Was never particularly fond of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. A basic problem being completely Pennsylvania Dutch. I understand its attractions, I simply didn’t share them. I realize, now, that surely was the cooking not the food itself. Too sweet and too much fat. Sweetness needs tart. That needs acid. It’s like adjusting the contrast in a photograph.
I was fascinated by the grills & cafés of Greenwich Village in Paris as a student, like those along the Bucks County River. And how the simplest foods could be made elegant by the application spice, oil, & alcohol. As I traveled, it became evident of food preservation influenced so many cuisines. Perhaps what I have enjoyed the most, is adding the talents of one cuisine to the other findings simplicities complementing each other.
This is a holiday standard whenever we have a bird. For those who don’t eat meat, it’s a great complement to steamed yellow squash, tofu, pancakes & Bread. We finish it in various ways.
The consistency that you see here, is used over pancakes, chunks of left over turkey and vegetables, and a large bowl, over Jasmine rice… Becoming the main course. Other times it’s smashed like regular cranberry sauce and served with the bird in the normal manner.
All this began, after a shoot at Ocean Spray. The blogs are flooded, cranberries float to the top & are vacuumed into large trucks. These are the juice and frozen cranberries for mechanized processing and any rolling to the ground stay where they fell. I returned home with about 40 pounds. Cranberries are recommended to be frozen for a year, which is pretty conservative.
The berries go in the pot, and are covered by juice, whatever is handy for preferred, the sweeter fruit is added … In this case gift apples peeled and soaked in California Brandy overnight. The rougher California Brandy is similar to the marc I enjoy cooking with France. Made from the crushed grape skins. Paul Mason Amber VS is terrific having pronounced vanilla as well as a good nose. Additional sweetening is done via any of the fruit juice sweetened jams and jellies, this batch having the bottoms of two jars of blueberry and a couple tablespoons of apricot. The added benefit of using these jams is they have pectin in them which also gives body. Of course the Brandy can be omitted, or in my case increased, in respect of the tastes of those being served.
Spices a mixture of: clove, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger. If you don’t mind their blend McCormack’s puts the same in pumpkin pie spice. Depending what fruit you use, star anise as a nice oriental, horseradish and cayenne, to give it an edge. And full fat Yogurt or crème fraîche can smooth it out. Nice dollop,. Centered in a nice French, Portuguese, or Italian bowl, can also give you something to look at and make presenting leftovers a complete gas.
Nicely complemented by lighter drive red or white, or splash the Brandy into well water or soda. If you used fresh lime, lime aid made with the wedges, with or without vodka, and well water or soda … It all works.
We’re very lucky, are we not?
© H Scott Heist 2015 / SplinterCottage.com
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