Archive for November, 2014

A Quartet of Savory Holiday Side Dishes

While turkey, stuffing, and pies are easy for most holiday cooks, the one portion of the meal that can really be challenging year after year is the side dishes. Certainly everyone has perennial family favorites, the ones made over and over. But sometimes you want to try something new…

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Bread Machine: Crazy for Cranberries

It used to be a seasonal thing, being crazy for cranberries. Not any more. But there is no Thanksgiving holiday table without cranberry sauce. And I am not alone considering how many cooks love to make a batch of their own cranberry sauce for the holiday table. The array of flavors is close to infinite considering cranberries meld with so many other flavors from curry to ginger.

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Peggy’s Cranberry Chutney

Every holiday season I make lots of this bright cranberry chutney to serve with turkey and as a spread for sandwiches. I got it from extraordinaire food writer and recipe developer Peggy Fallon, a cranberry lover, who serves it as an accompaniment to a savory cheesecake for winter entertaining. This is one of my all time favorite cooked sauces, one I prepare every year and often give as gifts. Serve it as a condiment, or dabbed on unsalted crackers with soft cheese.

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Cranberry Ginger Compote

Cranberries and blueberries come from the same botanical family as rhododendrons and heathers. They are native to the bogs of New England, but great fruit comes from Oregon and Washington, all grown organically. Fresh cranberries arrive in stores in late fall and can be frozen in their original wrapping (don’t put frozen cranberries in the bread machine; defrost first) for use in the spring and summer. Use bags of fresh cranberries within two weeks of purchase so that they won’t get mushy or shriveled. My mother got this recipe from her antique dealer, Alan, who is a genius in the kitchen. For so few ingredients, the results are tart and satisfying with all sorts of roasted meats like poultry, pork loin, and ham. This method of preparing cranberry sauce with the ginger juice fast became a yearly ritual at Thanksgiving and Christmas in my family.

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Homemade Honey Vanilla Marshmallows

Considering how easy it is to make marshmallows and how appealing they are, it’s surprising that they are so infrequently made at home. They are way more tender and flavorful than store-bought, especially when a little honey is incorporated to round out the taste. They also don’t have all sorts of strange ingredients.

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