(Nov. 22, 2019) Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and preparations are in full swing.
Every detail must be taken into consideration and executed to the fullest degree. It is then and only then that perfection becomes a possibility.
Entertaining is about being true to yourself and allowing your personal style to flourish.
Planning in advance helps facilitate a memorable occasion. But most important, one must have fun if the theme of merriment is to prevail.
As we prepare our turkey with all the trimmings, remember the daily miracles that brighten our day.
This mirage of incredible wonders is there for all to see, one just has to be open to witness these incredible gifts.
Keep in mind that every dish has its “roots.” Tradition has a way of embellishing the future while memories flavor the blessings that we are about to receive.
But there comes a time where variation comes into play, which allows anticipation to spice up one’s menu. For example, our table always showcased canned cranberries in a petite glass dish and fresh cranberries in a festive bowl.
While this presentation graced our holiday table for years, sometimes change can spark new interest.
Cranberries, Two Ways, consists of a cranberry mold that is made with fresh cranberries, sugar and orange juice. The cranberry juice mixture is strained, gelatin is added, and then it is placed in a mini Bundt pan.
The mold is refrigerated overnight so the mixture hardens.
The next step is to prepare fresh cranberries, paying close attention to keep them slightly al dente.
Once they are cooked, the cranberries are spread out on a baking sheet to help cool them quickly.
The last step entails artistically arranging the fresh cranberries on the cranberry mold. The end result is a stunning and innovative way to present both types of cranberries in a single dish.
The following cranberry recipe is the best of both worlds and gives your guests the option of choice.
Cranberry Gelatin Mold
4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice (no pulp)
1 cup cold water, plus ½ cup cold water
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 (3-cup) Bundt pan
1. Lightly coat the Bundt pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until the cranberries have burst and the liquid takes on the color of the cranberries, about 20 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the cranberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving the liquid.
3. Pour ½ cup of cold water into a medium bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Do not stir.
Let stand for 5 minutes or until the gelatin has softened, then stir until gelatin is fully combined with the water.
4. Add the cranberry juice to the gelatin mixture and whisk until gelatin has completely dissolved in the juice.
5. Pour half of the cranberry liquid in the mold and refrigerate for 1 ½ hours. Add the remaining cranberry liquid and refrigerate for 10 hours.
6. To unmold, dip the mold pan into a bowl of warm water. Make sure the water does not come over the edge of the pan. Let stand for 15 seconds, then remove the pan from the water.
7. Place a serving plate upside down on top of the Bundt pan, invert the platter and Bundt pan together and gently shake until the mold releases from the pan. If it does not release, repeat as directed above.
1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup of sugar
½ cup of orange juice, no pulp
½ cup of water
pinch of ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cinnamon
fresh rosemary, orange zest, orange slices, or powdered sugar as a garnish
1. Discard any cranberries that are excessively soft or dark. Place cranberries in a colander and rinse thoroughly.
2. Combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook just until the cranberries start to pop.
Remove saucepan from heat, add spices and stir constantly. This allows the cranberries to continue to cook, but helps maintain their wholeness verses breaking down and becoming mushy, about 5 minutes.
3. Once the cranberries are cooked, strain, and quickly spread them on a baking sheet. Gently stir them so they will cool faster.
4. Pour the reserved liquid back into the pan. In a small bowl, make a roux out of cornstarch and cranberry liquid.
Add the roux to the leftover cranberry liquid, whisk and simmer until it reduces and thickens. Once the cranberry liquid has cooled, add the cranberries and carefully stir.
4. Presentation: artistically arrange the whole cranberries on and around the cranberry mold. Garnish with fresh rosemary, orange zest, orange slices, or powdered sugar.
* Cranberries, Two Ways can also be served with a ham at Christmas. Replace the rosemary with mint.
Secret Ingredient – Feast. “Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast.”
– Melody Beattie