Cranberry Nut Bread

picture taken moments before i burned my mouth on a too hot cranberry.
it must be the power of deliciousness.
oh, that you could smell this.
and yes. it was worth it.

Well, I hadn't gotten around to making this for Thanksgiving, but that didn't mean I suddenly didn't have the bag of cranberries in my fridge. Which meant that today, when I realized just how very cold it was and how toasty the kitchen was capable of being, I opted to bake this delicious treat.

My mother used to make very nearly this same recipe at Thanksgiving and Christmas when I was small. I remember the several foil throw-away loaf pans, sorting through the cranberries to make sure that they were all good, and thinking about how strangely hollow this fruit was. I had the same hollow-fruit-thought this afternoon, in my jeans and hoodie and knit boots, even while wondering just how hard it was to find a freakin' grater in my house.

Pretty hard, we don't have one.

Still. We have a loaf pan that I found at a nearby local thrift store for a dollar and we had all the ingredients that I'd planned on using. I was strangely nervous waiting for my bread to cook, but in the end it was even better than I'd hoped. We stood around the kitchen, eating thick pieces still hot from the oven, buttered and amazing. This was exactly what I'd needed.

Super Delicious Cranberry Nut Bread

- two cups flour
- one cup sugar
- one and a half teaspoon baking powder
- one teaspoon salt
- the juice of one tangerine (nothing says fantastic like fresh juice!) (you may wish to use two, if you'd like more of the flavor. you may not need the half and half then.)
- three to four tablespoons half and half (or milk or cream, what you have about is fine)
- one tablespoon grated tangerine peel (ooooh, I do adore zest)
- two tablespoons oil (I used canola)
- two blended eggs
- one and a half cups fresh cranberries (if using frozen, do not thaw them, I know that sounds odd)
- one half cup chopped walnuts (or other nut)

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Mix the dry ingredients and then, in a different dish (mine was a mug! oh, the shame I ought to feel...) mix the juice, the zest, the oil, and the egg. Add and blend with the dry mixture and then add the cranberries and nuts. Add three tablespoons half and half and then see if you need more. Your dough ought to be thick and sticky, but it shouldn't be too sticky and ought to have some give involved. It's bread dough!

Pour (place, move, dance, whichever) into a greased and floured bread pan and bake for about an hour. I'd start checking on it at fifty minutes. The top will be browned a bit and knife will come out clean. Or, you know, only marred by hot delicious cranberry.

Clearly, this recipe cane be changed. You can add chocolate or a different nut or a different juice, you could make it vegan probably pretty easily.



Ice! Snow! Bluster!

Lyra, being precious and addicted to cat nip.
Taken last winter/spring (snow on the ground means nothing in Chicago) by a friend.

Given that right now, Chicago is ever so cold (I am on my computer on the couch, but with my hood up and a quilt draped over me), I figured a nice picture like that could be used to make everyone smile.

Plus, the photo for my cranberry nut bread hasn't arrived from my phone into my inbox yet and yes, as a matter of fact, I do think I am cursed as far as cameras go. Here's hoping the next one I get works out better. Here's hoping the next one I get becomes mine before summer. No, I have no particular one I am lusting after. Suggestions? Nothing that will make me weep over price.

-cricket chip-

Well. Thanks anyway. I shall figure something out.

At any rate, today was a successful cooking day! Tonight I made a variation on my own potato soup, though I can't recall which one I like better. I opted for veg stock instead of chicken, onion instead of leek, loads more garlic, and then a thinly sliced red bell pepper and some mushrooms chopped up.

I also blended it a little better than last time using my hand mixer. No bacon. (because I had no bacon)

But it was delicious. Wonderfully seasoned with salt, pepper, basil, Bridgeport seasoning, and a little dill and a little paprika.

Also, it's become clear that one of these days I am going to have to write something about The Spice House. Just sayin'.


Karo-who? Brown Sugar Syrup Pecan Pie.

By this point in the Feast, a nice set up and a clean stove were beyond me.
Still, I did try to take a good snap as best I could, considering it was a cell phone.

Well, I hope everyone had a delicious and fattening Thanksgiving because lord knows I did. My friend Dana and I had our Third Annual "We Trust No One Else To Cook" Thanksgiving. It involved a lot of Arrested Development, Diet Coke (esp for dana!), wine (esp for me!), cooking, and a prolonged fight with my oven which decided to be even more impossibly difficult than usual as this was a food holiday.

Also, I think the oven knew that we both worked the next day at our respective jobs.

Either way, it was unbelievably tasty. Dana made stuffing (featuring: pecans, cranberries, and sausage), mashed potatoes, a chicken, a turkey leg, gravy, and brought some tasty tasty cranberry sauce. She also steamed some green beans. I made crash sweet potatoes, whiskey glazed carrots (thanks, Pioneer Woman! don't be too sad that i used Seagram's 7 instead of Jack! it's just always around...), green bean casserole (yeah,yeah), and pecan pie.

Note: I did not make deviled eggs and, yes, I thought about it. I also did not get to make the cranberry nut bread I wanted (which I bought cranberries for! I'll get to it soon. maybe tomorrow?) or the cheesy muffins (which I actually AM planning on making tomorrow. we'll see how this day goes. always with the elaborate planning and rarely with the follow-throughing).

Double Note: Yes, I am allergic to corn syrup.

Which brings me to!


Yes, ladies and gents, this pie is made without Karo. Oh, they said it could be done but they swore it wouldn't be tasty. But they were wrong. This pie tastes exactly as delicious as I remember my wickedly tasty Karo-based pecan pie being. (I wasn't always as horridly allergic as I am now, but it's progressed, so I can't even cook the filing because it makes me die a little on the inside where no one can see)

My trick? Brown sugar syrup. I cooked brown sugar and water down to a thick syrup that, admittedly not as thick as Karo, was still preeeeeeeetty syrupy looking. And I chopped the walnuts nice and fine and I said a little prayer to my fourth glass of wine and I threw myself into the memory of my old pecan pie.


- two eggs
- vanilla (a drizzle and a dash, which is probs about two teaspoons?)
- sugar, two thirds cup (about)
- brown sugar syrup, a cup (about, sorry!)
- cake spice, a teaspoon (this is made of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc. I buy mine at The Spice House)
- a knob of melted butter
- quick dash of cinnamon because, well, why not? but only just.
- pecans (mine were chopped), about two cups - or just under the bag you bought at Jewel when you thought it was on sale, but it wasn't, and you were pissed but you were making this damn pie so you got it anyway. (that's helpful, yes?)

NOTE: I used -gasp- salted butter. I know, I know, I know. But we reached a compromise here at my apartment and that involves the purchasing of salted butter. It's fine. I'm completely okay with this, even though it used to make me cringe a bit. If you don't use salted butter, I suggest adding a dash of salt.

Also. I doubt I've ever said "salted butter" that many times in a short span of time. Reminds me of how I spent actual time thinking about broken eggs in cartons at the store.

Do not get me started.

At any rate, by the time you've finished contemplating all of this, you have mixed together these things and poured it into a prepared pie dish. Really. Just chuck it all together and mix it up nicely. You can add the pecans last if it makes you feel better.

"Prepared", here, means - a lightly buttered/greased/sprayed pie pan with a crust inside. You can make your own or use frozen or the roll-out-pre-made stuff, it's all fine. I made my own. (softened butter, flour, sprinkle of water, some sugar but not much, voila!)

I do not pre-bake my crust.

Wrap some foil around the crust-edges of the pie, then pop it into the 350 degree (F) oven for a half hour. Remove the foil, bake another fifteen or twenty minutes. A knife should come out clean. Yes, it will be wobbly up until the point that it is suddenly done.

Please do not burn your mouth in the attempt to shove this pie in your face. Please. Be better than me.

At any rate, you can add whiskey or bourbon or what have you to this pie. I even suggest that. Nom.

I also suggest smallish slices and vanilla ice cream (or whipped cream) to melt on top a bit.

And I would like to apologize for the pictures. I took these with my cell phone. Um, after eating a piece. It was delicious and I have no regrets.