Guest Author - Jason Hodge
Thanksgiving and Christmas are times of sharing and reflection. We welcome family and friends from all over to break bread together, remember our many blessings and rekindle our hopes and desires as we look on to the coming year. What better way to do that than over food and frivolity. When I think of the holiday season I think of the only time of year when foods appear that you just can't get any other time. That's what makes them so special. From the egg-nogs to the cranberry sauces, pumpkin pies and jello-bundts, the 'turkey' and its stuffing to the roasts, loaves and the sea of culinary delights on table, waiting to over-stuff their unsuspecting and willing victims-dujour, the variety of fare the holidays bring are what memories are made of.
In line with creating memories worth keeping I'm going to share with you some cranberry sauce recipes that should knock your socks off. Drop me a line and let me know which ones are your favorites.
We'll start out with a basic cranberry sauce recipe and then evolve from there with some techniques and substitutions that'll get your juices and the juices of your family going. Here's what you'll need:
1 cup sugar [natural of course or other sweetener - I'll give you some alternatives]
1 cup water [or liquid]
1 12oz package of cranberries [washed and ready - I prefer fresh over frozen, but you can use either]
In a sauce pan you're going to bring the water and sugar to a boil. The way I like to do this by first bringing my water to a boil and then whisking in my sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved add the cranberries, reduce to a simmer and stir for 5 - 10 minutes until cranberries burst releasing their juices. Remove from heat and let cool and refrigerate until ready.
[Note: The sauce will thicken and gel as it cools. It will yield approximately 2 to 2 1/4 cups depending on evaporation.]
Now comes the exciting part that'll set your sauce apart from the average run of the mill sauce. Variation.
Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce
Instead of using just plain water... substitute your water with fresh pineapple juice. And for a more earthy flavor, instead of using just sugar, use organic brown sugar and add 1/2 cup dried pineapple chunks, that have been cut into 1/8" (inch) pieces, after the cranberries burst. Talk about 'aloha' Thanksgiving! It'll go great with your veggie turkey and also add extra digestive enzymes to help with protein digestion.
Lemon Maple Cranberry Sauce
Instead of the water and sugar use 1 1/2 cups maple syrup [grade b] and 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice. After cranberries burst add a few sprigs of fresh mint and currants [about 1/4 - 1/2 cup] stir, chill and serve.
Lime Maple Lemongrass Cranberry Sauce
Everything's the same as the Lemon Maple version except for the lime fresh squeezed juice and lemongrass instead of the currants. That will be a real nice West Indian twist to your holiday meal.
Cranberry Raisin Sauce
For this one you're going back to the basic recipe and adding raisins to the dish, right after the cranberries burst. It'll add extra added sweetness along with extra added nutrients.
Cardamom Dried Plum Cranberry Sauce
Substitute the water from the basic recipe with lite coconut milk and the sugar with palm sugar. Add 4 cardamoms, 1 cinnamon stick, a pinch of mace 2 cloves and the zest of one orange, 1/8 teaspoon anise seed and 7 fresh mint leaves to the coconut milk and palm sugar just before adding the cranberries. Follow with the dried plums after the cranberries burst. Remove from heat cool, refrigerate and serve. It adds a nice Indian style flair to the dish.
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as me and my family. Visit again as I dive into more gourmet holiday recipes for the season.
For more information or to have one of your questions answered, drop me a line, stop by my forum, join my Vegetarian Resource Newsletter and definitely stay tuned in as I bring you more articles to help you effortlessly achieve your best, health, well being and wholeness throughout the life of your diet and your holiday season.
As always... It's been my pleasure sharing with you. Until next time...