So. It’s January 2nd. Quite possibly the most lackluster day of the year.
It’s cold, gray, and the grocery store displays of baking essentials have been replaced with Lean Cuisines. People only seem to want to talk about salads- not the fun kind of salads with cheese, nuts, and copious amounts of delicious vinaigrette, but the salads made with spray-on dressing and fat-free cottage cheese. That makes no one happy.
But… things Chez Hound are different! The party still continues!! Take your barely-moistened salads elsewhere.
January received a HUGE bump in ratings last year when we were all a-twitter about the impending labor and birth of the Brioche. She ended up being EIGHT days late and pushing her arrival (labor humor!! Bahaha!) into February, but still- it added a little drama to the usual January snoozefest. Now that we have her, the arrival of January means planning her birthday par-tay. We’re not those parents who will rent a bounce house for a kid who still thinks a pair of kitchen tongs is the best toy EVAH, but helloooo… birthday party = food and CAKE. What to make? It’ll take me the WHOLE month of January to decide. I can’t even contain myself. YAY.
I know not everyone gets as utterly jazzed about food planning as I do. (Ok, so maybe no one gets as utterly jazzed about food planning as I do.) But just because your tree is down and you’re back to work does NOT mean the fun is over, and it most definitely does not mean that you have to eat salads with spray-on dressing.
Keep your days merry and bright. Make Cranberry Conserve.
Cranberry Conserve has been the star of our Thanksgiving table pretty much every year since 2007, which is when my mom found the recipe and gave up once-and-for-all her cranberry relish with celery and all sorts of other things that are just NOT meant to be in cranberry sauce. But I break all sorts of rules and make it all winter because I’m the Food Hound and that’s how I roll. It’s so tasty, so easy and so gorgeous. Sweet, tart and orange-scented, with toasted pecans for crunch. A little mound of garnet-toned perfection on your plate.
PS, isn’t it way more appealing to say ‘garnet-toned’ than ‘red?’ Kind of like how the 2013 color of the year is ’emerald’ instead of ‘green?’ Does it make you feel royal, aka, one step closer to being Princess Kate’s BFF? Me, too!!!
If you can’t wrap your mind around making a cranberry sauce at any other time than the fourth Thursday in November, here are some ways to use it: as a side to any roasted or grilled meat, mixed into plain yogurt, in a panini with brie and roast turkey, or mixed with some creme fraiche and stuffed into Pain Perdu. (That one might trump the cotton gin. Whoa.)
Don’t give in to the 50 shades of post-holiday gray (…unless you’re actually reading the book, in which case I have a feeling your January is not gray). Make 2013 garnet-toned 🙂 Happy New Year!
- 2 navel oranges
- 4 c fresh cranberries (1 pound)
- 2 c sugar
- 1¼ c water
- 1 c golden raisins
- 1 c chopped pecans, toasted
- From oranges, grate 1 T zest. With knife, cut peel and white pith from oranges. Cut out sections from between the membranes, reserving sections. (This is a messy process that, in my world, means a lot of lovely orange flesh is left behind- if you end up butchering the first orange, just cut up the other orange any way you want.)
- In a 4-quart saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, water, raisins, orange peel, and orange segments; heat to boiling over high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium and cook 10-15 minutes longer, or until most cranberries pop and sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in toasted pecans.
- Spoon conserve into a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 5 hours or up to 4 days.