As a vegetarian, Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes, and one in particular gets me weak in the knees every year: the cranberry sauce! I can just eat it by the spoonful while I gaze into the fridge deciding what to eat for lunch. If I manage to squirrel some away, I throw it into pancakes or fold it into a quickbread recipe and slather it with, you guessed it, more cranberry sauce.
When you think about it, cranberry sauce is such a sweet/tart condiment, I wonder why I don't make it throughout the year. But in restraint, lies the special. I think because it only shows up on my table for a few weeks of the year, there's tremendous value and anticipation bestowed upon this jewel-like food. I prefer my Mom's cranberry relish above all others, which is essentially raw cranberries, crystallized ginger and a handful of sugar. You can read the exact recipe in the comment section in this post.
This quickbread is pretty straightforward, perfect for a chilly afternoon's snack when paired with tea and equally lovely with a smear of cream cheese and black coffee at breakfast time. It's not too sweet and has the undertones of the plucky cranberry sauce and tartness of buttermilk. I confess I think it would be better with a few whole cranberries to set the whole thing off; I hope to incorporate about 1 cup of the whole fruits next time.
Join me for a cup of tea, a blazing fire and a slice of this easy bread. We can douse our portions with gobs of cranberry sauce!
makes one 9 x 13" loaf pan
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cranberry sauce (plus extra for serving)
1/3 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 3" loaf pan with butter and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk the sugar, brown sugar, buttermilk, cranberry sauce, eggs and butter until even. Fold the wet mixture into the dry and stir until just uniform, careful not to over mix (over mixing yields a tougher texture in the finished product). Pour into the greased loaf pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with extra cranberry sauce and cream cheese, if desired.
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)