I never cared much for cranberry sauce until I tried out my grandmother’s suggestion to make a recipe with fresh cranberries. Aside from the brightness of flavors and use of a whole orange for zest, the star of the show was the crystalized ginger. I was an instant convert.
Many years later, upon reading through Amanda Hesser’s NYT Cookbook, I came across a chutney recipe that seemed to contain all of my favorite fall flavors. I decided to tweak it a bit and again make crystalized ginger the star of the show. The result was a lush, bright sauce that served the perfect stand-in for that canned cranberry nonsense. Continue reading Ginger Cranberry Chutney →
I’m a fan of boozy fruit in the summertime. I have fond memories of sitting in the back yard with my fam, drinking homemade sangria from plastic tiki cups full of the freshest fruit available. Sometimes the fruit even came from the bounty my dad would bring back from the farmers at the market, gifts for keeping them entertained with a little blues every Saturday. Sangria reminds me of the “Party in my Tummy” song from Yo Gabba Gabba (yes, I took it there)…can mangos come to the party in the sangria? Can apples come to the party in the sangria? Yes and yes! Most every fresh fruit can have a place in the sangria pitcher.
I love this version in that it’s a slight departure from the usual red wine concoction. Sangria is incredibly EEO with wine color – red, white, champagne and even port can become lovely versions of this Spanish sipper. For a tropical touch, I combine rose sparkling wine (Spanish cava Cristalino, to keep things authentic) with mango, raspberries, pears and citrus. Brandy becomes a soaking tub for the fruit before it’s blended up with the cava and sprite into bubbly awesomeness. Dandy as candy. Or should I quote Gene Wilder as Willie Wonka with “candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” Or maybe no more childhood references in a post about booze.
Sparkling Rosé Sangria
1/2 c. of brandy (preferably not cheap crap)
1 pear, cored and diced
1 mango, pitted and diced
1 orange, diced peel and all
1 lime, diced peel and all
1 pint of raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 bottle of sprite
1 bottle of rosé cava (or other sparkling rosé)
Mix diced pear, mango, orange, lime and raspberries with the brandy in a small bowl. Refrigerate for a half an hour.
Fill a gallon pitcher with a few cups of ice. Scoop out the fruit and add to the pitcher. Pour in the cava and top with sprite. Serve immediately.
The much-aligned cranberry gets a bad wrap – only typically broken out at the holidays in the form of a canned cylinder of fright, these tart lovelies are so much more. A long while back, my paternal grandmother decided to have a more cooperative Thanksgiving and assigned the kids recipes to bring. My sister and I were assigned a Cranberry Relish recipe that she had snipped from a magazine. The recipe itself seemed kind of wacky as we were making it, from the use of a whole orange (peel, pith and all) to the use of crystalized ginger, which we had never heard of at the time and had to look up (and this was well before “Google it” became a catch phrase). Turns out the spicy treats were considered candy in Australia and could be purchased with the other McCormick spices in the baking aisle. Who knew?
Well, knowledge begets power and powerful that first batch of relish was in transforming our opinions of the lowly cranberry. Once an afterthought next to the turkey, potatoes, stuffing and green beans, this relish had star quality. It’s ingenious in its ability to freshen up the heavy meal and enliven your palette. Best of all, it requires not a lick of cooking – just pulse everything in the food processor, pour out into a bowl and put it on the table. Done. For such freshness and flavor with absolutely no work, those cans of cranberry gelatin are looking mighty good for target practice right about now.
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 small orange
1 tbs. of crystallized ginger (candied ginger) pieces
1/3 to 1/2 c. of sugar, to taste
Cut the orange in half and then into 1 inch pieces. Add all ingredients to the food processor and pulse until it forms a chunky relish. Pour mixture into a bowl and let sit for at least 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Store any leftovers in the fridge.