Cranberry Relish 

I have been making this relish for a very long time and you either like it or you do not – it is either a horseradish thing, or more likely, a cloves thing. I really do not think there is a middle ground here. I am forever in debt to my lovely mother in law – who is now my only mom for the great gift of lots of serving bowls*. I know I use this one year after year, but it is really beautiful. Indeed. dd_1651

I started making this just after the Boy and I came back from England. And I shared it with a really good friend the first time. Now I share with lots of friends – and that makes me really happy. I am 90% sure this is a recipe from Southern Living Magazine.

2 packages (6 cups) fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1/3 cup prepared horseradish, just drain it a bit
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Rinse cranberries, removing any that seem suspect. Combine sugar and orange juice in a large saucepan. Heat until sugar is dissolved on medium heat. Add cranberries and mix until the cranberries start to burst. Simmer for a bit. Let cool completely. Mix in the horseradish and the cloves. Refrigerate.  This will keep for months. And that is an excellent thing. Because you never know when you are going to need it.

For friends this year:

Traci 
Sandy
Joyce
Elaine
Josh
Tony
Ham

I am on my second batch and I am sure there will be a third batch. I just tell people when your canning jar is empty, let me know and I will fill it up again with cranberry relish. Because this is the time for fresh cranberries.

That being said, frozen cranberries (fresh cranberries that you shuffle off into the freezer), work for this too. No, really, they do. And I do freeze fresh cranberries, because you never know when you want cranberries with horseradish, especially in the summer. Yes, for a summer turkey sandwich with bleu cheese dressing and cranberry relish. That is good stuff.  And Tony says make the sandwich on Hawaiian rolls – I cannot believe I did not think of that before – duh.

* Need to get pictures of all the serving bowls she gave me – they are pretty much amazing.

 

Thanksgiving 2016 – To Do List by Date

I will probably post this after Thanksgiving just to see if I can make it all happen – likely it will not happen in this particular way. We shall see.  Sad that I do not have a lot of confidence in this schedule. Or maybe pretty much everyone else is just like me – we think about too much and then start paring back because we have to.

18 Nov Thursday –  Check Ingredients / Grocery List / To-Do List by Date (this list)

19 Nov Friday – Grocery shopping in the afternoon.
Cranberry Sauce
Mini Cheese Ball mixture, no pecans yet
Tassie Dough

dd_165120 Nov Saturday – Spinach Dip
Roast Sweet Potatoes

21 Nov Sunday – Rosemary Cashews
Bake Tassies – nope, skipped this, at least for Thanksgiving. Dough will keep in the fridge for a bit. 

22 Nov Monday – Assembly Sunday Sweet Potatoes with topping separate
Roast Shallots – nope, didn’t do it. Mayhap next year.

23 Nov Tuesday – Warm Potato Salad. Keep bacon to the side to top on turkey day.
Final Grocery Run

24 Nov Wednesday – Catch Up Day
Make No Roll Pie Dough
Bake Pecan Pie
Make 2 pans of cornbread. 9 x 9 inch pans.

25 Nov Thursday – Oven dry broken pieces of cornbread 250 degrees for an hour. Turn half way through.
Make Dressing. Woo hoo – I think this is the deal.
Bake Sweet Potatoes
Heat ham (for The Boy)



Thanksgiving

So I have mostly always made my same Thanksgiving appetizer, and I have to say it really is pretty much amazing. Sweet potato biscuits with ham and horseradish cream.  Just going to say, thank you once again to JW because this was all him. He was the best caterer for UNC-Chapel Hill while I was there and I totally took the idea and ran with it.DD_0184

Even so, I wanted to find a new appetizer for this Thanksgiving. But I do think I will make my small little sweet potato biscuits with all the best things, just because I can. But maybe this year my excellent cranberry sauce will be part of this mix.  Indeed.

That said, I have been looking for Thanksgiving appetizers – they all seem to involve cranberries or Rosemary – thank you most overwhelming pinterest. Sigh. Do love some Rosemary, but isn’t there anything else?

When I was young, Thanksgiving was a huge deal at our house. The only downer part about it was being stuck at the kids’ table. Really? Ugh. I understand that my older brother and sister were a LOT older and were pretty much married by the time I was 9-ish, but I was stuck with my younger sister and nieces and nephews – it was just insulting.

One of those weird things that I remember was a glass dish that my mother would take out for Thanksgiving and put gerkins on one side and olives on the other. Olives = ick. Gerkins = loved them. Besides Bread ‘n Butter pickles, gerkins were the only pickles I ever liked.

I  can totally see that glass dish. Should have asked for it long ago and now it is too late. Let that be a lesson – do not wait –  ask for what you want from your parents because if you do not you will be forever disappointed. I know I will be giving things away very early – like my Dad’s mom did. Simplify everything.

That just got slightly strange – but on to the Thanksgiving plans. And planning is involved – lots of it.

Apparently spell check does not like the word gerkins. No, it sure doesn’t.

So we are about a week-ish out from the big day and, my friends, this is go time.

1. Make decisions on what to make and how much depending on your guest list – my list, this year, is small. But that is not a bad thing because The Boy will be joining us and that makes me very happy.

2. Develop a grocery list of what you need and when you need to buy it. And then develop the “making” list – ie. when you can/will make each thing, but do what I do … plan for a catch up day on the Wednesday before the big day. That day, with nothing planned, will save you.

3. Order your turkey from the butcher shop. And also call your favorite bakery to order Parker House Rolls – I have been doing this forever. No need to make yourself crazy at this point. They will, pretty much, be better than anything you can make – unless you are making biscuits for Thanksgiving – and in that case, I salute you.

4. Pick one, just one, no seriously just one, new recipe to try. I will try.

5. Figure out what appetizer to make. Just don’t go overboard – less is more in this case. See above.

6. Add staples (butter, eggs, heavy cream, lemons, chocolate chips, local pecans, etc.) to your regular grocery list.

7. Watch grocery ads for Thanksgiving specials. Traditional there are lots of them. Hello fresh cranberries.

8. Decide if you want girkins. Hope you do for my sake.

I have a bundt pan problem. There I said it.

I love a good pound cake. I have quite a few favorites in this category: a sour cream one, a cream cheese one, a lemon buttermilk one. Yes, I just could go on and on, I am Southern after all.

I think pound cake is a favorite for me because this is one of the few desserts the the MotH* likes. It is simple, slightly sweet, but not too sweet, and I think that appeals to him. It does not hurt that the Boy is a big fan too, as am I.

Funny, my mom used to make pound cake (or as my paternal grandmother would call plain cake)** and toast it in the toaster oven and then smear it with peanut butter. Not something I would do, no matter how much I love some peanut butter, but I understand the idea. Crunchy cake with goopy peanut butter. To each her own.

So in the next few posts, I’ll share my favorite pound cake recipes and my favorite bundt pans as well. They really are, in my opinion, works of art. And the ones I order are all Made in America. Pretty cool, right? Yes, it is Nordic Wear and it is pretty damn cool.

My first non-traditional bundt pan is one that a great friend got for me ages ago – from William-Sonoma – which I could never had afforded at that time. Since my degrees were in Art History and I focused on 17th-century French Chateaus and 18th-century British Country Houses, I had a thing for the Fleur-de-lis.dd_1524 Living here lots of people mistake my fleur-de-lis thing for a support of New Orleans, and most of the time I do not bother to correct people and I do love New Orleans a lot. But the people that know me – really know me – understand the origin of this symbol for me. And my dearest friend bought this bundt pan for me – and shared her sour cream pound cake recipe with me. We are similar in that family recipes are very important and Southern Living magazine has produced some of our favorite things to make (see: Cranberry Relish).

*Man of the House.

** I have made my grandmother’s Plain Cake recipe as an adult and it was pretty much disappointing. Just not inspiring in the least. That said, she made the most amazing fried apple pies. Yes, this conversation will continue.

 

 

Turkey Cranberry Herbed Cream Cheese Pinwheels

This is a kind of riff on an Ina Garten recipe for turkey tea sandwiches on raisin bread (without cinnamon – this is crucial because that would just be yuck) with cream cheese and scallions. Ina’s recipe is one of the Boy’s favorite things, I do think he is correct. This is one of those things that you just should let people taste before you say anything about what is involved.D&D_1483

I am not a huge turkey fan in general, but turkey does work well with fruit, be it raisin, or in this case, dried cranberries – guess it needs to be dried fruit to work, but it works well. But maybe it is because we usually eat turkey with cranberry sauce – and oh, that works amazingly well.

2 – (6.5 ozs. containers) Alouette – Garlic and Herbs Cream Cheese, just sitting out for a bit
Dried cranberries, most of a bag, but taste as you go along, it is important. Chop those cranberries up a bit. It makes it work so much better.
Scallions, about three, green and white parts, again chopped up pretty fine
Roasted turkey – just enough to cover the tortillas. About 1/3 of a pound, sliced thin.
Spinach flour tortilla, but I think any tortilla would work. But I think the spinach ones look pretty good.

Spread the tortilla with the herbed cream cheese. Top that with the dried cranberries and scallions (and chives if you have them at the time). Then top with the roasted turkey. Now for the fun part – Roll them tightly and cover them with cling film – again tightly. Let them chill. Then (starting way too may sentences with that word) sliced them about an inch thick with a sharp serrated knife.

I kind of like these closer to room temperature than straight from the refrigerator.  My preference, but it so works for me.

I will say this is a good mix of flavors. Yes, you totally should try it for a party. Easy to make ahead and simple to put out – you can put toothpicks in the little rounds, but if you twist them tight enough, you will not need to do that.

I really like making something new from something else I really liked.

 

 

 

Pre – Thanksgiving – Cranberry Sauce

DD_0320_bThis is the week that I start to make all the things I can for Thanksgiving. I’m waiting for the fresh cranberries to go on sale – which is usually buy-one & get-one and I love to put the extras that I must buy in the freezer. This recipe really works well. I also buy new horseradish and also ground cloves.  It is just a thing I do. Just before every Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Horseradish Relish
2 pkgs (6 cups) fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1/3 cup prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Combine sugar and orange juice in sauce pan. Boil until sugar dissolves while stirring. Add cranberries and bring to a low boil. Simmer until cranberries begin to burst. Lower the temp and simmer a bit until the pectin starts to thicken everything. Let cool completely; mix in horseradish and cloves. Refrigerate. Pectin in the cranberries makes this work – I’d like to call this science and make my self sound smart, but it’s just pectin – and it is cool. And horseradish makes this recipe amazing.

Notes: I’ve been making this since the 90s and I love it more than words can say.  But maybe that is just me. Back in the 1990s when I first started making it, I made the recipe and split it with my best friend. It may be an acquired taste, but it would not be Thanksgiving without it. Although family and friends ask for it still, so maybe I’m not the only one that really enjoys it. It is excellent on leftover turkey sandwiches with bleu cheese dressing the next day. Although I love it with leftover dressing and giblet gravy. Yep. Could totally skip the turkey. Couldn’t we all?

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

D&D_0429

Oatmeal Cran White Chocolate Walnut Cookie

You know how some time you see a recipe and think, “I am just not sure how that is going to work?” I felt that way about this recipe. It is kind of like the way I felt about the lemon, white chocolate cookies that I now love – just thought it was odd at the time. Thank you Shirley Corriher – the coolest food scientist ever!  Is it the white chocolate that puts me off? No, I do not think so. I think it is the flavor combinations that I cannot imagine – obviously need a better imagination – sad. But sometimes you have to trust your gut – or in this case – trust a friend. My friend Dana.

2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 ozs dried cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chips (a 4 oz bar chopped up)

changes
1 tsp vanilla, in after the eggs
bit of freshly grated nutmeg, in with the cinnamon
1 cup of chopped walnuts – or more (yes, more), in with the cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Shift flour, baking soda, and salt and then add the oats. (Usually do this over a bit of waxed paper and it works really well.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture in a few additions, mixing well after each. Stir in cranberries and white chocolate.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Bench Notes: I opted to chill the dough overnight before baking, but after not doing it, it doesn’t seem necessary.
Added 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, a bit of freshly grated nutmeg and a cup of chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts) which I think are necessary for an oatmeal cookie.

23 Nov 2013. Recipe from Dana, a great friend who made several of the modifications herself. But I will say, more nuts is always a better thing.

11 September 2015 – Baking on this day just seems to relax me. The Boy and I were all alone at a very new life when this happened. Nothing compared to what people who were impacted felt, but I sure felt alone in a strange world.