Showing posts with label Cranberries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cranberries. Show all posts

Saturday, November 18, 2017

#Thanksgiving Cranberry-Fig Compote #Recipe @PegCochran

Do you love cranberry sauce (why do they call it "sauce" I wonder?)?  I love trying different variations on the theme so when I found this recipe in our Parade Magazine (you know--it's tucked into your Sunday paper if you still get one), I decided to try it.  I love figs--my grandparents always had fresh figs and dried figs on hand.

Of course, cranberries play a big role in my Cranberry Cove series!  Monica Albertson heads to Cranberry Cove to help her brother on his cranberry farm. What she doesn't expect is to harvest a body along with the cranberries!

1 cup water
1 orange--juice and peel
1 cup chopped, dried figs
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
10 ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt

Bring one cup of water to the boil.  Remove from the heat and stir in your dried figs and the juice of one orange.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

Return pan to medium heat and stir in one cup of sugar and one cinnamon stick.  Bring to a boil again and add one package of cranberries.

Reduce heat, simmer 10 minutes or until cranberries start to burst.

Remove from heat and stir in balsamic vinegar, zest of one orange and a pinch of salt.

Cool completely, remove cinnamon stick and transfer to a container.

Keep refrigerated for up to three weeks.


The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan—especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer’s Daughter. She’s submitting jams and jellies she’s created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon.

But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby’s neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. As evidence against Jake grows, Shelby knows she has to plow through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.

Follow me on Facebook to learn about upcoming giveaways! 



Friday, April 15, 2016

Spritz Cookies

I’ve whined about the lack of good food in my town (while it has a population of over 20,000 people, they’re spread over a lot of area, with bogs in between, and the town center has one stoplight and one main street—and too few restaurants). This is the town where I was served a deep-fried lobster: a whole lobster, shell and all, dipped in batter and thrown into the fryer. Not exactly gourmet.

But I may have to change my mind. Last weekend I attended the third annual Herring Run Festival. Yes, this town has herring, and has had for centuries. They even have a herring ladder, where in a good year you can watch a whole lot of herring leaping their way up on the way to…wherever herring go. People used to bring bushel baskets and collect them—for free.

This year the herring came and went a bit early, but the food vendors appeared for the festival instead. And I was impressed. There were jelly makers and cookie and bread bakers and lobster rolls and cheese and barbecue and burgers and more. Hallelujah, the town has discovered food! The place was crowded, with people of all ages, and they looked happy.

No, I don’t know how to cook herring (also known as alewives, if you’re looking at an old history book). Unless I catch my own, I’m not going to find some anyway(except pickled ones in a jar). But you already know I’m a sucker for cookies, so…meet Spritzal, a small company which celebrated its second birthday this month. They had a booth at the Herring Festival.

I was attracted by the name first. Spritzal cookies are an updated version of traditional spritz cookies. I know spritz cookies because I had a Swedish (step-)grandmother who made them from scratch every Christmas. In fact, I inherited her cookie press and have used it to make my own spritz. But the vendor said that the pressed form of the cookies is difficult to handle and relatively fragile, so it wouldn’t pack well to ship to stores. Rolling and cutting them out makes them easier to package and deliver, without losing any of the flavor or texture. 

Looks well-used, doesn't it?

It’s a simple recipe, with only five ingredients: flour, butter, sugar and eggs, plus whatever flavoring you choose. I went for the lemon cranberry version, which includes lemon extract and dried cranberries (another local touch! Have I mentioned that we’re the corporate home of Ocean Spray?).

I found my grandmother’s press, which still has the original recipes in the box, including one for spritz cookies. But that one called for shortening (no!) and almond extract (traditional, but not the flavor I was looking for), so I swapped in butter. And I’m going to try rolling them this time.

Lemon Cranberry Spritz Cookies (a la Spritzal)


1 cup (salted) butter (2 sticks/half a 
pound. If you're worried about the fat content, go for half shortening and half butter.)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Dash of salt
1 tsp lemon extract
1 cup dried cranberries (not the sugared kind)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. You don’t need to grease your cookie sheets because there’s so much butter in the recipe, but you can use parchment paper.

Cream the butter. Add the sugar gradually and beat until light.

Add the egg and beat well.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the mixture. Add the lemon extract.

By hand, mix in the dried cranberries (don’t use fresh ones or you’ll end up with a soggy mess!).

Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out your cookies (I used a 3” round cutter). Place on the baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Let cool on a rack.

The original recipe says this makes about 5 dozen pressed cookies. This made just shy of two dozen largish cookies. Choose a smaller cookie cutter and you'd get more, but keep them simple, because you have to cut through the cranberries.

It’s tax day, so indulge yourself with cookies! And if you don’t feel like making them yourself, order them from Spritzal!

In case you're wondering, this is not a paid endorsement (we wouldn't do that at MLK!). These cookies are just plain good!

Dead End Street, coming in less than two months! (Sorry, there are no cookies in this book.)

Nell Pratt wants to save the city of Philadelphia, or at least a tiny part of it. Can she make it happen?

You can pre-order it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Roasted Squash, Spinach, Walnut, and Cranberry #salad #recipe @lucyburdette #cleansweepweek

LUCY BURDETTE: are you a fan of Pinterest? I confess that I find leafing through food boards very relaxing – almost like the effect that coloring books seem to have on other people. Of course I have boards for my Key West books, and mystery lovers kitchen, and the writers life, but I also have a catchall board called "Food, glorious food." And here is where I pin photos of dishes that looks delicious. Most of them are recipes that I think I could tweak to become low sodium. When I needed a new idea for a New Year's day side dish, that would include the cranberries I overbought from King Arthur flour, and the couscous buried at the back of my cupboard, I went to this board. And there I found a recipe from Gimme Some Oven that looked like a good start. She used cheese and commercial packets of toppings, both of which I removed. And I changed the kale to spinach...

And so here is what I offer for our curiosities from the cupboard week!


One small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into half inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Three-quarter cup couscous
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 to 3 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts

Freshly ground pepper
Benton's Table Tasty

Lemon mustard vinaigrette (Whisk together 1 teaspoon good grainy mustard, the juice of half a Meyer lemon, and olive oil to taste)

Douse the squash cubes in olive oil, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and Benton's table tasty, and roast in a 350 oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan, stir the squash, and add the walnuts. Roast for another 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile bring the broth to simmer in a small pan, and add the couscous. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the couscous to cool.

Wash and dry the spinach and add to the salad bowl. When the squash and nuts and couscous are cool, distribute them over the top of the spinach. Sprinkle the cranberries over top of that.

When you're ready to serve, add the lemon mustard vinaigrette and toss well. Of course this would also be tasty with some added cheese if you're not watching sodium, say feta or goat or what used to be my favorite, gorgonzola.

KILLER TAKEOUT is coming in April, but available for pre-order today!

And you can follow Lucy on Facebook,
and Instagram!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Cocktail Meatballs with Cranberry Glaze #Recipe @PegCochran

November is here--although it's hard to believe considering the warm weather we've been having in Michigan.  I gather other parts of the country have experienced the same delay in colder temps.  In November our minds turn to all things turkey and cranberry.  (And since I'm working on the third Cranberry Cove, cranberries are definitely on my mind!) I needed an hors d'oeuvre to take to a party (where the hors d'oeuvres pretty much function as a substitute for dinner) so I decided on meatballs in a cranberry glaze that is sweet, spicy and a little hot.

My meatball recipe made a ton of meatballs so I used half for dinner one night and turned them into Swedish meatballs.  The others I took to the party.

Ingredients for Meatballs:
2 lbs. ground beef
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
2 TBLS parsley flakes
1 onion, chopped
2 TBLS Worcestershire sauce
2 tsps salt
1 tsp pepper

Mix 2 lbs. ground beef with the rest of the ingredients.

Mix ground beef with seasonings, bread crumbs and eggs

Form into meatballs and bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees until done (time will depend on your oven--check after 15 minutes and then every 5 minutes until meat reaches desired temperature)

Ingredients for Glaze
1 14-ounce can whole cranberry sauce
3 TBLS cider vinegar
2 TBLS orange juice
2 TBLS brown sugar
1 to 2 tsps. sriracha or another hot sauce (I used one teaspoon)
1 TBLS minced fresh ginger
1 TBLS orange marmalade
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper (about three turns)

Place cranberry sauce in food processor and blend until smooth:

Love that gorgeous color!

Add the cranberry sauce and remaining ingredients to saucepan.  Stir and heat until combined.
Add meatballs to warm glaze and heat through.  Enjoy!


Friday, January 2, 2015

Granola Cookies

by Sheila Connolly

Recently I visited my local supermarket and came upon a not-young couple offering free samples of their locally made granola. They were parked at a card table between the vegetable and fish sections, a rather unlikely place for any food giveaway, much less a breakfast/snack one, but at least they got a lot of foot traffic there. I’m not much of a cereal eater, much less granola, but as a writer who has spent a lot of time sitting in unlikely places doing book signings (or hoping to have anyone at all ask for a signing), I felt compelled to stop and chat. And taste, of course.

It was good stuff, I have to say. The couple operate their Golden Girl Granola business out of Carlisle, MA, their hometown, and started small, working in their kitchen and selling at local farmers’ markets. Now they have a commercial kitchen not far away, but they still hand-stir the granolas, and they make a range of flavors. My husband favored the “Creative Cranberry” while I opted for the “Forest Maple.” We bought one of each.

Our purchase came with a mini-cookbook, so of course I went straight for the desserts (although they did include some savory recipes), specifically cookies. I was going to make their Cranberry Cookies, but my husband ate all of that flavor before I could get around to baking, so I used the Forest Maple instead (which tastes very maple-y, not artificial), and threw in a few dried cranberries. It turned out to be a nice combination. In fact, the cookies are kind of addictive.

Maple (Cranberry) Granola Cookies

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups granola (whichever flavor you like)
1 cup white chocolate chips
(1 cup dried cranberries)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two baking sheets.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and orange zest.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended.

Stir in the granola and white chocolate chips (and cranberries, if you’re using them).

Drop by spoonfuls onto the baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for a few minutes (if you try to remove them from the pan too soon, they fall apart). When cool enough to handle, remove the cookies to a rack and finish cooling.

Makes 3 dozen. Watch how quickly they disappear!

An Early Wake, arriving in one month! 

My protagonist Maura Donovan does not cook (hard to believe, isn't it?), but I'm thinking of sending her young employee Rose Sweeney to a local cooking school--there are some good ones in the area, and the local products are outstanding (believe me, I've sampled them).  

Do you think Rose should learn to cook?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Cranberry Pound Cake

by Sheila Connolly

Recently I wrote here about searching for a recipe to use with my vintage Swans Down hexagonal cake pans. I tracked down the corporate headquarters and asked if they could find a vintage recipe to match. They couldn’t, but they were quick to answer and kindly sent me a big batch of their recipes. I applaud their customer service!

Among their Thanksgiving recipes was one for Cranberry Pound Cake. Since I live in the home of Ocean Spray, I have a moral obligation to use our native cranberries, so I thought I’d share this recipe, in case you want something that isn’t apple or pumpkin pie with your holiday meal.

Swans Down Cranberry Pound Cake

3 cups sifts Swans Down cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries (chop first, then measure)
Optional: 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Sift the flour and measure. Then add the baking powder and salt, and sift again to mix.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, then gradually add the sugar, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and the extra yolk one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth.

Mix the vanilla and the milk. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternative with the milk, and beating on low after each addition.

Fold in the cranberries (and nuts if you’re using them).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and finish cooling on the rack.

Glaze (if you want it)

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 Tblsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl combine the sugar and butter, then stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy. If it’s too thick, add more cream, one tablespoon at a time. Drizzle over the cooled cake.

I'm giving away a copy of Picked to Die to someone who leaves a comment here (random drawing!) about the first Thanksgiving dish you ever cooked yourself. (I roasted my first Turkey when I was 16 because I really wanted to go with my family to my high school's Thanksgiving Day football game.) The drawing will be held on Thanksgiving Day.

Meg, Seth, Bree, Max and Lolly, and all the citizens of Granford, wish you a bountiful harvest and a wonderful Thanksgiving!