Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cranberries, pumpkin & the Millenium Falcon

I got a little start on the Thanksgiving cooking this evening with these two easy condiments that I've made the last few years: red wine cranberry sauce and pumpkin marmalade. The cranberry sauce is DELICIOUS and simple -- just say no to canned cranberry sauce! -- and the pumpkin marmalade is good with dark bread and slices of fresh parmesan, or, as I did last year, with mango-ginger stilton from Trader Joe's! Here are those recipes that can be whipped up in a flash:

1 c. dry red wine
1.5 c. sugar
1 lb. fresh cranberries
Combine wine, sugar and 1 c. water in medium saucepan and bring to a boil for 1.5 minutes. Add cranberries and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes, until berries burst.
Chill. Devour.

1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
1 c. orange marmalade
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp lemon juice
In medium saucepan combine pumpkin, marmalade and ginger; bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Cool. Serve with fresh parmesan and dense bread. Also good in turkey sandwiches!

This year we're not hosting Thanksgiving at our house, as we have for a number of years, so I am only responsible for a few dishes, mainly my yam gratin and a fennel-orange salad. Jim is making his annual apple pie and maple-balsamic green beans. If anyone is looking for a new yam recipe, try this: slice yams thin and layer in casserole, sprinkling each layer with grated parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and diced jalapeno (about 2 seeded jalapenos total, for a mild dish). When it's all together, pour in heavy whipping cream to just cover yams, and sprinkle a bit of the parmesan on top. Bake -- I don't remember how long. Steal the time from some other gratin recipe. I've tried substituting the heavy cream partly with milk and it doesn't thicken. This is an evil, evil dish, and I recommend it highly, especially if you're not so into the sweet potatos with brown sugar and all that stuff.

Happy & delicious Thanksgiving to all ye who celebrate it, and if ye don't, I still recommend these recipes!

As for that next holiday, Christmas, something TERRIBLE happened this morning!! Last night online I had ordered Jim's main Christmas present. It's something he really really really really wants but never seriously thought I would get him (Kelly, at least, can guess what that is!). So I told him not to accidentally peek at my email, just in case he might see a confirmation before I could delete it, and I arranged for it to be shipped to my parents' house. So, this morning, we got back from walking the dogs and Jim checked the answer machine, and there it was -- a customer service call from the company I ordered from!!! Jim's face was transformed by shock, and he dove to turn off the machine, too late! And instead of turning it off he deleted the message, so I didn't even know why they had called (turns out it was because they have to check on alternate shipping addresses due to online ordering fraud). There was no way to invent a fib. The cat was out of the bag. The surprise had lasted less than 12 hours. How much does that SUCK? Meanwhile, the less important online orders I've placed for Christmas can't even return emails, much less actually CALL. I mean, who knew that would happen? Ugh -- it's such a big bummer.

It wasn't Jim's fault, but in my irritation I told him I was going to "Millenium Falcon" him, which is a family joke: when my older brother was 7 or 8 he wanted the Millenium Falcon toy (that's Han Solo's spaceship, if you don't know), and my parents got it for him and stashed it in the closet to make its Christmas morning appearance, and some weeks before Christmas my mother noticed that the toy had been taken out of the box, played with, and put back. Badly. She never said a word about it to Alex but quietly returned the toy to the store, and come Christmas morning he kept waiting for it to appear and it never did. That's the official version, but my mom is a softy so I suspect it did make an appearance later, after lessons had been learned.

I love this story because when that same brother was in a group counselling session during high school, surrounded by severely troubled teens with histories of abuse and trauma, the worst thing he could dredge up that had ever happened to him was the Millenium Falcon episode!!

Anyway, sweetie, if you're reading this, I probably won't Millenium Falcon you, but don't be too sure!

And in unrelated cool news, the Blackbringer galleys came today!! Hooraaaaaay! My book is a book! Look! My book is a book!


Linda said...

Congrats on your book and I love your Laini's Ladies. Thrilled to have found them!

Left-handed Trees... said...

If those galleys aren't something to be thankful for this year--I don't know what is! Congratulations, they look beautiful already. I am not a cook (I am a very very very bad cook, in fact). But some of these recipes I'll have to pass along to M. Thanks for sharing them...

jennifer said...

Yippee for your wonderful book! It looks great!

And not yippee for Jim's Christmas present disaster! Yikes! This has heppened at our house a few times! It's a big bummer!

Thanks for the recipes.. we are those people who do not do Thanksgiving but I will give the recipes a go for a nice fall meal!

Alexandra S said...

OH my!!! There it is! I'm on my way to get my copy in about 10 minutes!!! It doesn't seem real but it is and I am so happy for you (and you better stop being so busy so you can just stare at the book and let the books stare back at you, for hours and hours and hours!) This is one of those "full circle" moments Oprah gabs about so stay put and soak it all in. YAY FATWA!!!!

Alexandra S said...

Oh, and I am really liking the look of those edible treats in their bowls. Yum!

Jamie said...

Wow, what a beautiful creations you've made for Thanksgiving. Yum!

Ouch, I just hurt for you and Jim about the Christmas present. I'm still standing there with you two at that shocking moment when the message is playing. I hope it all turns out beautifully.

In my house we had a clear rule that if you found a present, you didn't get it. When I was about 10, I found a birthday present for me. I didn't say anything. But on my birthday, when I opened the gift, I just put down my head and burst into tears. I'd be hopeless at a life of crime.

Jamie said...

And I forgot to say the book looks gorgeous! I can't wait to see it on my bookshelf!

[a} said...

super about your book. i can't bleev u fit that bit in one sentence at the end--if i were u, i'd brag on and on and..
gosh, even if i found my present, i'd never open it! surprises rock imho.
everytime i come to ur site i'm impressed by your creativity, so snaps for that!

thanks for recommending that book, it sounds like something i'd love.. hope tis at the library..

Anonymous said...

Oh...Laini! The book looks WONDERFUL! EEEEE! (that's my online squeal of delight).


And ugh at having your surprise spoiled! I hate when that happens. But kudos to you on having started your Christmas shopping. I am in awe of your organization skills.

Your recipes look delicious! Enjoy them and have a happy, happy Thanksgiving!

paris parfait said...

Hooray for your book! Can't wait until Amazon's shipping it. That's terrible about your big wonderful surprise for Jim being spoiled. And the recipes sound delicious (if only I could find cranberries in this country). Happy Thanksgiving, Laini!

Kim G. said...

Yummo on the Thanksgiving grub. I'm a huge crannberry sauce girl - I'll have to try that one for sure. Brad's the real cook in the family so I'll make sure he reads the other recipes.

Big bummer about Jim's gift. Let us know how it all works out and if we need to contribute to a counseling fund for him.

And the book, THE BOOK - it looks so COOL stacked like that! Can't wait to see it on display at Powell's - THAT will be a day to celebrate!

Holly Stinnett said...

How exciting!!! Congrats to you, Laini.

kelly rae said...

i'm pretty sure i know what it is, but you're gonna have to tell me for sure. poor jim, and he's such a spoiler hater! and look at that, your book IS A BOOK! yay! have a lovely thanksgiving - both of you!

Marilyn said...

Congrats on the book!! If it makes you feel any better, my mother called a couple of days ago to tell me she'd picked up something cute for my birthday...which isn't until January...said she was shipping it early...and then told me what it is. :( Happy Thanksgiving, Laini, to you and Jim.

gerry rosser said...

Thanks for your nice blog, I drop in to read it from time to time, and have linked it on my blog. My wonderful life partner is named Lainie.

Nice stories, even if the surprise was spoilt.

Congratulations on your book!

Happy Thanksgiving.

AnnieElf said...

Hi Laini. Just had to jump in here and add my congratulations to the chorus of hosannas over you book. What an accomplishment!!

Sustenance Scout said...

Congratulations, Laini! And thanks for the new recipes to try. K.

Amber said...

Look at that! What a great looking book! That would make me stop and buy it. ;)

LOL at your mom and brother! Oh my gosh, that is so funny! Love it.


deirdre said...

I'm going to print out the recipes - they sound really good. And now I'm dying to know what Jim is getting for Christmas! You'll have to tell us all when the wrapping is off. Yay!!! for the book. It's gorgeous. Hope you've had a great Thanksgiving.

Miss Bitty said...

(Hey, remember me? The Hallway...that would be me.)

Congratulations on the book news!! Sal's been reading Jim's website and he told me today that Jim had posted about your galleys -- looks even better than I'd imagined! I'm so excited to see it in Powell's and line up for a signed copy. ;)

Chantal said...

Congratulations on your book Laini! It looks fab!

Colorsonmymind said...

Thank you for sharing those delish looking recipes. I will definitely try all of them!

Congrats on the beautiful looking book.

Hope you had a great feast and Thanksgiving day.


Sophie said...

Congrats on your book!!! :)

xegbp said...

I loved the story of your brother. Too bad on the gift, I love suprises too. Congratualtions on the book. That is fantastic and it looks amazing.

HoBess said...

I can't imagine the overwhelming satisfaction the two of you must feel. CONGRATULATIONS!

Anonymous said...

Buy cialis online