This has been a busy month, but i guess you don't need me to tell you that. There have been babies born, business started, trips taken, games played, jobs gained, jobs lost, and everything else in between (when i list that, i am not talking about myself. obviously...). It seems that i have been stumbling around in the dark when it comes to Salty over the past 5 months, and i have been. Details are not really needed other than the fact that i, like you all, have been going through a bit of a pinch, a hurdle in the road, an elephant in the room, a blind man staring at writing in the sky...nobody knows what i am saying. Ergo we are back!
At the beginning of the month, the staff members here at the Salty Cod were asked to perform their first ever guest post. And we did. So it seems only fitting that we end the month with another guest post, my aren't we popular these days. Remember this time of year two years ago (no you don't) when we were posting about cooking a 30 pound turkey for 40 Frenchies at our place in Paris? Life rolls on doesn't it. Well, our dear friend Moira in Portugal invited us to celebrate the second anniversary of her blog, Tertulia de Sabores, by being the foreign guest blogger to round out the month long celebration of guests. Maybe you weren't around for the Portugal days, but we at the Salty Cod love all things Portuguese, and Moira's blog is one of our favorites. So we jumped at the bit to provide an American (uh oh) recipe for her readers. You can see the post over at Tertulia, though it is in Portuguese, so we will post the English version here. But we wish to say happy birthday again to Tertulia de Sabores, e muito obrigada por nos convidar para celebrar com você.
In this region of the world (the big one below Canada and above Mexico) the holiday season begins mid November and carries through the New Year. Mid November begins the Thanksgiving preparation, that is preparing a turkey filled menu for 8, maybe 15, maybe even 30 people. Thanksgiving is our big holiday here in the States, other than the 4th of July (which really is not so special as most countries celebrate an Independence or national day) Thanksgiving is our “look at us we're special and unique” day. Turkey, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and – cranberries. More than any other flavor, cranberries are the taste of the season. It doesn't matter what they are in, on, or around, anything with cranberries in it means dark days of winter, large holiday meals, and in no time at all, Christmas Eve festivities.
When Moira asked if my recipe could be American (as I am the special Portuguese-reading “foreign” guest), I was a little unsure what to make. American? What is American food? I am American and I can't even answer that. I have come to the conclusion that American food is anything that tastes good. Italian, Mexican, and Chinese – these, to me at least, are American foods. But when thanksgiving rolled around, and the bowls of cranberries started piling up, I realized that cranberries were not only a symbol of the holiday season, but more specifically the symbol of the American and Canadian holiday seasons (I'm half Canadian, so represent yo).
Now don't throw out small statistics about Chile and Eastern Europe producing a few barrel fulls of cranberries every year, cranberries are without a doubt indigenous to North America, and have yet to really draw a huge international following. Why? Probably because lingonberries taste (nearly) the exact same, and there are plenty harvested in the Baltic. Over 90% of the world's cranberries are produced in America and Canada, from the Pacific state of Washington, to the Atlantic powerhouse producer of Massachusetts. So, what could be more American to post about than the tart and tiny cranberry. Maybe you have been able to find cranberries in Europe, but I remember full well how difficult it was to find them when I lived in France, and where did I find them? An American import store of course, and at 10 euros a can!
If you have never had a cranberry before, know that they are impossible to eat fresh from the bog. They grow in water bogs, floating on the surface like sparkling rubies. They are inedible when raw, and are found primarily in sauces, juices, baked goods, or sweetened and dried. Cranberry sauce is the traditional dressing for a holiday turkey, but cranberry juice is usually enjoyed year round. For bakers, cranberries mean one thing – cranberry bread. Every American has had cranberry bread at one time or another during this season, it is quite standard. Laced with citrus such as orange or lemon, covered in chocolate, or sprinkled with spices, like any type of quick bread you can doctor it any way you like, as long as it has cranberries in it.
It is very easy for one to say that they love every season; I love the heat of summer, oh but I love the beauty of spring, but the colors of fall are so vibrant, and then there is winter – you can't love every season now can you. Maybe I don't love any single one, but rather like them all equally. This year I am a bit more sentimental in maintaining the images of my holidays, habits, and traditions. I am moving out of the country in a few months to start a different life, and I am not sure when I will have my American Northwest holiday again. But smells, sounds, and tastes make the best memories. Even a million miles away, I know I will still be able to taste the cranberries.
2 1/2 cup flour
1 orange, zested
½ cup orange juice
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp melted butter
200 gr chopped cranberries
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped white chocolate
Method: Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, butter, juice, zest, and ginger. Add to the flour mixture and combine. Stir in the cranberries and chocolate chips. Divide the batter into greased loaf pans, and bake at 375 for 50 – 60 minutes. Use a wooden skewer to check if the inside is still liquid. Let cool, and drizzle with any remaining white chocolate.
Enjoy the end of November Codet(te)s (pretty clever no? That is how i will now refer to you the reader). So December is finally here. We will begin our regular weekly posts again here at the Salty Cod finally after a few months of strings. Why only now as the hectic season picks up? Well, let's just say we're about to get our inspiration back.