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Wednesday, November 23, 2005 

Ina Garten's Cranberry Fruit Conserve

If you are responsible for bringing the cranberries to your family fest, forget the canned jiggly stuff. Try Ina's recipe....you'll never go back to premade stuff again! Who knew that a White House analyst could create such deliciousness in the kitchen!

The Barefoot Contessa's Cranberry Fruit Conserve

1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries, cleaned
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 orange, zest grated and juiced
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
3/4 cup raisins

3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Cook the cranberries, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the skins pop open. Add the apple, zests, and juices and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the raisins and nuts. Let cool, and serve chilled.

I love Ina and her show. Although I'm as far from her world of the Hamptons as can be, she really has a way of inviting one in. Her voice and manner are so calm and good-natured, it's pure pleasure to watch her putter in that impossible kitchen.

I have another take on cranberry relish, modified slightly from an old Bon Appetit recipe. It's quite spicy and pungently fragrant:

SPICED CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH HONEY

1-1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
3/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries

Combine 1 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail, honey and orange zest in heavy medium saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat, stirring until honey dissolves. Simmer 4 minutes to blend flavors. Add cinnamon stick, bay leaf, ginger, coriander, salt, black pepper, cloves and cayenne pepper; simmer 2 minutes. Add cranberries and simmer until berries burst and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. Refrigerate cranberry sauce until well chilled.

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