Sunday, November 24, 2013

Countdown to eating a lot, part 3: Cranberries!

And we're back to recipes! I just finished completing my Thanksgivingukah shopping list and here's the tentative menu:

Turkey a la Dan
Kielbosa-apple stuffing
Potato-onion kugel
Baked marinated tofu with 2 sauces (tomato-olive and chimichurri)
Kasha Varnishkes with onion-mushroom marmalade
Zucchini "pudding"
"2 Fat Ladies" Parsnip puree
Curried brussel sprouts
Sweet and sour cabbage
Creamed onions with bacon
Sweet potato corn bread
Cranberry-ginger compote
Buttermilk pies (one with fruit, one without)
Pear-cranberry pie
Pumpkin pie
Apple Pie Ice Cream
"Sufganiyot" Ice Cream (Basically a jelly donut ice cream)
Date-pistachio balls

Meat, vegetarian, kosher,'s got it all! You can see one of the experiments earlier this month is on the menu, while the other got cut out of the final list. So it goes...

But I do say this is "tentative" in that sometimes recipes get tweaked at the last minute. And sometimes there have been a few accidents. (The "spilled salt" incident totally killed one of these last year!)

Some of these are based on recipes found in cookbooks, but most have been tweaked by me. The exception is the 2 Fat Ladies dish. Such a decadent artery regular Thanksgiving guests insist I make it the "traditional way" every year.

And the first thing I always cook is the cranberry compote. I love cranberries. I stock up on them, toss them in my freezer and use them throughout the year. 

My freezer before I went shopping!

 I love that cranberries freeze easy. I also love that most cranberries are fine to buy. No real brand preference for me. Or the excuse to try to be artisinal:

Do you hipsters honestly think Whole Foods just didn't dump a couple of bags into this water? Sheesh!

Ah, that makes me laugh every time I see it. 

But here we go with my happy, non-artisinal dish:

The Streamlined Ska Librarian's Cranberry-Ginger Compote

There are actually only three ingredients (plus one optional):

1 bag cranberries
maple syrup
fresh ginger (a large piece)
Optional booze of choice (this time we're using a Ginepro grappa, a gift from my hosts during my French vacation, although bourbon, rye and even tequila have been used in the past).

Rinse cranberries and pick out any bad ones.

Place in pot with enough maple syrup to cover

Cook over medium-low heat until simmering. 

Peel and cut ginger into small pieces and add to pot. Stir as needed.
(You can also squeeze the ginger juice directly in)  

As it thickens, you can, if you wish, add a few good splashes of the liquor.

Continue cooking down until it forms a thickened mixture:

Let cool and place in covered container. It can be refrigerated for several days (which is why I make it first!)

The tartness of the cranberry and the bite of the ginger work well with the earthy sweetness of maple syrup. And the grappa gives it a nice herbal finish. This also works well as an ice cream topping. 

Now we're on to ice cream making!

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