the rainy kitchen

cooking through the rain in southeast alaska

Category: sides

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.


roasted brussels sprouts

I love Brussels sprouts, so good. This time of year they are in season and plentiful. One of my favorite things to do with them is roast them. If you’ve been reading this blog at all, this will not surprise you! The days of mushy steamed Brussels sprouts are over. If that was your experience with Brussels sprouts and you haven’t had them since, try this, it might change your mind.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

2 lbs sprouts
2 cloves garlic
crushed red pepper
olive oil
sea salt
lemon – optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sprouts and remove the loose outer leaves, cut in half. Lay out on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a couple pinches of sea salt and a pinch or two of crushed red pepper. Put in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until sprouts begin to brown and are soft, but not mushy! If you want, squeeze the juice of about a half a lemon on them when you take them out. This will mellow out the flavor a bit. Personally, I like the strong flavor of Brussels sprouts. These are great served right away and also make delicious leftovers to add to salads, rice, or just to eat alone. Enjoy and have a lovely weekend!

roasted green beans

I love green beans! One of my favorite ways to eat them is roasted. It’s a super simple way to make them and serves as a great side dish with salmon, a regular meal in our house. Have a lovely weekend and eat your veggies!

Roasted Green Beans

green beans
olive oil
sea salt
crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash about a pound of green beans and snip off the ends. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and crushed red pepper. Slide into the oven for about 15 minutes. Take out when they are getting roasted, but are still nice and green.

a spinach potluck salad

Several years ago, a friend of mine made a salad with frozen spinach, garbanzo beans and feta cheese that I thought was so good. I have tweaked the recipe slightly over the years, and I find this quick and easy salad to be great for potlucks or for lunch.

Garbanzo Bean and Spinach Salad

5 c. fresh spinach
15 oz garbanzo beans
5 0z feta cheese
1-2 cloves garlic
olive oil
fresh black pepper
crushed red pepper
juice of half a lemon

Saute garlic in a medium sized pan coated with olive oil. Toss in the spinach and let saute till shrunk down. Ad the garbanzo beans and sprinkle with crushed red pepper (more or less depending on how much heat you like), a few grounds of fresh pepper and the juice of half a lemon. Transfer to a bowl and crumble in feta, stirring it gently. Serve alone or with a good hard crusted bread.

easy saturday salad

One thing we generally have around the house is smoked salmon. It’s a great ingredient for pasta salads, among other things. Here is a quick and easy recipe, great for lunch or a side dish for a bigger meal.

Orzo with Smoked Salmon

1 cup orzo pasta
2 cups chopped baby kale
1 clove garlic
1 cup hot smoked salmon (I used king, but you can use whatever you have on hand)
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
juice of one lemon
two tbls capers
olive oil

Cook the orzo in lightly salted water. Drain when al dente and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.
While orzo is cooking, mince one clove garlic and saute in pan with olive oil.
Chop baby kale and ad to pan, sprinkle with a small pinch each of sea salt and large pinch of black pepper. Add crushed red pepper (apx 1 tsp of crushed red pepper, more or less depending on how much spice you like).
The kale will cook quick, once it has shrunken down to half its’ original size or so, combine with the orzo and mix well to keep it from all clumping together.
Add smoked salmon, should be broken up into small pieces, you can just crumble with your hands.
Add capers.
Add lemon juice.
Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.