November 6, 2011

It's Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Thanksgiving

Every year, when I’ve had more than my fill of Thanksgiving and its associated leftovers, there is one thing that I consistently wish we had made more of. And it’s not that you think. It’s not the stuffing. It’s not the gravy. It’s not the corn pudding. It’s not the creamed spinach.

Oh, and it’s not the pumpkin pie (although that would be a close second).

It’s the cranberry sauce.

The Cranberry-Pear Relish.

It’s bright, tart and sweet, fresh, and a much needed respite from the rest of the savory and rich fare. And even though we always double the recipe, there doesn’t ever seem to be enough for me to get sick of it. (Not that eating to the point of being sick of something should be a goal, I guess.)

So as a result, I’ve been known to hide it before. I’m not ashamed to hide food when I really believe I’ll enjoy it more than someone else who might snatch it up before me. My family disagrees with this.

But today when I saw the bags of fresh cranberries at the grocery store, I thought, why not get ahead of this? Why wait until Thanksgiving for cranberry sauce? It’s easy to make, it is chock full of antioxidants. It’s delicious. And it turns out the smell of it takes you immediately to warm and fuzzy Thanksgiving and promptly out of the Sunday blues.

I can smell it as I type, and I have fallen in love with it all over again.

Fresh cranberries brought to a boil with sugar and orange juice. Pears added at the end of the cooking time to make it a little sweeter. Orange zest added for extra freshness.

“What are you going to make with it,” asked my mom today when I told her I was making it.

“Nothing,” I said.


Maybe it’s a little odd, to make cranberry sauce without any of the other stuff.

I don’t care.

From now until the days after Thanksgiving, I’m on a very sensitive mission: eat enough cranberry sauce to not feel the urge to hide it from my loved ones, but not enough to be sick of it.

This is going to be hard…

Cranberry Pear Relish, adapted slightly from Fields of Greens

¾ lb fresh cranberries
½ c orange juice
½ c sugar
2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tsp orange zest

Place cranberries, orange juice, and sugar in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes.

Add pears and half of the zest. Cook for 1 more minute, until pears are heated through.

Let cool; then add remaining zest.

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