Friday, December 10, 2010

Cranberries: Eat, Drink, and Be Decorative

As one that finds many of the traditional uses of cranberries rather off putting (that canned jellied sauce that rolls around the bowl on Thanksgiving gives me the willies) I was delighted to discover three new uses for these wonder berries that are sure to please.


Cranberry Nut Bark

1 bag Ghirardelli double chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup nuts (unsalted or lightly salted pistachios, cashews or macadamias recommended))

Microwave the chips in a glass bowl for 4 minutes on 50% power.  Stir til smooth.  Add cranberries and nuts.   Stir again.  Spread entire mess onto cookie sheet lined w/ baking parchment.  It should look like a large, bumpy, brown amoeba.  Refrigerate 30 minutes or more.  When hard enough to snap into bite-sized pieces, do so.  (mess free tip:  use the parchment paper to hold and break the chocolate so you don't smudge your hands, leave fingerprints on the product, or worst of all, ruin your manicure.) Put pieces into cute little cello bags and tie with a ribbon.  Recipe makes about 1-1/4 lb bark, or enough to fill 3 cello bags for gifts.


                                        Ho Ho Ho

2  parts  Vodka
1 part Cointreau
2 parts cranberry juice
1 part pomegranate juice
splash of fresh lime juice

Mix all ingredients in cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.  Strain into martini glasses.  Spread holiday cheer.

And Be Decorative.....
We had a lovely chat with the florist at Market Blooms.  While she does not use cranberries regularly, she did feature them prominently in a winter wedding--using them to fill the vases for added color and texture.  We took her idea, simplified it a bit, and came up with the following centerpiece, which will see you through any dinner from now til New Years:

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