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Friday, November 26, 2010

Random Food Fridays - Tropical Cranberry Sauce

I hope you all have had a happy Thanksgiving day. At its best, Thanksgiving is naturally a time for reflection. It is a day to catalogue blessings instead of complaints. For me, it is a day to consider being thankful even for the difficult things that have propelled me on my journey.

I'm so grateful for my family. We've had our superlative daughter home for the weekend. She is my foodie soul mate. Because she lives in Berkeley, the birthplace of the locavore movement, she often is in a position to educate me about food. She's a fantastic cook and makes everything from scratch, including her own bread and yogurt.

I'm grateful that many members of my family have lived a very long time. Because of this, we often have a blend of traditions from the different branches and different generations. I think it is interesting that many of the food traditions of my mom and prior generations include more packaged and processed foods than what is now customary for my daughter. Because of our multiple generations and family lines, we'll have a total of three Thanksgiving meals with a variety of homemade and factory assisted foods. The meal you see above was Thanksgiving part one, prepared on Wednesday for our own family at home. We had roasted turkey, a cheesy sweet potato casserole, stuffing, peas and homemade cranberry sauce. Thanksgiving part two included my father-in-law's birthday. There we had roasted ham, special ham gravy, mashed sweet potatoes, sauteed candied carrots, onions and green beans, rolls and some leftover turkey and cranberry sauce. We also had my father-in-law's favorite dessert - Bob the Butler's Mile High Boston Creme Pie. (I'll share this in another post. It is extreme!) Thanksgiving part three is at my folk's house today. We're likely having a frozen lasagna and a bag of salad. By T-3, we're all pretty tired and I want to make it as easy as possible. I have to be careful that my mom doesn't fuss and over do it.

For our at-home meal, two items were made the easy-cheater way: frozen peas and Stove Top Stuffing. I know. It's a guilty pleasure. I mix one box of turkey flavor and one of cornbread and it tastes like my childhood holiday meals. I can remember my grandma even making the mashed potatoes from a box of potato buds. My grandma's generation was on the cutting edge of food as science, and my mom came of age in the space age. As my daughter and I venture forth into eating that is healthy for our bodies and the planet, we are doing some reclaiming of tradition, but we are more often boldly going where our foremothers never went before. We are creating new traditions.

One of our new traditions is this scrumptious cranberry sauce. It is adapted from this recipe from allrecipes.com. I've made it my own by using a dried tropical fruit mix and handling some of the ingredients a little differently. Tropical fruits are one of the main reasons why I can never be a purist about eating locally. I can't go without tropical products like pineapple and mango, not to mention staples like coffee and vanilla.


I obtained some litmus test strips so that I can test the acidity of some of my favorite recipes for water bath canning. This recipe is plenty acidic and it would make a great holiday gift. I've not canned it before because we eat it up so fast. I have stored it in jars, so I know that this recipe makes two pints. If you wish to can it, use the USDA safe canning methods and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Here's to your traditions, old and new. Enjoy.

Tropical Cranberry Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 12 oz. package fresh cranberries
1 orange
2 apples (one sweet and one tart)
1 7 oz. package mixed dried tropical fruit
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg.

Zest the orange and use one teaspoon for the sauce. Peel and chop the orange and apples so that the pieces are about the same size as the cranberries. Cut up the dried fruit to that size as well. Mix everything in a heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve as a relish, sandwich topping or dessert filling. Makes 2 pints.



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