Monday, November 17, 2008

Relish the thought

In preparation for the Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner photo shoot on Wednesday, I needed to come up with a couple of different relish/sauce/accompaniments for the turkey. One I knew would be a pretty traditional cranberry sauce, the other took a little more thought, and some creative license!

Cranberry sauce the way Sher likes it:
2 bags of fresh cranberries, picked over and washed
zest of one orange
juice of one orange
1 cup sweetener--you can use sugar, light corn syrup, honey or maple syrup
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 T vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan on the stove and heat slowly over medium-low heat, to avoid popping all the cranberries. Stir occasionally. When simmering and about 3/4 of the cranberries are open and bubbly, turn off and cool. Taste and adjust sweetener as needed.

The photo above is pretty monochromatic--I'm still working on ye olde food photography, and feel extremely limited with my kitchen lighting, especially with zero sunshine when I'm cooking most days. Anyway, all that is to say that when we're shooting the sauce on Wednesday, I think I'll zest some more orange and maybe even thinly strip off some rind to give some more texture and color to it.

For sauce No. 2, I went rummaging online and found a recipe for a pineapple relish that sounded good, and one for an apricot relish, and so I combined them, threw in a little grapefruit juice for an acid and some habaneros for heat and pomegranates for texture and color and, voila!, a pretty zesty little combo.

Pineapple-apricot-pomegranate relish
2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup chopped dried apricots
2 T grapefruit juice (you could easily use lime or orange instead)
1/2 cup sugar

Simmer over medium heat until apricots are softened and mixture is bubbly. Take off the heat and add:
1/2 cup fiinely diced shallots
2 habaneros, sliced cross-wise
1 cup pomegranate seeds

Stir until blended. Serve warm or cold.

When I was tasting I avoided actually chomping on a habanero since I'm kinda wimpy in the heat department, but the overall flavor of the sauce had been warmed through by the peppers and it had a nice fire to it--nothing radical, just tasty and glow-y! This relish would also work well with "other" white meats... not just Mr. Turkey. You could even pretend it's a salsa and serve with chips, or, dare I say it, a cheesey quesadilla!

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