Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce

Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce

Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce

I think that cranberries are one of the best things about this time of year.  They appear on the scene as fresh fruit at just the right time.  All the color outside has just about disappeared and everything is looking very “gray”.   That probably won’t last long as we have a forecast for snow starting tomorrow.  (I so hope the forecasters are wrong!)  Anyway, cranberries show up with their perfect red color and suddenly things are looking up.

At one time way back when, I was very neutral toward cranberries.  Like,  “Oh, yeah, cranberry sauce with turkey..that’s nice”; and that’s all I thought they were good for.  But now-a-days, because they freeze so easily, we can cook and bake with the little jewels all year long.  But somehow they seem most welcome in the fall and through the Holidays.  I really think it’s because of their wonderful color when everything else around us is so drab.  They’re bright and cheerful, make you smile, and they’re a very flattering shade of red.

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Oh, you are SO gorgeous !

 

Now their flavor is something else!!  Most people are scared of a cranberry.  My goodness, how do you sweeten it up?  Try eating just one…..raw.    That little baby has major pucker power.  They are so tart they make an average lemon seem like a wimp.  But you know, that’s really the best part.  Cranberries provide a contrast.  Think about your favorite foods, aren’t there contrasts involved?  Savory against sweet; sweet decadent desserts with a little salt;  a crunchy topping on a smooth custardy base;  and cranberries—all twisted up with something sweet really get to shine.

Well cranberry sauce is like that.   A contrast in and all by itself.   It’s sweet, but it’s tart.  It can be smooth and jellied, or chunky and rough.   It’s satisfying and flavorful on its own, and it gets even better when other fruits are added to it.  Citrus fruits pair with cranberries very well, especially oranges, so I add some zest and some juice.  I also add some lime, the zest and juice, to deepen that layer of citrus you detect.   Making my own fresh cranberry sauce is so fun and this recipe can be dressed up with additional fruits like chopped apples, or pears and some raisins to turn it into a chutney.  Think of it as a garnish to go with whatever you may be serving and have some fun with it.  Cranberry with pineapple and ham, anyone?

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WHOLE CRANBERRY SAUCE

Yield:   about 12 servings, or 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked overIMG_8614
  • 2 cups granulated sugar  ( I use about 1  3/4 cups, as we like it less sweet)
  • 1 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp. grated lime peel
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup water

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Directions:

1.  Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.   Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes until the berries pop.

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Skim off any large amount of foam that may form on the surface.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

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2.  This sauce will thicken nicely as it cools because of the high level of pectin in the cranberries.  Store in the refrigerator in a covered container.  Serve with chicken or turkey, or any other entree of your choice.

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Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

Sweet sugary oranges and tangerines, bittersweet grapefruit, tangy lemons, zingy limes:  These juicy fragrant fruits are at their best at this time of year, just when you need their bright flavors the most.  They add so much to simple salads, roasted meats and dreamy desserts.

For those reasons and more I love to incorporate citrus fruits into my cooking.  In today’s recipe I will be using oranges to enhance the umami flavor of pork chops.  The orange is used in two forms, the juice supplies liquid and some sweetness for the sauce, while orange marmalade provides pectin to give the glaze a syrupy body and balances out the sweetness of the orange juice with a touch of bitterness that is very pleasant.  This is a new recipe that I was trying out, and found that it was quite simple to make and we both loved it.  I know I will be making this again soon while all this bright citrus is so plentiful.

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ORANGE-MUSTARD GLAZED PORK CHOPS

Yield:   Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:IMG_6191

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
  • 2 Tbsp. orange marmalade
  • 1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 4 bone-in pork loin chops (1-inch thick)
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.

2.  Combine orange juice, marmalade, and mustard in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until syrupy.

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3.  Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat.  Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.  Add to pan;  cook 5 minutes or until browned.  Turn pork over; add rosemary and onion to pan.  Pour juice mixture over pork; bake at 425*F for 10-15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 140*.  Place rosemary and onion on a platter.  Return skillet to medium-high heat; cook about 4 minutes till liquid is syrupy.  Add pork to platter, drizzle with sauce.

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The colors of this dish were so attractive that I served it directly from the skillet it was cooked in.

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SOURCE:   COOKING LIGHT

When Life Hands You Lemons

Citrusy, smooth lemon curd.

Citrusy, smooth lemon curd.

When life hands you lemons, don’t just make lemonade, make lemon curd!….  Fresh lemons are a must in this recipe and they give it unbeatable flavor. When lemons are so plentiful in the marketplace, this is the time of year to make it.   For a lime-curd variation, substitute lime rind and juice.

Curd is a common tea-time treat, usually slathered on toast or scones.  It is so versatile.  British cooks also use it as a filling in trifles, tarts and cakes.   Lemon meringue pie is, essentially, lemon curd wearing a crown of meringue.

Traditionally curds are made with egg yolks and plenty of butter.  This recipe uses whole eggs and cornstarch, then you stir in a couple of tablespoons of butter at the end to achieve the velvety texture expected from curd, but with less fat and fewer calories.  Homemade curd will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week, you also can freeze it in a lidded container or zip-lock bag.  Thaw frozen curd in the refrigerator and use it within one week of thawing.

LEMON CURD

YIELD:   2 1/2 cups

Few ingredients, but big flavor!

Few ingredients, but big flavor!

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 5 medium lemons
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1.  Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium heavy saucepan, stirring with a whisk.  Stir in juice and eggs;  bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat;  add butter and lemon rind, stirring gently until butter melts.

2.  Spoon mixture into a medium bowl to cool.  Cover and chill at least 6 hours or overnight (mixture will thicken as it cools).

I wish you could scratch and taste this picture!

I wish you could scratch and taste this picture!

I had a plan in mind when I made this curd.  Be sure to stop back next week to see what I did with it…….

Serving size:   1 Tablespoon      Calories, 35;  Fat, 1 g.  Carb., 6.4 g.

SOURCE:    Cooking Light Annual Recipes, 2007

Citrus Waffles with Marmalade Compote

Citrus Waffles with Orange Compote

Citrus Waffles with Orange Compote

Every once in a while I pull a surprise  meal and we have “breakfast for supper”.  The events last weekend provided me with just such an opportunity.  We had plans for Sunday that would have included a meal but at the last minute they were unexpectedly cancelled .  I was then faced with the need to come up with a meal that I had not planned for.  So, breakfast for supper was the perfect solution.

Running in parallel  was my desire to incorporate more citrus into our diet.  So I came up with this idea for adding grated orange zest to my waffle batter and making an orange compote to spoon over the top.  Brilliant, if I do say so myself  🙂  I like to add some whole wheat flour to waffles as another way to get in some fiber, and I also added some wheat germ.  Buttermilk makes waffles nice and light if you have some, but you can sour milk and get the same results just by adding a little vinegar to the amount of milk called for.  A non-stressful Sunday evening supper that turned out better than I expected.

COMPOTE

Orange Compote

Orange Compote

YIELD:   Serves 6

Make the compote first and keep warm while you make the waffles.

  • 1/4 cup reduced- sugar orange marmalade  (such as Smucker’s)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cups fresh orange sections, or any combination of orange and grapefruit.  I used a Cara Cara orange, a navel orange and a clementine.

To prepare compote:   place first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat;  cook 2 minutes until marmalade melts.  Reduce heat, and gently stir in orange sections;  keep warm.

WAFFLES

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flourIMG_3264
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1  1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1  1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
  • powdered sugar

1.  To prepare the waffles:  lightly spoon both flours into a bowl.  Add brown sugar through nutmeg and stir with a whisk.

2.  Combine buttermilk and next ingredients through egg.  Add this mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Wet and dry ingredients ready to be combined.

Wet and dry ingredients ready to be combined.

3.  Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat it.   Spoon batter onto hot waffle iron, spreading out to edges.  Cook 5 minutes or  until steaming stops.  Repeat with remaining batter, keeping waffles warm in a low oven until ready to serve.

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4.   Sift powdered sugar over tops of waffles and serve with warm orange compote.  Maple syrup tastes really good on them as well!

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SOURCE:   a Carolyn Original

A Breath of Sunshine

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We are growing tired of winter winds whipping, snow piled up in hugh mountains, and very little green(ery) to be seen.  So along comes a breath of sunshine in the form of citrus fruits to remind us of warm weather and sunnier times.  The bright colors of oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits, are so cheerful, and they show up in the produce isles just when we need them most.  I don’t know about you, but I am ready for a little warm weather fling.

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Citrus fruits are an equal opportunity ingredient, happy in either savory dishes or sweet.  For example, I use orange segments in green salad to brighten it up and give the salad a little interest and of course I bake with citrus, especially lemons. This post is not going to be using words like zippy, zingy, tangy and tart to describe the flavors of citrus.   You don’t need me to tell you what a lemon tastes like, or how frequently a recipe calls for lemon juice.  In fact I don’t know of a cuisine that does not use citrus in one way or another.  It’s the citric acid that brightens food and makes it come alive.  Often its there,  you don’t know it, but it provides balance.

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One of my favorite uses for lemons is to make lemon squares.  With the abundance of  all this citrus, I decided to indulge myself and make a batch.   This recipe uses oatmeal as one of the ingredients in the cookie base and the topping, so you get a nice little crunch in every bite.  Paired with the smooth creaminess of the lemon filling, this makes a very satisfying dessert or snack.

LEMON CREME SQUARES

YIELD:   12 squaresIMG_3154

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  •  zest of 1 lemon

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F,  and lightly grease a 9″ x 9″ pan

2.  In a large bowl cut butter into brown sugar until they are well combined.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Add this mixture and the oats to the butter mixture and mix to combine.  This will be quite dry and crumbly.

4.  Press half the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, and press down lightly.

5.   In a small bowl mix together the condensed milk, lemon juice and zest.

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Spread evenly on top of the oat mixture in the pan.  Top with the remaining oat mixture.

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6.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Let cool and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.  Cut into bars and store in the refrigerator.

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SOURCE:   TASTE OF HOME BAKING