Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Like I Need One More Hobby...

Now I've added soap-making my list.
Lavender Soap made with flowers from my front yard.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cranberry Conserve

Cranberry Sauce is one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. I learned - a long time ago - how to make fresh sauce, and haven't looked at a the canned stuff since. So easy, so delicious.

The cranberry conserve recipe that follows is not just a "serve with turkey" condiment. In fact, the dinner plate is the last place I'd personally put this bit of winter joy. I've layered it with chocolate ganache in a tart, served it with cheese, and sometimes eaten a big scoop straight out of the jar.

The recipe comes from The Complete Book of Year-Round Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard, one of the first canning books I bought.

Cranberry Port Conserve

4 cups cranberries
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup port
1/2 cup finely chopped peeled orange
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Combine cranberries, sugar, and port. Bring to a full boil until berries pop. Add orange and raisins. Return to a boil, reduce heat to gentle boil until mixture forms a light gel. (It doesn't take long, so keep an eye on it.) Remove from heat and add nuts.

If you're making a batch to be used within a reasonable time - Thanksgiving week - go ahead and refrigerate it. I wouldn't bother canning it if you've got a houseful of cranberry lovers. If you do want to can it, follow safe canning procedures and process for five minutes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011