Homemade Holiday Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Ingredients

  • 680g (24 oz) fresh cranberries
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • dash of ground cloves

Directions

Add cranberries, juice and zest to a saucepan. Stir well and place on medium-low heat. Add sugar and spices and cook until cranberries have popped and sauce has thickened to desired consistency.

And now for the details…

Long time no post, and this one is so easy, it seems like a good one to come back with. Timely, too, since Christmas is tomorrow and turkey needs it’s cranberry sidekick!

Need help with the rest of turkey dinner? Fret not! Remember Mo’s the Turkey’s Grand Adventure? It can provide you with step by step instructions for a tasty turkey, starting with the brining of said turkey this evening!

Homemade cranberry sauce is super simple. Maybe not as simple as opening a can, but then again maybe it is, since you don’t have to attack it with a spoon to try and smoosh it down from a cylinder to try and make it look like something resembling sauce…

To start, simply toss the cranberries into a large-ish saucepan and place on the stove at medium-low heat.

Next, zest two oranges into the pot, then juice those same two oranges and add both zest and juice to the pot.

Stir in the sugar and spices, and let the sauce cook away, letting the cranberries cook and break down.

The great thing about cooking this sauce is that you do not need to keep constant watch. Let it simmer away, stirring occasionally, but it will cook for about 15-25 minutes as it slowly turns into a nice, thick sauce. As it cooks, the natural pectin in the cranberries will thicken up the sauce. If you want to cook it for longer but it is becoming too thick, add a little bit of water and let ‘er go.

In the end, you will have a nice thick sauce to have with delicious turkey!

Happy eating.

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Linguine with Clam Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans (142ml/4.8oz each) baby clams, drained
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to tase
  • 250g (8.8oz) dry linguine
  • 2 Tbsps grated parmesan cheese

Directions


Sauté the shallots on medium high heat in the olive oil until soft. Add the white wine, and cook down until reduced by over half. Add chicken broth and clams, stir. Add oregano and hot sauce, stir. Cut the cream cheese into smaller pieces, then add to the sauce. Allow to melt and stir into the sauce. Cook the linguine. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce. Cook until sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta, add to the sauce, and toss to mix. Top with parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper, serve

And now for the details…

This dish was a family favourite. We were introduced to it by a family friend when I was young, and it quickly became a special dish in our household. We had it often enough, that after a bit of time my mom would not even bother pulling the recipe card out when making it, she had made it so often. We had a tradition in our household that on our birthdays, we would get to choose what we wanted for dinner. The amount of times that I would choose this dish as my birthday dinner are innumerable. Not… because of my age… but because… I liked it so much… I can’t remember how many times… Okay, I’m getting old. Regardless, this is a special dish in my heart, and any time I’m feeling homesick or want some comfort food, this is the dish I turn to.

It’s also a fairly quick and easy meal to come together. So even though it was a special dish, it was still something that could come together on a school/work night in a fairly short amount of time. Pair it up with a simple green salad, and you’ve got yourself a great meal!

Start everything off by mincing the shallot and sautéing it in a large pan on medium high heat with the olive oil just until the shallot has started to soften and turned translucent. Add the white wine to the pan, stirring to mix.

We are going to let the white wine reduce until the liquid has almost completely boiled off. Just a small amount of liquid should be left in the pan.

Next, add your chicken broth and clams. Yes, I am suggesting to drain the clams, and yes, this is an opportunity to use the clam juice to increase the “clamminess” of your dish. But to be honest, I actually find the clam juice a bit too salty (I know, it’s shocking, I’m calling something too salty, call the press) and not as rich in umami flavour as using chicken broth as your liquid source. It’s also important to use baby clams in this dish. I made the mistake once of not paying attention when buying the canned clams and ended up with whole clam pieces. The texture is just not the same as the small, juicy bites of baby clams.

Stir, bringing the sauce back up to a simmer, then add the oregano and hot sauce. Just a few dashes of the hot sauce, we are not trying to burn our faces off (I mean, unless that’s what you are looking for, then have at ‘er), just adding an extra layer of flavour to the dish. Now is also a good time to start cooking your pasta so it is ready around the time as your sauce.

Cut the cream cheese into smaller pieces. This will allow the cream cheese to melt faster, and meld into the sauce a bit faster. A quick note on cream cheese: you can use low fat cream cheese, but I would recommend the full fat. The low fat cream cheese does not melt as quickly, and it takes quite awhile before your sauce looks homogenous without a whole bunch of white chunks floating around.

Let the sauce simmer for a bit as you stir the melting cream cheese in. At this point, your pasta should be fairly close to being done as well. Before draining the pasta, add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce and allow it to continue to simmer until the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon. The addition of the pasta water helps the sauce to thicken, and will help it adhere to the pasta. Give the sauce a final taste test and add salt and pepper to suit your tastes.

Once the sauce is ready, add the drained pasta to the pan, and stir to mix the sauce into the pasta. Transfer to a wide serving platter, and top with the parmesan and fresh ground pepper, then serve!

Happy eating.

Rainbow Vegetable Bowl with Satay Sauce

Rainbow Veggie Bowl with Satay Sauce

  • Servings: 2 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 leaves kale, stalk removed and sliced into strips
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 cup brussel sprouts, sliced thin
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 6 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sambal oelek
  • 2 eggs, soft boiled

Directions


Prepare your veggies. Mix together the peanut butter, chilli sauce, coconut milk and soy sauce, and set aside. Add the shallots, garlic and carrots to a large pan with the oil and sauté on medium high heat until the shallows start to brown. Add the ginger and stir, then add the cabbage and brussel sprouts, stirring while cooking until the sprout and cabbage have just started to soften. Stir in the kale and red pepper, and cook until the kale has turned bright green. Separate the veggies into two bowls. Top with the satay sauce and eggs, and serve.

And now for the details…

Guilty admission: this recipe was created when I was trying to clean out our refrigerator. I had all these random bits of veg left over from other recipes that I had made and I needed to find something to do with them. Et voilà: a rainbow smorgasbord of sautéed veggies with a satay dressing and soft boiled eggs to top them off.

This recipe comes together fairly quickly, and so is a great option for a weekday meal. And since the main protein source is egg, it’s also appropriate for the non meat eaters out there! Have a vegan in the crowd? Swap out the eggs for pan fried tofu, and you are in business! The recipe also scales up an down quite easily, depending on the number in your crowd.

Start everything off my prepping your veggies and sauce. Once the cooking starts, this recipe comes together very quickly, so you want everything ready to go so you can just toss each element into the pan and plate immediately.

Slicing of your sprouts and cabbage could be done by hand or in a food processor, whichever is your preference. I like slicing by hand since it allows me more control and I prefer the veggies to be sliced thinner than the food processor will allow.

For the sauce, we simply whisk together the peanut butter, chilli sauce, coconut milk and soy sauce until they are fully mixed. I like using crunchy peanut butter for this so you get little bites of peanut in the dish after mixing the sauce into the veggies. I also added some sambal oelek for added spice, but if you prefer a milder flavour, you can omit it.

Next it’s on to cooking. Start with your soft boiled eggs. Bring a pot of water to a boil, carefully place the eggs inside (use a spoon or skimmer to help you do this to prevent dropping the eggs too fast and cracking the shells), then reduce the temperature to medium-low and cook the eggs for 6-7 minutes, depending on your preference of yolk smooshiness. Have an ice bath ready. While the eggs are cooking, we can start cooking the rest of the meal, but the moment the eggs are done, they should be removed from the hot water and placed in the ice bath.

Moving on to the veggies. Heat a large pan at medium-high heat with the oil, and add the ginger and garlic. Cook until just fragrant, then add your shallots and carrots. Stir, cooking until the shallots start to brown, then add the Brussel sprouts and cabbage. Stir, cooking just until the cabbage starts to soften, and add the kale and red pepper. One last stir and cook until the kale turns bright green and just starts to wilt, then remove from the heat and place into your bowls for serving.

Pour the satay sauce over the veggies, peel the eggs (yes, I definitely massacred them in this photo…), cut them in half and place on top, and you are ready to for dinner!

Happy eating.