Cranberries Recipes

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Cranberry Bars with Chestnut Spread and Crushed Pecans Recipe

As Thanksgiving approaches, I've been giving more thought to new dessert recipes to go with the traditional pecan and pumpkin pies that we make each year. I recently had an absolutely delicious lemon bar, and it occurred to me that a modified cranberry sauce would be a good substitute for the lemon curd.

I used shortbread as the cookie layer. Shortbread is very easy to make, and the buttery and crumbly texture is a nice foil to the sweet and tart flavor of the cranberries. Once the shortbread had baked, I spread a thin layer of chestnut spread over it. The chestnut spread balances the tartness of the jellied cranberries.

To make the cranberry jelly, I added guava in place of the usual orange juice to give the jelly sweetness as well as a more complex flavor. (It also reminds me of our recent anniversary trip to Cancun). Guava is not really in keeping with the season, so if you prefer, apple juice would be fine, but I think the guava has more depth. The goal is to limit the sourness of the jelly because after all, we're making a dessert.

After applying a generous layer of the cranberry spread to the bars, I finished them with a sprinkling of chopped pecans.


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Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce with Kumquat and Jalapeno Recipe

We make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving every year, and every year at the end of the meal there's a bowl full of cranberry sauce left-over. It's not that we don't like cranberries; they have a great flavor that I make user of in stuffing, cakes and drinks. Cranberry sauce, though, is a bit one-dimensional, so I've been on a quest to come up with a version that is more food than Thanksgiving table ornament.

After several trials, I think I've come up with some small additions to a traditional cranberry sauce recipe that really give it new life. I added roasted and chopped jalapeños for a little heat, kumquat zest for a touch of citrus, and brown sugar to mellow out the sweetness with hints of caramel. I knew I was on to something because Lulu was eating it all by itself!

If you're like me and the idea of cranberry sauce has been more appealing than the reality, I can tell you that with a few simple modifications you may actually come to enjoy some cranberry sauce with your turkey.


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Cranberry Apple Cider Recipe

Cranberry Apple Cider

11.18.09 by Jackie

Cranberries and apples are a great flavor combination. In the past, I've made a cake and stuffing with this dynamic duo that both turned out wonderfully. I usually make a large pot of hot apple cider for Thanksgiving, but I thought this year it would be fun to add fresh cranberries to the drink.

The tartness of the cranberries is a nice foil to the apple cider spices. And the color is a glorious crimson, which is perfect for the season. I couldn't think of a better cure for the absolutely freezing weather we've been having here (which in the Bay Area means a 65°F daytime temperature). Don't laugh; last night it got down to 40°F!


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Cranberry Apple Stuffing Recipe

Cranberry Apple Stuffing

11.12.09 by Jackie

I love Thanksgiving food. I have to thank my husband for introducing me to the tradition; he's been making his family's meal from scratch every year since he was a teenager. Most of the recipes I make now are adaptations of the ones he refined in the past.

I enjoy the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the yams, the gravy and the pies, but my favorite is the stuffing (or dressing, depending on how you use it).

Of all the Thanksgiving dishes, it's the most complex in flavor and texture. The other dishes are more singular in quality. Yams are sweet. Mashed potatoes are creamy. Sure, they can have some variation and subtlety, but most often, these dishes are really celebration of a single ingredient.

Stuffing is the harmony that contrasts the melody created by all the other Thanksgiving sides. It is also the most flexible of all the dishes, and is very forgiving of modification and experimentation. Not to mix metaphors, but croutons form a perfect canvas upon which many contrasting and complementary flavors can be layered.

For this particular stuffing recipe I used apples and cranberries, both fall flavors, for sweetness.  The apples also provide a crunch that's an excellent foil to the softness of the bread. To the usual suspects of celery, carrots and onions, I added shallots and king mushrooms. The mushrooms in particular add an earthy and meaty quality to the dish. All the ingredients were amply seasoned with Italian seasoning and a little lemon zest.


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Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Beluga Lentils and Sage-Flavored Croutons Recipe

The butternut squash risotto was such a success last week that everyone was asking for more. I've learned that it's not a great idea to repeat the same dishes too often, even when requested, because eventually everyone gets tired of them. As opposed to making another main course, I decided to prepare a fresh salad that really shows off the versatility of butternut squash.

Instead of roasting the butternut squash with cumin and saffron as I did for the risotto, I glazed it with maple and flavored it with fresh sage. Sage is one of the most prolific herbs in our garden; it literally grows like weeds. This was a great opportunity to put it to good use, and I did so on multiple occasions in this dish.

I wanted to give this salad a real Fall feel, so I made a pomegranate vinaigrette and paired it with sage-infused oil. Continuing with the theme, I topped the salad with dried cranberries and sage-flavored croutons. The crunch of the croutons provides an excellent textural foil to the soft roasted butternut squash and the crispness of the greens.

Thanksgiving is not too far off, and if you're looking for a new addition to your table, this salad is a healthy and delicious option. Enjoy!


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