Showing posts with label cranberry sauce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cranberry sauce. Show all posts

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Brown sugar cranberry sauce with bourbon (if you dare)

By Victoria Abbott aka Mary Jane Maffini

We're all having a great time here in Mystery Lovers Kitchen in the run up to Thanksgiving, even us Canadians!  We are loving the recipes and the good mood.  And because we’ll be feeling thankful all week, we are happy to offer a giveaway – you’ll find the details at the end of our post and we'll announce the winner on Thanksgiving day!  Do come by. 

Our readers have been posting about what they can’t live without on ‘turkey’ days. It’s hard for us to choose because although we love stuffing, cranberry sauce is the one thing we can’t live without when there’s a turkey in the picture. 

We love the punchy flavor and the bright color. We like to make it at home, because it’s just so easy. In a pinch it’s just cranberries, water and sugar, but we prefer to dress that up a bit. And as we are trying to lighten our recipes without diminishing the taste, we have a few tricks up our sleeves. This is a great little recipe and you can add your own favorite flavors. 

Some of you may remember that MJ still has that bottle of bourbon from the Plumcot cake recipe this fall.  We did a test with half our cranberry sauce and a dollop of the bourbon.  We think it tastes great and is probably full of extra vitamins. What? Oh.

We think either version would be great to bring along if you are a guest for Thanksgiving. It’s not hard to make and you can whip it up a week or so ahead.  Put it in a pretty jar or in a little vintage dish that can be a hostess gift –  as this one was for us.  

We'll set our table simply now: something like this from the Chicken with Apples post.
We like the warm fall colors and the glow of candles. 

We often serve cranberry sauce in the glass turkey that was part of every Thanksgiving and Christmas table when MJ was growing up.  We won’t be giving that away! 

Take it away, cranberries …

Brown-Sugar Cranberry Sauce

1 cup water
1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar, firmly packed (or 1/3 cup regular brown sugar,.  we find the Splenda brown sugar bit sweeter)
1 12-oz. bag of cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 tsp. freshly black pepper
pinch of kosher salt
1- 2  Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves + a little more for garnish
2 to 4 Tbsp Bourbon or whisky, to suit your taste
Combine the water and the brown sugar in a medium-sized saucepan.
Set on the stove over high heat. Whisk to combine. Bring it up to a boil, whisking occasionally.
Add the cranberries, salt and pepper. You can add the cranberries fresh or frozen. Cook on medium until cranberries pop and mixture thickens nicely.  Add your thyme and, if you choose, your bourbon or whisky.

Cool and put in container. It will keep in the refrigerator for three or four days. Or straight into a pretty service dish.  If you’re lucky, you now get to relax! 

Victoria Abbott is the mysterious collaboration between the artist and photographer Victoria Maffini and her mother, the mystery writer, Mary Jane Maffini.  Strangely enough, their three book collector mysteries, The Christie Curse, The Sayers Swindle and The Wolfe Widow all contain Siamese cats. Coming in September 2015 The Marsh Madness.

And now, because we’re in such a great mood, here’s our gift for you: we’ll draw from the names in the comments – make sure you leave an email address – for a copy of The Wolfe Widow, our Thanksgiving book.  

 Already have it? We’ll make a deal from one of the other Victoria Abbott books or your choice of MJ’s thirteen titles.  Check them out HERE:

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Check out the fun on Pinterest!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dr. Who Wedding Cake from a Cupcake Menorah + Chipotle Cranberry Sauce by Cleo Coyle

Doctor Who Cake design
and photo by Laine Barash

This is one busy week! We are celebrating Chanukah, Thanksgiving, and the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, the longest running sci-fi TV show in history. Am I going to cover all of that ground in this post? You bet'cha!
To get my recipe for
Blue Velvet Cupcakes in a
"keeper" PDF document,
click here.

First up the Festival of Lights, which begins at sundown tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 27) and is observed by the kindling of lights on a unique candelabrum (a menorah). One additional light is added on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night.

Last year, I posted a recipe for Blue Velvet Cupcakes that I used to make a tasty cupcake menorah. If you'd like that recipe, click here.  

And this recipe led to the one below:
a Tardis blue Doctor Who Wedding Cake!

THE BLUE WEDDING CAKE STORY: Last year, after I posted my Blue Velvet Cupcake recipe, one of our many very kind blog followers, Laine Barash, remembered it when her daughter announced her plan to get married.

But this wasn't just any marriage. This was a story of two hearts broken and mended; two souls lost and found. Johanna tells their story in her own words below...

“Chris and I married in 2001. Neither of us were especially nice people at the time. I started to change and he did not. It got really bad. We separated...and the divorce was final 1/11. I didn't speak a word to him. Then one day I agreed to meet him for coffee. I could see instantly the changes he had made. And with each day since then I am more proud of the man he has become. The man he was meant to be. And I'm grateful, I never stopped loving him. Just knew that we all deserved better. So we've both made a ton of changes. We both have a long way to go, but we have direction. And each other. And our son. And God. So I'm proud to go through life as his wife!” ~ Johanna Rothberg Banfill (photo by Shana Rothberg)

After Chris lost his wife and then turned himself around to win her back, the couple decided to officially re-tie the knot on their original anniversary, November 13. 

Of course, I was touched by their story and delighted to hear that Laine was able to use my recipe to inspire her creation of a very special wedding cake, a Doctor Who cake of Tardis blue

Why a Doctor Who cake? 

Because the bride and groom are huge fans of the show and the bride requested it. 

Why Tardis blue? 

Because TARDIS is the name of the ship Doctor Who uses to explore the universe (TARDIS = Time And Relative Dimension In Space). And the ship is disguised to look like a blue British police box. (When the series first aired back in 1963, these boxes were a common sight in Britain.) 

In the wider universe, blue is commonly associated with harmony and faithfulness, which means this beautiful slice of cake is perfect for a wedding like Johanna and Chris's...

Photo by Laine Barash

Laine Barash
Laine's Tardis Blue
Doctor Who
Wedding Cake

Recipe courtesy Laine Barash for the wedding
of her daughter, Johanna, and son-in-law, Chris

Directions: To make the cake, follow Cleo Coyle's Blue Velvet Cupcake recipe (click here for the recipe) with these adjustments:

1 – Use two cake mixes, for two 8-inch square pans and two 10-inch square pans. 

2 – When you mix up the batter, increase the amount of coloring gel paste. For Cleo's Blue Velvet Cupcakes, she suggests 1 to 2 teaspoons of Wilton brand Royal Blue gel paste (pictured). For the Tardis Blue Doctor Who Cake, increase that to one full ounce (one jar) of Royal Blue gel paste per cake mix, and a tiny glop of violet. (That's 2 ounces of gel paste total and 2 tiny glops of violet for the 2 cake mixes that create the batter for your four layers of wedding cake.)

3 – When you divide the batter among the pans, you will notice that they are not as full as usual, and that’s okay. Bake these layers at 300° F. and they will bake up more level, which means you will not have to slice off any domes to even them out. Frost, top with a Doctor Who cake topper and serve to oohs and ahhs galore!

Blessings and
Congratulations to you,
Johanna and Chris!

*  *  *  *  *  *  * 

Finally, this week, we are also 
celebrating Thanksgiving!
For my Smoky, Zesty Chipotle
Dipping Sauce recipe, click here.
A few months back, I shared my favorite recipe for smoky, zesty Chipotle Dipping Sauce (click here for the recipe). 

I use it for veggies and chips, but also to make Chipotle Tuna Salad and Chipotle Turkey Salad, a good use for turkey leftovers this weekend!

About the same time that I first posted this recipe, I decided to make a Chipotle Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving.

This little decision led to weeks of debate at the Coyle household. I thought it was a great idea. Marc (my husband) thought nobody would like a recipe that radically changed traditional cranberry sauce.

Then, last week, The New York Times came out with its Thanksgiving menu, and (wouldn't you know it), they suggested a "spicy" cranberry sauce with jalapenos and cayenne. Ha! (Do culinary minds think alike or what?)

This jazzed up tuna salad sandwich was made with
my Chipotle Dipping Sauce. This weekend, I'll be
mixing it with our leftover Thanksgiving turkey to
make Chipotle Turkey Salad.
Pictured below is an even better idea: Use my Easy Chipotle Cranberry Sauce recipe for your traditional Black Friday turkey sandwich

When Marc finally tasted it, he admitted the Chipotle Cranberry Sauce on the cold turkey sandwich brought a nice zing to the roasted meat. 

The smoky, spicy flavor notes of the chipotle paired beautifully with the sweet-tart taste of the cranberries. Now he wants to try the sauce with some Indian dishes as a revved-up chutney. Sounds good to me...I'll keep you posted!

Cleo Coyle's
Easy Chipotle
Cranberry Sauce

Although I had been planning a "spicy" cranberry sauce for months, the NY Times beat me to the punch. Still, I think mine is a better recipe. Why? It's so much easier! The Times version has several ingredients and steps. You're welcome to their version. But I'll stick with  my way. It's a snap...

1. PREPARED SAUCE VERSION: Whether you're using canned cranberry sauce (whole or jellied) or you're using prepared homemade sauce, all you have to do is warm it in a small saucepan until it loosens up and becomes more liquid. Now open a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (pictured). Dip a spoon in and measure out one teaspoon. Stir it into your warmed cranberry sauce. Taste...if you'd like it hotter, add more. If you'd like it even hotter, chop up a chipotle pepper and stir it in. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and serve. I use it on cold turkey sandwiches with mayo.

2. FROM SCRATCH VERSION: Follow the directions you like best, using whole cranberries, water, and sugar. Your favorite recipe may also include orange juice, orange zest, and/or fresh or dried and ground ginger. Once you begin the cooking process with the cranberries, open a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Stir in one teaspoon of the sauce for a mild spicy flavor. Add another teaspoon or two for a hotter version. For the very hot version, chop up a few peppers and stir them in, as well. Finish cooking the sauce, cool, and serve.

Just be sure to warn your guests 
which sauce is traditional and which is spicy...
and please do have a...

Happy Chanukah! &
Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

December 3rd...

A Coffeehouse Mystery
by Cleo Coyle 

*Starred Review*

"Top Pick"
--RT Book Reviews

"...a highly satisfying mystery."
~ Publishers Weekly

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
13 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.