Cranberry Chutney

It’s the eating-time-of-year again! The best way to do that for the upcoming holiday feasts is to spread out the tasks over days, making foods that benefit from become richer in flavor when their flavors are given some time to meld.

Cranberry chutney is a perfect example with a variety of flavors mellow and become more united with time. In fact, it has become so popular, ordinary cranberry relish is a thing-of-the-past in our household. The chutney was a bit of an intense change the first year, so it was barely touched (other than by me). The second year, everyone was a bit more adventurous. The third year? No one touched the other two classics – orange & cranberry relish and a cranberry cream-cheese salad, instead, inhaling the chutney. The fourth year, everyone declared that turkey sandwiches had to have cranberry chutney, so I made a double batch. This year? I’m not wasting the time on the classics. My youngest child already asked if I was making “that yummy chutney”, so I’d better get to it!


Chipotle Turkey Enchiladas

chipotle peppers on grill For at least the past dozen years, we’ve made Chipotle Turkey Enchiladas on Thanksgiving weekend, usually for our Saturday night dinner which is about when we need a change to spicy!

Back in the beginning, making the enchiladas was super simple, sped along by a ready-made jarred chipotle enchilada sauce. All I had to do was load the corn tortillas with turkey, cheese, cilantro and sour cream, smother them in the sauce, and bake.

Then, the unthinkable happened – the sauce was no longer available. It should have been easy enough to make my own – throwing a canned chipotle in a simple enchilada sauce. I had, however, developed “convictions”, avoiding food in cans lined with the toxin BPA. Unlike the FDA which has “allowable” levels of toxins, if I know they’re in there, I don’t want any part of them. While there are some organic tomato brands that do use “NO BPA” cans, I’ve not yet been able to find any. Going without these enchiladas wasn’t an option, either, so what to do?


The Real Story of Thanksgiving

With parents arguing over elementary Thanksgiving costumes, it’s clear the last several generations haven’t a clue as to the real history of America. Instead, their primary focus is one of being inoffensive, which only makes them all the more offensive.

The Indians, no doubt, got a bum rap on many land deals. On the other hand, the American Indian tribes needed a little spiffing up, no strangers to human sacrifices, warfare, and cannibalism, not exactly the makings of innocents. Europeans had a far superior culture due to their superior God. Unfortunately, visit the major historical centers such as Cape Cod and Plimoth Plantation (where I’m pictured, sweeping out a cabin), and you’ll hear a revisionist history being shared – one of corn-stealing Pilgrims and abused Indians. Given the politically-correct atmosphere gripping Amerika – a country soon not to be equated with freedom, I appreciate Rush Limbaugh’s telling of the authentic Thanksgiving story.


Countdown to Thanksgiving Dinner

Huge Turkey - Daniel giving thumb's up I’ve been looking forward to this week since….well…..since we had the same dinner last year. We have a real turkey farmer, in northern New Hampshire, who raises turkeys as naturally as possible, allowing them to free-range the way the Lord intended – running around sun, bug and grass-filled pastures all summer long. Unlike factory-farmers who claim “free-range”, but instead confine hundreds, if not thousands of birds to sunless crowded, buildings, our farmer only raises a couple dozen – enough to peacefully exist and co-exist on the acres he has available.

While I’ve always been attentive to food preparation, there’s a far deeper sense of gratitude and respect for the life that was given, when I know the care and effort that was put into raising our food. I know from talking with him, that “processing” the birds never gets easier, and each year he talks about it being his last. Yet, he also knows, if he doesn’t continue to raise his own food in this manner, instead buying it from the grocery store, he’ll be feeding his family an inferior food. So, like us, he gives thanks for the lives of those creatures that lost their lives in order that we might be sustained – a daily reflection and eternal perspective of the Cross.

For preparation of this year’s turkey, see my Turkey Brine entry from last July.


"That's Hot" Sweet Potato Casserole


The real name of this dish is “Madeira Sweet Potato Casserole”. But ever since a friend’s husband, inadvertently renamed it a few Thanksgiving dinners ago, this name, said with a few winks and grins, has stuck.

Invited to their home for Thanksgiving, I was asked to bring my “famous” braided Challah, a sweet potato side dish of my choosing, and a “non-pumpkin” desert because my friend informed me that, “No one can match my pumpkin pie.” I decided to make a chocolate pecan tart, which I figured was as far from pumpkin as possible.

She’d spent weeks planning her menu, pouring through Food & Wine, Epicurious, Sunset and Cooking Light magazines and cookbooks. Her table was beautifully appointed, a work of art that could easily have been photographed for any fine-food magazine. Beautiful linen tablecloths, sparkling crystal, and flickering candlelight set the stage for a formal five course dinner, the first three courses deserving and equal to the ambiance and setting. Subtle background chamber music intermingled with genteel, polite conversation, when suddenly – as loud and shocking as if someone popped a huge balloon – her husband exclaimed, “That’s Hot!”