Saturday, November 10, 2007

cranberry sauce

This week I decided to try out a tweak to my cranberry sauce recipe. (I can't be experimenting on Thanksgiving, that's just crazy.) Anyway, last year I made homemade cranberry sauce for the first time, and it was delicious, but as Brian pointed out, not gelatinous enough. So for Christmas we went back to canned, and all I could taste was the metal. It's amazing how having it homemade JUST ONCE totally ruined my favorite Thanksgiving food for me. It has to be homemade now. But what about the gelatinousness?

I think that some people solve the problem by throwing in some apple, apparently the pectin helps to thicken the sauce. I, however, tried something different: I used agar. Gelatin would probably work, too, but agar is what I have. (Yes, I just happen to have dehydrated gelatinous seaweed in my pantry.) As an added benefit, agar is vegan, for those of you with stronger willpower and different metabolisms than mine and my family's. (For the record, I don't eat anything with four legs [although Brian does], but poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs...it's all fair game. HAHA, game.)

Anyway, what I did this week was to add one tablespoon of agar to the my cranberry sauce about halfway through its simmering time. (I use the "basic" recipe that was in last November's Bon Appetit - it adds a pinch of kosher salt and some orange peel [or orange extract in my case - 1 1/8 tsp] to the standard bag of cranberries, cup of water, cup of sugar.) One tablespoon was definitely enough to thicken it up a bit, but I think I might increase it to 1 2/3 tablespoons, which is equal to...anyone? anyone? 5 teaspoons.

If you prefer jellied cranberry sauce, here is what I came up with a while back: cranberry juice (I prefer the kind that's sweetened by mixing it with other juices, as opposed to high fructose corn syrup, but hey, whatever floats your boat) and agar (the ratio is one tablespoon per cup of liquid), with some other pureed fruit mixed in to thicken it up and keep it from becoming straight up cranberry jello. I only made this recipe once, because I used apple and cherry and Brandon's hands, feet and lips turned blue. (They tell me it wasn't an allergic reaction but still, I'm not about to try that again!) But anyway I seem to remember it turning out pretty good.

So that's my take on cranberry sauce. I hope it helps somebody out this Thanksgiving.

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