Roasted Cranberry Sauce

Ah, Thanksgiving. It is that time of year when I come face to face with the fact that I really don’t like cranberry sauce all that much. In fact, I think it is fair to say that I make cranberry sauce for others, meaning that I never spent much time really tasting it and coming to terms with it. As it turns out, I have a sweet tooth. Nooooo, you say. Yes, I do. And, it appears that this extends to cranberry sauce. So this year, I just kept adding it and adding it, and finally, I like cranberry sauce.

Also adding to my desire for more sugar is the use of the orange zest. Orange zest can be a bit bitter, as it is in orange marmalade. Cranberries are a bit bitter to start with. So, for me, a full ¾ cup brown sugar was necessary to bring it all into harmony. But you should taste and adjust as you like.

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Roasted & Salted Baked Potatoes

This is not a revelation. It is a baked potato.

However, for those who are devoted to the simple spud, this is a good thing to know. I love a simple baked potato. Simple…well, I mean piled up with butter, cheese, bacon and sour cream. But, I am often surprised at how mediocre a baked potato can be. In fact, I had a baked potato in Dallas recently for which I paid good money from a vendor who had no excuse to not offer a superior potato experience, and it was just depressing.

So, just in case you love them as much as I do, I want to share this simple baking method. One of my favorite baked potatoes is at a different local joint and their potatoes are wonderful because they are crusted in salt.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Herb Sauce

Simple vegetable side dishes rarely knock my socks off. I love vegetables, but the passionate exclamations are usually reserved for things topped with melted cheese. This, however, is one of those really great finds that is simple, healthful, beautiful, easy, uses fresh herbs, and tastes lovely. And, there is really nothing to it.

Ever since I prepared it the first time I’ve had a Willie Nelson song playing in my head,

“Miracles appear in the strangest of places…fancy meeting you here.

The last time I saw you was just out of Houston…sit down, let me buy you a beer.”

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Tomato Confit BLT

photo of tomato confit sandwichI’ve never made a traditional BLT. I’ve never had the urge because I don’t think I’ve ever purposefully ordered tomatoes on a sandwich or burger. I told my mother when I was about four that “pamatoes” were nasty and I meant it with all of my little heart. Now I rather like them, but I still don’t order them on sandwiches. Then yesterday I was outside looking at my garden and my beautiful new Fall lettuces, and I started having daydreams about a roasted tomato BLT with thick slices of bacon and a big bed of fresh lettuce. I am loving my little salad garden. It is simple to grow and there is no comparison whatsoever between lettuce from the grocery store, and lettuce picked within minutes of being used in a salad or on a sandwich.

So, here we are with another installment of what I eat when I have only myself to please.

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Whole Grain Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese

photo of whole grain salad with beets and goat cheeseThis salad is kind of a pain. I am not a big grain cook. It requires a bit of timing to get it all done at the same time. Here, I have taken seven different whole grains and cooked them in one pot. Several of them take about 50 minutes and the remaining take about 15 minutes. So, you cook the several and add the remaining 35 minutes later. No big deal, right? But to get the most out of the grains we are also toasting them first. This adds to the flavor. So including the golden beets, the recipe requires roast, toast, boil, toast, boil, drain, and mix. It isn’t hard. There is just a lot going on. But you are rewarded with a truly lovely dish. The beets and the little bit of honey in the dressing add a wonderful but earthy sweetness to the salad. The purple cabbage adds color and crunch, and the goat cheese is a nice creamy contrast. The pecans were something of an afterthought but they play so well with the grains and the beets. Slivered almonds or walnuts would be nice if you don’t have pecans handy.

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