Julia Child’s Cranberry Relish, Again

Most every year since 1982 – so, going on four decades – I have made this cranberry relish to enjoy and share with friends for the holidaze season.

And share is the correct term for the original recipe, which makes four plus pints, which, even if you really love cranberry relish, is kinduva lot, especially this year, when we are all scaling back the size of our celebrations and feasts.

But, fear not!

This year, I am featuring my scaled back version of what, to me, anyway, is a classic.

Coming in at just over two pints, this makes more than enough relish to enjoy over Thanksgiving, and to share, as I did, a jar with a good friend.

INGREDIENTS
Pulverized Zest:
•Zest of 1 orange
•Zest of 1/2 lemon
•1/2 cup sugar

Sauce:
•24 oz cranberries (2 bags)
•3/4 cup orange juice
•1 tbsp lemon juice
•1 cup sugar
•1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Wash and sort through the cranberries, discarding any woody stems and wilted berries.

Place the 1/2 cup of sugar in a blender or a mini food processor with the orange and lemon zest and pulse until pulverized.

Add the sorted cranberries to a pot with the orange juice, lemon juice, cup of sugar, and ginger, along with the pulverized orange zest and sugar mixture.

Stir to mix, then cook over medium heat, stirring often, until it comes to a boil.

Continue to boil for three minutes, still stirring, until the berries have burst, then remove from the heat and let rest for 30 minutes or so.

Give it a taste.

Yeh, you can add more sugar, return to medium heat, and cook and stir until the sugar is dissolved, but…

This is a relish, designed to accompany and compliment turkey (or chicken, or, for that matter, ham) as a main course side, so go ahead and embrace that little bit of tartness.

Your feast palate will thank you.

Store the cooled cranberry relish in covered container(s) in the fridge until needed.

I have kept mine safely in the fridge through to new year, but a more practical food health and safety time line would be more like two weeks tops.

Happy Holidaze!

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Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

I was in the mood for pork chops, and since I had part of a jar of pretty decent sauerkraut in the fridge from those tasty Reubens, it would seem that pork chops and sauerkraut would be the way to go.

And, since I had already settled on serving Apple Cider Pork Stuffing with apple and onion, it made sense to use apple and onion here as well, so, I went to da google.

Hmmm. Parts of one recipe looked good, as did parts of others, so, I made stuff up!

And, I am glad I took notes, because, YUM!

INGREDIENTS
•2 tbsp bacon fat (or olive oil)
•2 thick cut, bone-in pork chops
•3 cups sauerkraut, drained
•1 apple, diced
•1 onion, diced
•2 tbsp brown sugar
•1 tsp dried mustard
•1 tsp dried thyme
•1/2 tsp dried oregano
•1/2 tsp celery salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste

Stir the brown sugar together with the dried mustard, thyme, oregano, celery salt, and the black and Aleppo pepper, then stir in the hot sauce.

Note: this is not a “spicy” recipe, the hot sauce just helps to build the flavor.

Heat your oven to 350º.

Add the diced apple and onion and toss to coat evenly.

Melt the bacon fat (or olive oil) in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the chops and cook for five minutes, until browned. Turn the chops over and cook for another five minutes or so to brown the other side.

Transfer the chops to a baking dish.

Add the seasoned apple and onion to the skillet and sauté for five minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the sauerkraut, and toss to combine.

Arrange the sauerkraut mixture over and around the chops in the baking dish, then cover tightly with foil and bake for one hour.

Remove from the oven, uncover and let rest for five minutes before serving.

 

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Apple Cider Stuffing

Thanksgiving is coming, and soon!

I’ve ordered my turkey (from Popeye’s – wicked good, if you have not tried one – and well worth the $40), and plan on making our new fave Italian Beef Stuffing, but then, a friend of mine reminded me of this (also wicked good) hack to turn a box of stuffing mix into something worthy of The Day.

The secret?

Apple Cider!

Yep!

My friend, Lorrie, had shared a memory of the cider stuffing on facebook, and, coincidentally, I had been having a taste for Pork Chops Baked With Sauerkraut (c’mon back tomorrow for those details) and then, my market had this pork flavored stuffing on sale for something like 90¢!

Kismet! Apple Cider Pork Stuffing!

Now, you don’t really need to add anything but the cider and some butter, and it will be good; but I added some chopped onion and celery cooked in a bit of bacon fat to make it just a little bit better.

INGREDIENTS
•1 box stuffing mix
•1 cup apple cider
•4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
•Bacon fat (or olive oil)
•Diced onion
•Diced Celery

Warm the bacon fat in a large pan over medium heat, then add the onion and celery (and, really, any other veggies you particularly like in stuffing) and cook for eight minutes or so, until the tender.

Add the butter and the cup of cider and bring to a boil, stirring to help melt the butter.

Remove from the heat, stir in the stuffing, then cover the pan and let rest for five minutes or so.

Fluff the stuffing and serve.

Really, easy enough for Monday night, but tasty enough to serve at The Feast!

Note: this will work with most any flavor of stuffing mix; I used pork because, well, it was cheap, and it was there, and we were having those pork chops.

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Rolls, Garlic Butter Spirals

The last two weeks before Thanksgiving means that it is time to plan.

Like, this year, mebbe that one person who always brings the rolls cannot come.

What to do?

Well, you could, certes, buy store made bread or rolls.

Or, you could take a page from the past and bring out the crescent rolls!

My mom’s staple for fancy or feast meals never looked or tasted so good, thanks to a hack from the very nice folk at Pillsbury.

INGREDIENTS
•1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
•2 tbsp butter, melted
•1 tsp Italian seasoning
•1/2 tsp garlic powder
•2 or 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Note: as a further (and wicked tasty) hack, look in your local market’s dairy case by the butter and eggs. If you are very lucky, you will find specialty butters, such as this (one of my favorites), which means you can skip the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese. Unless you’d like some extra of any of that.

Come to think of it, a dab o’ your fave hot sauce stirred in to the melted butter might could be a good thing as well.

But…

back to the rolls!

Heat your oven to 375º and line a baking pan with parchment paper.

Open the tube of rolls and, instead of unrolling, slice the dough into 12 equal pieces. A serrated knife with a little cooking spray applied works a treat for this.

Arrange the slices on the parchment lined baking pan.

If making your own seasoned butter; melt the butter, then stir in the Italian seasoning and garlic powder.

Brush over the dough slices, then sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese.

If using seasoned butter from the market; simply melt and brush over the dough slices.

Pop into the hot oven and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

These rolls will soon be a fave addition to most any meal – from full-on feast to a simple Spicy Shrimp, Chickpea, Tomato, and Spinach Salad.

And… if you happen to have any leftovers, they are pretty nice at room temp with a schmear of cream cheese.

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Oven Barbecued Ribs

Yesterday, I posted my latest riff on altered barbecue sauce – Pepper Relish ‘n Pineapple – and it was good.

Now, this sauce is no doubt wicked fine on chicken. And burgers. And shrimp. And salmon, too.

But…

I had planned this particular batch for a rack of ribs I had in the fridge, and so, that is exactly what I did.

Now, before purists note that “barbecue” has to be done on a grill or in a smoker, well…

Too bad; get your own food blog.

Also, too, the first part of preparing these ribs insures that, if you do “barbecue” your ribs on a grill of some sort, they will be tender and tasty and just about all you could hope for something coming off a fire.

INGREDIENTS
•Pork ribs (I used one rack)
•Your fave seasoning
•Liquid smoke (I prefer mesquite)
•Barbecue sauce

Note: feel free to add chopped onion and/or celery and/or garlic to the baking pan; I usually do, but was feeling lazy this time. Still turned out great.

Heat your oven to 350º.

Rub both sides of the ribs with your seasoning(s) of choice and arrange, meaty side up, in single layer in a baking dish.

Add a couple of drops of liquid smoke, if you like, then cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 75 minutes.

Pour off any pan juices.

At this point, you can opt to grill, or – and really, they will still be wicked good – finish them off in the oven.

Brush the ribs with your Pepper Relish ‘n Pineapple Sauce – or – really, any barbecue sauce you prefer – and return, to the oven.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, then turn the ribs over, brush with additional sauce, and bake for 30 minutes more.

Remove from the oven and enjoy.

Note: leftovers, if you have any, are also a fine addition to spaghetti sauce.

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Pepper Relish ‘n Pineapple Barbecue Sauce

I make a pretty nice Barbecue Sauce, if I do say so myself, but, it’s not only me; I honestly have folk across the country hoping that they will be on my holidaze list for a jar or three.

But…

there are times when I like to zip things up, such as this rack of ribs I was planning for a mellow November’s weekend evening dinner. And then, I turn to my pantry and start to play…

Note: this recipe is made with my own home made barbecue sauce and pepper relish, as well as my take on Arby’s sauce; but the beauty is, you can swap out most any of the ingredients for things in your pantry.

Like… 12 ounces of your fave store bought barbecue sauce, and mebbe eight ounces of jelly – cherry works a treat. Then, feel free to use cherry cola, or even orange juice, for the pineapple juice, and fill in with a bit of your fave hot sauce and, perhaps, a dab o’ Tamari. I will wager you will be pleased.

INGREDIENTS
•12 oz Barbecue Sauce
•8 oz Pepper Relish
•6 oz pineapple juice
•1 tbsp Arby’s Sauce
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Combine the ingredients together in a two-quart sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about an hour, until the sauce has thickened a bit and the color has turned a deep red.

Remove from the heat and cool before stashing in the fridge or using on chicken or ribs or salmon or burgers or???

Note: this amount is perfect for one rack of pork ribs. Those details, tomorrow.

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Survey Sez…

A colleague of mine is working with some marketing students at a local university on their semester project, and they reached out to ask if I could help to distribute the following survey. If y’all could help, that would be cool, and, who knows, if this idea takes hold, you can look back and say…

“Hey! I helped out with that!”

Back to more usual posts tomorrow, but for now, allow me to turn you over to the survey…

“I am a market research major who is currently a senior at Elmhurst University. I am currently taking a Marketing Capstone course and am working with two other classmates on a semester project, where we have to develop a unique idea for a product or service and introduce a five year marketing plan to bring the product or service to market. My group has decided that our service is going to be a rental system where consumers can rent high quality kitchen tools (nice knives, etc.) and appliances (KitchenAid mixers, sous vide machines, etc.) for a short time period. If you could please take this survey we would greatly appreciate it! Thank you!”

Click this link to participate.

https://elmhurst.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dolvAnfGC7JUybj

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Best! Tartar Sauce and Bonus! Rémoulade!

It has been a sunny, warm November day, which began with coffee and champagne – always a great start to a day – so, let’s have a bonus Saturday post!

It was recently a fish and chips night, so I needed to make some tartar sauce.

I have cobbled this version from recipes for tartar sauce from Howard Johnson’s (surprisingly sophisticated for it’s time), and, a more current American staple: McDonald’s (their secret is dried onion!).

But then, I got to thinking,

“Tartar sauce is all well and good, but so, too is Rémoulade!”

And so, I got to work…

INGREDIENTS
Tartar Sauce:
•1/2 cup mayonnaise
•2 tbsp yellow mustard
•3 tbsp sweet & spicy pickles, chopped
•1 tsp dried onion
•1 tsp dried shallots
•1 tsp parsley
•1/2 tsp lemon juice

Rémoulade:
•Tartar sauce
Arby’s Sauce (or chili sauce)
•Chopped fresh parsley

First things first, make the tartar sauce – you are gonna want to give it a few hours in the fridge to allow the flavors to blend – by combining the pickles, dried onion and shallots, parsley, and lemon juice in a bowl.

Stir in the mayonnaise and mustard until well blended, then transfer to a covered container and stash in the fridge.

To make the rémoulade, stir Arby’s Sauce (or chili sauce) into a couple of tablespoons of the tartar sauce until it tastes right to you.

Then stir in some chopped fresh parsley.

Cover and chill until needed.

Both worked a treat with the fish and chips.

And the onion rings.

And???

It’s your choice, but do have some Waldorf Coleslaw on the side.

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Apple, Cheddar, and Bacon Soup

It’s sunny and gonna come close to 70º today…

but!

It is also November, so that means a nice bowl of soup is a pretty good idea.

Cheddar cheese soup.

With apples.

And bacon.

OK, so now that I have your attention, let us consider this really very nice recipe from the very nice folk at Food Network.

Of course, I made a few changes to make it my own, and, after having made this once, believe that I should make one more:

I will, from now on, replace the toasted rye bread cubes with toasted pumpernickel (which will also work a treat if you want to make some Ruebens).

INGREDIENTS
•2 tbsp bacon fat
•24 oz small gold potatoes
•2 cups diced sweet onion
•2 cups diced apple
•4 cups low sodium chicken stock
•2 cups unsweetened apple juice
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tbsp Dijon mustard
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•3/4 tsp Kosher salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (I used a Wisconsin jalapeño Cheddar)
•3 slices bacon
•Toasted rye (or pumpernickel!) bread cubes
•Chopped chives

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Wash the potatoes, then slice them in half and cover with cold water in a bowl. Set aside to rest until needed.

Heat your oven to 250º, then cut your bread of choice into one inch cubes and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, until crisped, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crispity – about four or five minutes per side should do it. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to cool.

Drain all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pot, increase the heat to medium high, then drain the potatoes and add to the pot with the apple and onion.

Note: not enough bacon fat to make two tablespoons? Add olive or canola oil (or butter!) to make up the difference.

Cook, stirring often, for about eight minutes, until the apples are soft.

Stir in the chicken stock, apple juice, Sherry Peppers Sauce, hot sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and Aleppo pepper and bring to a simmer.

Simmer, still stirring often, for another ten or twelve minutes, until the potatoes are tender, then lover the heat, add the Cheddar and stir until melted.

Now, you have an option:

If you have an immersion blender, use that in the pot to blend the soup until it is thick and smooth.

If you don’t have an immersion blender (why not?), transfer the soup in batches to a blender and pulse until as smooth as you like. Of course, then there is the bowl to stash the soup in stages before returning it, all pulsed and smooth to the pot; and then, there will be that bowl and the blender to wash. Seems a lot of bother.

Crumble the bacon pieces and stir into the soup. Give it a taste (nice!) but sure, go ahead and add a bit more salt, if you think it needs it.

Serve with those crusty rye (or pumpernickel!) bread cubes, and chopped fresh chives sprinkled over the top.

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Asparagus in Puff Pastry

When I came across this recipe, from the nice folk at Food Network, I knew it would be just the thing to serve to a couple of friends coming over for a small, socially distanced Saturday evening.

And, I was right, mostly. Even though it needed to be prepped and baked just before serving, it was wicked simple to toss together, and, the the most part, a pretty big (and tasty) hit.

Except…

None of us were too, too impressed with the salami, so, next time (and, heck yeah, there will be a next time) I think I shall keep the asparagus and Mozzarella (I used smoked Mozz), and replace the salami with a nice, zippy dab o’ mustard. This one would, no doubt, work a treat.

The Food Network folk called these asparagus tarts, and yeh, I guess I can see that, but ‘asparagus in puff pastry’ seems much clearer. You do what you like.

INGREDIENTS
•1 large egg
•1 tbsp water
•1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
•Mozzarella cheese*
•12 slices Genoa salami
•12 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut in half

*I used some smoked Mozz I found in the cheese case, but plain would be fine, too, or mebbe try some marinated.

Heat your oven to 400º and whisk the egg together with the water in a small bowl.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, unfold the puff pastry sheet onto the paper, and cut into 12 squares.

Note: the Food Network folk wanted me to roll the dough out even thinner than it was so that I could cut it into 16 squares. I had other things to do, and, really, 12 pieces was fine for a small gathering.

Separate the squares on the parchment, and place one thin slice of Mozzarella on the center of each.

Top with a thin slice of salami (or a dab of zippy mustard), and then the two asparagus halves, on the diagonal.

Note: if you really want to keep the salami, mebbe just go ahead and add some of that zippy mustard anyway.

Bring two sides of each pastry square up and over the filling, press lightly, and brush with the egg wash.

Pop into the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

Serve warm – though I should add that any leftovers, nibbled more or less directly from the fridge, were pretty nice, too.

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