Cranberry Crazed

Photo by Cindy Dyer

Photo by Cindy Dyer

Give the traditional cranberry sauce a new twist with a jar of orange marmalade. I make mine a few days ahead. You can serve it cold or warm. The prep is so easy and fast.

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries (one bag)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (13-oz jar) orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Wash cranberries and drain. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl; add cranberries, stirring well. Place cranberry mixture in a 9-inch square pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Add marmalade, walnuts and lemon juice; stir well. Cool.

Credit for this recipe goes to Southern Living.

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The Relentlessly Groovy Cultural Enrichment Society

The leader of the Relentlessly Groovy Cultural Society invited me and few of the girls over to bake bread, drink wine and watch Under the Tuscan Sun. Laura Hacker-Brown knows about hospitality and rolling out the welcome mat. She’s the colonel’s wife and she’s had to move multiple times with her husband and twin boys during the course of her husband’s career. So, she wastes no time in getting settled in a neighborhood and making friends.

It was a Friday night and I had kids to drive here and there and things I should be doing, but Laura’s nudging was too tempting for me to resist. I just knew it was what I needed at the end of a long week.
Her concept: bring some girls together (no matter our age, we will always be “girls”), pour some wine, and get to know each other over mixing, kneading and baking French bread. By using the quick method in the recipe below, we even got to enjoy the bread with some French Onion Soup Laura whipped up before our eyes. Perfect fare for a chilly night.

We never got to the movie. No need. We were sated with bread, food, wine and Laura’s warm hospitality. Thank you, Laura, you are trés groovy!

French Bread
Bake this in a perforated French bread pan. Laura placed fresh rosemary sprigs on the dough before baking. Recipe from Bread by Beth Hensperger

The author says, “The elements of the pain ordinaire, or everyday bread, are flour, water, salt and yeast and are basically the same as they were 8,000 years ago. French bread should have a crackly crust, a chewy texture, lost of uneven holes, a long side crack from expansion in the oven, and a grainy taste. It’s best eaten hot, straight out of the over, for as it cools, it begins to go stale.”

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/2 packages (1-1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups warm water (105⁰ to 115⁰)
  • 3 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Egg glaze (lightly beat an egg white with one tablespoon of water)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over water in a large bowl. Stir until combined. Let stand until dissolved and foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add 2 cups bread flour and salt. Beat hard with a whisk for 3 minutes, or until smooth. Add remaining bread and unbleached flour one-half cup at a time with a wooden spoon. The dough will form a shaggy mass and clear sides of the bowl.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time as necessary, until dough becomes soft, silky and resilient, about 5 minutes. It will not be sticky.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a cool area of the kitchen until tripled in bulk, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. If you have time punch dough down and allow it to rise again, about 1 hour. The dough may also rise in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Gently deflate dough, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into two portions for the baguette pan. Knead in more flour now, if necessary.
  6. Press each portion of the dough into half of the French bread pan. Slash tops diagonally with a serrated knife sprayed with oil and brush with egg glaze. Place in a cold oven on the middle or lower rack.
  7. Turn on over to 400⁰ and bake for 35-40 minutes until crusty. Eat immediately.

How to Hold a Man Cave Party

This topic was pitched to me by the eHow™ website. I knew this type of party had to include food, so I decided on a build-your-own burrito bar. Watch this short video and see how to hold a man cave party. One thing not mentioned in the video is dessert. My man suggested a box of Hostess Cupcakes. “Why?” I asked? He replied, “Because I never get them!”

Semantics

Man Cave = Fan Cave = Fam Cave…whatever you call it, have fun!

Here is the white chicken chile recipe referenced in the video.

White Chicken Chile – The Framework

Chile is one of those soups that can be made to your taste by varying the amount of beans, meat, tomatoes, peppers, and seasonings .Here is a recipe to start with, then make it your own. Mine comes out different each time.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/2 pounds chicken breasts, boneless, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • I green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • 3 cans white Northern beans, do not drain
  • 3 cans tomatoes (I either use Muir Glen Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes or Del Monte Zest Chili-Style tomatoes, or both)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, adjust for seasonings
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, adjust to taste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • Sauté onions and peppers in 3 tablespoons of olive oil unless soft. Transfer to stew pot.
  • Sauté chicken in 3 tablespoons of oil until cooked through. Add to pepper and onions.
  • Add the beans, tomatoes, cilantro and seasonings. Simmer on low.
  • Taste periodically and adjust for seasoning.

Can make ahead. As with all soups, it’s better the second day. Freezes well. Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips. Yields about 8 servings.

Click here for other Barbara Kelley eHow™ videos on party themes.

Throwing a Party in an Ugly Backyard

Pesto Table 3This is such a funny title but it was the one assigned to me by the producers of the eHow™ videos. I figured they decide on their titles with a little help from Google who clues them in on what people search for.

Pesto Table 2So, I took it on. This was an easy one to create because it doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have, it’s hospitality and your warm welcome that matter most. Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.

Pesto Table 4

(Note: the captioned version is on YouTube here.)