Monday, November 1, 2010

27 Days of Thanksgiving

Ah, November, you're finally here!
     My favorite month of the year has arrived, with a chilly morning frost and newly fallen leaves on the lawn. And a Halloween hangover. Hey, I'm only human, right?
     But most of all, November ushers in four weeks of festivity in my life. My wedding anniversary, my birthday, my parents' and sister's anniversaries as well, and the Hallmark of all holidays, the last frontier of home cooks everywhere no matter their talent, Thanksgiving!
     In honor of this holiday, the foodie in me has bubbled over in excitement, and so I am embarking on a recipe blog marathon. This is it:
                                                                        27 days, 27 recipes.
     I am providing you, my humble reader, with a recipe a day to enhance, criticize, convert, or add to your holiday arsenal. Don't worry; nothing will be over the top, no fancy froo-froo food here. I am a Thanksgiving purist. That said, there is a lot of wiggle room in the traditional turkey meal. On our own table, we have Tofurkey making a regular appearance for my vegetarian cousin, much to my chagrin (I am on a personal mission to systematically destroy and ban Tofurkey), so I have a major focus on meat-free dishes that can please the veg-head in the group. Sides have evolved and grown in scale and importance, and with my influx of farm-fresh produce (thanks Fernbrook!), I will have lots of ides for you to hack that 'decorative' squash to pieces and eat (see my pumpkin soup post), and tear your 'ornamental' kale from the frost to head for the stockpot. And yes, dessert - beyond the pumpkin pie and Cool Whip.
     So, sit back with a steamy cup of mulled cider, nibble your cinnamon stick, and enjoy the first in a series, my homemade whole berry cranberry sauce. If you've only ever emptied the gelatinous red beast from the can - and to some, this is a tradition and I get it! - I encourage you to try this. It is simple, fast, and delicious, and doesn't require any zesting, beating, or oven space. Enjoy, and Happy November!

Easiest-Ever Cranberry Sauce
1 bag whole fresh cranberries
1 cup white sugar
1 cup apple cider

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Drop to a simmer. When berries pop, cook another 5 minutes to thicken, so the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Cool, and refrigerate. Serve cold.

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