Category: Cranberries

Chocolate Bottom Cranberry Muffins

Chocolate Bottom Cranberry Muffins

These muffins–and muffins they be– are not an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. Not too sweet and with a pebbly-crunchy mouthfeel, they still hold a holiday-ishly decadent pizzaz with the very best bittersweet chocolate baked right into the bottom of the muffin. You can also add it at the top if a frosting effect is more to your liking (see Cook’s Notes), but I do very much like the little secret chocolate that’s perfectly hidden until you take your first bite.  If you’ve been roaring on about trying not to eat all those goodies this month (waa, waa, waa), take heart; read on…

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Cranberry-Citrus Cheesecake with Cinnamon-Nutmeg Graham Crust

Cranberry-Citrus Cheesecake with Cinnamon-Nutmeg Graham Crust

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By the time Christmas or New Year’s comes you might not have the energy for a dessert just for the holiday dinner.  This especially if you’ve entertained or baked throughout the season and simply feel all the cookies and goodies you’ve gotten through the kitchen must certainly be enough.  If that’s the case, and you’ve frozen a few of each of your favorites, pull them out and arrange them in loving fashion on your favorite platter and call it quits.  If, however, you haven’t worn your dear baking self out by now, make my gorgeous cranberry compote cheesecake. Even if you’re not a baker at heart, this is a fairly easy endeavor as long as you have a 9-inch springform pan and said ingredients.

There’s no special skill needed to make a cheesecake.  The filling can be made with a hand-held electric mixer, a standing mixer, or with my favorite machine, the food processor.  If you’ve strong arms or can borrow some, and have your cream cheese truly at close to warm room temperature, you can make this with no machines at all.  Imagine. (I went without an electric mixer for many years of my baking life, so I know wherein I speak.)  You can crush the graham crackers in a bag with a rolling pin or a hammer.  If you’ve any sauce pan at all, you can make the cranberry topping.  So go ahead.  Start now; it’s better really well-chilled and keeps for days and days.  Baking blessings, friend.

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A Cranberry Thanksgiving Day or How To Get the Kids Involved in Thanksgiving!

A Cranberry Thanksgiving Day or How To Get the Kids Involved in Thanksgiving!

“Get Mother to help.”

 As my family well knows, there comes a day in November (December is just too late) when I do nothing but bake cranberry bread.  We have it for Thanksgiving morning breakfast, take a loaf or two to friends, and then have one squirreled away in the freezer for Christmas morning as well.   I make a fun production out of the day (no other activities, favorite music on, microwaved lunch) and have nearly an assembly line in the kitchen so that loaf after loaf is mixed individually and baked on the center rack.  It does require a number of pans, but I’m good at finding extras at Good Will or splurging on a great pan with a Williams-Sonoma gift card.  I also bake this bread in coffee cups
for large size muffins or in tiny pans as little gifts for special folks.

Apilco (French porcelain)–all their tableware is oven-safe.

 Here’s what the production line entails:

Grease and flour all the pans
Finely chop all of the cranberries (fresh or frozen) at once by hand or in food processor.  Then:  clean the food processor or board well; the red will color the bread you’ll mix or stain the board.

Peel the oranges and chop finely all of the peel in the food processor or by hand on the board.
Of course you can grate it using a rasp or metal grater, but I think it’s too fine that way.  
Set your system for GO!  Everything you need is out.  (Mise en place)

about the recipe

The recipe is based on one from CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING by Wendy and Harry Devlin.   Reading this book and making the bread is a fun, yearly Thanksgiving activity…..

to which children love becoming addicted. (Also adults like me.  My kids are long gone and you see what I’m up to.) The story involves a fabulous cranberry bread recipe, for years kept secret, and an unscrupulous special someone who appears to want to steal it.  Of course, all’s well that ends well, and the Devlins went on to write all kinds of other books about cranberries….  The book itself is again available (was out of print), but I found a couple of first edition copies at the Good Will this fall for $1.99.  I can’t locate it as an ebook; maybe you can.  The library will definitely have copies, but check yours out early and write down the recipe!

Here’s the original recipe along with the Devlins’ Blueberry Pancake Recipe.

While I occasionally make a loaf with or without nuts, add a few tiny chocolate chips, or combine the recipe with one for bananas or apples, generally I make this bread with just cranberries.

The other day when I was buying the ingredients, the clerk asked if I was making cranberry bread–to which I replied a large, strong, hefty, happy, YES!  She wanted my recipe and today I took it up to the market and left it in an envelope with her name on it:

…  …  …. …  … .. .. ….. …… ……. ….. …………


Happy Thanksgiving to Jane 
From Alyce Morgan (http://www.moretimeatthtetable.blogspot.com– my food blog)
I will probably post the Cranberry Bread sometime soon, but just in case I don’t– here’s the recipe, which is based on the bread in Harry and Wendy Devlin’s book CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING-a fun Thanksgiving children’s book.           Enjoy!
Cranberry Bread
.  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   Grease well and flour one 9×5 loaf pan.
.
In a large bowl, mix together:
·       2 cups unbleached white flour
·       1 cup white sugar
·       1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
·       ½ teaspoon baking soda
·       1 teaspoon salt
.

Cut into the flour mixture, using a pastry cutter, two knives, or even your fingers,*

.

·       ¼ cup (half-stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
                                         In a separate small bowl, beat together well:
.
·       ¾ cup orange juice
·       1 egg
·       1 tablespoon grated orange peel
Pour orange juice mixture into the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.  Gently stir into the batter:
..
·       1 ½ cups finely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
·       ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, optional
.
Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake about 70 minutes or until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in the pan before removing from pan.  Cool completely on rack before cutting. (Wrap well in aluminum foil to freeze up to 1 month.)   (Makes good muffins—bake @ 400 F 15-20 minutes.) 
.
*Can use food processor, but mix cranberries/nuts in by hand.  

Involving the Kids:  Just do it! Don’t worry about the mess or how much time it takes.   Just do it!

 Little ones are great at collecting ingredients, greasing and flouring pans, measuring, mixing, and checking to see if the bread is done.  Do the chopping yourself (if you’re doing it by hand) unless your older child already has good knife skills.  Cranberries are not easy to chop–they keep rolling around,  though the job isn’t terribly time consuming.  If you have a food processor or manual chopper, this is the time to use it.

If you’d like to teach “Over the River and Through the Woods,” let them watch this youtube video.

Sing a new song; make lots of cranberry bread,
Alyce

                    
Thanksgiving, 2012

Thanksgiving, 2012

                     “It’s not what’s on the table that’s important.  It’s who’s in the chairs.”

                       
This post includes:

  • Guide to cooking and baking hotlines
  • Links to great Thanksgiving sites for tips, food, decoration, kids’ activities
  • My own favorite Thanksgiving photos, recipes, music, wine, and even a blessing or two   

Enjoy!

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  I can’t preach about giving thanks.  I’ll just say I think it’s healthy.  It’s lovely in that it’s a discipline folks of any religion or country can take part.  But of course, our fair “Rabbie” had it best:

Some Hae Meat

 Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

~Robert Burns

 Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  You could have guessed.
My worlds all come together on that day.
Giving thanks– being grateful–is a practice or discipline of many religions and cultures, including mine.
I need it.  I need that discipline. And:
Creating a meal to honor that…is my idea of a great day!
I wish you a day of totally beautiful, grateful life.


A grace could be very simply giving thanks for the hands that made the meal, for the workers in the stores, on the trucks, in the gardens and  the vineyards Even a toast to all who made it possible would work.  Mark the moment.

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.  
                                                    ~W.J. Cameron
.                          
Awareness.   Awakeness. Appreciation.  Peaceful breath.
A table that includes something you love.
Someone you love.

Some of the best new scripture these days is found on paper napkins.
I have some that say, “It’s not what’s on the table that’s important.  It’s who’s in the chairs.”
Ah, that we have to print that somewhere.

Deep breaths and a sense of warm wonder to you as you prepare to give thanks this year.

          If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. 

                                                                                                              ~Meister Eckhart
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Before the fun begins,  thanks for reading and responding:

           Bloggers Without Borders Post on Helping Victims of Sandy 

 

In case you need help with the meal….
 

 Two Mushroom-Red Onion Soup from my upcoming book.

Thanksgiving HOTLINES:

*Splendid Table (Radio)  from 11am-1pm  CT on Thanksgiving Day:  800-537-5252
*Reynolds’ Turkey Tips:  800-745-4000 Open through December 31, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
*Butterball Hotline: 1-800-BUTTERBALL Weekdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time
*Crisco Pie Hotline:

(877) 367-7438 toll-free. Provides answers the most common questions about baking pies for novice bakers as well as offering tips that will benefit the most seasoned baker. The hotline also offers the option for callers to connect to a live pie expert for pie baking guidance. Hours: 9 – 7 EST except for: Nov. 12 – 21 (8am – 8pm EST) and Dec. 12 – 22 (8am – 8pm EST)

*USDA Meat and Poultry Line:

  (888) 674-6854 from 10a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Closed weekends and holidays, except Thanksgiving. Special hours of operation on Thanksgiving are 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Eastern Time. 

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                              It is of course possible to dance a prayer. 
                                                                         ~Terri Guillemets
 
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Thanksgiving Listening and Watching + Kids’ Stuff:


                      Garrison Keillor’s “Over the River and Through the Woods”

Download Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Thanksgiving Song here.

Watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on youtube.

Thanksgiving Day Parades

Thanksgiving Day Football Games–Networks, Kickoff, etc.  

Thanksgiving Day Kids’ Activities 

Martha’s Thanksgiving for Kids 

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, – a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.
                                                                              
~George Herbert 

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            Minneapolis Turkey Day 5K Run  8am Nov 22, 2012  
            Walk to End Hunger Mall of America Nov 22, 2012: 7am Registration; 7:30-10:30

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Really Good Websites with Thanksgiving Tips, Recipes, and Ideas 

I could reinvent the wheel here and give you step-by-step, day by day, but here’s a list of places that have already done all that work.  Have at it.  Below that, I’ve listed some of my own favorite recipes or menus from this blog or Dinner Place, Cooking for One.  I include an Intimate Thanksgiving, which is a Thankgiving for two (with leftovers) or for four (not too many leftovers.)  It was created for those who really don’t have much time to spend on Thanksgiving, but want a special meal nevertheless.  

America’s Test Kitchen:  Turkey and Gravy
James Peterson’s Gravy Guide
Martha Stewart’s Thanksgiving Planner
Non-Turkey Thanksgiving 
Vegetarian Thanksgiving 
Vegan Thanksgiving: 12 Recipes
LA Times: Great Thanksgiving Photos
Glazed Turkey from the Chicago Trib
Free:  Martha Stewart Thanksgiving (2011) Ebook with 40 Recipes
Smitten Kitten’s Thanksgiving
Taste Test:  Store-Bought Stuffing 
Perfect Pantry Sugar-Free Slow-Cooker Cranberry Sauce 
Serious Eats: 16 Salads for Thanksgiving
Kalyn’s Kitchen:  11 Green Bean Recipes
Mark Bittman:  101 Starts on the Day
Giada’s Butternut Squash Lasagne
Melissa Clark:  What Can I Actually Prepare Before Thanksgiving?
Gourmet Live:  Thanksgiving 2012
Chowhound’s 10 Thanksgiving Cooking Essentials
The Bitten Word’s 2012 Thanksgiving Recipe Index:
Thanksgiving Videos:  Mark Bittman
King Arthur Flour Cranberry-Pumpkin Rolls
Perfect Pantry’s Squash Muffins
Download Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Baking App
Pie Perfected by Carole Bloom
David Lebovitz’ Pumpkin Ice Cream 
Thanksgiving Wine: NYTimeswine:  
HGTV’s Stylish Thanksgiving Table Settings
Thanksgiving Decoration from Epicurious
                    

Maybe it’s a good time to pull out the bread machine?

  More Time at the Table/Dinner Place Thanksgiving Posts:

Kathy’s Apple Pie (More Time at the Table)

Alyce’s Thanksgiving: An Intimate ViewVery Simple and Quick Thanksgiving  for 2-4 people who don’t want to cook much:

  • Starters: Olives and Nuts–set out in small bowls served with sparkler/wine
  • First course: Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup (purchased)
  • Main course: Turkey Roulade, stuffed W/ Proscuitto/Sage/Onions/Garlic
  • Sides: Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Rosemary
  • Brussel Sprouts (pan-roasted) w/ Parmesan & Pumpkin Seeds
  • Home-made Spicy Cranberry Sauce w/ Apples and Lemon
  • Bread: Corn Muffins or Rolls from the bakery
  • Dessert: Pumpkin Ice Cream, purchased from grocery OR Pumpkin Custards baked the day before and refrigerated (Use any pumpkin pie filling recipe and bake custards in pammed ramekins about 30 min. at 350—No crust)
  • Drinks: Wine: A to Z Riesling and Sineann Pinot Noir- Have both! Coffee: French Roast, laced with Cognac and Whipped Cream

Pears Poached in Port

 
Other recipes of mine you might enjoy at Thanksgiving:

Alyce’s Bacon Roasted Chicken or I Don’t Want Turkey
Alyce’s Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash
Alyce’s Roasted Pork Loin, Hot and Spicy Cranberry Sauce
Potato Gratin with Rosemary Crust 
Alyce’s Butternut and Other Squash Soup
Alyce’s Pan-Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan New Potatoes 
Alyce’s Green Beans Sauteed with Onions and Garlic
Alyce’s Turkey Pot Pie from Thanksgiving Leftovers 
Alyce’s Pumpkin Soup or Making Up for Thanksgiving
Alyce’s Spicy Cream of Pumpkin Soup+Wendy’s Sage and Thyme
Alyce’s Pear-Grilled Fig Salad with Goat Cheese
Alyce’s Israeli Couscous-Butternut Squash Salad with Fall Fruit and Cheese 
Alyce’s Pumpkin Bread

Wendy’s Sage

Alyce’s Quick Prune Bread
Alyce’s No-Knead Bread Post on Dinner Place
Alyce’s Whole Wheat Yeast Rolls (from Bill Kalbus)
Poached Pears in Port               
Alyce Morgan’s Pie 101
Alyce’s Derby Pie (Pecan-Chocolate with Bourbon)
Alyce’s Kathy’s Apple Pie
Alyce’s Almond-Scented Pear Crostata
Alyce’s Ask Me About Dessert Post
Alyce’s Pumpkin Custard with Cinnamon Creme Fraiche (One Minute Pumpkin “Pie”–no crust) 

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bread.  Thanksgiving morning breakfast.

Anne Lamott’s Parade Magazine Article on Counting our Blessings  

my quick take on the (american) wine and other drinks

Need extra wine glasses?  Borrow them!   If you’d like a large inexpensive set to keep from year to year, and can’t spend much:  go to the dollar store or a discount place like Marshall’s.  You can store a couple of boxes in the closet or basement and have them available for loan or a February Sangria party.

Drink what you like:
 
 Wine is for your enjoyment and the enhancement of food.  So, do not fret and fuss about the wine (or anything.)  First and foremost, you should drink exactly what you like with Thanksgiving dinner.  If you have no idea what you like, go to the wine shop or liquor store, and find a salesperson who’s willing to talk to you.  Do not do this on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving unless you’re a glutton for punishment.  Everyone else in the city will be there and the clerks will be infinitely hassled while wondering what they’re having for Thanksgiving and who’s going to cook it all.  Tell the salesperson what kinds of wine you (and your guests if you know) like, what your price is (don’t be shy), how many people you’ve having, and what your menu is.  Believe it or not, everyone is not having turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie.  This person has paired vegetarian lasagne, pumpkin ravioli, goose, steak, and an all-raw menu before you arrived.

Don’t know what you like:

If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of shopper and want to go to the liquor superstore or simply have NO idea of what to buy, then I go with my tried and true recommendations, which are: 

A.  One bottle of wine per person (total) is the rule.  Yes. You’ll be there for hours.  I like American wine for Thanksgiving, so my recommendations are based on no wine from outside the United States. 

B.   Overall:  Provide a sparkler for before dinner or apertif, then one white and one red  to make everyone at least closer to happy.   Some sort of after-dinner drink or digestif is needed as well, though a walk will help, too.

I don’t like a cocktail before this kind of a meal…too many calories and too much alcohol, but then again, I’m a wine person.

Have beer on hand.   Get your brother-in-law’s favorite so he’ll be quiet or choose a saison, which would pair admirably with the meal if he won’t drink wine even with food.

Have lots of non-alcoholic choices. Sparkling water is pretty in a wine glass and is good for digestion for everyone, actually.  Non-alcoholic beer (Kaliber is about the best), iced Ceylon tea, and plenty of plain water are good choices.   Coffee is necessary; have the pot ready and start it when you sit down to dinner so people can help themselves.  Some will want it immediately after the meal even if they’re happy to wait hours for dessert.  If you don’t drink coffee, borrow a pot.  You can’t skip it.

C.  For the sparkler, buy a New Mexican sparkling wine like Gruet.

I suggest  Riesling for the white  (Washington state, Oregon, or New York). The lower the alcohol content, the sweeter the wine.  The alcohol content is printed on the label.  So if you like sweet, get an 8 or 9% alcohol Riesling.  11?  Much drier.  Don’t know?  I’d go with the sweeter for a group; you’re bound to have people in who want sweeter wine and your red will definitely be dry.

The red:  Oregon Pinot Noir.  It’s a splurge and it’s worth it.  If you need a lower-price Pinot Noir, choose A-Z or Angeline.  If you simply don’t like Pinot Noir (why?), buy a good California Merlot.  By the way, if you decide you like the Oregon Pinot Noir (and I’m a Pinot girl), buy a couple of extra bottles and squirrel them away in a cool, dry place for next year.  This wine doesn’t have to age terribly long to be scrumptious, but it’s usually better with a few years under its belt.  The older vintages are sometimes available, but not always.  If they are, they’re a lot more expensive.  Buy them young.

D.  If you’d like a dessert wine,  American sherry–or port– is lovely with pumpkin pie.
 A little nip of Jack in the coffee would do no one from below (or even above) the Mason-Dixon line any harm.  Save the Irish coffee for St. Patrick’s Day.

some pics of blog favorites for the holiday:

Almond-Scented Pear Crostata from More Time at the Table. 

On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment – halftime.
                                                          ~Author Unknown

Hot and spicy Cranberry Sauce cooking in the pot. It’s done quickly and can be done a day or two ahead.
My pumpkin soup topped with Parmesan and chopped peanuts. A nutritious soup for a first course is elegant and will help keep folks from overeating. 
Pecan or Derby Pie is a great Thanksgiving choice.  When else would you make it?
Spicy Cream of Pumpkin with Wendy’s Sage and Thyme
Pear-Grilled Fig Salad with Goat Cheese (dried figs are fine, too)
Don’t bake?  One-Minute Pumpkin Custard with Creme Fraiche.
Butternut and Other Squash Soup
Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables  (Leftovers make great soup.)

Potato Gratin with Rosemary Crust.  No mashed potatoes or gravy needed.  Or anything else really.

Whatever menu you choose, have fun with it.  Make things you like.  Let people bring their favorites so everyone is happy.  Don’t worry if the gravy has lumps or the turkey is cold.  No one cares if your plates match, but they do care that they’re invited.

   If your heart is warm in welcome, everyone will have a great time.
 


Heap high the board with plenteous cheer and gather to the feast,
And toast the sturdy Pilgrim band whose courage never ceased.

~Alice W. Brotherton

Sing a new song…be grateful all day long and enjoy every minute,
Alyce
Roasted Pork Loin and Hot! Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Pork Loin and Hot! Cranberry Sauce

 

New USDA regs say it’s ok if it’s a bit pink.

 

As a recipe tester for Cooks Illustrated, I get to make all kinds of things.  I mostly like them, but sometimes I don’t.  The note that arrives with each recipe always says something to the effect of:

If you don’t care for one or more of the ingredients in the dish or wouldn’t ordinarily eat it, please do not test this recipe…

So, for instance, if you hate hot stuff, don’t test the On-Fire Texas Chili.  I love to see the magazine months and months later to see recipes on which I’ve worked; I’m interested to see the final result-which may not be the recipe I saw originally.  I test recipes far out of season sometimes (I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before–) and adore that out of time and place experience that has us eating turkey in March.  That was one of the best turkeys I’ve ever eaten, by the way, but felt like it took all day to make. If you didn’t buy the magazine last January or February, the recipe is online, but you must subscribe.

Testing recipes is much like my life as a church choir director that often has me reviewing Christmas cantatas over the summer when I’m less busy.  Even now, while I’m somewhat late getting started as I didn’t begin my new job until September, I’m singing daily about the baby Jesus while folks are buying Halloween candy and setting out their pumpkins.  Of course, I, too, am setting out my pumpkins despite adoring canned pumpkin.

Worth mentioning again:  buy canned pumpkin now if you need it for Thanksgiving pies or pumpkin bread.  There is, for another year, a shortage.

A bigger meal:  Add the pumpkin soup from the last post for a first course. For starters, serve something quite light like warmed olives and a few crispy chips; this is a big meal.

Want to bake a sweet something?  Make my pear or apple crostata for this fall dinner.

Not baking?  Purchased ginger cookies and a scoop of rum raisin ice cream.  Perfect.

Wine:  This is a meal for a splurge if you’re up for it:  buy an Oregon Pinot Noir.  Or try an entry-level bottle, which are now at entry-level prices.  For instance: Ken Wright’s under $30 beginner Pinot, which is not “beginner” at all.  Another option is a (French) Côtes du Rhone– many of which are so tasty, truly fallish, and under $15.  Ask your wine shop for a recommendation about which one.  Or just pick one to try.  You’ll probably be quite satisfied.  The 1/2 cup of wine you need in the cranberry sauce will be perfect out of any of these bottles.

A note about cooking pork loin: Unless done correctly (I don’t want to say “well” as we don’t have to cook it done anymore–145 degrees F is the USDA number today), pork can be dry and tasteless.  This particular recipe, however, which I often pair with roasted vegetables, is juicy and incredibly flavorful even leftover and/or warmed up.  Great for pork tacos the next day or chopped up in a frittata, it also makes lovely sandwiches.  We like it with my hot and spicy cranberry sauce.

Drizzle cut up root vegetables with olive oil, dust well with salt, pepper, and rosemary and roast at 425 F for 35-40 minutes or at 350 for closer to an hour.
This is easy, lush, and spicy–if you want it to be. (Recipe below) Good hot or cold.

So, just for a fun change from my own kitchen’s recipes, here’s one I’ve adapted from CI, and hope you enjoy.  A 3 or 3.5 pork pork loin feeds 6 generously and a 5 # roast feeds 8.  I like to carve the loin, place it at the center of a large serving platter, and surround it with roasted vegetables.  It can be placed at the center of the table or passed and everyone can help themselves.

Roasted Pork Loin and Hot Cranberry Sauce

  •  3-5# pork loin
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons coarsely-ground black peppper
  • 2 Tablespoons finely minced fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  1. Unwrap pork loin and set in roasting pan on a cooking sprayed or lightly oiled “V” Rack if you have one.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, pepper, rosemary, and salt.  Rub spice mixture over the pork and let sit an hour.  You can do this the night before and leave it covered in the frig, too.  Let the meat come to room temperature before roasting.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  (Make sure your oven is clean.)  Place roasting pan with pork on a  rack situated at the middle of the oven and roast 30 minutes.
  4. Lower emperature to 375 degrees F and continue to roast another 30-40 minutes.  Check temperature at this point and remove from oven to rest or continue roasting until thermometer reads 145 -150 before resting.  Let sit 15-20 minutes (tented with foil) before carving.  It’s fine if it’s a bit pink and it should be juicy.
  5. Serve with a side of my Hot! Cranberry Sauce (recipe below.)

Hot! Cranberry Sauce

serves 6

  • 1 pound fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 apple, peeled, and chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (leave out if you don’t like spicy food)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Water to cover
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

In a 3 qt heavy sauce pan, place 1 pound fresh cranberries, 1/2 lemon quartered, 1/2 large apple peeled and chopped, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup (or more to taste) brown sugar.    Add water to cover fruit, the pour in 1/2 cup red wine.  Bring to a boil, and lower heat.  Simmer for about 15 minutes until cranberries pop, fruit is softened, and mixture is thick.  Stir frequently  and add water if it becomes too dry.

Remove lemon to serve or let your sour puss friend eat it.  (Oranges can be used in place of lemons or in addition.)  Serve hot or cold.  Keeps well in refrigerator for several days.    If you do not like spicy food, leave out the crushed red pepper.

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood

Busy around our house as fall takes hold.  Temperatures are dipping down toward the 40’s at night and it’s pretty dark at 7:30 am this far north.  Fall gardening chores are in swing (trimming back and covering rose bushes and cutting back hydrangeas, etc) and the leaves are still falling.  My lilac trees continue to hold green leaves, but the oak leaves from the neighbor’s yard are all over.  Along the Mississippi River, the maples are shedding leaves rapidly.  Last week, I drove to work through nearly a maelstrom of leaves flying all over the car.  When the dogs and I walk, Gabby is loving playing through the carpet of brown.

 

Below:   I couldn’t have done this if I tried.  Setting down my music bag on a dining room chair the other day, the bag caught the edge of the fall-decorated table/cloth and pulled everything off without damaging a thing.

 

 

Et voila:  set for Sunday night supper for World Food Day.

 

Pumpkin bread time.  Set out early to defrost in its wrapping.

I had Sue for dinner Monday night to celebrate the end of Opus and Olives, Book Club for wine and cheese and apple crostata on Tuesday night, Choir on Wednesday, church music friends on Friday, and 6 for dinner Sunday night for World Food Day….  It was a cooking week, but mostly did things I’ve done before and didn’t take many pictures???  Too busy, I guess.  The beautiful thing was sharing so many moments with so many people I love.

The house will be in an uproar as the kitchen floor is taken up next week and the new wooden floor installed the following week.  In between, I get a new refrigerator to replace the nearly- new refrigerator that won’t open it’s freezer side because it’s too big for the space!  So silly and wasteful.  I bought a German refrigerator, a Fisher and Paykel.  It arrives Friday to go into the dining room until the kitchen is done!

$1159 is the 2-drawer dishwasher price!

I continue to do lectionary study at St. Frances Cabrini in Prospect Park on Thursday mornings with an ever-growing group of worship planners.  While I sometimes miss my old Bible study at Faith awfully (Love you all so!), I’m so thrilled to be part of a new group.  We’re also planning an ecumenical Thanksgiving service for Monday, November 21 at Cabrini.  Time tba.

Note re salmon:  Read yesterday’s NYT article about purchasing Pacific wild salmon.  
They appear to be infected by a virus that started in the commercial fish farms.

COOK THIS NOW : 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make  by  NYT columnist and long-time cookbook author, Melissa Clark. is the newest cookbook on my shelf.   Studded with sumptuous photos, this seasonal charmer will tell you  with a delightful “voice” exactly what to cook exactly now.  Get yours soon (or today as an e-book) by clicking on the title!

Meantime, we’re about to commence a bit of travel east and west while the dust flies in the house.  Might be a hiatus in the blog, but know I’m cooking another “The Big Night” feast with the gang in Colorado.  Keep watch for pics.

In memoriam…
Saddest week for organist and friend, Roberta Kagin, who lost her dear husband Craig Alexander last week.  The stories told about this man (one goal, nearly achieved, was to race past the police dept in Woodbury 100 times going over 100mph)  were so many and indicated a love for life I couldn’t help but admire to the nth degree. At age 84, he was still in-line skating to his volunteer job comforting families at the hospital surgery waiting room.  Go, Craig, go!  The rest of us:  Live, People, Live!!

Do it all with joy and sing a new song,
Alyce

Thanksgiving-An Intimate View

Thanksgiving-An Intimate View

Thanksgiving by Walt Waldo Emerson

For each morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends.

Visiting my friend Sue last month, we talked a little about Thanksgiving.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I don’t know; I haven’t decided. I would so like something really simple,” said she.

“I know exactly what you should make,” said I.

Well, of course, I had the idea and, truthfully, had done something like it before, but I had to flesh out the menu and, naturally, try it all out. And, while I adore Thanksgiving, I know it can get out of hand. You don’t know it’s gotten out of hand until you start the dishes and are still washing glasses the next day. Mostly, it’s worth it. Occasionally, though, you want a holiday to BE a holiday for everyone, including you. Well, you and one other person, a special one.

This menu is for that Thanksgiving. I include directions for a Thanksgiving for two, which is delectable. To be two, I mean–and, yes, the food, is, too. I’d say it’s more for two with plenty of leftovers, so perhaps I’d say there’s enough for four people. The whole thing easily doubles to serve eight and so on. I began cooking this meal at 6pm and we sat down (after taking boocoo pics) at 8:15. I had time in there to have a glass of wine and a couple of teensy starters, though I did have to set the table earlier in the day. I think it could have been done more quickly if I had had the recipes worked out ahead; I was improvising and writing as I went. If you try it, let me know the time!

I had so much fun doing this meal. Isn’t that what it’s about? Hope you do, too.

MENU

  • Starters:Olives and Pistachios–set out in small bowls with wine
  • First course: Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup (bought from deli)
  • Main course: Turkey Roulade, stuffed W/ Proscuitto/Sage/Onions/Garlic
  • Sides: Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Rosemary
  • Brussel Sprouts (pan-roasted) w/ Parmesan & Pumpkin Seeds
  • Home-made Spicy Cranberry Sauce w/ Apples and Lemon
  • Bread: Corn Muffins from the bakery
  • Dessert: Pumpkin Ice Cream, purchased from grocery OR Pumpkin Custards baked the day before and refrigerated (Use any pumpkin pie filling recipe and bake custards in pammed ramekins about 30 min. at 350—No crust)
  • Drinks: Wine: A to Z Riesling and Sineann Pinot Noir- Have both! Coffee: French Roast, laced with Cognac and Whipped Cream

Cook’s Hint: Get the turkey and root vegetables in the oven and then make the brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce. Set the coffee up to be ready to push the button as soon as the meal is done. If you had no time to set the table, get your friend to do it while you cook! He or she is in charge of the wine, too. Why not?

RECIPES——

OVEN-ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES W/ ROSEMARY

2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 medium onion, cut into eighths
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
5 new potatoes, cut into fourths (don’t peel)
2T olive oil
1t Kosher salt
1/2 t freshly-ground pepper
3T fresh rosemary, minced

Place all vegetables on a large, rimmed baking sheet, mixing them well. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and rosemary. Using your hands, toss. Bake about 40 minutes until tender. You can cook these at the same time you roast the turkey; times are similar. Put these in the top oven rack and put the turkey in the bottom of the oven.

TURKEY ROULADE, STUFFED WITH PROSCUITTO/SAGE/ONIONS
1 boneless turkey breast 3-4 pounds
6 slices proscuitto
3T olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T fresh sage leaves, sliced very finely
Kosher Salt
Freshly-ground Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a small skillet, cook onion for five minutes in 1T olive oil. Add garlic and sage and saute until onion is limp. Set aside.

Lay turkey breast out flat and roll with a rolling pin until breast flattens out a little. You might need to pound it lightly. Salt and pepper the turkey well. Lay the proscuitto on breast, one piece at a time to cover, and top with the onion-sage-garlic mix. Using both hands, roll breast up gently to form a roll @5 ” thick, placing seam at bottom. Cut four 15″ pieces of kitchen twine. Slip each piece of twine under the turkey roll and tie roll together gently in four places, spacing the ties out evenly. Salt and pepper well.
Place other 2T olive oil in roasting pan and warm over medium heat on stovetop. Gently remove turkey roll to the pan and brown for 4-5 minutes, searing meat. Turn over and salt and pepper that side as well. Brown again for 4-5 minutes.

Place in bottom third of 400F oven and bake another 35-40 minutes until thermometer registers 160. (Your root vegetables are in the top of this oven) Remove from oven and let rest five minutes or so. Slice into about eight slices or as you desire.

If vegetables are done, you can still leave them in to keep very warm while the turkey rests.

PAN-ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH PARMESAN AND PUMPKIN SEEDS

12 fresh brussel sprouts, cleaned and trimmed (Take l layer of leaves off and
cut off bottom tiny core) and cut in half
2T olive oil
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, “grated” in long pieces with a potato peeler
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
Kosher Salt and freshly-ground pepper

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and add brussel sprouts. Stirring frequently to avoid burning, but still to brown nicely, cook brussel sprouts for about 10 minutes. Add parmesan and pumpkin seeds. Turn down heat to medium-low and cook until sprouts are fairly well-done, but still somewhat crispy. Take care to not burn the parmesan; it should be quite brown. Salt and pepper well.

Homemade Spicy Cranberry Sauce with Lemon and Apple

1 package fresh cranberries
Water
1/2 c brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 lemon, cut into fourths
1/2 large apple, diced, leaving peel on
1/8-1/4 t red pepper flakes to taste

In large, deep skillet, place cranberries. Add water to cover well only. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Let boil 2-3 minutes and lower heat to simmer. Cover and simmer until fruit is tender and liquid is syrupy, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room-temperature. Also good cold.

–Cook’s Note:

Easy to serve the meat and all the vegetables on one big platter:

Very easy!!! Here are my pumpkin custards…. Pie without crust.

“There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy:
When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie.”
(well, almost!)
Some Thanksgiving Books You Might Enjoy (in no order):
CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING, by Wende and Harry Devlin. (New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1971; also Aladdin Paperbacks, 1990)
This book contains a great cranberry bread recipe….
GIVING THANKS: THANKSGIVING RECIPES AND HISTORY, FROM PILGRIMS TO PUMPKIN PIE, by Kathleen Curtin, Sandra L. Oliver and Plimoth Plantation. (New York: Clarkson Potter, 2005)
THANKSGIVING 101, by Rick Rodgers. (New York: William Morrow, 2007; also in 1998 by Broadway Books)
HAPPILY GRATEFUL, compiled by Dan Zedra and Kristel Wills (Seattle: Compendium, 2009)
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING by Jean Craighead George; illus. by Thomas Locker. (New York, Putnam, 1993)
Some random thoughts about Thanksgiving——
Thanksgiving as a spiritual discipline or as a way of life is something quite interesting and lovely on which to meditate. Try it; I’d love to know what comes up.
Here are a couple of my thoughts:
I think thanksgiving is a way of living responsibly…
As a faithful person, I know I am healthier when I have a grateful heart. To not be grateful in all circumstances introduces the possibility of becoming a victim– to which there is no solution or cure.
When I live thankfully, I then live in a better place in all ways.
We all just keep working on it!
Thanksgiving, it’s not just for dinner anymore.
Sing a new song as you give thanks,
Alyce