Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday traditions

If you like food blogs and you’re not from the United States, I imagine you’re thoroughly sick and tired of reading about Thanksgiving by now. I’m getting fed up with it myself, and I’m preparing the whole traditional meal—turkey, stuffing, apple pie, the works—two days from now. I wasn’t going to post anything ahead of time about it; I haven’t really gotten the hang of being the kind of blogger whose content is dedicated to filling (or maybe it’s titillating?) seasonal user need. (Probably the reason I only have 12 followers.)

But last night I made homemade cranberry sauce, and couldn’t stop admiring its glowing, festive color. Then my sister called me three hours later and asked if I had posted a recipe for homemade cranberry sauce on my blog. “No, but I will tomorrow,” I promised.

So I hope you'll bear with me. But do keep in mind that cranberry sauce is not just for Thanksgiving, and that you can get fresh cranberries all over at this time of year (I couldn’t find them in Canberra, but other people assured me they were around, and I always got some for Thanksgiving in Oxford). I always have leftovers when I make this; some I freeze in ice-cube trays to use later with a roast-chicken dinner, and this year I’m thinking about putting some in muffins or maybe in a batch of these bars. Or maybe this cake? They have such a distinctive, sharp taste that I’m sure they can hold their own in lots of different food combinations, savory and sweet.

Oh, and if you are an American but remain devoted to the can option, may I respectfully propose you try branching out this year? This is about the simplest holiday recipe there is, and it’s exponentially tastier than the canned version. Not to mention perhaps a bit more aesthetically pleasing on the table? Just a suggestion….

Fresh cranberry sauce
adapted from the recipe on the back of the Ocean Spray bag

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup/8 oz/240 ml cold water
1 cup/7 oz/210 ml granulated/caster sugar*
pinch of salt
1 lime

Wash cranberries and pick out any icky ones. Put cranberries and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring regularly, until cranberries start to pop and mixture to thicken, and continue to cook until most of the cranberries have popped, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the zest from the lime and chop it finely, and cut the lime in half.

Remove pan from heat and add sugar a little at a time, tasting as you go until you reach a sweet/tart balance that you like. Add the salt, lime zest and lime juice. Stir to combine thoroughly and taste again.

This will firm up to a jamlike texture as it cools. Can be made up to several days ahead and refrigerated. Allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

* You might not need all this sugar, or you might need more. It all depends on how sweet or tart you like things.


celia said... Best Blogger Tips

Don't apologise, love, you had no choice, sisters make us do things. :)

We only get dried cranberries here, but they are our fave dried fruit!

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Celia, so very true about sisters. And dried cranberries = favorite dried fruit = yet another thing we agree on!

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