Tag Archives: Cranberries

cranberry. orange. dates.

The Table

Is it really only 13 days until Thanksgiving? Somehow that just doesn’t seem possible. I don’t know if it is because we have had a bit of an Indian Summer week in Chicago which allowed me to commute without any outerwear (no! coat! on November 11th!) and run in shorts and a tee. This year, rather than visiting Dave’s family like in years past, we are heading to Florida to visit my Dad’s side of the family. It will be the first time for Dave to meet most of this part of my family and some cousins I haven’t seen since I was in elementary school. And there may be some beach walking and cute town visiting. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the holiday. I’m starting to compile a list of recipes that I want to make in Florida and the first one of my list is this Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Dates that I made last year. I got the recipe from one of my past Gourmet (sob!) magazines and it is a keeper. If you are in need of a little change to your cranberry sauce, give this recipe a try. Also really great on some greek yogurt for breakfast as leftover.

Cranberry Orange Date

Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Dates
Recipe adapted from Gourmet: November 2008

Ingredients:
•1 cup water
•1 1/4 cups sugar
•3 strips orange zest
•1 cup fresh orange juice
•3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
•1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
•1 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates* (6 ounces), divided
•2 (12-ounce) bags cranberries (thawed if frozen), divided

*Dates are a little tricky to chop because they get so sticky so this is how I do it: make a slice in the date lengthwise and pull out the pit. Then cut the date into long strips. Then gather a few strips together and slice again to make smaller bits. Wipe the knife down with hot water to get of the gunk if it gets too sticky.

Simmer water, sugar, zest, juice, vinegar, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring, 3 minutes. Add half of dates and half of cranberries and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to burst, about 7 minutes. Stir in remaining dates and cranberries and simmer until remaining cranberries begin to burst, about 7 minutes more. Serve at room temperature

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cranberry coffee cake

Cranberry Coffee Cake
Saturday marks the last day that Green City is outdoors (and right outside my apartment).  Luckily the market continues on throughout the winter, but it moves 8 blocks north which requires a chilly walk, bus or bike ride to attend.  Although I have been enjoying the colors of fall and the thoughts of the upcoming holiday season, I will admit that it is going to be sad to no longer have the late summer produce explosion of the market to be inspired by.  I did prepare a little bit by stuffing my freezer full of pitted sour cherries and sweet corn cut from the cob that will surely brighten a mid-winter day.  Last week I was excited to see a new fall arrival to the markets: cranberries. Continue reading

Granola w/ Almonds, Pistachios and Cranberries

After reading a bunch of food policy-esque books lately, I have been reevaluating some of my food purchases and finding simple changes that have infinite benefits.  Simple things like looking at the italian dressing packet that I always used and swapping it for a mix with far fewer (and pronounceable) ingredients from the Spice House. It is satisfying to know that the loaf of bread that just gets pulled out of the oven, only has a handful of ingredients in it. After buying a whole lot of dried milk for my light wheat bread, I was excited to see that another use for all the surplus is granola. This recipe is entirely flexible and the results are wonderful. I have a big gallon sized bag that I am slowly eating down and enjoying it every step of the way.

I decided to use my favorite nuts (almonds and pistachios) and big, plump dried cranberries that I really fell in love with during this past holiday season.

It comes together quite quickly. You put all the dry ingredients (nuts, oats, powdered milk, coconut, salt) in a huge bowl (in my case 2 large bowls) and give them a quick stir. Then you mix together all the wet ingredients (oil, honey, vanilla) in a measuring cup and slowly add the liquid to the dry stirring it all in as you go.

Once everything is mixed, you dump it all out onto a half sheet pan (I did it in two batches) and place it in a preheated 300 degree oven. Take it out every 5-7 mins and stir it around so that it cooks evenly.

The granola is done when the oats start to brown and it feels hot to the touch (took me around 20 mins). It is fanatasic on its own, eaten like cereal with cold milk, or, my personal favorite, mixed with some tangy plain greek yogurt.

I have been giving little baggies full to friends and enjoying it for breakfast all week. I will probably stick some in the freezer to see how it holds up. The recipe makes a TON so it might be smart to half it (or just have lots of ziploc handy.)

Granola
Recipe adapted from Homesick Texan

10 cups rolled oats (this is just your normal Quaker Oatmeal)
1 cup dried milk
4-6 cups nuts (I used 2 cups of pistachios and 2 cups of almonds and I think it is plenty)
5 cups dried, unsweetened coconut flakes (I usually HATE dried coconut, but these flakes are PERFECT in this recipe)
2-3 tsp. salt (I used 3 and it is almost a little salty)
1 to 1.5 cups vegetable oil
1 cup honey
3 tsp. vanilla
2-3 cups dried cranberries (add after baking)
Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a BIG bowl and mix thoroughly. In a large measuring cup, measure the oil and then add the honey and vanilla too it. Mix thoroughly with a whisk.

Put the mixture on a silpat lined (if you have one) pan 1-3 inches thick and bake. Use a spatula to turn it every five minutes or so. It is best to take it out before it seems done. When it feels hot to the touch and is a light golden brown, it’s ready. Mix in the dried cranberries.

Cranberry-Nut Bread

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Time and time again I realize how much I love going to the farmer’s market because I end up buying an ingredient that I have never used before and I’m not even sure if I like it, but then come home, pull out my cookbooks and find something to do with it. Cranberries are in that category. I can’t remember having cranberries on our Thanksgiving table and the only time I have tasted the flavor is in juice form to ward off a bladder infection. At the last Green City still in Lincoln Park (they have since moved North to the Nature Museum but it is a bit of a trek on my bike rather than a leisurely walk) I picked up a $2 pint of cranberries just because they looked so pretty.

pretty red cranberries.

pretty red cranberries.

After looking through Tastespotting and a few of my favorite blogs, I decided that I would make a quick bread.  I love how easy it is to throw all the liquids in a small bowl.  Whisk all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour the wet into the dry with a quick stir, pour into a loaf pan and toss it all into the oven.  This bread was super moist and stayed that way for 4 or 5 days when I took the end of the loaf to work.  I got lots of compliments on it.

perfect flavor combo

perfect flavor combo

Try this while cranberries are still in season. They were little bursts of tang mixed in with the bright orange and the moist bread.

I love Zest.

I love Zest.

quick stir

quick stir

Crumbly

Crumbly

perfect with a glass of milk

perfect with a glass of milk

Cranberry-Nut Bread
Modified from p.687 “The Best New Recipe Book

2 Cups of AP Flour (I used 1 Cup AP, 1 Cup White-Wheatand will probably use all White-Wheat the next time)
1/2 cup nuts (I used Walnuts because it was what I had on hand, but pecans would also be lovely)
Zest and Juice from 1 large orange
2/3 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2-1 teaspoon of cinnamon (My addition-I love cinnamon in all my breads)
1 1/2 cup cranberries, chopped coarse.

Pre-heat oven to 375. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Stir together the orange zest and juice, buttermilk, butter, and egg is a small bowl. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Gently stir in the cranberries and pecans. Don’t over mix! Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the surface.

Bake 20 mins, then reduce the heat to 350; continue to bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 mins longer. Cool in the pan 10 mins, then cool completely on a wire rack.