Growing up I loved reading mystery books and devoured every single one I could get my hands on. Nancy Drew was my hero. Imagine my delight when one Thanksgiving, my mom came home with a library book about a Thanksgiving mystery caper and a stolen recipe! To make it better, the cranberry bread recipe (that the grandmother keeps hidden behind a loose brick in the mantle) is printed on the last page of the book so you can make it when you're finished reading. Pure childhood heaven. Mom must have known she was raising the future *Girl From Scratch. I had long since forgotten about A Cranberry Thanksgiving, until a few years ago when I saw it on a friend's bookshelf at a party. Before I could even think, I audibly squealed with delight, pulled the book off the shelf, and then sat on the couch being anti-social for the next 20 minutes relishing every page. A few months later during Christmas, that same dear friend gave me the book as a gift, saying he would never forget how my eyes had lit up when I saw the book on his bookshelf. Today's post is my ode to cranberries. Instead of making the cranberry bread on the last page, this is my first attempt at homemade cranberry sauce. There really is no recipe to talk about, just flip over the Ocean Spray bag of cranberries and follow the simple steps. Cranberries, sugar, water that's it. So simple and yet, why is this the first year I've done it? I've also posted ideas and thoughts on how to serve.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Bring cranberries, water and sugar to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Stir continually. ( I added a dash of ginger and cinnamon, and the zest and juice of an entire orange. Of course I couldn't stick to the recipe.)
Instead of dirtying another serving dish, load your fresh cranberry sauce into jars of all sizes. Not only is it super cute, but when the meal is finished you just screw on the lid and pop into the fridge.
For a creative place setting, fill up individual baby food jars and finish with a bow and name-card. That way, everyone has their own little portion!
To make the name-cards I re-purposed shopping bags, string and ribbons. I'm in an especially thrifty mood this month.
Taking a break from the kitchen and a trip down memory lane.
The Secret Cranberry Bread Recipe on the last page. I love that it says "Get Mother to help."
When the Thanksgiving festivities are done, you will inevitably have extra cranberry sauce. Here are the top 5 things I plan to do with mine;
-A Cranberry Cocktail: muddle POM juice and cranberry sauce, add vodka and Sprite. Shake with ice.
-A Cranberry Quesadilla: Spread cranberry sauce on 2 tortillas, layer slices of Camembert cheese. Heat.
-A Cranberry Appetizer: Pour cranberry sauce on a baked wheel of Brie. Yum!
-A Cranberry Condiment: Mix cranberry sauce with mayo and a spritz of fresh lemon juice for turkey sandwiches the next day.
-A Cranberry Tart: Mix cranberry sauce with applesauce and sugar, pour in pie shell. Bake.
Any other ideas? Happy Thanksgiving!
*Devlin, Wende and Harry. Cranberry Thanksgiving, Parents' Magazine Press, New York, 1971