22 November 2007

Happy T'giving

I hope all who stop by here had an enjoyable holiday and took the time to be thankful for all instances of grace in their lives.

I thought about trying to write something profound on thanksgiving for today, but nothing I wrote felt right. Instead, I thought I'd just post some pictures and recipes of my contribution to today's feast. (Hint: it's not turkey!)

Cranberry Sauce, from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat. Lawson writes that this one is so easy, there is no reason not to make the real thing. Don't even mention that gooey pasty stuff in a can that is cranberry colored!

What you need: about 1 & 1/3 bags of cranberries (500 g if you want to be precise), an orange, about 225 g of sugar(200 g sugar = 1 cup), water, and Grand Marnier.

Mix the berries with the zest and the juice of one orange. The orange I used today wasn't too juicy -- so I used two. As I've noted before -- I'm not very precise. There is a reason I don't bake. Add in the sugar, 1 tablespoon of the Grand Marnier, and 100ml of water.

Bring to a boil and let boil for 1 minute. When you start, you'll think that there isn't enough liquid for a rolling boil. Don worry: by the time it boils, you'll have enough. After the boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Your sauce may look a little runny at first, but it will thicken as it cools.

Recipe 2. I have no name for this. I tried thinking of something clever and artsy, like Looks Likes Trees in Autumn. But the problem is Looks Like Trees doesn't sound too appetizing. At least not enough to suit this dish. So, my dish-naming skills being something less desirable than I want, I decline to name this dish anything. It remains: The Thing I Make With Sweet Potatoes and Apples. Also not appealing but it does convey a sense of being a temporary name, a "I'll get around to naming it something grand...before I make it next time" sort of a name.

So, here is the inspiration for the name the dish didn't get.

And here is the (almost) finished product, ready for the oven:

The photos don't do justice to either.

For this you need: apples, sweet potatoes (or yams), cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamon, brown sugar and butter. Slice the potatoes and the apples. I used Gala apples; a granny smith would probably work better. I used my fancy-smancy crinkle cutter. It reminds me of a most-likely not true family story. My grandmother always claimed that my grandfather came up with the idea for crinkle cuts, but somebody else beat him to the patent. Nice story. What I think it means is that he thought that it would be cool to have something that would give you a neat wavy cut on a potato chip, but someone else invented it. The tree reminds me too how my grandmother once claimed we were somehow related to Joyce Kilmer, of I've never seen a poem as lovely as a tree fame. Maybe related in that he was Irish, like my Grandmother.
I smile thinking about these.

I am grateful for my crazy relatives.

Layer the potatoes and apples in a pan that has been sprayed lightly with vegetable oil spray. Sprinkle 1/2 - 1 cup (to taste) of brown sugar on the top. (I actually use Splenda Brown Sugar Baking mix.) Also sprinkle: cinnamon, cloves (not too much!), nutmeg and cardamon. Throw some walnut quarters on top. Pat with butter. Cover loosely with foil and bake for about 1 hr. (Or in my case, after 45 minutes realize this must be the scheduled outage for the oven thermo control. Then realize you need to be a sister's in 15 and you have raw potatoes. Switch to other oven, at 500 degrees (because it won't get any hotter), and bake for 20 minutes to heat through. Forget to replace cover, so burn most of the nuts. Realize that this makes it look even more like the tree as the burnt walnuts look purple. Be thankful for two ovens. Keep dish covered so that it continues to bake after you take it out of the oven. It's ready to eat after about 20 minutes. Enjoy this sweet dish that is almost as good as pie. Your kitchen will smell like wonderful spicy for awhile afterwards.

The potato/apples/walnut dish got great reviews from the hungry crowd. Of course, it could be the sure-fire secret to anything brought to a pitch-in: put it in a really nice looking dish. It will taste 10 times better.


(un)relaxeddad said...

I must admit, that's the most well-thumbed cook book in our kitchen (apart from the inherited and still invaluable Margueritte(sp?) Patten.

Smithereens said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you! I just find cranberries as a juice here, but the sauce does look good!

stefanie said...

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! That cranberry sauce looks delicious!

Cam said...

UnRelaxed: I love this cookbook, even though I struggle to do the conversions. I should just get a food scale. It's really much more sensible for dry goods than measuring by volume. Whenever I travel, I pick up a cookbook. This was one that I almost abandoned due to its weight. I'm glad that I didn't.

Stefanie & Smithereens: you should try this sauce. We ended up with two cranberry sauces (the other made by my BIL with rum -- yum!) but neither made it to the table. I enjoyed mine for breakfast and lunch today.

I think next time I make this, I'll cut the sugar in half. I use Splenda instead of sugar. Although it claims to measure the same, I think it makes things too sweet.

chiefbiscuit said...

mmm ... Loverly food indeed!