I found a sad little bag of leftover frozen cranberries in my freezer the other day. I always freeze cranberries in the fall with the best intentions of using them sometime soon, but they always seem to end up hidden under everything else. I felt bad for these cranberries and wanted them to feel loved, so I baked them into a delicious bread. If baked goods don’t say “love,” I don’t know what does…
This recipe is pretty perfect. It’s fast, simple and delicious. I found the batter to be quite thick and it kind of smothered all my cranberries to the bottom of the baking pan. I will admit I got a little sick of the time it was taking to chop each individual cranberry in half, so I kind of just started hacking them up. Bigger pieces probably would have helped with more uniform berry dispersion. Every slice did have a lot of berries, they were just clumped on the bottom, which is not the worst thing. Next time, I might try substituting some of the milk for orange juice and adding some zest to make a delicious orange cranberry bread.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
3 eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 ounces fresh cranberries, halved
2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
Coarse/Raw sugar (like Sugar in the Raw), for sprinkling
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease well a standard (9-inches x 5-inches or slightly smaller) loaf pan and set it aside.
Beat the butter in a large bowl on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the 1 cup of granulated sugar and the eggs, beating well after each addition.
In a separate, medium-size bowl, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well. Place the cranberry halves in a separate, small bowl, and add a tablespoon of the dry ingredients to the cranberries, along with the remaining tablespoon of granulated sugar, and toss to coat. Set the cranberries aside.
To the large bowl with the butter and sugar mixture, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and sour cream, alternating between the two and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. The mixture will be thick but smooth. Add the cranberries and reserved sugar and dry ingredients, and mix gently into the batter until evenly distributed throughout.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. It will fill or nearly fill the pan. Sprinkle the top lightly with coarse sugar. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 1 hour). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice thickly and serve.
So, it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow here in the States. The last thing over everyone’s minds is probably breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it shouldn’t be overlooked just because the main event is later in the day. I’ve the hard way over cooking several Thanksgiving dinners to know that a hungry chef is a cranky chef. Take a quick break this morning and make a delicious breakfast to get you through the day. I have to admit, my cooking time was over 30 minutes (more like 35 than 25), so not the world’s quickest breakfast. I’m going to write that off the increased baking time to the gluten-free flour, which is temperamental at best.
This was the first time I ever had or made a Dutch baby pancake and I have to say that it lived up to the hype. I would highly recommend this for special breakfast or a delicious brunch.
In a bowl, stir together the pears, cranberries, the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the cinnamon. In a 9-inch French skillet over medium heat, melt 2 Tablespoons of the butter. Add the apple mixture and sauté until the pears are tender and the cranberries have broken down, about 8-12 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Put an 11-inch French skillet or ovenproof sauté pan in a cold oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Meanwhile, put the eggs in a blender and blend on medium speed until very frothy, about 1 minute. Add the flour, salt, the 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar and the milk and blend on medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping the blender to scrape down the sides as needed.
When the oven is preheated, put the remaining 3 Tablespoons butter in the hot skillet and return it to the oven until the butter melts; do not let it brown. Carefully pour the batter into the hot skillet, then distribute the pear-cranberry mixture evenly on top. Bake until the Dutch baby is lightly browned and the sides have risen, about 25 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the oven, dust the Dutch baby with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately with maple syrup. Serves 4 to 6.
This is the world’s most basic cranberry sauce. It is really more of a cranberry sauce base. You can do just about anything with it since it is just a ratio (1 cup water:1 cup sugar:4 cups cranberries). I generally add in substitute some orange juice instead of all water, but that’s just me. Throw in some nutmeg, maybe some orange zest and call it a day. I’ve heard of some folks adding chopped pecans or other fruit as well. Go wild.
Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring the water and orange juice to a boil water and stir in the sugar until it is dissolves. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst. Stir in any and all optional ingredients you desire.
Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.
So my Brussels sprout obsession is back in full swing again. They are everywhere and it is glorious. I have been doing a lot of roasting with Brussels sprouts and that’s all well and good, but sometimes I don’t have the patience to roast things. I have my favorite B. sprout salad that I make quite frequently, but I was in the mood to switch things up. This salad seemed like the perfect alternative.
I thought that the blue cheese and cranberries were the perfect combination of tangy and tart. They really worked well together. The only thing I wish I had added to this salad were some toasted walnuts. This is probably just because I’m so used to my favorite Brussels sprouts salad having toasted walnuts in it, but I really think the earthy, toasted flavor would have complemented and really balance out the rest of the salad.
Brussels Sprouts & Gorgonzola Salad with Cranberries Slightly adapted from Coconut & Lime.
For the Salad
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cleaned and shredded (should yield about 5 shredded cups)
4 ounces finely crumbled Gorgonzola
1 small red onion, halved and finely diced
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
For the Dressing
1 1/2 Tablespoons grainy dijon mustard
1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise or greek yogurt (I used a combination)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss together the Brussels sprouts, Gorgonzola, onion and cranberries. Drizzle with dressing. Toss to evenly distribute. Serve immediately or refrigerate 1 hour.
I was really excited to make this cocktail. I have a four pound bag of cranberries to get through, bourbon is still fairly trendy and it’s a slushie! Up until this week, like yesterday pretty much, summer was still going on here. It was gross. I hope it’s over forever.
An autumnal slushie seemed like the perfect thing. I made my simple syrup, blended everything up, left it in the freezer over night shaking it every few hours and finally it was time for a well deserved study break. The moment of truth! I was still so excited. I brought in my little frozen Tupperware, opened it up and then nearly passed out from the alcohol fumes. Wow. I was so sad. It might have looked exactly like something out of the ICEE machine at 7-11, but a kids beverage it was not. I originally thought that this was going to be a kind of lame drink. I ended up with over 4 cups of cranberry ‘juice’ and just over 1 cup of bourbon. The ratio didn’t seem to overwhelming. Some crazy shenanigans must have occurred in the freezer.
Luckily, I’m not one to be intimidated by an overly strong drink. Being the quick thinking, resourceful type, I remembered that I had some lemonade from farmers’ market in the fridge. Perfect solution! Once I recovered from the initial alcoholiness of the slushie, it just tasted super sweet. I will take bourbon straight up over a sweet drink any day. The lemonade from farmers’ market is probably the most tart lemonade I have ever tasted. It’s absolutely amazing. And it makes the perfect mixer when you need to counteract an overly sweet beverage. It definitely fixed this situation.
I probably would not make this exact combination again, unless I had someone around that really liked bourbon. I will however keep this alcoholic slushie idea in mind for the next time it gets warm (which knowing my luck will be tomorrow). It definitely has potential. I could see just about any fruit working with this. I’m imaging peach and bourbon lemonade next summer and I think there might be some blood orange/vodka/champagne mixes happening in the next month or so… I’m looking forward to that.
Combine 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, and salt in a small pot and stir over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Combine sugar syrup and cranberries in a blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth over a bowl; press mixture to extract liquid. Discard solids.
Combine cranberry mixture, bourbon, and lemon juice in a freezer-safe bowl, stirring well. Freeze mixture overnight or until partially frozen. Scrape mixture with a fork until slushy; serve immediately.
I was determined to right last week’s margarita foul. This one is most definitely a winner!
I was a bit short on fresh limes and since there was a bottle of cranberry juice just sitting on my counter, it seemed like the perfect solution. Cranberry and lime just seem to go so well together. I don’t like my margaritas sweet, which was my major problem with last week’s, but this marg more than made up for it. It’s tart, tangy and refreshing. I used a bit of green sugar sprinkles on the rim to make it feel a bit more ‘festive’, which is probably as festive as it’s going to get in these parts (I relate to this guy on multiple levels). I will warn you the green sugar can ‘run’ when it gets wet, so you might end up with some stains on your hands/mouth/face/coaster/etc., so consider yourself warned.
Cranberry Margaritas Yields 2 margaritas (or 1 if you’re me)
juice of 2 limes
4 ounces cranberry juice
4 ounces silver tequila
2 ounces triple sec
In a cocktail shaker, combine all the ingredients, add ice cubes, and shake like hell.
I originally made these as a Thanksgiving appetizer, but they would be perfect for just about any other holiday function you have coming up. The cranberries are so pretty. The tart, sweet, creamy really makes the perfect combination for an appetizer this time of year. The cranberries do have to soak overnight, so keep that in mind if you are planning on making these. I almost missed that detail before I made them.
For serving, I used Food Should Taste Good muliti-grain chips/crackers. They call them chips, but they are really large and flat/cracker-like, so they are perfect for using for appetizers. And all of their flavors are gluten free, which makes them the perfect substitute for crackers or serving appetizers. These could be served on any cracker or even a sliced baguette.
Rinse cranberries and place in a medium bowl. Heat syrup in a small sauce pan just until warm. Pour over cranberries when syrup is warm, not hot, or cranberries may pop. Cool, cover, and let soak in the refrigerator overnight.
Drain cranberries in a colander. Place sugar in a large bowl or baking dish. Add cranberries in 2 batches and roll around until lightly coated in sugar. Place on a baking sheet until dry, about 1 hour.
This drink doesn’t really have a name. It was created 3 Thanksgivings ago in a kitchen in a student dorm in London.
It was a particularly memorable Thanksgiving. We had a lot of friends on our graduate program from various parts of the globe and not all of them had the opportunity to celebrate the world’s greatest holiday. My friend and fellow American, Lauren, and I were determined to celebrate regardless of London’s numerous attempts to thwart our plans. One meal for nearly 25 people required nearly a month of planning, numerous tube and taxi rides, trips to parts of London we never knew existed before (I swear we ended up in Wales at one point) and even mailing in supplies from the States. Now add on the fact that there is only one kitchen big enough for that many people and it only has one functioning European sized oven (the 2nd oven was replaced the next day… perfect timing by the management) and Lauren and I were both dealing with a lovely case of meningitis. It was pretty epic adventure and it will always remain one of my favorite Thanksgivings.
So, it was under these circumstances that this cocktail came about. It was partially out of necessity and partially out of what we had left on hand. You most definitely need a cocktail after dealing with all that. You might need a cocktail after dealing with family the kitchen all day. I would highly recommend this little concoction, as it turned out perfectly and has become a little Thanksgiving tradition of mine.
The Perfect Holiday Cocktail
1.5 ounce vanilla vodka (or regular vodka for a less sweet version)
1.5 ounce berry juice (like cranberry, raspberry, or even cranberry-raspberry if you’re feeling wild)
champagne/prosecco/any kind of sparkling wine
Pour a shot of vodka and a shot of cranberry juice into a champagne glass and fill glass with champagne. Top with raspberries or cranberries if desired. Serve and enjoy your Thanksgiving!
So, I have been seriously slacking on blogging as of late. Things around here have been a bit crazy and something had to give. But now I’m back to share one of my favorite things in the whole world; my cornbread stuffing!
Stuffing is so easy to make, I really don’t know why people used the boxed stuff. I came up with this recipe many, many years ago, and it has become one of the few tried and true essentials of every Thanksgiving feast I make. It has been made at Thanksgivings in 4 countries and has been a hit in all of them, hence the ‘world famous’ title. I must note though, I found it very interesting that a lot of the non-Americans/Canadians that have tried this were not a fan of the dried cranberries because they were too sweet, but also thought the actual cranberry sauce was too tart.
Now, a quick comment on the cornbread, I’ve made it with gluten-free cornbread mix, Jiffy cornbread mix, and cornbread made from scratch. I always make the cornbread the same day I make the stuffing. I just wait until it cools enough to handle, and break it into pieces in a large bowl, let it cool completely and then start making the stuffing; turns out perfectly every time. Since this is a recipe I made up long, long ago, there aren’t really exact measurements, and it kinda, sorta slightly changes from year to year according to taste, but it is always delicious and it is always a big hit.
1 package of cornbread mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread)
1 onion, diced
2-4 tablespoons butter + more for greasing.
Dried cranberries (I like Trader Joe’s Orange Flavored Dried Cranberries)
Low sodium vegetable broth
Dry white wine (optional)
Make cornbread according to directions on the package. Let cool slightly until cool enough to handle and crumble into pieces in a very large bowl and allow to cool completely.
When bread is cool, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. When hot add onions. When softened, about 5-7 minutes, add garlic powder and dill, stir to coat. Remove pan from heat and add onion mixture to cornbread.
Heat oven to 350 and grease a large baking dish with remaining butter, make sure it’s really well greased.
Add desired amount of dried cranberries to cornbread (I generally do a good handful). Then add a bit of broth to the cornbread (start with about 1/2 cup and work up) and a dash of white wine for extra flavor (I just use the same wine I’m using to baste the turkey). Mix the ingredients together until slightly damp.
Place cornbread in the greased baking dish and bake 25-35 minutes, until the top starts to turn golden.
I’m a big fan of cranberry sauce. Freshly made cranberry sauce, none of that canned business. Even though my friend Lauren tried to persuade me of the merits of canned cranberry sauce, I just don’t get it. Fresh is where it’s at. I don’t really have a go to recipe for cranberry sauce, I like to try something different every year. This one piqued my interest when I first saw it in Cooking Light and it turned out to be delicious, tart and not too sweet, which is perfect in my book.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté for 4 minutes. Add sugar and the next 4 ingredients (through cranberries); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat, and stir in orange rind.
Combine dried cherries and cherry juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Drain. Add drained cherries to cranberry sauce. Serve chilled or at room temperature.