Monday, October 29, 2007


Countdown To Thanksgiving

The Short (dis)Order Cook, blogging on The Essential Rhubarb Pie, got me to thinking. She's all worried because she's hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. She'll be fine, I know it, but, aaahhh, the sweet apprehension of youth!

I remember when I, too, was new at this... Now TWENTY!!! years later, I feel as if I could cook Thanksgiving dinner with one hand tied behind my back. I'm not bragging (well, I guess I am), but my ease comes, not from being the greatest cook on earth, but from doing it for all these years.

I've had my disasters. And, no, I'm going to list them now...I'm not crazy...but the thing about Thanksgiving is that there is SO MUCH food that one imperfect dish or another isn't going to be noticed in the onslaught of food to come.

I'm going to post some of my favorite Thanksgiving tips or recipes in the days leading up to Thanksgiving (in addition to regular posts). It won't be an exhaustive list, but I guarantee that taken together, it will provide you with lots of help for the cooking marathon of the year. Note: Some of them won't be food-related, but guest and hosting related. As I post new ones, I'll collate the old ones into a single list, which I'll give you the link for. Ok, here goes:

Thanksgiving Tips

Admittedly, Cranberry Sauce is the one of the few things that’s decent out of a can. BUT these are THE MOST INCREDIBLE CRANBERRIES IN THE UNIVERSE. There’s no excuse NOT to make them, since they can be frozen. Have a can or two of regular cranberries available for the non-boozing folks.

Suzanne’s Cranberries (serves 8-10 as a side dish)
From my wonderful friend, Suzanne, these award-worthy cranberries are perfect for Thanksgiving, because they can be made in advance and frozen.

3 tbls. orange flavored liqueur - Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1 envelope plain gelatin
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
4 cups (1 lb.) fresh cranberries
grated rind of 1 orange
juice of ½ lemon

Pour orange liqueur into a small glass bowl. Sprinkle over gelatin. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Combine sugar and water in large saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 5 minutes. Add cranberries. Boil 5 minutes longer. (The cranberries will pop). Remove from heat.

Add gelatin mixture to hot cranberries. Stir to dissolve. Stir in grated orange rind and lemon juice.

Pour into serving container and chill overnight. Or pour into plastic containers and freeze for up to a month. Thaw overnight in refrigerator and pour into serving dish.


Emilie said...

I'm all about the cranberry sauce! Keep those recipes and tips coming.
Will you promise to post some of your disasters closer to Thankgsgiving?

I love this time of year....

Sue said...

NOT ON YOUR LIFE! MINE EITHER! Actually, if I think of any failures that are instructional, rather than ones that paint me in a bad light, I'll share.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I could just hug you for that "youth" comment.

Would you believe I've gone off canned cranberry sauce? I know a few people, including my sister-in-law who is a wonderfu cook, who just have to have the canned stuff on the table on T-day.

I love learning new recipes since I don't eat the canned stuff. This one looks yummy, however, I'm having Mom bring her cranberry sauce this time around. She makes one with orange and candied ginger. I'll have to get the recipe from her so I can post it at some point.

Heather said...

What a timely recipe. Because my mother has passed away, I've decided to host Thanksgiving at my house this year. I've cooked along side my mother for 30 years, so I'm not too worried, but this will be a nice touch to make this Thanksgiving "mine" - little differences to make it more special and enough of a change from mom's that maybe it won't sting so much.

Sue said...

It's true.

I don't hate canned cranberries, the whole berry ones, I mean. The jellied stuff is nasty, BUT this recipe is better than anything. You're letting Mom off the hook pretty easy, if you ask me.

Sue said...

Dear Heather,
I really feel for you. Thanksgiving may be hard this year. It is kind of a real mother/daughter day. I'm glad you're hosting it, though. That will keep your mind on other things. And a change in tradition will make it seem less strange. But you'll have your tough moments. I still do...thirteen years later.