I think all of us have been yearning for something fun and inspiring these days. So today I made my cranberry chutney to accompany Thanksgiving dinner with the gang. Here's the recipe--easy to make and delicious with turkey, chicken or pork, it keeps for a long time in the fridge.
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1 navel orange
1 Golden Delicious apple
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup raisins (or dried apricot or pear)
2 t. pumpkin pie spice (contains ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove)
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. salt
I cup cranberry or orange juice, if needed
Place the cranberries and sugars in a large pot like a Dutch oven. Zest the orange and lemon, adding to the pot. Then cut a slice from the top and bottom of the orange. Go around the orange, cutting along the curve to remove the white pith. Do the same thing with the lemon. Chop the fruits, removing any seeds, and add to the pot. Peel the apple, cut in quarters and remove the core. Then dice in 1/4 pieces. Add all three fruits to the pot, along with any accumulated juice from the cutting board. Add dried fruit and the spices, stirring together. Simmer for about 30 minutes. The chutney will thicken, so you may want to add up to a cup of cranberry or orange juice. Stir in the balsamic vinegar. Put into a covered container and let rest for a day or two to marry the flavors.
The oldest of our two gingerbread houses is looking pretty tired, so it will be trashed. Today I made two batches of heavy-duty gingerbread dough (recipe from an old Junior League cookbook), rolled them out in sheet pans, baked and cut out the pieces from a cardboard pattern. I used a round cutter to make "windows" to be backed with aluminum foil. Andy will help me assemble the pieces on a wooden base, using toothpicks for nails and some Elmer's white glue. The house will later be decorated with royal icing and lots of candies and cookies. It smells heavenly and will keep for several years if properly stored.
On Saturday night, our family will gather to help us decorate our tree and get out my Santa collection. We need their help to bring the stuff in from the garage, move furniture and assemble the tree. Then it's pizza and salad for dinner. You may be wondering why I'm doing this all so early, besides doing fun things to relieve quarantine boredom. Very early on Thursday, I'll check into Baylor Hospital in Dallas for a second operation on my esophagus. The first attempt a year ago to clip off a pouch that causes trouble swallowing did not work. So they are trying another technique to staple it--hopefully by endoscopy. Unsure how I'll be feeling after a couple days in the hospital, I wanted to get a jump on the holidays and come home to a beautifully decorated house and Christmas tree.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.