in just a couple of days it'll be thanksgiving. it's one of my favorite holidays, and i don't know why. well, yeah, i do. my mom hated it, as she wasn't much of a cook. she'd complain about what a hassle it was to spend all day in the kitchen to produce a huge dinner. as a kid, i loved setting the table with the 'good' china, and being trusted to put the pretty crystal glasses at each place setting. i loved sneaking the black olives throughout the day, putting them on each finger and running around the living room pretending i was some black frog creature, then plucking them off one by one and enjoying the salty smooth taste.
sitting around the table was special. my dad always worked late, my mom never really ate a typical dinner, and my older sis was always out and about, so the majority of my childhood dinners were eaten alone. but not on Thanksgiving. my grandma would visit and we all sat around the dining room table and talk. it might not have been the most interesting conversation in the world, but it gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling just having us all together. the food wasn't gourmet, but it was yummy, simple traditional thanksgiving food, even if my mom did make the instant mashed potatoes, and served the canned cranberry gelled sauce. i still enjoyed it all.
when i was a young married gal i worked hard trying to figure out how to make standard thanksgiving food that was not out of a box or can. i mashed real potatoes and made real gravy. both were full of lumps and love.
then there was the year i discovered melinda lee. i'm a talk radio junkie and listen to it whenever i'm driving. melinda had a saturday morning radio spot and her show was all about food. oh, joy of joys. i learned how to cook by listening to her exuberant descriptions of how great it was to brine a turkey. i had to try it. then she gave me a gift. the cranberry sauce i crave. this stuff is tasty next to the turkey, awesome on ice cream, and scrumptious when sneaking it out of the fridge with a spoon.
here's my fav cranberry recipe. i doubt you'll make it, but i want to share just because.
amaretto cranberry sauce
makes 1 quart
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 full pound raw cranberries
1/3 cup orange marmalade
juice of two lemons
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds (you can used slivered almonds, too. i've done both)
1/3 cup amaretto liqueur
bring the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan. boil the syrup for 5 minutes. add the (washed and dried) cranberries and cook for about 5 minutes, until most (not all) of the skins have burst. remove pan from heat, then stir in marmalade and lemon juice.
transfer to plastic container. allow sauce to cool, then stir in almonds and amaretto. chill, baby.
I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of friends, family and food so you get that warm and fuzzy feeling.