Cranberry Almond Shortbread Tart

DSC_2317

As much as I love the holiday season, the constant temptation to indulge in all manner of sweet and savory special occasion foods can be overwhelming. Rich fare at holiday parties, homemade baked goods brought to office and school events, cookie swaps among friends — I’m nearly in a food coma just thinking about it.

One way to keep the temptations in check is to find ways to lighten your holiday desserts. That’s what I’ve done with this cranberry shortbread tart recipe. I saw the original version a few years ago in an issue of Fine Cooking. As you know, I absolutely love cranberries, and this tart, with its mixture of cranberries and almonds, seemed a perfect addition to my holiday dessert list.

But it also has 550 calories per serving, which is about one-quarter of a day’s worth of calories for most people. That’s huge! So, about a year ago, I made a new version with less sugar, fat, and calories. Read More


Deciphering the Label: Cranberry Sauce

DSC_1991

One of the arguments frequently made in favor of home cooking is that it allows you to control the amount of sugar, fat, and salt you add to foods.  As a result less of those ingredients tend to end up in meals you cook from home than in meals made from processed foods or eaten in restaurants.

From time to time I’m greeted with skepticism when I make this claim.  Is it really true that home cooked food has less sugar, fat, and salt, I’m asked?  The answer is a resounding “yes.”  Here’s an example of how I know. Read More


Cranberry Citrus Relish

dsc_1523-e1417008629393

To me, fresh cranberries are the essence of the holiday season.  Their red hues are perfect complements to the reds, oranges and yellows of their seasonal compatriots, apples and squash.  In contrast to the beguiling sweetness of late summer’s melons and stone fruit, their tartness can catch you unexpectedly like a cold gust of early winter wind.  Cranberries can even look like the season — sprinkle some sugar on them, and they resemble holly berries under a dusting of snow.

What I most love about cranberries, however, is how their flavor pairs so beautifully with many classic holiday dishes.  Cranberries are the perfect accompaniment to turkey on Thanksgiving, ham on Christmas, and brisket on Hanukkah.  (For every other day of the year, cranberries are sublime served alongside sautéed or roasted chicken.) Read More