Posts Tagged 'cranberries'

Pickled Cranberries

I am making pickled cranberries to take to my neighbor’s for Christmas dinner tomorrow. I was trying to think of something interesting to bring, along with a loaf of cranberry bread and roasted asparagus.  This recipe, from Cooking Light, seemed like an interesting and not too difficult idea, a little different than the usual cranberry sauce. The berries stay almost whole, and are kind of sweet and sour.

Pickled Cranberries

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons pickling spice
3 cups fresh cranberries (about one bag of cranberries)

Combine sugar, water, vinegar, and pickling spice in a nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook until reduced by half. This takes quite a while, so start early.

While the vinegar mixture is cooking, wash and pick over the cranberries to eliminate any spoiled berries. Strain vinegar mixture through a sieve into a measuring cup or bowl. Add fresh cranberries to original pot and pour strained mixture over them. Place pan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a simmer, and cook just until the cranberries begin to pop (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool. Chill at least 24 hours.  Makes about 8 servings with 0 grams of fat/serving.


Cranberry Goat Cheese Log

Someone in my office requested that I bring goat cheese and the famous Jezebel Sauce to the office holiday potluck. Never one to leave well enough alone, I decided that I should fancy up the goat cheese.  Since Jezebel sauce is pretty spicy, I decided that I needed to make the logs either sweet or rather plain.  I rolled one of the logs in chopped, toasted pecans. I wrapped the other in cranberries.

This recipe for cranberry-wrapped goat cheese log appeared in my local paper and is just in time for holiday parties. The recipe called for a one-pound log of goat cheese, but the Costco logs are only 11 ounces. In retrospect, I should have combined 2 logs to create a fatter 16 ounce log, or used less of the cranberry wrap, since the log came out a bit uneven (but delicious).  I also would suggest chopping the cranberries coarsely, since I thought the whole cranberries were harder to wrap nicely.  The log travels well if you wait to unwrap the plastic wrap until you get to your destination.  You can make it ahead and refrigerate it for a day or so.

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log

1/4 ounce package of unsweetened gelatin
1/4 cup water
12 ounce package of fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup orange or raspberry liqueur (I used Cointreau)
16 ounce log of goat cheese

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; set aside. Fill a large bowl with ice and water, set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine cranberries, sugar, cranberry juice and liqueur. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add gelatin mixture and boil, stirring occasionally, until mixture resembles a very thick jelly. Remove from heat and place the saucepan in the ice to cool.  (I actually poured the cranberry mixture into a medium bowl and set that on the ice, since my pot did not fit into the ice bowl very well.)

Once the cranberry sauce has cooled, lay an 18 inch sheet of plastic wrap on the counter. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the cranberry sauce on the plastic wrap, making an even rectangle slightly larger than the goat cheese log.

Place the goat cheese on top of the sauce. Spoon the remaining cranberry sauce mixture over the log, coating it evenly. Gently roll the log up in the wrap, using the plastic to mold the sauce around the cheese. Twist each end closed.

Note – I had trouble molding the sauce evenly. Note the misshapen wrapped log. This is why I think chopping the berries slightly might help.

Freeze for about 30 minutes to allow the cherry mixture to set.  Remove from the freezer and gently remove the plastic wrapper from the log placing the log on your serving platter

This makes 11-16 one ounce servings, at about 5 grams of fat/serving.

Thisis actually the leftover log I brought home.

I set the platter out with crackers and knives for serving.  The recipe suggested using unflavored dental floss to cut the log into one ounce pieces to serve it…but I liked the do-it-yourself log approach

Cranberry-Pistachio Bars

Back to cookie making.  These bars are quite festive looking, especially for the holidays, because of the bright red cranberries and the green-tinted pistachios (but they don’t photograph well).  They are a bit surprising to taste, because they are both tart and sweet.  The original recipe came from Eating Well magazine.

Cranberry-Pistachio Bars

The Crust
3 Tablespoons unsalted  butter at room temperature
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

The Topping
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange rind
¼ cup orange juice
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, preferably unsalted, chopped and toasted

To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position rack in center of oven. Coat an 8 inch square pan with cooking spray.  Beat butter, granulated and brown sugars in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Stir in whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, and salt until well combined.  The mixture will be crumbly.  Evenly press this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake until just barely golden around the edges, 10-12 minutes.  Remove crust from oven. You do not have to let it cool before putting the topping on.

To make the topping
: Chop cranberries coarsely by pulsing them in a food processor. Combine ¾ cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add egg, egg white, orange zest and juice. Stir until blended and smooth.  Sprinkle chopped cranberries over the baked crust.  Pour the orange mixture over the cranberries and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.

Bake until golden and set, 40-45 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  This is easier to cut if you chill it before you try to cut it.  The recipe says that this makes 16 cookies, at 4 grams of fat/cookie.  But I found the cookies to be very large, especially for a cookie plate, so I cut them in half – and then they made 32 cookies at 2 grams/cookie.


A note on pistachio nuts: If you can get unsalted nuts, use them.  There is a lovely brand called “Everybody’s Nuts” that has unsalted nuts that are easy to open.  But my local stores seem to longer carry them, and I was in too much of a hurry to order them online.  I used salted nuts and rinsed them to get the salt off, but it really wasn’t as satisfactory as unsalted nuts would have been.

Hint: Specialty flours and grains that are sometimes called for in recipes (like the whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe) can become rancid if they are kept too long. The same is true of nuts.  If you need ¼ cup of wheat bran, or 2 tablespoons of pecans, what do you do with the rest?   You seal the in a zip top plastic bag, and put them in the freezer!  They will keep for months, and you really don’t have to defrost them to use them.


I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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