Cranberries are such a unique berry. One of three fruits native to North America (blueberries and concord grapes are the other natives). The name cranberry derives from the word “craneberry”, which was named by the Pilgrims because the pink blossoms on the cranberry bush during spring look like the head of crane. Firm in texture, deep red in color, with such acidity that blankets the slight sweetness. In season between September through November, they have become a wonderful supporting role to Thanksgiving dinners, but it’s when cranberries are the star that true magic happens. Here are two recipes…one is a little bit country and the other is a little bit rock and roll. Hope you enjoy.
Cranberry, Sage and Walnut Pasta:
Linguine or tagliatelle
4 T butter
1/2 c whole fresh cranberries
1/4 c walnut halves
1/2 t fresh chopped sage
Toast the walnut halves until brown and smelling delicious. Remove from heat. Over medium low heat place the butter in a skillet. Whisk gently and let cook until brown. Be careful not to let it go too long or the butter will burn.
Cut the cranberries in half lengthwise. Once your butter is brown and released that wonderful nutty aroma, add the cranberries and the chopped sage. Cook only a minute or two until the cranberries start to soften and the skin lightens in color. Remove from heat, toss in the cranberries.
Using a slotted spoon, spoon the cranberry, sage, and walnuts over the pasta. Add the desired amount of brown butter liquid to the dish just to coat. Toss and top with shredded parmesan cheese. Enjoy.
Cranberry Orange Loaf:
1/2 c chopped pecans
1 c fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
2 c all-purpose flour
1 c granulated white sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 T orange zest
4 T cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
3/4 c freshly squeezed orange juice
1 t vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan and lightly dust with flour.
Toast the pecans for about 8 – 10 minutes or until lightly browned and smelling delicious. Set aside
In a small bowl, combine the beaten egg with the orange juice, orange zest and vanilla extract.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the flour mixture. Using your hands combine the two until the mixture resembles crumbs. (Ok you can use a pastry cutter or two forks as well, but hands are more fun)
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Stir in the chopped cranberries and nuts. Be careful not to overwork.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50 – 60 minute. Remove from oven and if you can wait, let cool before eating