Sunday, November 23, 2008


For the last fourteen years, we have spent Thanksgiving with a group of friends. There have been times when the group has been larger - some friends have moved on and some have fallen away completely - but the core, the five of us, have been religious about this retreat. It started with a road trip to Death Valley with Peter and Harriet, where we celebrated Thanksgiving in a restaurant, which proved too depressing to ever do again. The following year, we rented a place in Big Bear with more people, including our dearest Ron, who has never missed a trip since, and cooked our own Thanksgiving, and cooked and cooked and cooked all weekend. We have since Thanksgivinged up and down California, from Palm Springs to Cambria and everywhere in between. We even went to Hawaii a couple years ago, which was amazing. We have rented beach houses and desert houses and mountain houses - in snow and rain and heat. We have played countless games of Battleship. We have schelped turkeys and trimmings and snacks and sweet hot beaver mustard all over the place, cooking in all sorts of kitchens and all sorts of ovens, for better or worse. These trips have marked time for me in a profound way. This year, we celebrate our first Thanksgiving at home. We are having a weekend sleep over at our house, and I am already so excited. I am making cranberry sauce right now, and hopefully it'll be as amazing as Harriet's always is! Here's to Thanksgiving, and to Fred and Ron and Peter and Harriet: Forever May We Eat.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Adapted From Gourmet Magazine

Yield: Makes about 2 1/4 cups

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 1/4 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks


Bring all ingredients to boil in heavy medium saucepan, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of cranberries burst, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, or till tiny pink bubbles appear. I reduce the sauce a bit, so it thickens up nicely later. Transfer sauce to medium bowl and add the cinnamon sticks. Cool, cover, and refrigerate (sauce will thicken more as it gets colder). Recipe can be prepared 1 week ahead!!! Keep refrigerated.

PS. I got my cranberries from Stahlbush Island Farms, which is a remarkable family farm in Oregon's Willamette Valley...they have a fantastic website and blog!



Weeping Sore said...

I love your invented word "Thanksgivinged". Our small family in San Diego is augmented this year by family from Lake Arrowhead. Your cranberry sauce recipe is now on the menu. Thanks!

Jersey Girl said...

Such a sweet post! I can't believe I just read it today. Your cranberry sauce was divine - even better than mine! Thanks for the wonderful memories. The Swabby misses you! xoxo