Thursday, January 3, 2013

Homemade cranberry sauce

There's something about New Year's Day that puts me in the most productive mood ever.  Though we've typically entertained friends with a crock pot full of sweet pork and sauerkraut in years past, this year we kept things quiet and had a party for two.

I use the term "party" loosely.

For him, "party" meant relaxing on the couch, playing with his remote-controlled helicopter from Santa, and watching TBS's back to back showings of The Hangover while nursing a tiny one of his own.

For her, "party" meant organizing random sections of the apartment, nibbling frozen Christmas cookies, and readying things before returning to work the next day.  The latter was done in an effort to ease the surely rude awakening that would come from showering and wearing grown-up clothes before 10am.

I cleaned out and organized the cutlery and kitchen gadget drawers.  I sorted through the highest and least accessible cabinets that had apparently become a black hole for unused items and made a bag of items to take to Goodwill.  I did three loads of laundry and emptied the overflowing basket... for at least 12 hours.  I introduced my post-Christmas shopping trip haul to the rest of my wardrobe.  Hooray!  I even made Matt dizzy with all of my flitting about, and I did it without even trying.  How's that for multi-tasking?

I sort of got lost in my organizing bliss and, before I knew it, dinnertime was calling my name.  Matt was happy with his, cough, third helping of pork and sauerkraut, but I wanted something different.

Something quick and easy.  Because, you know, putting away silverware and hanging up new sweaters is taxing.  Something without meat.  Something with carbs.  And some sweetness.  And cheese.  Always cheese.

A bit of rifling through the fridge left me absolutely giddy once I found a small container of the cranberry sauce I'd made for our Christmas day dinner.  The most delicious homemade cranberry sauce!

Long gone was the turkey over which the sauce was originally served, but I didn't care.  Instead, I'd found a small wedge of Brie cheese left from our New Year's Eve festivities and half of a loaf of bread in the pantry. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Grilled cheese with Brie and cranberry sauce.  Behold, sandwich gods!  Pure bliss.

Oh, were you hoping to see said blissful sandwich?  Um, this is awkward.  I didn't photograph it.  Because I was really, really ravenous.  And then, about two bites into it, when I realized that the sandwich was life-altering, I consciously chose to stay firmly planted in my chair and savor the rest of the sandwich, rather than pausing to get up, find my camera, and mess around with the settings to take a pretty picture to share with you.

I have a habit of doing that, don't I?

Thankfully, I did snap a few pictures of the sauce on Christmas day, served with herb roasted turkey breast.  Oh my word, was it good!  Fresh, tart, sweet, and super aromatic with hints of orange and cinnamon.  And made with only four ingredients.  Four!

In other words, I'd eat cardboard if it were slathered with this stuff.  That's the true sign of a tasty sauce, right?

Whether you make a fancy roast or a grilled sandwich, spruce up a steaming bowl of oatmeal, or use it as a topping for a baked sweet potato or pancakes, buck up and make your own cranberry sauce today!  There's no better way to start the new year than by creating something delicious in your own kitchen.

Well, unless you've made a resolution to start carrying your camera with you everywhere so you don't keep missing things.  Right?

Three years ago: Basic pie crust

Cranberry Sauce
(adapted from Tyler Florence's recipe)
-makes 5-6 servings

10 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
Zest of one orange
Juice of one half of an orange
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Put all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Stirring occasionally, simmer until the cranberries burst and sauce thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve at room temperature or cool and refrigerate until using.  Remove cinnamon stick before serving.  Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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