Have A Crantastic Holiday!

By Kristen Castillo

November 10, 2014 7 min read

Many foods, such as eggnog and fruitcake, are associated with the fall and winter holidays, but few are as versatile as cranberries. The robust berry is one of only three fruits native to North America (in addition to blueberry and Concord grape).

Bright red and rich in antioxidants, cranberries are good for your health and great to taste. They're linked to promoting immune health and protecting against urinary tract infections and are beneficial for digestion.

According to The Cranberry Institute, a nonprofit organization to support cranberry growers, more than 1.19 billion pounds of cranberries were produced in the U.S., Canada and Chile in 2013.

All those berries are ready to eat! From appetizers and drinks to snacks, sides and desserts, cranberries will brighten up any holiday meal.

APPLE, PEAR AND FRESH CRANBERRY CRISP

This recipe is vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Servings: 8

Requires an 8-inch square baking pan.

For the topping:

1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread plus some for the pan

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup oat flour

3 tablespoons organic cane sugar

1/2 teaspoon stevia powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the filling:

3 cups peeled and sliced baking apples

2 cups peeled and sliced pears

1 cup fresh cranberries

1 teaspoon loosely packed grated orange zest

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/2 teaspoon stevia powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan with a small amount of Earth Balance. Set aside.

Prepare the topping by placing the oats, oat flour, sugar, stevia and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Add the Earth Balance and mix with a fork or your fingers until crumbly.

Prepare the filling by placing all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well to combine.

To make the crisp, place the filling in the baking pan, making sure that the cranberries are evenly distributed. Sprinkle the topping over the crisp uniformly.

Bake in the preheated oven until the crisp is bubbly and the topping is browned, about 30 minutes. The apples and pears should be fork tender and not mushy.

Remove from the oven, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Per serving: 170 calories, 7 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams dietary fiber and 57 milligrams sodium.

(Recipe from Dr. Joanne Mumola Williams of Foods For Long Life)

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY

3/4 ounce Cocchi Americano (substitute Lillet Blanc where Cocchi is not available)

3/4 ounce homemade cranberry shrub

Dry sparkling wine

Combine Cocchi and cranberry shrub in a shaker tin and shake briefly. Double strain into a chilled flute, top with sparkling wine and stir gently. Garnish accordingly.

Glass: flute

Garnish: lemon pigtail

Cranberry shrub:

1 pound fresh New England cranberries

1.5 cups cane sugar

1 cup champagne vinegar

1 cups filtered water

zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Macerate cranberries, thyme and lemon zest with sugar and let sit covered 4-24 hours. Combine all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a low boil with medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and fine strain into a glass bottle or jar.

Variation:

If you want to add a touch of holiday spice, add a teaspoon each of cinnamon, clove and white peppercorns, all cracked.

(Recipe from James Ives, bartender at PINE at the Hanover Inn in New Hampshire)

CRANBERRY NUT BREAD

Makes one 9-inch loaf

1 cup fresh cranberries

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg

3/4 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest

1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Generously butter the interior of a 9-inch-by-5-inch-by-3-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Place the cranberries in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Process using quick on-and-off turns to chop coarsely. Set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.

Add the butter and, using your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly.

Combine the egg with the orange juice and zest, stirring to blend. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon to just combine.

Stir in the reserved cranberries, along with the nuts. When blended, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing the batter into the corners slightly. The top should be mounded slightly.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour, or until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

The loaf may also be wrapped airtight and stored, refrigerated for up to five days or frozen for up to three months. Bring to room temperature before serving.

(Recipe from Judith Choate, three-time James Beard Cookbook Award winner)

ORGANIC CRANBERRY MOSTARDA

2 cups blackberry preserves

12 cups good-quality red Burgundy (wine)

1 star anise

1/2 stick cinnamon

4 shallots, chopped

4 garlic cloves

6 whole peppercorns

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 cups sugar

4 tablespoons strong Dijon mustard

2 pounds organic cranberries

Combine the red wine, preserves, shallots, peppercorns, garlic, cinnamon, sugar and star anise in a thick-bottom pot. Reduce this mixture until it thickens. Combine the mustard and red wine vinegar in a bowl with a whisk and add it to the reduction. Add cranberries; remove from heat, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Note: Recipe can be used with turkey, roasted pork, duck or venison.

(Recipe from executive chef Nicolas Michel Bour, Loews Coronado Bay Resort)

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