I wasn’t planning to write about cranberries, but in some weird Thanksgiving cranberry convergence I realized it could be my little present to you. To make things easier during this whirlwind that leads up to Turkey Day, well a bit easier anyway.
It all started on Sunday when I was buying my cranberries. The cashier asked me what I was going to do with them. I thought she was kidding. She wasn’t. “They’re for my cranberry sauce.” I told her. “Oh, you can make that?” I swallowed my snarky retort and nodded my head then told her, “Sure, it takes about 15 minutes.” That was cranberry moment #1.
Cranberry moment #2 happened when I got this message on my cell phone from my friend Hilary this morning.
“I was going to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but then my sister decided to make one. So now I have to make something else, for 8 people, and I’m in a bit of a panic. Do you have a suggestion for what I should make?”
Apple crumble came to mind because it is easy, fast, and you can play with it (or not) depending on your work load and stress level. After describing the varieties of apples to use (I love a mix of Cortland, Mutsu, MacIntosh, Empire, and Northern Spy) then telling her how easy it was to whip together a rolled oat topping Hilary asked if she could throw in some cranberries with the apples. Perfect! A little zing of tart and color.
Cranberry moment #3 happened last week during the semi finals and will be happening again tonight during the finals of Dancing with the Stars, my guilty tv pleasure. I will be enjoying a modified Sea Breeze cocktail made with cranberry juice, gin, and a squeeze of fresh grapefruit as I cheer on my favorite team.
So for all those celebrating Thanksgiving enjoy your cranberries and travel safely.
12-16 ounces fresh dry cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 orange or 3 clementines
2 quarter size slices of fresh ginger (optional)
1 stick cinnamon
1/4 – 1/3 cup water or white wine
Rinse off the cranberries in a colander and remove and stems or leaves. Halve the orange or clementines and squeeze juice into a medium saucepan. Add cranberries, sugar, cinnamon and ginger, along with the water or wine. Give a quick stir and set over medium low heat. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring every so often until cranberry sauce reaches a boil. Boil (over low heat) for 2-3 minutes then remove from heat and let cool. When the sauce has cooled a bit take a tiny taste to make sure the tartness is to your taste. If it is too tart add a bit more sugar, the residual heat should melt it in – be careful though because the hot sauce is really hot! When all the way cooled take out the citrus rinds, cinnamon stick, and ginger slices before storing in the fridge until ready to serve. If you leave them in they make the cranberry sauce too intense for my tastes.
Apple Cranberry Crumble
10-15 mixed apples
cinnamon sugar to taste (I use about 1/3 – 1/2 cup mixed with 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon)
lemon zest (optional)
1-2 handfuls of fresh cranberries
giant handful of rolled oats, about 3/4 cup
giant handful of flour, about 3/4 cup
giant handful of brown sugar, about 3/4 cup
6-7 Tablespoons margarine or butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
small handful of chopped or slivered nuts, about 1/2 cup (optional)
really small handful chopped candied ginger, about 1/4 cup (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Peel and slice apples, tossing in cinnamon sugar. Mix in cranberries and place all the fruit in a large pie plate, set on top of a jelly roll pan (saves having to clean up oven if anything overflows).
Mix up crumble topping with your fingers by pinching and rubbing ingredients together until it looks like there are small pea size crumbly bits. Pour over fruit and bake 60-70 minutes or until juicy bubbles appear along the edge and the crumble has browned.
*Note the addition of cranberries makes this crumble juicier than a straight apple crumble. I like the pink juiciness but if you want toss the apples and cranberries with a heaping Tablespoon of flour.
1 part gin
2 parts cranberry juice
1-2 parts fresh grapefruit juice
twist of orange rind
Mix gin, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Stir or shake until cold, pour into two glasses and serve with orange rind.
I hope you didn’t forget to vote last night, and yes, before you ask those are my very own homemade glittery judging paddles my family made for me. They are by far the most awesome present I ever received.