Staten Island Food And - See what's cooking……

Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’


November 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner – Cranberry Sauce


Canned Cranberry Sauce 300x225 Thanksgiving Dinner   Cranberry Sauce

Does this look appetizing?

It has been an unchallengeable American doctrine that cranberry sauce, a pink goo with overtones of sugared tomatoes, is a delectable necessity of the Thanksgiving board and that turkey is uneatable without it. – Alistair Cooke

My least favorite food at Thanksgiving dinner is cranberry sauce. This sweet gelatinous goop is not appetizing to me. My dislike of this sauce is because it comes from a can and is too sweet. My friends and family swear by it and without cranberry sauce it isn’t Thanksgiving dinner. But does it have to come from a can? Is this it? Is this the standard in which cranberry sauce is judged?

What is cranberry sauce? It isn’t just cranberries smart_ss!

Lets set the record straight. There was no cranberry sauce at the first Thanksgiving dinner. Yes the Pilgrims and Indians had cranberries but sugar was a rare luxury. Try eating a cranberry and find out why you need sugar. I triple dog dare you!

Cranberry sauce became popular when General Ulysses S. Grant ordered it served to the troops during the siege of Petersburg in 1864. In 1912, Ocean Spray Cape Cod Cranberry Company started caning cranberry sauce commercially. The rest is history.

Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle…. What! This isn’t Cranberry sauce!

Okay, you already know I dislike cranberry sauce but I tested many for this post for journalistic integrity. Sounds good right? I tried the store bought cranberry sauces and also made a few from scratch. I was surprised by my findings.

Oh the humanity! Try to avoid the canned cranberry sauces. Compared to any of the homemade sauces they are visually unappealing to outright disgustingly sweet gelatin. The amount of effort involved to make cranberry sauce is minimal. It is worth the effort. I actually liked how it tasted.

I made a few of cranberry sauce recipes and there were two that stood out. The first recipe was submitted by Joanne from Willowbrook. Joanne’s cranberry sauce recipe is a citric wonder. Its main ingredients are grapefruit, honey and crystallized ginger. It is very good. I highly recommend it.

The second is my favorite recipe and comes from the zany Alton Brown of Food Network fame. Alton’s tart cranberry dipping sauce is out of this world. Its main ingredients are orange juice, ginger ale, real maple syrup and light brown sugar. A little of this sauce goes a long way. It’s can be overpowering.

Below you will find both recipes. Serve both this Thanksgiving and judge for yourself. PLEASE DO NOT BUY THE CANNED STUFF.

Cranberry Sauce by Joanne of Willowbrook

Makes about 3 cups


1 bag of cranberries (12 oz.)

1 Tbsp. grated grapefruit zest

1 cup fresh grapefruit juice

¾ cup honey

1/3 cup minced/crushed crystallized (candied) ginger

Over medium high heat combine the cranberries, grapefruit zest, juice and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir constantly. Boil for about 5 minutes until the cranberries pop. Remove from the heat an cool to room temperature. Stirring will speed the cooling. Once at room temperature stir in the crystallized ginger. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until serving.

Tart Cranberry Dipping Sauce by Alton Brown

Makes about 12 serving


1 lb. frozen cranberries

2 cups orange juice

3 cups ginger ale

2 Tbsp. real maple syrup

2 Tbsp. light brown sugar

½ tsp. kosher salt

1 orange, zested

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan (stainless steel) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.

Carefully puree in a blender until smooth. Serve in small bowls or ramekins.


Thanks for reading. Please drop me a comment on any of my posts.

Related articles by Zemanta

 Thanksgiving Dinner   Cranberry Sauce

Recipes,Soups and Stews

November 7, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner- Nonna’s Italian Wedding Soup


An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day. – Irv Kupcinet

Italian Wedding Soup Thanksgiving Dinner  Nonna’s Italian Wedding Soup

Nonna's revised Italian Wedding Soup

My family always serves Italian Wedding soup at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I remember making the tiny meatballs with my grandmother when I was ten years old. My family recipe dates back many generations but when I found it I was stunned. I thought this would be easy. You know, read the recipe and make the soup. Bada bing! I’m done.

Nope! That didn’t happen. This is what I found.

1 1/2 lbs of meat, chopped




Mix together.


In a small pot boil water and make tiny balls, wet hands and roll out. Cook for 1 or 1½ hours. Then mix in a large can of chicken broth/stock and pasta a few minutes before serving.

And some hand written scribbling that I could not make out. I think it was in what I call Brooktalian (broken Brooklyn English and Italian)

What the hell I am supposed to do with this?  I was only ten when I made this. I don’t remember the recipe.

Hey Nonna what kind of meat? How many eggs? How much cheese and what type? What I am I doing with the bread? How am I cooking the meatballs?

Thanks grandma for writing this down so well. Well so much for this easy endeavor.

Now I had some research to do.

I spoke to my family and friends to unearth some clues. I researched similar recipes online. Tested and revised many recipes until I found the right combination. I finally figured it out.

Italian wedding soup is easy to make but time consuming (damn those meatballs). This recipe was well worth the work. I hope you enjoy it.

By the way…

Did you ever wonder why it is called Italian wedding soup? Well the Italian name for this soup is “Minestra Maritata” and it translates to “married soup”. The ingredients of this soup “marry” or blend (in Italian “si sposano”) well together. This soup originates from old Neapolitan cookbooks. Another name for this soup is pignato grasso

I bet you thought this soup was served at weddings. You meatball.

Nonna’s revised Italian Wedding Soup

Serves 8



8 oz. ground beef

8 oz. ground pork

1 slice of white bread, crust removed and the bread torn into small pieces

1 large egg

1/3 chopped italian parsley

1  small white onion, diced finely

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese

black pepper


1 box of Orzo pasta

3 qts. chicken stock or broth, low sodium

1 lb. escarole

2 large eggs

2 Tbsp. of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese

salt and ground pepper

Make the meatballs first!

Stir in the onion, parsley, egg, garlic, salt and bread in a very large bowl and blend. Mix in the cheese, beef and pork. I would recommend using your hands for all of this but you can use a large metal spoon. Now using a 1 1/2 teaspoon to scoop out the mixture and form a small ball. Place the meatballs on a cookie sheet.


Bring the stock/broth to a boil in a large pot over medium heat. add the meatballs, orzo and escarole. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the escarole is tender, about eight to ten minutes. Whisk the eggs and cheese in a bowl to blend. Gradually drizzle the egg mixture into the broth you are stirring with a fork. This will create thin strands of egg. This should take about a minute. Season with salt and pepper. Now serve in bowls and top with the extra cheese. Mangia.

Thanks for reading and please comment.

 Thanksgiving Dinner  Nonna’s Italian Wedding Soup


November 6, 2009



300px TraditionalThanksgiving THANKSGIVING DINNER

Thanksgiving Dinner Table

This year you can make Thanksgiving a memorable feast.

I am asking our readers to please submit their favorite Thanksgiving recipes. I am going to design a Thanksgiving dinner menu that will be enjoyable to cook and to eat. Hopefully with ease.

Out here on Staten Island, New York I’m sure our  typical Thanksgiving menu is slightly different than say that of Augusta, Maine or Flagstaff, Arizona. So let’s see what a typical Staten Islander has for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Please submit any recipe, whether for appetizers, soups, salads, pastas, entrees, stuffings, sides, breads and desserts. I am also interested in any wine pairing.


I would also like to share any memorable or funny family stories about your Thanksgiving preperation or dinner. You can send photos too.

Please send everything through my contact page.

Thank you and let’s get ready for Thanksgiving!

The first recipe is Nonna’s Italian Wedding Soup click the following link to read more’s-italian-wedding-soup