One Ingredient, Three Ways: Cranberry Edition

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.

Orange Cranberry Scones Cooling!

Orange Cranberry Scones Cooling!

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.

Sliced oranges (shown with dried cranberries and bananas) make a great side dish for garlicky pasta.

Sliced oranges (shown with dried cranberries and bananas) make a great side dish for garlicky pasta.

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.

The Practical Cook's House Salad!

The Practical Cook’s House Salad!

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.

Delicata Squash, Brinkley Farms CSA Edition

Delicata Squash, Brinkley Farms CSA Edition

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.

The variety for arepas is endless! Experiment!

The variety for arepas is endless! Experiment!

Are you a cranberry fan? Chunky or smooth? Post your comments below! Have a wonderful eating holiday!

Send your questions, leftovers, and stuffing recipes to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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