Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cranberry Sauce for Very Tired Moms

What is it about fall that makes me want to cook?  Is this true for you, too?  I dream of simmering stews on the stove, bread in the oven, and wine in a glass atop the table.  It also happens, in this fantasy, that my husband washes every dish voluntarily, and without complaint.  (Hey!  A girl can dream!)

I made a couple of tasty dishes this past week, and thought I would share my recipes.  This recipe I made while my dishwasher was out of town at a conference.  I rarely have energy to cook whilst my husband is away, since I work so hard just to mother; there's rarely anything left to make a meal.  Usually, we eat things like pizza, macaroni and cheese, and have (my all-time favorite) "Clean out the Freezer" night!  That's right, all the Trader Joe's won tons and sweet potato fries you can shake a stick at!  Somehow, though, I tired of these fat saturated, sodium-laden meals, and craved something more...normal.  Last week I was inspired by the Ocean Spray cranberries display at Super Target, and picked up a bag, and an orange.  I adapted a recipe from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook.  Here's what I came up with:

1 package of fresh cranberries, rinsed
3/4 c of sugar
1/8 tsp of salt
the zest from one orange
1/2 c of orange juice (I did not squeeze the orange, I poured from a carton.  We were lucky to not be eating frozen foods.  You can squeeze your orange for the juice, though.  Just be sure to leave a comment here that you did it.  Then I'll know who to call on for volunteering at the Silent Auction this year - clearly you have spare time on your hands.)
1/2 c of water (or do 1 c of orange juice, if you like it very very orange-y)
1 tbsp of fennel seed

Boil liquids, sugar, and salt.  Carefully add the cranberries.  Lower heat to a simmer.  Use a long-handled spoon to stir, as the cranberries will start to pop.  Add orange zest and fennel seed.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until most of the berries have popped.  I mashed some of the berries up with my spoon once the sauce was almost done.  The sauce will still seem liquid-y, but will thicken up as it cools.  Cool for one hour.  Serve room temperature or cold.

I served this with pork chops, merely seasoned with S & P, and roasted in the oven.  I also quartered small Dutch yellow potatoes and Brussels sprouts, tossed in olive oil, S & P, and fresh chopped rosemary, and roasted them in the oven with the chops.

Since I was on my own for washing the dishes, I saved myself some scrubbing, and lined the roasting pans with parchment paper.  I would love to hear what you think of my recipe!

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