Nov 182011

Apple-beer-cranberry glaze? Yes, why not!

Did you know cranberries pop when they cook? Well, sure, you probably did.  But for someone who insisted for twenty-six years that “you can’t call ’em cranberries if they don’t have ridges on the side and come in slabs of circles or sliced into half-moon shapes,” this was news fit to print.

I’ve had many a cranberry: in scones, muffins, sauces, dried on salads, granola, or cookies, and the famous gelatinous segments that adorned my plate each Thanksgiving. However, up until now I had never purchased them raw or made them myself. My first real, live cranberry-containing recipe came my way via a couple of delicata squashes picked up from the Tompkins Square Greenmarket. After bringing the winter squash home, I searched a few of my most recent blog finds and came up with this recipe from the Lean Green Bean posted just one month ago.

I was shocked that I had every ingredient in the apartment, right down to a half cup of beer. I’m infamous in my family for saving half-drank beverages, from sodas way back in the day to current water bottles, smoothies, and *ahem* beer.  Yes, it goes flat, but I am not throwing it out. See here for more examples of my lament over wasted food.

I followed Lindsay’s recipe as-is, aside from swapping out the walnuts for almonds.  Sorry walnuts, we’re still not friends.

After scooping out the delicata insides, the smaller squash’s two halves weighed as much as one half of the larger one so I divvied up the goodies accordingly. One third of the vegetable-fruit-quinoa mixture went into each big half, and I divided the last third between the other two mini-halves.

One of the large pieces with 1/3 of the mixture and 1/3 of the leftover glaze for the side

The verdict: pretty good! I liked the fact that a bunch of flavors were put into one recipe that I might not have paired otherwise. I kind of feel like there was something missing though, and can’t quite place what it is. I’m sure if nothing else, I definitely did not reduce the glaze enough. I was too eager to eat it and quit reducing part way, but I made it work. I think it would have been a bit sweeter had I cooked it longer. Another possible improvement might be chopping the apples, carrots, and sweet potatoes a bit smaller. I would have liked to get more complexity in each bite and not jump from one flavor to the next in each forkful. I also wonder about a spice or herb that I could have added. I skipped the butter and cinnamon on the almonds due to time constraints (read: the smoke detector was going off, timers beeping, pots boiling over… whoops.) Having those two flavors might have helped a lot. Cinnamon and nutmeg are in so many recipes now that I was okay with skipping them, but I’m thinking they would have taken it up a notch. One last possible change or addition would be garlic or onion. Having neither garlic nor onion in a recipe is pretty rare for me, so maybe that’s all it is. Whatever the case may be, I’m happy to eat two more servings as leftovers (or share with Mike when he gets home) and will definitely try it again.

For one serving (using either a large squash half or one whole small squash + one third of the mixture) as I calculated on the recipe builder at Calorie Count:

I’d say that’s a pretty good dinner. Note: It doesn’t have too much complete protein except for the quinoa. If you’re veggie like me, be sure to have some cheese, eggs, soy-ness, and/or beans earlier in the day. I don’t think half of a 500 calorie milkshake Crumbs cupcake counted for much in the “beneficial nutrients checklist” for the day, but I’m pretty sure it had a couple grams of protein in the frosting. I also dodged a few OWS protesters to get it, so that burned off some energy, too. Justification? I think so.

Who am I kidding, there isn’t even an option to take stairs to my office. At least I saved half of the cupcake for my late snack tomorrow, and now I have the perfect squashy early lunch to fill me up first.

Reader Comments

  1. Just a disclaimer here…every Thanksgiving, jellied cranberries were on the table at your request. I think it was your favorite thing for a while. There was always an alternative fresh cranberry sauce. One year I made a savory cranberry sauce with pearl onions and fresh herbs. It set everyone into a tailspin and you were forced to share your beloved ringed cranberries! I think you cried 🙁 I recently saw a recipe for pumpkin risotto with cranberry chutney and thought of you.

    1. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear- I totally remember that you had other ‘berries and I was the one who complained if they weren’t the jellied kind. Happy first “Thanksgiving Without Me” and give Matthew my love.

  2. I totally get the “you can’t call ‘em cranberries if they don’t have ridges on the side” kind or cranberries. In my family, there’s a race to be the one who gets the slab with the serial number on it! Like Dianne, I also make two kinds of fresh cranberry sauce: one is a compote with canned pears, pears, and apricots…the other is savory with golden raisins. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you the recipes.

  3. thanks for giving my recipe a try! sorry it didn’t turn out perfectly. i’m not the best with pairing spices with meals. i tend to use the same ones over and over. i think adding an onion would have been fantastic….don’t know why i didn’t, sincei usually use onion or garlic in every dish too. i might add some canellini beans next time i make it!

    1. You’re very welcome – Those both sound like great ideas – and I think remembering the cinnamon would have helped a lot. Beans could be interesting, too. If you end up doing that, let me know how it turns out 🙂

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