Thanksgiving Essentials: Ginger Apple Cranberry Sauce

 

Spiced Cranberry Sauce | Cook it Pretty
I’m pretty big on cranberry sauce. I love it in all forms, including shiny and jiggly out of a can. Last year I made cooked cranberry sauce for the first time, a departure from my Mom’s usual fresh cranberry relish – a family favorite close to my heart. Maybe it was because I was more focused on other things, like hosting my first Thanksgiving in Dubai, but it was a surprise hit.

Dubai Spices | Cook it Pretty
The reward could have been enhanced by my efforts to grind my own cloves. Cloves are plentiful in this land of spices, but seem to be most common in their whole, hard-as-nails form. Chopping wasn’t happening. My knives were no match. I tried mortar and pestling, slow and tiring. I even took a hammer to these suckers. I now understand why whole cloves are most often used as sharp objects plunged into defenseless foods like oranges.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce | Cook it Pretty
Success could also have been made sweeter by the hunt for key holiday ingredients, like the cranberries. In a land where I often call foods by names not widely understood by others, seeking cranberries in multiple markets was…interesting. Cranberries? They’re red and smooth? Possibly frozen? Very tart? *Points to image on a bottle of cranberry cocktail and smiles hopefully*

Spiced Cranberry Sauce | Cook it Pretty
Whatever other factors involved, the stuff tasted good. It smelled amazing. It was spiced and sweet. It tasted like it should taste. It tasted like home. The double batch lasted through many rounds of delicious leftover turkey sandwiches. I made it ahead of time and it made my life easier. And for all these reasons, I’m making it again this year. In Dubai again, this time with the in-laws. Please wish me luck on my holiday food shopping adventures.

Ginger Apple Cranberry Sauce
Double Batch, Serves 16

24 oz fresh or frozen cranberries (680 grams, for those of us shopping in the metric system)
1-2 tart apples, chopped
1 1/2 c water
1 c honey
1/2 c brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
4 Tbs candied ginger, chopped
2 Tbs Cointreau or Grand Marnier
Zest from 2 oranges

In a large saucepan, bring cranberries, apples, honey, brown sugar, spices, and water to a simmer. Cover and simmer for around 10 minutes (until you notice it thickening) over medium-low heat. Add zest, candied ginger, and orange liqueur, continue simmering uncovered for a few more minutes. You’ll know when it starts to look like sauce. Remove from heat and taste, adding more sugar or spices if needed. Let cool in your serving dish of choice. Keep covered in the fridge until Turkey Day – you can make this a couple days ahead and save yourself the stove top room day-of. Bring to room temp before serving time.

© Cook it Pretty 2015

Salmon With Love & Lemon Dill Sauce.

I’m not that big on Valentine’s Day. Especially going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day with a bunch of other couples forcing some romance. Just because you pay more for your meal and something might be heart-shaped, it doesn’t really mean you love each other more. After dealing with so much long distance in our relationship, we have come to value just being together as being special enough. We’ve been known to eat frozen pizza and ice cream on the couch on Valentine’s Day. (Note: I still believe that flowers are nice. Aren’t they always?). If we have a nice meal, it’s probably one I’m cooking at home. In all likelihood it will be something like this Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce.

Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce | Cook it Pretty

We like salmon. He loves extra sauce everything. It feels a little special, like something we might overpay for in a restaurant. This is one of the first sauces I learned to make, and I was pretty proud of it. Smooth, creamy and lemony. The pictured version was my second attempt, which came out a bit different texture-wise, either an error on my part or Dubai cream just isn’t the same. I would definitely have had to pack up my knives on Top Chef, but the man didn’t seem to notice.

Pair it with something green like asparagus, green beans, or broccoli (pictured roasted with red pepper flakes and parmesan), add mashed potatoes and you have a complete fancy-enough-to-impress meal. Whoever you make it for will definitely feel the love.

Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce
2 salmon fillets
1/2 c heavy cream
2 Tbs white wine (chardonnay is usually what I have on hand)
2 Tbs butter
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbs flour
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice (1 for sauce, 1 for salmon)
1 tsp chopped fresh dill (extra for salmon and garnish if desired)
Salt & pepper to taste

To Cook the Salmon
Heat oven to 400°F. Drizzle a baking dish with olive oil and add salmon fillets. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of the lemon juice and salt & pepper. Add a pinch of dill if desired. Cook about 15 minutes, depending on thickness of the fillets.

To Make the Sauce
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook garlic for about 1 minute, then add wine and cook another minute. Add flour and cream while whisking in the pan. Reduce heat to a simmer and add lemon juice. Let simmer 2 minutes, then add dill, salt and pepper.

Top salmon with sauce and garnish with lemon zest and dill. Serve with sides of choice.