November 2013


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I woke up on Black Friday and decided to make cranberry sauce with vanilla. This is what happens when you’re supposed to be “as non-weight bearing as possible” and you go out for Thanksgiving dinner. You wake up the next day and realize there’s not enough cranberry sauce leftover. That’s gonna be a problem.

But I do have cranberries that I had bought to make muffins. And cranberry sauce is very easy to throw together. Sugar, some freshly squeezed orange juice or just plain water, vanilla. Wait. Bourbon has vanilla notes. Who needs just plain water? I have some lovely candied ginger in the house from Sundial Gardens, too. Problem solved.

CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH MAKER’S MARK AND VANILLA

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar in the raw
¼ cup Maker’s Mark
12 oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries
2 coins of crystallized (candied) ginger, minced fine
zest of one orange
¾ cup liquid (I squeezed 1/3 cup of juice from an orange, added enough water to make ¾ cup of liquid)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla (stir in at end)

The basic recipe is a cup of sugar, cup of water, a bag of cranberries. Where that road diverges in the wood and the path you take from there is completely up to you. 🙂

Combine the sugars and bourbon. Add all the remaining ingredients except the vanilla. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugars.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes. The cranberries will burst and the sauce will begin to thicken. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Your house will smell ah-MAYZ-ing! I love the smell of bourbon bubbling with brown sugar (and cranberries) in the morning!

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And so will you. No more turkey at your house? Same here. Thankfully (HA, get it?) this tastes oh so good on its own, or might be nice spooned over a nice slice of pound cake, stirred into yogurt, baked with brie and puff pastry or crescent dough. So many possibilities–let me know what you decide.

Hope you’re having a warm and happy holiday weekend, amici!

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On chilly days like this, there’s nothing like a steaming mug of hot apple pie. Mug? Yes, you read that right. Anything that holds 8 oz. of liquid and can take a trip in the microwave will do the trick nicely. Amici, ’tis the season for Tuaca–vanilla citrus liqueur that adds just the right flavor to hot apple cider.

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Here in the Land of Steady Habits, we have lots of local cider choices. I’m partial to Woodland Farm, way, way up in the hills of South Glastonbury. If you’re lucky, my canine pal Sophie will greet you when you go.

HOT APPLE PIE

6 oz. apple cider
2 oz. Tuaca
whipped cream
cinnamon and/or nutmeg to sprinkle on top (optional)

Ready for how easy this is? Grab a mug you can put in the microwave. Fill with cider and Tuaca. At my house, the “quick minute” setting works perfectly. See if a minute in the micro at your house works the same.

Top with whipped cream, cinnamon and nutmeg. Because what’s not to love about a little “Whipped Cream” to make the day a little brighter? One day, it’s gonna be jazz hands on Main Street with my girlfriends and me, dancin’ it up to this tune. With a vivid imagination, and an adult beverage or two, anything is possible! 😀 Cheers to that! And to all my girlfriends dancing along virtually! CLINQUE and CENT’ANN’!