Gentle Readers, the season of eating is upon us. The Practical Cook believes that Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the serious eating holidays. Of course, this also means that people who never set foot in a grocery store are suddenly throwing elbows in the produce aisle.
And for the nice lady looking for water chestnuts, no, they’re not in produce. But I digress. One of my favorite seasonal ingredients is more of a year-round item: cranberries. I am a fan of the sauce in all its forms, though I will fully admit being spoiled by my cousin’s homemade edition. It’s on the menu for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, thank goodness.
However, in the off-season, canned (and I like both whole berry and smooth) are nice counterpoints to poultry and winter squash. But I digress.
One ingredient, 3 ways: Cranberry Edition
1. Dried Cranberries in a Salad: This is the go-to salad of Team Practical Cook. TPC’s Junior were raised on it, and can make it blindfolded. Mixed greens, walnuts (or pecans if you prefer), goat cheese (the Juniors have a preference here, local and not too goaty), dried cranberries (we like Trader Joe’s orange-scented ones for variety), topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
2. Dried Cranberries in Stuffing: This could be a traditional bread-based stuffing in place of apples or apricots, or in addition for that matter, or a wild rice number like we’re doing. I’m going to blend wild rice with pecans and dried cranberries, use some veggie stock for moisture, and stuff into 3 kinds of winter squash (acorn, delicata, yellow acorn). The orange plus red is lovely and delicious.
3. Cranberry Sauce on Savory Pancakes: Think of this as American hoisin sauce. You could make a chive pancake, a cornmeal arepa, or just a less sweet pumpkin or sweet potato pancake. Top with leftover cranberry sauce and thank me later. This one stems from an incident years ago when TPC’s Dad accidentally selected cranberry sauce instead of strawberry jam for breakfast. I still laugh a river of tears and my brother and I can’t speak the word cranberry without reenactment.
Are you a cranberry fan? Chunky or smooth? Post your comments below! Have a wonderful eating holiday!
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