Archive for November, 2011

November 22, 2011

2007 Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

2007 Valle Reale Montepulciano D'Abruzzo

We had this 2007 Montepulciano with dinner over the weekend. It was excellent. The only word that comes to mind is smooth. We don’t care for wines that are too dry or that have an acidic bite at the end. This Italian red was fruity, full-bodied and easy to drink. At about $18.00 a bottle, Wine Advocate gives it 91 points. For my Bucks County locals, I purchased this at Phillips Fine Wines in Stockton. This is a nice bottle for the holidays.

November 20, 2011

Not Your Mama’s Cranberry Relish

Not Your Mama's Cranberry Relish

Looking for a new twist on the usual canned cranberry sauce? This is an easy homemade recipe that will be a perfect partner for your holiday bird. Although my daughter claimed to like my cranberry relish, I know she secretly prefers the stuff from the can. In fact, she can proudly eat an entire can of cranberry sauce if left to her own devices. Not sure what the attraction is? I always thought of cranberry sauce as more of a condiment, not a side dish. For her, it’s the star on the plate. The canned cranberry sauce might be the thing she most looks forward to on the Thanksgiving table. At only a dollar a can, I could never deny her craving.

With that said, this cranberry relish is sure to please. Zesty from the tart cherries and with just the right sweetness from the honey, this was delicious on our Day After Thanksgiving sandwiches. Yes, we’re actually working backwards here. We had Day After Thanksgiving sandwiches for dinner this week so that we could come up with some great combinations for your leftovers. My daughter scarfed down her sandwich with this relish and didn’t even notice it wasn’t sliced from a can. That was my cue that this recipe was a good one.


  • 1 12oz package fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked through
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp orange zest (from 1 orange)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries (6oz package)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey

In a medium sized (4qt) saucepan, bring the orange juice and water to a boil, then shut off the heat. Immediately add the dried cherries and let sit for 5 minutes until plumped and soft. Add the sugar, orange zest, cranberries and jalapeño to the pot and stir. Turn the heat back on and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The cranberries will burst and slump as they cook. Shut off the heat and stir in the honey.  Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool a little. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to cool completely. It will thicken as it chills. Happy Thanksgiving!

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