I ran out to pick up some frozen cranberries and found, to my dismay, that they don’t actually exist. Mr. Walmart and I did try to find them, but no luck in frozen foods. Then, while wandering around in the produce section, I serendipitously discovered the little red devils sitting innocently enough, right next to the packaged salads. I grabbed four bags, and ran. Well actually, I paid for them and then ran…home…in my car.
I did just what the recipe said and it was a pretty fun adventure. And now, I can honestly say that my sauce tastes better than theirs. The back of the cranberry bag said you can store them in the freezer just the way they are. So, I saved the other three bags for a great winter tonic that we’ll talk about soon.
The Elusive Sieve
The previous post mentions a sieve, so, while at the market, I went to the homey gadgets section and found a colander, a strainer, a sifter, a steamer…but nothing that said the word, “sieve.” So I chose a large mesh wire strainer and crossed my fingers. Turns out–sieve and strainer are about the same thing.
Cranberries have teeny, tiny seeds…about a billion of them, and so what you want is a wire strainer with small mesh. The new one was too big and let all the seeds through. So I re-poured the hot jelly through a smaller one–that I discovered in a drawer. Then, I found an old pointy, metal strainer of my mom’s that would have worked too. Yeah…I’m a noob.
So, now we have three. But don’t you worry. I’ll be totally prepared if another seed extraction project comes along…
So my friend Jenny says to me–“…we’ll be making pies and realcranberry sauce tomorrow.” Just like that.
“REAL cranberry sauce?” says I.
Hmmm…I’ve only seen the kind you squish out of the can, into a glass dish during the Macy’s Parade.
So upon further inquiry, I find that–lucky for all of us–Jenny shares–all the way from Albuquerque.
And yes, I should get extra points for being able to spell Albuquerque.
Take it away Jenny…
“Here’s a recipe for the cranberry sauce that we make every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas:
12 oz. bag of cranberries
1-1/2 cups cold water
2 cups sugar
Place cranberries and water in a saucepan. Boil rapidly until skins pop open, approximately 5 minutes.
*Do not wear anything white during this process, there will be little red dots everywhere in the kitchen, including you as you step up to the pot to check on the cranberries.” Maybe a lid is a good idea here.
Press the hot cranberries through a sieve (strainer) to remove skins and seeds.
You may need to wait until they cool a bit so that you can easily handle them.
Return the sauce to the pan and boil rapidly for three minutes, stirring occasionally. This recipe makes nearly 1 quart of incredibly good cranberry sauce.
Did you know that the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 350 lbs. and measured five feet in diameter?
Ok, well, that’s just sick…
Anyway–on my never ending quest to find rational pumpkiny recipes that–
A) taste good
B) are quick and easy
C) have pumpkin in them–but are not pie
–we have found this lovely soup. It would be a good appetizer for your Thanksgiving meal–or a simple, festive supper for the Wednesday-evening-before-the-feast. It comes together pretty fast and has a very unique flavor, and will leave your family saying, “Ooooh, what is that?” It reminds me of split pea and ham soup only like you’d get on a cruise. The word luxurious seems to work here. It’s very good…you must trust me on this. And so much cheaper than a great, big boat.
1 tbsp. onion flakes
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 large can pumpkin (29 oz)
3-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup crumbled, cooked bacon or cubed, cooked ham
1 cup cream, half and half or canned milk
1/2 cup sour cream
In a large saucepan, combine onion flakes, spices, salt and butter. Stir in pumpkin, water, bouillon and meat until well combined. * Heat mixture to a boil, then reduce heat. Stir in cream and sour cream and heat through. Do not boil once the milk is added. Garnish with croutons and a dash of sage.
I’m about to say something that may be shocking to you, so be brave. I’m taking a deep breath…letting it out. Here goes.
I don’t actually like pumpkin pie.
I know, weird. I do like a lot of other stuff made with pumpkin, but the pie doesn’t do it for me. I love the look of it and the smell of it, but alas–it tastes raw, so I skip it. It must be because after some serious research, we found–to my dismay–that my family is pretty much the only one in America whose forefathers did NOT come over on the Mayflower. I figure it screwed up the pumpkin pie enjoyment microchip in my brain. At any rate, in order to keep the scent of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg wafting through the house at this time of year–as it should–we make pumpkin bread. It is a fabulous replacement for pumpkin pie and P.S…it doesn’t taste raw.
Word to the wiser-than-me…Don’t double this batch. It comes way too close to sloshing over the side.
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1- 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 7×3 inch loaf pans. Shake cinnamon sugar into pan and coat all sides.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, oil, water and sugar blend well. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
One more thing…
I usually make a bunch of little loaves, rather than 2 huge ones. For two reasons–First, I think it feels more like a delicacy to have tiny bites of something special. Second, whenever I use 5 or 6 smaller pans, I put them all on one cookie sheet–because it’s easier to get them in and out of the oven. But what I’ve found is that the loaves are so much more moist when baked this way. I haven’t tried the cookie sheet thing with the bigger pans, but it works perfectly for the little ones.
Pretty dang good exchange for the aforementioned undesirable pie.