Thanksgiving Sides – Cranberry Compote and Oyster Cornbread Dressing

Recipes in this PostCranberry-Riesling Compote Recipe adapted from Bryan Voltaggio, Range, Washington, D.C.

This year, like last year, I’m going to my friend’s for Thanksgiving, and like last year, I’m bringing something. It’s also my son, Spane’s birthday today, November 21, 2012, and he has requested Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting I made for his 7th birthday party. Since his birthday this year is the day before Thanksgiving, he is going to have his birthday party in December – so watch for recipes!

I have talked about going to my Grandmother’s house and wonderful turkey that came out of her Nesco Roaster. My Grandmother always had the best dressing on her table, that my Aunt Flora made every year. It was Oyster Cornbread Dressing, and it is my favorite dressing to prepare.

But, we always had canned cranberry sauce, that I really never liked. I have been making cranberry sauce for years, but today I found a new recipe that I’m going to make this year. It’s from Chef Bryan Voltaggio.

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Cranberry Brown Betty

Cranberry Brown Betty Cooling

This is fast becoming a staple Thanksgiving dessert. I don’t like pumpkin pie, and mince-pie is wonderful for Christmas, so this has the one for this holiday. It’s very simple to make with only a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

You will want to use Panko bread crumbs, because they are large and very dry. Broken up bread will not absorb enough of the juices to make a nice top on this. Breadcrumbs that come in a can will not work either, as they are too small, and you would just have a cranberry pudding instead of a Brown Betty.

If you like to add things to your cranberry sauce, like pineapple or nuts, you could easily add them to this recipe as well.

Make this for your Holiday table and enjoy the smiles from guests. Enjoy! Continue reading

Comfort Food – Shepard’s Pie and Cranberry Brown Betty

Shepard's Pie

Shepard's Pie

Recipes in this Post

I have been craving comfort food for quite a while.  It’s that time of the year, when you listen to Carl Off’s O’Fortuna, put your feet in warm fuzzy slippers, and want to eat food that will make you feel nice and warm inside.

Macaroni and Cheese is a classic comfort food, and so is Shepard’s Pie.  It combines potatoes,beef, veggies and gravy all in one dish.  Apple Brown Betty is also a classic comfort food, but cranberries are in season, so Cranberry Brown Betty is a delicious alternative.

There is another interesting story here.  My mother, Ruth Louise Burchart Boswell, was born in 1913.  When she went to school, there was something called Home Ec. If you were a girl, they taught you basic cooking skills, how to iron, clean the house, etc.  My mother told me that the final was to make Shepard’s Pie.  She did her best, but she didn’t like it, and the teacher didn’t like it either.  I suspect that she must have used mutton.  I don’t like mutton, either, although I do like spring loin lamb chops.  So, until I went to Ye Old Kings Head in Santa Monica, I never had it because my mother had said it was her most hated food.  When my dinner companion ordered it, it looked good so I tasted it and fell in love.

However, still leery of making it myself, I did not think of making it until tonight.   So, I started looking around the Internet for a good recipe for Shepard’s Pie.  Nothing I saw came close to what Ye Old Kings Head served, and they all called for strange things like mushroom soup or ketchup.  What the heck, I thought, I know what’s supposed to be in it, I’ll throw it together myself.

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