Dave and I were so excited to spend some time with Kara in her classroom where we got to do "math workshop" together. One of my favorite parts was getting a chance to look at all of the student work around the room. Gotta love elementary school teachers - their classroom decorating skills are out of this world. My favorite piece was Kara's picture/answer to the prompt: "What makes you happy?" To which she answered, "Playing with my brother". Seriously, I almost started to cry. But the thing that made me chuckle was her answer to the question: "What is your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?" She answered, "Having a feast." Girl after my own heart!
For reasons that I don't entirely understand, I have been fretting about Thanksgiving dinner this year. I can't quite explain why. I have made the Thanksgiving "feast," as my daughter calls it, many times. But for some reason, this year I have been paralyzed by all of the choices out there. My usual tendency would be to try all kinds of new things, but I am only cooking for four adults and two kids so serving three kinds of stuffing seems a little overboard.
Yesterday, I took a step towards ending my Turkey Day Anxiety Syndrome and cooked up some cranberry sauce and some cranberry chutney. Now, I really like canned cranberry sauce of any variety - even the jellied kind that shows the rings from the tin can. But on Thanksgiving, I think it is only right to make your own cranberry sauce from scratch - especially since making cranberry sauce "from scratch" is one of the easiest aspects of the feast. Brace yourself, it's pretty complicated:
- Rinse a bag of cranberries.
- Put in a pot with 1 cup of orange juice and 1 cup of sugar.
- Cook at a simmer until the berries pop and the sauce thickens.
This makes a spicy, sweet and thick chutney. I tried some on my chicken last night, and it was superb.
-In a large sauce pan combine:
- 1 bag (or about 3 cups) fresh cranberries
- 1-2 cups onions finely chopped. I used half red and half white.
- 1/2 to 1 cup dried pineapple chopped. (In my recipe search, I saw many that called for chopped fresh pineapple, so I think I would try that next time. Let me tell you, chopping dried pineapple was a pain. And it wasn't easy to find dried pineapple that didn't contain extra "pineapple flavors". What the heck? That is scary.)
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2-3 tbsp fresh ginger finely chopped
- Zest of one orange
- 1/4 cup orange juice - plus more if the chutney gets to thick
- 1 cup vinegar - I used half red wine and half cider.
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1-2 cups sugar depending on your tastes. I recommend starting with one cup and adding extra as you go along.
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or pepper flakes
-If you are going to preserve some, prepare jars/lids, leave 1/2 inch headspace and process 10 minutes.