Cranberry Relish

The big week is here! My menu is finalized, most of the groceries have been bought, and I’ve even started my food prep! One thing I have discovered since hosting my first Thanksgiving 2 years ago is that things can quickly go from calm to chaotic. I don’t know if it’s just me, but by the time I’m ready to get dinner on the table, all kitchen organization has gone out the window. I’m trying to find the last remaining inches of counter space to carve the turkey, gravy is usually bubbling over on the stove, and all of my potholders have magically disappeared. So each year it becomes that much more important for me to have a) a time line and b) as much prepared ahead of time as possible, even if it means putting out-of-town visitors to work!

This weekend my mom and sister came to visit (since they are sadly not able to come on Thanksgiving day). We had a lot of fun hanging out and playing with the baby, but I still had turkey day prep on my mind. At one point we got on the conversation of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes and my sister said that her favorite was Cranberry Relish. I have never made it before so I didn’t know how far in advance it could be made, she told me the she usually likes it best after it has sat for a few days. So I decided to put her right to work! She whipped up this relish in no time at all. That beautiful cranberry red is reason enough for this to make it’s way to your Thanksgiving table, but it also tastes amazing. It’s a perfect combination of sweet and tart. And it’s crazy easy!

 

 

Cranberry Sauce

With Thanksgiving less than a week away now, I thought it might be a good day for a double dose of sweetness. Don’t forget to check out today’s other post, pumpkin pie!

Sometimes instead of picking out the melon from my fruit salad, I’ll give it a try, just to see if I suddenly like it. I don’t (still tastes like watered down perfume to me) but I try because you just never know. Like for example butterscotch, cooked carrots, and small pieces of apple in foods like Stuffed Acorn Squash or Asian Lettuce Wraps. I never liked any of those things, but over the years my tastes have evolved. Which is really great for someone that loves food as much as I do.

That’s sort of what happened with cranberry sauce. Every Thanksgiving I would put a little on my plate, give it a try, and pretty much always decide that there were just more important foods on the plate.

That may still be a little true (the part about there being more important foods on the plate) but I’ve really come around in the cranberry sauce arena. It’s not my favorite food on the table at Thanksgiving, but it’s totally necessary, especially when you have a delicious recipe.

With hosting a Thanksgiving meal on my own for the first time this year, I searched for the perfect recipe. And I think I found it! A little sweet and a little tart. The only changes I made were to cut the recipe in half (and it’s listed that way below). And bonus, I re-purposed the leftovers into a killer muffin.


Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients
1 12-ounce bags fresh cranberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
scrapings from half of a vanilla bean (optional, they can be expensive, but if you have one use it!)

Directions
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugars and salt in the water and orange juice. Add the cranberries and cook until the cranberries begin to pop (this part is fun! sounds like popcorn!) Cook cranberries, stirring occasionally for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Once thick, remove from heat and add stir in the orange zest and vanilla bean. Cool to room temperature and store in fridge until ready to serve. For a nice touch, garnish with a little orange zest when serving.

Adapted from Joy the Baker