I had a bit of a scare this morning. I woke up, or rather got pushed out of bed by two three-year-old feet and licked awake by the dog, and went to get an espresso and check my blog (as always Saturday mornings are a bit like Christmas on account of the surge of comments I get for FSF), and it was GONE. This blog. Nothing there. No connection, through the www. or WordPress. For hours. P.A.N.I.C. I called tech support and they said the system was being upgraded but I didn’t quite buy it, and fretted through a three hour long panic attack which included a lot of reprimanding myself for not backing this thing up, only because I never got around to figuring out how.
I have now. Phew. The thing popped back online at around noon. There is a moral to this story: BACK STUFF UP. Just in case.
I’m sorry that some of these recipes come along a little too late, after the occasion that might call for them, as is the case with this cranberry ketchup. Maybe you’ll hang on to the recipe for next year. Or maybe, like me, you like cranberry condiments at other times of the year too. This is like regular cranberry sauce but a little more savoury – made with onions and vinegar as well as sugar and spices – and pureed to a ketchupy consistency. My mom hates it, but I love it. Some rooting around the freezer unearthed a container, so I got to have my turkey sandwich after all. (The turkey seemed a little on the dry side, so I mayoed it up a bit and added some chopped green onion and celery.)
1 medium red onion, chopped
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 cup water or apple or orange juice
1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks, or 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
A good grinding of black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a largish pot set over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture boils, the onions become soft and the cranberries pop; about 20-25 minutes.
Let it cool a bit and then transfer to a food processor or run through a food mill until smooth. If it seems too thick, add a little extra water or juice. If you like, press it through a sieve (this is a good idea if you want to keep it in a squeeze bottle) to get rid of all the solids.
Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal according to the package directions, or let it cool and transfer to plastic containers to store in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to 4 months. Makes 2 1/2-3 cups.
Also, I decided that for all my raving about real hot chocolate this season I have yet to offer up a recipe. (Although pouring warm milk over chopped chocolate will do the trick, provided you can whiz it smooth, which can be a little tricky and is made infinitely easier with one of those little hand-held milk frother things. But please, if you have kids around, don’t let them play with them, particularly in close vicinity to long hair.)
I have heard drinking chocolate called all sorts of things, but I think “bisque” captures its essence best.
Hot Chocolate Bisque
3 cups 2% or whole milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (Lindt 70% cocoa or Bernard Callebaut – you can get nibs or flakes from Bernard Callebaut that work great)
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, water and sugar over medium heat. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it sit for a few seconds, then blend it with a hand-held immersion blender. Or for individual cups, divide the chocolate among the cups and pour the warm milk overtop. Whiz with one of those little frothers to make it very smooth and foamy.