Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kick the Can Cranberry Sauce

Brace yourself... today's recipe is not a dessert.  (I know!)  However, it may change your life - I kid you not.

What am I sharing with you today?  The answer is simple - cranberry sauce.  You might be wondering what's so special about cranberry sauce.  After all, isn't that just the can-shaped item that gets plopped onto a plate every Thanksgiving?  Au contraire... homemade cranberry sauce puts that stuff to shame. 

Consider me a cranberry evangelist (ecrangelist?) - I'm here to spread the word.  Kick the can this year - you won't regret it.  This recipe is so simple, yet so delicious.  You only need three ingredients - cranberries, orange juice, and sugar.

These three simmer for a while, and magic happens.  (Sometimes an overflowing stockpot happens too... it's okay. Embrace it.)  Here's the recipe:

Kick the Can Cranberry Sauce

4 cups cranberries
1 cup orange juice
2 cups sugar

Bring cranberries and orange juice to a boil in a large stockpot.  Add sugar and return to a boil.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the cranberries have popped.  (I recommend lowering the heat - simmer on low if possible.  You'll need to check the sauce periodically - it will occasionally overflow if you don't.  I wouldn't recommend leaving it completely unattended, although you can easily do other things in the kitchen while it's simmering away.)

Remove pan from heat.  Allow sauce to cool slightly.  While it's still warm, pour sauce into containers.  (When it cools to room temperature, it will look kind of like cranberry jam... and it will be delicious.)  Refrigerate until ready to use.  (You can freeze it too, if you want to save some for the future.)

Makes approximately 3 cups.

I told you it was easy.  It's also a snap to adjust quantities - to make more or less, just remember a 4:1:2 ratio of cranberries to OJ to sugar.  (I just made a slightly larger batch using 6 cups cranberries, 1 1/2 cups orange juice and 3 cups sugar.)

So, have I convinced you to kick the can and embrace the cran?  (I can't even believe how cheesy I just sounded.)

Happy Thanksgiving!  Perhaps you'll see this cranberry sauce again in a future dessert post...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese

For this month's Improv Cooking Challenge (hosted by Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker), the secret ingredients were pumpkin and cream cheese (another winning combo).  While trying to decide what to make, I stumbled upon this cute idea from Duncan Hines.  Cupcakes that looked like pumpkins seemed like the way to go.

Inspired, I set out to create a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese icing that would look something like a pumpkin.  My version is a little more rustic, but I like it.

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