It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.
Bags of fresh cranberries are plentiful in the produce section of the grocery stores this time of year. It’s one of those food traditions that we never question and expect it to be on the holiday menu. Cranberries also seem to be one of those foods that folks either love or hate. Personally, I love cranberries. It’s really tasty on a sandwich made with left over turkey the day after Thanksgiving. They are good for you, too. Look it up.
Now, you can reach for a can of that congealed cranberry juice stuff concocted way back when your great-grandmother was a young woman. Time saver and convenient, if cranberries are just a garnish for your Thanksgiving plate, not really to be eaten with your turkey, then have at it.
You can make a better choice: fresh cranberry sauce. Below is what I do every year.
Here’s my recipe:
1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed in cold water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
pat of butter, optional
What to do:
Place rinsed berries in a two quart pot and turn burner to medium heat. Add sugar, water, orange juice and pinch of salt. I think the tiny bit of salt helps cut the bitter taste that cranberries sometime have and makes the taste brighter. Bring berries to a gentle boil, stirring to disolve the sugar.
The berries will begin to pop, as their skins split. You’re almost through with the cooking part, at this stage. When the berries foam up, turn the fire off. With a metal spoon, skim the pink bubbly foam from the top of the pot. If you want to, add the pat of butter. This helps reduce any foam that may remain- it’s kind of hard to get all of the foam out of the cranberry sauce.
Cool the sauce before placing it in the frig. It can be made a day or two ahead of turkey day. Serve in your great-grandmother’s pretty cutglass bowl. She’d think you are the cat’s pajamas.
Thanksgiving Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.
I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. And I know I’ve been preaching against rushing the seasons, but I guess I’m going to blame the frigid cold spurt we’ve had this week, for my Christmas ornaments project.
The tinsel tree never made it to the attic last year. It was boxed up, but not squirreled away with the other decorations. I’ll admit I have recently been tempted to set it up, not festoon it with baubles, just put it quietly in the sitting room corner.
Instead of pulling out the tree, I pulled out unused canning lids, pretty Christmas tape, seasonal paper, pompoms, miniatures and old buttons to make vintage looking, dioramic ornaments.
Here’s what to do: First trace around a canning ring (like Ball or Kerr) onto a piece of Christmas paper and cut it out with scissors. Using craft glue, pipe a bead along the inside edge of the lid. Place another ring, bottom to bottom, on top. Put these together with pretty Christmas tape. (Hobby Lobby has many options.) With two canning lids secured like this it makes a wide enough inside surface to place the miniatures. I chose tiny Christmas trees and deer and shiny little Merry Christmas signs. Cut up white pompoms look like snow glued at the base. Material scraps and small old buttons came together for a hanger on top.
Crafty Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen at Flowers Proper.
(And as always, if you enjoy the pictures, glean from the information or become inspired from my ideas, please click on the tiny star and give the post a ‘like’.)
I added pumpkin spice, plus a splash of vanilla, to twist up a simple recipe of marshmallow treats. Pressed into a pie plate and covered in seasonal fall sprinkles. Cut into a wedge, it rested on an ivory Fire King plate. Three marshmallows were saved for my Pecan Praline cup of Community Coffee. Yes, I did. And so should you.
Pumpkin Spice Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.
“Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
The Pumpkin Patch at Flowers Proper
Fall Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen at Flowers Proper.
I found myself counting, when making cookies this afternoon. Counting when I rolled the shortbread, after dusting them with powdered sugar, and again when room had to be made on the wire rack to cool. Twenty-four all three times. There was some dough saved and rolled into a log, then wrapped in parchment. It went into the freezer for easy cookie baking later in the holiday season.
Fall Shortbread today; modified a recipe I shared last year: August Cookie of the Month: Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Instead of chopped pecans and dried cranberries, I added some sprinkles shaped and colored like Fall Leaves.
I counted twenty-three cookies, when arranged in the vintage Louisa glass serving piece. How’d that happen? Had to taste test, don’tcha know? Powered sugar coated thumbs up! Perfect, if I do say so myself.
Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.
It’s pumpkin season, as I’m sure you know. We have a little pumpkin patch of our own this Fall. My grandsons have been keeping a check on them and next weekend we will have a family cookout and raid on the pumpkin patch to carve jackolanterns.
I’ve never made pumpkin soup, heretofore, but as I have these little pumpkins, I thought I’d try it. I washed, seeded, chunked, and coated 2 pumpkins with olive oil, before roasting in the oven. When tender and cooled, I took a spoon and scraped out the cooked pulp. I had about 3 1/2 cups, which I smoothed out with an immersion blender. In a big pot, with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, I sauteed 1 chopped yellow onion and 4 chopped cloves of garlic. I added the pumpkin pulp into the pot, added spices of salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutneg and pepper to taste. To this , I stirred in 4 cups of chicken stock and let it simmer for around 15 minutes. After it was through cooking, I stirred in a 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Another spin with the immersion blender to ensure it’s creaminess and the soup was ready for my bowl.
Along side my bowl of pumpkin soup, was a plate of mustard decorated corndogs. Why not? I’m a Louisiana State University fan. Can’t grow up in Baton Rouge and not be. Today we play the Mississippi State University Bulldogs. The Bulldogs call us Tigers corndogs. Yeah, really, why? Both are agricultural schools. And the trek to MSU is way more rural than it is to LSU. Are the Tigers and their fans uncouth, is that what the Dawgs are trying to say? Oh, well.
My opinion of the Dawgs is rendered in mustard.
Even the wildflowers gathered on my morning walk are rooting for the Tigers. Purple and gold, baby.
Tiger Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.
Soup’s on! Finally.
I dug around in the pantry and freezer for homemade, hearty soup ingredients and dumped them into the Dutch oven for a comforting and nurturing bowl of love. How’s that for a run on sentence? Sausage cut into thin pieces, can of corn drained, a chopped onion, 1/2 cup frozen field peas, some dried red beans, a can of chicken broth, a small can of tomato sauce, 1/4 cup of brown rice, 1 1/2 cups of water and seasoning to taste. Except salt; I’ll add that after the red beans have cooked down. It may not need it. We’ll see.
It is, at last, soup weather here in our part of the world. Yesterday in the muggy 80’s; today overcast 60’s. Looks and feels like October. Not rushing the seasons. Thankful we have them. Perfect weather or the same weather year round would be boring to me. We have mild winters usually, rather wet springs, long, hot summers, and serene autumns. The world is getting sleepy outside, wrapping its self in dying grasses and falling leaves. Pumpkins are ready to pick and the turnips needs to be planted.
Enjoy each grace from each season. And make yourself some soulful soup.
Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.
It’s Autumn, supposedly. The thermometer says it’s still August. The local big box stores and ads on social media say it’s Christmas.
We hurry too much. We miss too much. We need to stop rushing around and practice breathing in the simple beauty of the transitioning months. Homegrown flowers, little pumpkin, Mr. Irving’s Sketchbook harken to Autumn, even if the temps do not. Practice the pause.
Autumn Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.
What am I doing? Well, waiting on a guy to get out here to give an estimate for tearing down and hauling off a shed that’s falling in. I’m also waiting on a repair man for the satellite to be fixed. It’s college football season, after all.
And then, I’ve got canvas drop cloths spread out on the floor. Painting? No. Trying to figure out how to sew together a cover for the cars backseat. Marigold’s hair gets everywhere; you wouldn’t think a bloodhound would shed like she does, but oh, my goodness!
First, though, coffee and breakfast.
Traditions fill the counter top and old window sill. LaSolana pottery, Louisa Glass, Fire King pieces remind me of trips to Clinton, Louisisana each spring for a gigantic antiques fair. It was tradition to go that Easter weekend to the Felicianas, where my Grandmother had roots. The church ladies of that town got together and served sweets, gumbo, and the best chicken salad sandwiches ever! The LaSolana pottery sugar and creamers were found in the back of a farmhouse kitchen cabinet, when it was being demolished. Perfect for a small arrangement of fresh flowers. The Louisa glass is a compote dish I started collecting way back when ( attached to excursions to Clinton, LA). The Fire King mug is part of a set bought at an auction. And in that mug, another tradition: Community Coffee. Community Coffee is based out of my hometown of Baton Rouge. I didn’t start drinking coffee till a few years back. Making up for it, though. Coffee Time
Saturday Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.