About once a month, we need to make up a couple of dishes for the coffee hour that takes place right after church services. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, just a little something, as Pooh would say, but we do try to make up dishes that reflect the way we try to eat at home: fresh, in season, local, if possible, and, of course, as close to 100% scratched as we can make them. We started with converting some of our weekly bread baking to mini pita breads, then we thought we’d bake up some vanilla wafers (from the chocolately burgers) as something for a sweet treat, add fresh grapes for people to munch on, leaving us to figure out what to make to go with the pitas. Ah, blueberries are coming into the stores now — something with blueberries, but what?.
Okay, what would be a bit savory that we could make with blueberries and that would pair nicely with mini pita breads? We decided on a salsa. Yep, a blueberry salsa. Which is an interesting choice since we generally don’t make salsa at all. Plus, it may seem that blueberries are an odd choice for the main ingredient in salsa. But, let’s try it. We started with this blueberry salsa recipe, then we decided to augment it with a whipped cream cheese base so that it’s a bit more substantial. So, let’s get scratchin’.
Makes about 1 quart of dip/spread
For the whipped cream cheese, we used the Neufchâtel-style cream cheese, because it’s lighter, and we thought it would whip up a bit better than regular cream cheese. We think that either style of cream cheese would work, though. For the blueberries, use fresh. Frozen blueberries would be way too mushy to use. Same with the other ingredients. Even though we said that, we did use roasted red peppers. Partly it was because we had them, and partly because we thought it would give the salsa just the slightest hint of a smoky taste. If you don’t have roasted red peppers, just use red bell peppers. Finally, if you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can substitute Italian flat-leaved parsley, which has a similar appearance but a less-strong flavor.
Procedure in detail:
Whip cream cheese. Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat the cream cheese on medium speed until it is well-beaten and smooth.
Add cream. With the mixer still running, slowly add the heavy cream and continue beating until it becomes light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. It won’t get to be the consistency of whipped cream, but it should become light enough that it will be spreadable even if it’s cold. Scrape it out into a serving bowl and refrigerate while you make the salsa.
Chop blueberries. Roughly chop about 2 cups of the blueberries. We used kitchen shears and just cut each blueberry in half. This sounds as though it might take a while, but it only took a few minutes. We thought it was a nice trade-off: a bit more time without getting a purple cutting board. As you chop the blueberries, place them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Add remaining ingredients. Add the whole blueberries, cilantro, red pepper, jalapeño, and lemon juice. Gently stir to combine.
Taste. Now, taste the salsa, and add salt as needed. We probably had to add about 3/4 of a teaspoon of kosher salt. That would be about 1/2 tsp of table salt.
Spread over cream cheese. Remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator and spread the salsa over the top in an even layer. Refrigerate for no more than a few hours.
This salsa was a hit with everyone, from kids to grandmothers! We received many pleased and happy comments on its sweet/tangy/slightly spicy taste; all agreed that it was great with the cream cheese. Several people asked for the recipe, so we referred them to this blog. Four stars for this surprising new summer hit!