Vinegar, pickling add pucker to fresh cranberries

Holiday remnants continue to clutter my house nearly two weeks into the new year.

To go with the Christmas tree still dominating my living room, there’s a compartmentalized box with a couple of withering oranges on the kitchen table and a dwindling assortment of glaceed fruits and toasted nuts on the counter. The pantry holds all the ingredients for that holiday classic, Chex party mix. Now if I can get it made before my son polishes off the cereal and I finally devour the mixed nuts.

More forgiving of this post-holiday slump are the fresh cranberries that I picked up two days before Christmas and stashed away in the freezer until inspiration should strike. To be sure, I had intended to incorporate them into some festive gifts of fruit vinegar (see the recipe below, courtesy of Miami Herald columnist Linda Cicero). I’d also be keen to quick-pickle a batch of cranberries, explained in a previous post.

Happily, the hardy berries will keep for months and months, allowing me plenty of time — ironically — to decide on the next step in their preservation. When I do, I’ll use them in the following salad recipe. Maybe by that time, we’ll want turkey again.

Homemade Cranberry Vinegar

Tribune News Service photo

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

Peel from an orange or tangerine

1 (12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries

In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients with 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst. Push a wooden spoon against cranberries to release juices. Cool. Strain through a fine sieve or coffee filter into sterilized bottles or jars. Seal tightly. Discard cranberries and cinnamon stick. Chill until ready to use.

Makes about 3 cups


Bulla’s Ensalada de Cranberry

2 cups blended oil

1/4 cup cranberry vinegar (see recipe above)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 heads baby gem lettuce or Romaine hearts

1/2 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 ounces (about 1/4 cup) chopped walnuts

1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) dried cranberries

2 cups shredded, cooked turkey

2 ounces crumbled goat cheese

In a mixing bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey and salt; whisk until combined.

Toss the greens, tomatoes, walnuts and cranberries with 4 ounces, or to taste, of vinaigrette. Top with the shredded turkey and goat cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Bulla Gastrobar, Coral Gables, Fla.

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