Thursday, November 27, 2008

Showing Thanks (with recipes!)

Regardless of your feelings about the founding and expansion of the US, current politics or religion, Thanksgiving gives us all, whether 'Americans' or not, a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the things in our lives for which we are thankful.

Me?  I'm thankful for my good health (yes, even with the problems I have, they're not so bad really!), Ron and our critters, my family, my dad staying sober for over a year, my awesome friends - including the ones from high school I've refound on the interwebs, Skelekitty, gel medium, the ability to laugh at life's crap, Body Tribe Fitness and Allyson, learning new stuff, autumn colors in the California foothills, Poop-Off, NPR and the ability to spew my thoughts online and the fact that there are people interested enough to read them.

To celebrate all the awesome shit in my life, I'm celebrating by sharing two of my recipes for Thanksgiving day favorites.  First, the recipe for my cranberry-apple pie that drives my father-in-law to do a happy-pie-dance in his chair, and also the cranberry sauce that people who don't like cranberry sauce love.

My signature apple-cranberry pie!
Apple-Cranberry Pie
Oven 375F
Pastry for a double-crust pie*
4-6 large FRESH granny smith apples to yield 6-8 cups of cut apples (TIP: If you live somewhere you can get 'em off the tree, DO IT.  We get ours every year from Larsen's in Apple Hill - Camino, CA - do yourself a favor and get a turnover with sauce while you're there)
6 oz fresh cranberries - washed and destemmed
1 Tbsp. all purpose wheat flour
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar
butter (optional)

Peel and quarter the apples - remove cores.  Cut apples into somewhat uneven chunks (for large apples - I quarter the pieces lengthwise then cut them in half crosswise;  for smaller apples I'll cut them in thirds, then in half).

Mix apples with lemon juice, then add cranberries, flour, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of sugar and mix - allow to sit for 10 minutes or so.

Pour apple-cranberry mixture into a crust-lined (uncooked) pie pan and dot with butter (optional).  Arrange top crust and close edges.  Cut slits on top of pie or cut openings using a decorative cookie cutter.  Brush top with water and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. of sugar.

Cover crust edges with foil and bake for 25 minutes; remove foil and bake for 20-25 additional minutes.  Let cool and get ready to pass this recipe on to anyone who eats the pie.

*Don't want to make your own pie crust?  Use your own pie plate with Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts - just let them sit at room temp for 15 minutes then unroll and use - they are AWESOME and the only commercial pie crust I would ever use.

F@#%ing AWESOME Cranberry Sauce

12 oz (1 bag) fresh cranberries - washed and destemmed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec or another orange flavored liqueur)
1/2 + 1/8 cup water

Boil water, liqueur and sugar until sugar melts.  Add cranberries and heat until cranberries begin to "pop."  Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool for 30-60 minutes and refrigerate overnight (or at least for several hours to give it time to gel).  Yumtastic!

I hope you all find something to be thankful for today and every day!

xo  Krissi