Every year, I promise myself I will prepare the menu for Thanksgiving dinner well in advance. I will be inventive. I will be calm. I will be brilliant. I will certainly not find myself running out to the grocery store at the eleventh hour.
Every year, I am wrong.
I deceive myself repeatedly. And, in doing so, I deprive all of you of Thanksgiving ideas by failing to blog in advance about my meal selections. It’s a curse of sorts, which is made all the more unfortunate when I acknowledge Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
This year is really no different. While I am terribly excited about Thanksgiving (a day on which I plan to suspend all carbohydrate restrictions) I can’t help but find myself preoccupied with all sorts of baby related thoughts. After all, my little one is scheduled to arrive in less than a month. In case you aren’t interested in doing the math, that translates to an awfully short span of time.
Where does the time go?
It’s clearly winter.
As I sit here typing this post, there are delicate white flakes of snow drifting down from the sky. The pictures above were taken outside our home on Monday morning. And, while the snow is gorgeous and intoxicating in its quiet beauty, I continue to drift into babyland. I wonder if it be snowing when I go into labor? Will we be able to make it safely to the hospital? Will my baby be born in the car? And, if this is the case, will I save money on the birth? Surely, I won’t be billed if I deliver her myself?
Clearly, there is lots to consider. I want to be clear, however. I am more excited than fearful. I also find myself daydreaming about more pleasant baby things. What will the baby look like? Will she have my red hair and freckles or K’s toe-haired Norwegian looks?
Will she like cranberries as much as I do? I certainly hope so. They are an important part of my life even if they are really only ingested once a year during this lovely season of Thanksgiving.
This, of course, is actually the purpose of this post.
How do you feel about them? I understand there are a number of folks out there who don’t care for them. I’m quite sorry to hear this, but I suppose it leaves more of them for the rest of us. I find cranberries absolutely addictive. I use them in pancakes and breads. I freeze them for later occasions and, of course, I use them to make a generous helping of cranberry sauce for the Thanksgiving holiday every year.
So, although this is a tad late, I give you my favorite recipe for cranberry sauce today. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s mildly flavored with tart apple and orange. It will be placed directly in front of me tomorrow evening. If you don’t already have a recipe, I highly recommend this one.
Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce
2 cups water
1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Squeeze the juice from the orange and set the juice aside. Remove and discard the membrane from inside the orange rind and cut the rind into small dice. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the rind and the water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.
Peel, core and quarter the apple. Cut into 1/2-inch dice and place in a saucepan. Sort the cranberries, discarding any soft ones. Add to the apples along with the orange juice, orange rind, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan partially. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the cranberry sauce to a heatproof bowl and let cool for 1 hour before serving. Or cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a sauceboat and pass at the table.
Makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups.
Source: Williams Sonoma