Monday, November 20, 2006

I Like it Tart

Here in the USA it's Thanksgiving week, and so it's time to begin prepping for the feast on Thursday. We're going over to a friend's house for an "orphan's Thanksgiving" - a mishmash of everyone who isn't traveling to visit family and who doesn't have family in town (ie: everyone I know).

I always make homemade cranberry sauce in these cases, because occasionally you get to a feast like this and NOBODY HAS BROUGHT CRANBERRY SAUCE! Which, as you can tell from the caps, is a massive transgression. Truth be told, the stuffing and all that other stuff is actually a vehicle for good cranberry sauce. I feel the same way about chutneys and plum sauces, mint jelly... they are the real reason to eat! Mmmm.

So, I went with a classic this year. First, the fresh cranberries.

I put about 5 cups of them in a big bowl of water to wash them, which reminds me of how cranberries are actually harvested. They grow on bushes in a low-lying, sandy-soil field (a cranberry marsh), and then when it's time to harvest, the farmer floods the field and the cranberries float to the surface! Then, they scoot around in boats gathering up all the berries. The fields are drained, and the same bushes grow the cranberries perenially. Cool, eh?

I also cut up some oranges - best to get organic, since we'll be using the whole orange.

Then, put the cranberries, oranges and about 2 cups of sugar in a bowl and go to town with a stick mixer. Or you could put it all through a food processor, or, do like my mom and use your old-fashioned meat grinder!

I prefer a little less sugar and I leave it pretty chunky.

If you want to, you can get clever and add some fresh ginger (very nice) or pomegranate seeds or walnuts or whatever you like. I don't find it necesary to can it properly so long as you eat it within a couple months. The chemical make-up of those crans won't let anything grow in there, even with the sugar. But don't quote me on that. Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer.

Make this a few days ahead at least. It's WAY better once all the flavors have had a chance to mingle and mellow.

Tomorrow I'll make some Jalapeño Corn Bread and head over for a delicious meal.

Happy Tofurkey Day, everybody!