Last week, I shared a recipe for coffee cake that was inspired by my grandmother. This recipe also makes me think of her, because for years I thought it was a family tradition--you know, passed down from my Grandmother, to my father, and finally to me. My Grandmother taught me to make blueberry muffins, and still makes me think of asparagus. Every time my Grandmother had guests over for dinner, she would spend the next day on her typewriter, writing up a thank you letter and a recipe card for the meal she had made.
So it only seemed natural to that this recipe, like so many others, was one of hers.
Somehow, I got this idea into my head. It was such a nice idea that it stamped out my memories of "cranberry sauce" in the shape of a can, and how I actually used to despise cranberry sauce.
And then one day, many years after trying this recipe for the first time, I told my dad that I had made his favorite cranberry sauce--his mom's version. He gave me puzzled look, trying to figure out what "recipe" I may have used, since in reality she had always just used canned cranberries. And quickly the truth became clear: I was confused! My dad had actually filed this recipe years ago on his own. When it was passed to me, written in a type-writer font and described as "our family recipe," well, things got confusing.
It is still a family recipe, in a sense--two generations counts, right? But mostly, it's just the best cranberry sauce I've ever had. It converted me from a cranberry sauce hater (or a cranberry sauce poker, someone that just pokes the slice of canned red stuff with their fork, never taking a bite), into a cranberry sauce fanatic.
This, my friends, is what cranberry sauce is all about. It's since been tweeted and perfected, refined sugar has been taken out of the equation, and what's left is a pure, delicious, tangy cranberry and apple relish. Now it's a dish I look forward to seeing on the holiday table!
Paleo Cran-Apple Relish - yields two cups
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup diced apple
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional: 1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1. In a small sauce pan, heat the cranberries, chopped apples, water, and honey. Cover and bring to a low simmer for 10 minutes.
2. After ten minutes, the cranberries should be puffed or popping, and the honey should be dissolved. Add the lemon, vanilla, and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Simmer for five more minutes. Sauce should begin to thicken.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans. Serve immediately or allow to cool and place in an air tight container to serve later.
Cranberry sauce isn't just for dinner! It makes a pretty awesome desert, alone or served over paleo ice cream. If you eat dairy, it's delicious on yogurt, cottage cheese, or perfect for making an appetizer platter with baked brie or gruyere.