One of the most interesting things about following food trends is watching the uses of a particular food evolve. It was just a few years ago that we only thought of cranberries as a canned jellied annual tradition or a juice component of cosmopolitans. Well, maybe not cosmopolitans in particular, but cranberries were primarily bought or prepared for gel or juice. Ninety-five percent of commercially grown cranberries go into sauce, juice or sold dried. Only 5 percent is sold as fresh cranberries (wikipedia.com).
Happily for cranberries and their producers, the creativity has kicked in with cranberry recipes along with the label of super fruit for their antioxidant and nutrient content.
I want to share something old and something new. The first recipe was an "I've got to try this" recipe from Bon Appetit's November 1994 issue. I made it for a dinner party for friends then and it was a resounding success with my guests. I have doubled and tripled the recipe with no problem.
The second recipe was introduced to me a year ago and this year, I could hardly wait for fresh cranberries so I could make it - cranberry salsa. While called a salsa, I'm guessing because of the addition of jalapeno, it's really better served with crackers. What makes it different from other cranberry salsa recipes I've come across is the addition of fresh ginger.
I recently picked up a Microplane grater at Sur La Table that made grating the ginger and zesting citrus a dream. So if you need a reason to pick one up, there it is.
No matter what form your cranberries take, I hope your holidays are a wonderful time filled with laughter, love, good company and good food.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Lori Rossi began collecting recipes at age 14, but her real love affair with cooking started after picking up a December 1989 Bon Appetit magazine. Today, she shares her love of the kitchen with her two kids, Nathan, 11, and Nicole, 8. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2/3 cup homemade cranberry sauce or canned whole berry cranberry sauce
3 Tablespoons Grand Marnier
3/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Combine ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium low heat until heated through. Cool to room temperature.
Spoon 1 1/2 Tablespoons of sauce into bottom of each of the two 8- to 10-ounce parfait glasses. Top with generous 1/3 cup ice cream. Repeat layering with sauce and ice cream. Top with remaining sauce. Can be made one hour ahead of time. Freeze until ready to serve.
Cranberry Salsa Dip with Cream Cheese
1 (12-ounce bag) or 3 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup minced green onions
2 Tablespoons jalapeno chile peppers, cored, seeded and minced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
2 Tablespoons finely-grated fresh ginger
2 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
Cranberries and/or cilantro sprigs for garnish
Rinse, drain and pick over cranberries (discarding all that are soft or bruised). Place them in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped but not mushy.
Place crushed cranberries in a bowl; mix together with green onions, jalapeno peppers, sugar, cilantro leaves, ginger and lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours so flavors develop (salsa will be too sharp and tart to begin with).
On a serving plate, place cream cheese; cover with the dip. Garnish, if desired, and serve.