Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cranberries: Clean & Crazy Good!

As I flip through the November issues of my favorite magazines like Bon Appetit and The Local Palate, I'm so tempted by the photographs. That's even more true when browsing my must read blogs; Style Blueprint, Styling My Everyday or Smitten Kitchen. But, my way of eating now simply won't allow me to indulge in most of the yummies I see on the pages/posts. For almost 5 months, I've been completely dairy free (as in no cheese, butter, milk, cream) and rarely eat meat (unless I know exactly where it comes from). I didn't make the decision based on a diet. It was an emotional choice and one I just can't let go at the moment. 

So, what to do for Thanksgiving? At my mom's house, it's likely processed items all the way, and that's ok. I will fill up on salad. But, with all of the tempting things flying over the my favorite pages on Pinterest, I simply cannot resist embracing a recipe or two and reinventing them for my new path. I'm a cook at heart. Experimenting with flavors and perfecting a dish is my way of having fun.  It's more challenging now with limitations, but I'm discovering joy in the process. 

This week, my focus is on cranberries. I adore the color, taste and  texture they bring to any dish. I created my own sauce, and it's (by far) the best cranberry side I've ever tasted. We're eating it by the spoon out of the fridge at this point. Make it before the holiday, and chances are you'll do the same.


1 cup quality red wine
   (I prefer The Feast from Cultivate or a Mayacamus Cab…        
     since there's plenty left in the bottle to drink-- it's got to be good!)
1/3 cup dried cherries
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup Stevia in the Raw*
2 Tbsp. raw honey
1 tsp tangerine zest

Bring sugars, wine and berries to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to med/low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir well with zest. Serve or keep refrigerated in a tightly contained jar for up to 12 days. To revive and hydrate, reheat mixture with splash of wine in a saucepan. 
 ** substitute 3/4 cup granulated sugar if you are not into organic eating

I made a similar cranberry reduction (minus the wine and different spices) for the ultimate 'Cran Rita' recipe. I would love to share, but for now, it's only for the followers of High Heels to Hot Wheels. Like the sauce, it's a daily addiction (the jam….tequila is optional).

If you're seeking healthy, flavorful options for your table this holiday, I hope you will try the sauce, the jam and the cocktail.

For the record, I'm not totally abandoning Turkey. I've found a true vendor of humane and somewhat wild birds willing to share a couple of breasts. Big ones, actually. I will share how to tame that taste in my next post (with a brine that's just as good for your store-bought bird). Until then, enjoy cranberries.. and send me any ideas you have for a dairy-free celebration.