Thanksgiving Deliciosity Part Deux- Cranberry fritters

Posted: November 21, 2009 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

When it comes to Thanksgiving recipes, my family is pretty set in their ways.  We all have our favorite dish, and if it wasn’t on the table for Thanksgiving, we would die.  For one of my sisters, it is corn.  Not super complex, but a NECESSITY.  For my other sister, it is crescent rolls, which unfortunately we often forget in the over and are super overdone.  But they are there.  For me, its broccoli and onion casserole, again very simple: broccoli, onions and a cheddar white sauce, but hey I love it and it is a must have.  My mother tried to change the menu one year and added sweet potato casserole (I know its a tradition in most houses, but had NEVER been present in our kitchen) for my brother in law who was spending his first Thanksgiving with us (god bless him).  We were outraged that she would change the menu, even if it was just to add something.  I don’t tell you this information to make you think we are resistant to change, just that we feel strongly about our traditions.  Fortunately, we do not have our ‘required’ desserts, and it tends to depend on the year, and what we find at the grocery store that looks good.  So when we decided to test out some Thanksgiving recipes for our dear Bakezilla, I immediately gravitated toward desert, because to test another side dish would feel a little like adultery to me.  So as I was wandering around in recipe land I stumbled across Paula Deen’s cranberry sauce fritter recipe, which sounded ok, but used the canned gelatinous cranberry ‘sauce’ that we are all so used to.  She simply battered and fried slices of the cranberry jello, which seemed interesting but not entirely up my alley.  However, it did put the idea of cranberry fritters in my head.  So I looked around for other recipes and found one that used real cranberries.  I stumbled across THIS recipe, which I liked so I went ahead and tried it.  The batter was easy enough to make, but when it comes time to handle it, they aren’t kidding when they say your hands need to be well floured…seriously, coat your hands.  Fritter Batter

I rolled the batter in my hands, and poked a little hole to fill with brown sugar and a cranberry and threw it in the oil.  It takes about a minute to get nice and golden.  Of course after making about 3, my inner fat kid escaped and had to try one.  So I bit into and it was super crispy and delicious…except in the first bite I didn’t get any cranberry…crap.  So I put the rest in my mouth and got a whole mouthful of cranberry as well as the interesting texture of uncooked batter that surrounded the cranberry.  I think that the cranberry made it too dense to really cook all the way through, and the tang of the cranberry was all concentrated in the center, so you get sweet fritter and then BAM super sour cranberry.  Recipe Fail.

Fortunately, I have failed enough  times in my life (insert high school math joke here) so I know not to give up.  I was determined to make this bastard work…it sounded good and dammit, IT WOULD BE.  So I took the cranberries and chopped them up with my awesome food chopper.  I love my food chopper…it get the job done and you get to beat the hell out of it :) .  So then I threw the chopped cranberry directly into the batter and mixed it in.  I pulled off some dough, rolled it in my well floured hands, then still poked a hole in the middle, but this time I filled it with just the dark brown sugar.

Batter I’m not entirely sure why my hands look like weird chimp hands here, but it was super hard to take the picture with my hands covered in baking crap.

Batter and sugar

Then I rolled the dough around the sugar and fried it.  Once it cooled, I rolled it in cinnamon sugar rather than the recommended powdered sugar.Frying Fritter

I did about 10 of those and then did what most people do when they aren’t sure how something is going to taste…I had someone else taste it.  Luckily, he loved it, so I knew I could eat one :) .  The tang of the cranberry balanced out the sweet of the batter and the brown sugar in the middle made for a fun surprise.  I was really pleased with this recipe.  We ate most of them that night, but I may have eaten the last three for breakfast the next day… :)

Cranberry Fritter

This is definitely a recipe that I will make over and over again.  I have even seen some people put in cranberry and apple, so its super versatile and I’m guessing can be adapted to most of the denser fruits.

Many thanks to Peter who was my willing lab rat, and just an all around good guy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

TT


A Very Pretty Thanksgiving: Cranberry-Chipotle Relish

Posted: November 20, 2009 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: A Very Pretty Thanksgiving, delish, Johanna, Make-Ahead | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Being a native New Englander, I know the story of the first Thanksgiving very well. And even if it isn’t true, and even if Thanksgiving is a holiday to cover up the horrible, terrible things that the original Pilgrims did to the Wampanoag people, what with their smallpox and their venerial diseases….. I don’t care.

Not-Quite-Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s nice, to think that in celebration and thanks for the fact that they did not die alone in the horrible New England winter (a thing I too gave thanks for, every time it got to be spring in my childhood and I still had a pulse), my forebears sent a message to ol’ Squanto, and chief Massasoit, telling them to come hang out and bring some food and some friends. Together, said Miles Standish, we’ll all celebrate the fact that we did not die. And while there may or may not have been cranberries (although cranberries originated in Massachusetts and Maine), and there may or may not have been some gnarly old heritage turkey, I think that the Pilgrims were probably pretty happy that the Wampanoag hadn’t murdered them all yet, and had in fact helped them survive.

Along with laying an extra place for the people who might show up, and the people who are there only in spirit, my family is mindful of tradition. My father, true to his Yankee heritage, makes cranberry sauce every year, from a very nice recipe by Jeff Smith, that old preacher-man, whose ingredients are essentially, if memory serves, cranberries, oranges, and sugar. Dad, correct me in the comments if I’m wrong.

While I’ve often eaten it, I can’t say that cranberry sauce is one of my favorite parts of the actual holiday table. Cranberries are tough to eat, very bitter and sour. But I’ve long been intrigued by them, and wondered if it was just me, or Jeff Smith’s pairing of them with something that could ALSO be bitter and sour. So, emboldened and embarking on a trip into the land of Thanksgiving foods, I decided that Cranberries should be tested.
Cranberry-Chipotle RelishCranberry Chipotle Relish
Via Epicurious – Bon Appetit November 2009

The ingredients here are pretty simple: 1 pkg of frozen cranberries. 1 1/3 cup of sugar. Juice of 1 lemon. 2 chipotles in adobo (don’t bother soaking a dried chipotle. Trust me.) Garlic. Cinnamon (I’m working on a replacement). Cumin.

You combine the cranberries, sugar, lemon juice, and chipotles (rinsed. trust me.) in a saucepan, and bring them to a simmer. You can put the cranberries in still frozen, I learned. Once the sugar and lemon juice have dissolved and everything is at a simmer, let it go for about 5 minutes. I mashed some of the cranberries up with a potato masher, although I also mashed some of the chipotle by mistake, but didn’t see any adverse effects.
You add the garlic, cinnamon and cumin, and simmer until things start thickening and darkening. When this happens, immediately scoop or pour your cranberry relish into a clean bowl, and rinse. out. your. saucepan. STAT.
Melted sugar, especially when combined with fruit sugars, WILL TURN TO CEMENT. It’s a fact. Sort of. Regardless, you need to wash your saucepan while the sugar is still warm, and therefore liquidy, to avoid a situation that involves you chipping caked-on sugar out of it (sidenote: anyone know how my new saucepot got a dent in it already? dub tee eff?)

Back to the relish. Once it’s in the bowl, put it in the fridge while you prepare your baked chicken and brussels sprouts (roasted with bacon and garlic. delish. who knew?? not me. this was the first time I’d ever even SEEN a brussels sprout in person. legitimately.)
So technically they're Belgian Sprouts, right?It's not about the chicken.

And there you have it! A winning update to a Thanksgiving classic, and a TON better than whatever you shake out of the can on the big day, I promise. Not to mention, I bet if you mixed this with some honey mustard, it would create a sandwich spread that would rival the delicious one that I slathered on turkey burgers last year, at the behest of my girl, Rachael Ray. Also, it keeps for ages. Make it on Saturday and put it in the refrigerator until Thursday, and you’ll have one dish less to worry about on Thanksgiving.
Simplicity in the face of chaos – that’s really what we’re looking for, isn’t it?



Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.