss together.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed several times to get the starchy goop off
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed (or fresh, if you can get it, cooked until tender)
15 grape tomatoes, quartered
3 scallions, both white and green parts, chopped
Handful cilantro leaves, chopped
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

Put vegetables in a bowl. Drizzle on some olive oil and vinegar, to moisten. Salt and pepper to taste. Add more vinegar if neccesary, and maybe a sprinkle of sugar to round the flavors. Serve at room temperature.

Choco Salsa
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (reserve liquid)
3 scallions, both white and green parts, chopped
handful cilantro leaves, chopped
1 heaping teaspoon cocoa powder
balsamic vinegar
ground cumin
salt & pepper

Put tomatoes, cilantro, and scallions in a bowl. Stir in the cocoa powder and a bit of sugar. Drizzle on some vinegar, a teaspoon or so to start. Taste for seasonings and add more cocoa (it imparts a smoky quality), vinegar, or sugar, or all of the above. If the salsa seems dry, add some of the reserved tomato liquid. Stir in about 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.

All amounts are variable in both recipes, which is one of the joys of can't be "wrong." If you like, you can substitute finely chopped red onion for the scallions, add chopped fresh jalapeno chiles, or a canned chipotle in adobo if you want more heat. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, or like I did, atop quesadillas with a bit of sour cream.

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