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Posts tagged ‘cranberry’

Slow Cooker Country Ribs with Cranberry & Apples

After one time too many of forgetting about dinner until 5:00, I pull out the crock pot. I despised loading and eating from the crock pot while I was growing up but I’ve been making my peace with the appliance recently. It has its place.

About a month ago I stumbled across a recipe on the internet under “Southern Foods” by Diana Rattray. I followed it loosely and the outcome was truly delicious, but not “Southern.” I’m sorry, but cranberries, apples and maple syrup add up to New England. Those ingredients make me think about my friend Lisa in Maine who is tapping maple trees this month and works the family farm with the help of draft horses.

Here’s my version of the recipe:

2 cans of whole-berry cranberry sauce
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup brown sugar
2-3 chopped apples that cook well (Fuji is my current favorite thanks to the Stein family!)
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
½ of a red onion sliced
3-4 lbs country style pork ribs (I’m sure beef would be good too.)

Put everything but the meat and the onion into a sauce pan and heat it until it’s simmering and the sugar is nicely dissolved.

Meanwhile, toss the sliced onion and the ribs into the crock pot.

No,no, thank YOU! I love a bargain!

Pour the hot apple and cranberry mixture over the top.

Let it cook all day (6-7 hours) on low.

Serve with rice or whatever else suits your fancy. (I really stink at food staging…I could have at least gotten out the blue plates to take a picture of white rice. Oh, well.)

Last time I made this, I strained the left-over liquid, which has a wonderful sweetly cinnamon flavor and put in the refrigerator. A few days later I ladled off the fat which had risen to the top and mixed it with some sweet-n-sour sauce out of a jar to go with chicken. The result was an amazing version of sweet-n-sour chicken. Saving the cooking liquid is my attempt to turn over a new and more frugal (less lazy) culinary leaf at the inspiration of my sister-in-law. Then my friend Christa’s suggested that I read An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler, and I’m finally figuring it out. Waste not, want not! As I’m learning this art, I’m feeling even guiltier about dumping the liquid from a slow cooked organic chicken down the drain at Betsy’s house while helping with dishes during my last visit. She is seriously one of the sweetest and dearest people you could ever meet and the silent horror on her face as she watched the broth hit the drain was only surpassed by her immediate and gracious forgiveness. It got my attention though! I am reforming.

White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins

This was a mid-morning snack last week. The boys have grown five inches (between the three of them) in the last six months, so a dozen muffins is about right for “second breakfast” and with a tall glass of milk, “elevensies” is taken care of as well.

My basic muffin recipe goes like this:
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup of: oats, whole wheat flour, another cup of all purpose flour or any other combination of dry flour-like stuff that I am in the mood to throw in
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup milk
Add goodies according to taste or what you have in the cabinet.

Muffins are the reverse of cookies. You start with the dry ingredients then add the liquid. (For this particular batch that second cup of dry stuff was quick oats.)

Stir it all together gently. You’re not supposed to over-stir muffin batter. Honestly, I can’t remember why, but when Alton Brown explained it in a book it made sense and I have done my best to obey this rule ever since. And, the muffin quality in my house has improved.

Once the dry and wet have been delicately combined, you can add goodies. For this batch, I used about ¾ cup each of chopped white chocolate chips, chopped dried cranberries, and finely chopped walnuts.

Scoop the batter into a muffin tin sprayed with non-stick spray. You can use papers, but I never seem to have them in the cabinet – possibly because my boys often chew them like little goats when they’re done with each muffin and it grosses me out.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 12-14 minutes.

Spread the tops with butter or margarine. (Yes, I can allow for margarine in non-cookie situations!)

Then sprinkle with sugar.

Enjoy one before they’re gone. In my house, that’s about 10 minutes.