Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cranberries for Thanksgiving

Sugar and spice and everything nice add up to a new twist on some cranberry recipes for your Thanksgiving feast. These sauces are easy to make and vastly superior to the canned versions.

Serve left-over cranberry sauce over melted Brie cheese and accompany with toasted French baguette slices and a salad of mixed baby greens and nut oil vinaigrette.

For breakfast or with a cup of espresso in the afternoon, the yellow cranberry muffins are beautiful with the red berries.

Cranberry Sauce 
A citrus twist on a classic

1 (12 ounce) package of fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
Grated zest of one orange
Juice of ½ orange
1 cup dry red wine, such as a Merlot or Syrah
¾ cup to 1 ½ cups sugar or to taste
Julienned orange zest for garnish (optional but recommended)

Mix all of the ingredients (except the garnish) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and simmer about 15 minutes, until the cranberries have burst. Cool and remove cinnamon stick. Sauce will firm up as it cools. Can be refrigerated, covered for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature and garnish with the julienned orange zest if desired. Serves 6 to 8.

Cranberry Onion Relish
Great with a fried turkey

1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ cup chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 (12 ounce) package of fresh or frozen cranberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Heat the canola oil in a small saucepan and place over medium high heat until hot. Add onions and garlic; sauté until tender. Add cranberries, sugar and water.

Bring to a boil. Cook 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is thickened. Stir in the vinegar. Remove from the heat and store in an air-tight container. Can be refrigerated, covered for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature. Serves 6 to 8.

Warm Brie & Cranberry Sauce with Baby Greens tossed with Nut Oil Vinaigrette
Here’s an idea on how to use left-over cranberry sauce. This was inspired by a recipe, Mache with Warm Brie & Apples, in Ina Garten’s latest book, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. Use either one of the cranberry sauces from above.

12 slices of a French baguette cut into ½ inch thick diagonal slices
12 ounces French Brie cheese, cut into 4 wedges
4 tablespoons cranberry sauce at room temperature
4 ounces mixed baby greens
2 tablespoons peeled and minced shallots
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral flavored oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
A handful of unsalted nuts, either pecan or walnut halves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the 4 wedges of Brie snuggly in one layer in a shallow baking dish.

Heat the nuts in a 10" non-stick skillet on the stove over medium heat. Toss constantly until lightly brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Do not burn. Set aside.

Toast the bread in a toaster oven or on a sheet pan in the oven at 350 until crisp. Set aside.

Make the vinaigrette by putting the shallots, sherry vinegar, walnut and canola oil along with salt and pepper in a small jar. Shake well to combine.

Bake the Brie for 3 to 5 minutes until it begins to ooze but not actually melted. Watch carefully, it can get away from you. While the Brie is baking, toss the baby greens with the vinaigrette and the nut halves. Divide the salad among 4 large salad plates.

Place a slice of warm Brie in the center of each plate and dress each slice with a tablespoon of cranberry sauce. Place 2 or 3 slices of toasted baguette on the other side of the Brie. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Cranberry Cornmeal Muffins

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
¾ cup plain nonfat yogurt
½ cup nonfat milk
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1 large egg

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line twelve 1/3 cup muffin cups with paper liners (recommended for easier clean-up and a prettier presentation). Coarsely chop cranberries in a food processor or carefully by hand with a sharp knife. Set aside.
Combine flour and the next five ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk yogurt, milk, butter and egg in medium bowl to blend. Add to dry ingredients; mix just until combined. Fold in cranberries. Divide batter equally among muffin cups. Bake until golden and tester inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to rack and cool. Makes 12 muffins.

Happy Thanksgiving.


  1. Love the Brie and cranberry sauce recipe. I plan to try it.
    Check out my worst cooking disaster at

  2. Glenda, I can't top your kitchen disaster. What a story.

    I love your blog and encourage everyone to take a look at it.

    As far as disasters go, on the Brie and Cranberry Sauce recipe, please be sure cook it only a few minutes and don't leave it unattended because before you know it, the Brie will turn into a runny mess.

    When I first tested this recipe, I followed a similiar one that said leave it 15 minutes. Much less time is needed and that's how I know how to melt cheese.



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