the rainy kitchen

cooking through the rain in southeast alaska

Month: November, 2012

cranberry sauce with ginger

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! This is one of my favorite holidays. I am looking forward to spending the day with friends and family and I am thankful that we can all be together. We are doing a fairly traditional Thanksgiving meal which includes, of course, cranberry sauce. I have been making my cranberry sauce in the manner below for several years now. It’s not an exact science. It’s simple and contains no processed sugars. My friend Elyas came over last night to help me make the beautiful red sauce for our table tomorrow. I was lucky to have a fantastic assistant, but believe me, you could do it in no time without one too!

Pour about four cups fresh cranberries into a heavy bottomed pot. Add 2-3 cups orange juice (I use fresh squeezed). Turn on medium heat and let simmer. Mince 1-2 tablespoons fresh ginger and add that in. Let cook, stirring regularly for about 30 minutes or until the berries have all popped open and the mixture is thick. You can add more or less orange juice and ginger depending on the flavors you like. I like lots of ginger, I think it adds a unique flavor to a traditional dish and tones down the tartness of the cranberries, the orange juice will also do this, add more or less depending on how much bite you like from your berries! Enjoy with loved ones smothering on whatever you like at our table of giving thanks.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving my dears.

My helper inspecting the beautiful berries.

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acorn squash soup with sage and nutmeg

It’s cold and blustery in Juneau. We have some snow on the ground and the Taku winds are howling. Time to make soup. Due to the time of year, and the fact that I had one sitting around, an Acorn squash soup seemed like the right thing to make. So, I picked up another one and some fresh sage while I was out and about. Bret happens to hate the texture of Acorn squash, so a pureed soup seemed the only possible option.

Acorn Squash Soup with Sage and Nutmeg

2 acorn squash
2 sweet potatoes
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
6 sage leaves
1 celery stock
1 tbs freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbls butter
1/4 c. of heavy cream
1 tbls freshly  ground black pepper
kosher salt
olive oil
6 c. vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the “guts”. Lay on a baking sheet skin side down. Peel and quarter the sweet potatoes. Quarter them and add them to the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the cookie sheet in the oven and roast for an hour or until the squash and the sweet potatoes are soft. When those are getting close to being done, chop the onion, garlic, celery and sage and saute in olive oil over low heat until onions are translucent and zucchini is soft and lighter in color. Turn off the heat. Remove the squash and potatoes from the oven.  Warm up your stock. When it’s warmed up, puree the sweet potatoes with the onions etc. and a cup or so of vegetable stock in a food processor. Put it into the soup pot. Once the squash is cooled enough to remove the skins, do so. Now, puree the squash with some of the stock that’s left.  Once all the squash is pureed, add it to the soup pot and mix in with the rest of the warm stock. Turn on the heat, mix all together as it warms. Add butter, heavy cream, nutmeg and a pinch or two of salt and the black pepper. Mix all together. Grate a bit more fresh nutmeg on each serving before eating.

**This is a very rich soup! I think it’s best eaten with a fresh and simple green salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.**