Cranberries with Bourbon

I have to subject you to one more Thanksgiving-ish recipe before I move on to other things. I saw the recipe for this cranberry sauce on The Kitchen Sink (another fabulous Chicago blogger), and trust me – you need to make this sauce. Cranberries have always been my favorite thing about Thanksgiving – Mom would make this great raw cranberry and orange zest relish that I always loved – so tart that it made the back of your jaw sting just a little. And really, we need to eat cranberries more than once a year – they’re a local and seasonal treat that can go far beyond being the sad sidekick for the Thanksgiving turkey.

This year, I wanted a cranberry dish that was a bit more mellow, so that it would go nicely on leftover turkey sandwiches – this recipe fit the bill perfectly. I added the zest and juice from a tangerine to the original recipe, and cut the sugar in half, as I still like a little pucker to my cranberries. And since Thanksgiving, I’ve made 2 more batches of the cranberries, as it has become my favorite topping for my morning bowl of steel cut oats.

Bourbon Maple Cranberries
Makes 2 cups, 1/4 cup per serving

Adapted from
Bon Apetit

1 package of fresh cranberries (12 oz)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sugar
juice of one small tangerine
zest from tangerine, peeled
2 T bourbon

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients except burbon in a small baking dish. Bake uncovered until cranberries are tender and sugar is dissolved, stirring once, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in bourbon. Refrigerate cranberry sauce and serve however you like – on a turkey sandwich, on morning oatmeal, or by the spoonful! Will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

88 cal per 1/4 cup serving, 0 cal from fat, 0g fat, 20g carbs, 2g fiber, 18g sugar

Strawberry Rhubarb Oats

It was time to make another batch of steel cut oats for breakfast this evening, and I wanted to mix things up a bit. I happen to have a freezer brimming with beautiful summer fruits – blueberries, strawberries, peaches and rhubarb…a small bit of the summer sunshine to last me through the long, dark winter.

I decided that I’d try the delicious duo of strawberries and rhubarb, and the results are…WOW. I used the same recipe posted here. I added 1 cup of frozen rhubarb at the beginning, and cooked the oats as normal. I added 2 cups of frozen strawberries once the oats were done, and let them defrost and impart their sweetness to the finished oats. I am really looking forward to breakfast tomorrow!

Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats

When the weather turns cold, and I have to dig out the sweaters and scarves for the morning commute, I want something warm and comforting for breakfast when I get to work. Enter oatmeal. I used to eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast in my high school years, but like everyone else, it was out of the little Quaker packets. But now that I’m gluten-free, the packets are out – and I’m actually glad, otherwise I may not have ever discovered the magic of steel cut oats.

Steel-cut oats require some prep time, but they cook up so beautifully – toothy and creamy at the same time – almost risotto-like. Cook a pot of these, and you too, may forsake those little brown packets forever. And you can flavor the oats any way you like. I’ve been enjoying lots of apples and cinnamon in my oats, since the local apples are still around. I cook mine in my fancy rice maker that Gluten-Free Girl talked me into buying, which is now one of my very favorite things in my kitchen. It makes beautiful rice, porridge and slow-cooked meals.

Creamy Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats

Serves 6 (1 serving – 1 1/4 cups)

273 cal per serving

1 1/3 cups steel cut oats
2 cups apple cider (or unsweetened apple juice, or water)
2 cups almond milk (cow, goat, rice, or almond milks all work fine too)
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, cherries, currants, diced apricots, cherries)
1 T cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice, or cake spice)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 T vanilla
2 T maple syrup

If you have a fancy rice maker:

  1. Combine all ingredients above in rice maker bowl. Stir. Set rice maker to the “porridge” setting, and walk away. Stir a couple of times in the 90 minute cook-time, to ensure oats don’t stick to the bowl. When the cycle is done, let the oats rest on the “keep warm cycle” for another 20 minutes, then ladle out into bowls and serve, or tuck away in tupperware containers to save for later.

Stovetop cooking:

  1. Combine all ingredients above in a medium, non-stick pot (minimum 2qt). Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. You want to simmer this at a bare simmer, with the oats offering up the occasional bubbly burble, but nowhere near a full boil. Stir every ten minutes or so, after 30 minutes, the oats should be very close, and you’ll need to taste them to see if they are done to your liking. You may need to add more water if they’re getting dried out. If they are just a bit toothy yet, and still a little saucy, turn off the burner, and let them sit for 20 minutes or so, before spooning out to serve or store.

Note: When re-heating in a microwave, you’ll need to add a bit of water to loosen the warmed oats.