"There are several theories as to the origin of the name 'cranberry.' One is that the open flowers look like the head of a crane; another is that cranes like to these sour berries. The Pequot Indians of Cape Cod called the berry ibimi, meaning bitter berry. Algonquin Indians were among the first to harvest wild cranberries. They used them for food, medicine, and as a symbol of peace. Native Americans pounded cranberries into a paste and mixed with dried meat, and called this mixture 'pemmican.' One of the first references to cranberries was made in a letter written by Mahon Stacy to his brother in England dated April 26, 1680."
Peel and juice of 1 medium orange
Peel and juice of 1/2 medium lemon
3 cups port
1 package (12 ounces) fresh cranberries, washed
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and cut into julienne
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- Cut orange and lemon peels into julienne. In small saucepan, heat juices and 1/2 cup port. Over medium-high heat, cook peels until tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve.
- In medium saucepan, combine cranberries, onion, 2 cups port, ginger, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Over medium-high heat, cook until relish thickens, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup port, Grand Marnier, and reserved orange and lemon peel mixture. Cool. Transfer to serving bowl, cover and refrigerate. (Can make up to 1 week ahead.)
ROASTED SWEET POTATOES STUFFED with CRANBERRIES, PEARS, AND PECANS
~ Delicious side clipped from Bon Appetit (Nov 2002) can be prepared ahead and reheated 20 minutes before serving.
8 8-oz. scrubbed red-skinned sweet potatoes
1 cup dried cranberries
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter
2 large firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
4 tsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
4 tsp. packed golden brown sugar
2 tsp. plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
- Position rack in cent of oven and preheat to 350-degrees. Line baking sheet with foil/ Pierce potatoes in several places with fork; place on prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender when pierced with fork, about 55 minutes. Cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, place cranberries in small bowl; pour enough hot water over to cover. Let stand 5 minutes to soften. Drain well.
- Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pears and saute until tender and golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in cranberries, pecans ginger, and brown sugar; saute 1 minute, Mix in 2 tsp. vinegar and q/2 tsp. salt.
- Cut off top 1/4 of each potato lengthwise; discard tops. Using fork, gently mash pulp inside each potato. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
- Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar. Drizzle abut 1 tsp. butter-vinegar mixture into each potato; mix with fork to blend.
- Mound cranberry mixture in sweet potatoes. (Can prepare 4 hours ahead. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature. Rewarm sweet potatoes , uncovered in 350-degree oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.
CRANBERRY-ORANGE SPICE CAKE
~ Tangy cranberries, fresh orange, spices and simple glaze ... perfect ending for the festive day (Williams-Sonoma favorite)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg'1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs. grated orange zest
3/4 cup milk
1.2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Have all ingredients at room temperature.
- Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 325-degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan; tap our excess.
- Streusel: In small sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine cranberries and orange juice. Bring to simmer and cook until liquid is nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Let cook, then coarsely chop cranberries. Transfer to small bowl, add brown sugar and pecans and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Cake: Over sheet of waxed paper, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder and salt; set aside. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add Granulated sugar and orange zest and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes., stopping mixer occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour. Beat each addition until just incorporated, stopping mixer occasionally to scrape down sided of bowl. Spoon 1/3 of batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat layering, then spoon remaining batter on top. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 60-65 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cake cool upright in pan for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make glaze: In small saucepan over medium-high heat combine orange juice and granulated sugar. Heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Remove fro heat.
- Tap Bundt pan gently on work surface to loosen cake. Set rack over sheet of waxed paper, invert pan onto rack and lift off the pan. Using pastry brush, brush warm cake with glaze. Let cake cool completely, at least 2 hours before serving. (16 servings)