November 26, 2008

Unwanted Guests

I thought I was so prepared for my first Thanksgiving cooking adventure. Days of recipe research, shopping done early, knives sharpened- a recipe for success. Waking up yesterday morning full of unbridled cooking energy and...I was stopped in my tracks. Ants! Tons of them, pouring into my pantry!! How is this even possible? I had never seen a single ant in my kitchen for over three years and now?! They were even in the blender for pete's sake! A frantic killing spree ensued and panic set in. I hightailed it to the store for ammo and laid the bait outside to lure them out of my kitchen.

After all the excitement my cooking mojo was a little off so I decided to start with something safe, like Cranberry Tangerine Conserve.

A tangy/sweet combination of fresh cranberries, tangerine and ginger, it was a cinch to make and filled my house with smells of the season. By the time those cranberries started popping, I had put the kibosh on the ant attack, and regain my composure. Now I'm ready to kick off this Thanksgiving. Someone hand me an apron!

Cranberry Tangerine Conserve
from Gourmet Magazine November 2008
2 tight-skinned tangerines
3/4 lb fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tsp grated peeled ginger
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

Peel off a 4 by 1 inch strip of zest from 1 tangerine and scrape of any white pith. Squeeze 1/3 cup of juice from the tangerines. Bring juice, zest and all other ingredients to a boil in a heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Then simmer uncovered until berries have burst, approx. 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Discard zest before serving if desired.

Note: The original recipe also calls for 1/2 cup of golden raisins, which I omitted because I am a cranberry purist.