Monthly Archives: December 2011

New Years Eve: Cranberry Delight

Cranberry Delight before popping into the oven...doesn't this look cool?

Every family has their own holiday traditions. Some festive and fun, others thoughtful and giving, and if we’re being honest probably the occasional temper tantrum and meltdown thrown in for good measure. Growing up our family covered all of these in the bustling weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. There was the opening of the Fox Hunt on Thanksgiving Day complete will mulled cider and pinks (Festive), the careful crafting of Christmas Wish Lists (Fun), the sneaky questions and leading suggestions to figure out what my Mom wanted besides bird seed and socks (Thoughtful), and the UNICEF box at our dining room table we put change into each day to go to children in need (Giving).

There was the selecting of the tree and the inevitable fight that ensued between my brother and myself (Tantrum) and the decorating it “just so” to match my Mom’s Victorian sensibilities (Meltdown).  [To be fair I should admit that I subsequently insist on decorating the tree “just so” with white lights and wooden ornaments, so who’s laughing now?]

There were also the meals that came along with each of these activities…Spicy New England Pot Roast (a favorite of my Dads), German Apple Pancakes (Brother Ben’s coveted Christmas Morning meal), and Cranberry Delight which held, and holds, universal appeal.

This is quick to make and is even better the next day so is a perfect dessert for that Holiday festive dinner. The tartness of the cranberries makes it a nice complement to a rich meal, and just try to forget immediately upon making it how much butter and shortening you’ve just put in. It’s worth it.

Happy New Year!

Cranberry Delight



8 cups cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts or pecans


4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening melted together


  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Spread cranberries in a greased 13×9 baking dish

  1. Sprinkle w/nuts and 1 cup sugar
  2. In a large mixer, beat eggs well. Add 2 c. sugar gradually until blended. Add flour and melted butter to egg/sugar mixture; beat well.
  3. Pour batter over cranberries.
  4. Bake 6o minutes until toothpick comes out clean




Filed under Desserts, Entertaining, Make ahead, Seasonal Cooking

Slumber Party: Seared Sea Scallops on Bacon Polenta Topped with Chanterelles

Seared Sea Scallops on a bed of Bacon Polenta Topped with Chanterelles

When and why did we ladies ever stop having sleepovers? They are a brilliant invention:

  1. Feigning to be wearing PJs, you can show up in stretch pants and thereby begin the evening already with an elastic waistband.
  2. You don’t need to pretend that you have any self control since no one has to drive so you can consume as much wine as you possibly can.
  3. The next morning you all get to wake up, relive the funnier moments of the evening (“Remember when Liesel told her adorable little dog that was just sitting there to ‘Shut Your Face!'”), and then enjoy a boozie brunch, while still wearing said stretch pants.

Yes, they are a brilliant invention indeed and I intend to bring them back. Hold onto your hats ladies, this could get wild.


These scallops were not slumber party fare, but I did make them a few nights ago and they are out of this world. I had something similar at Matt’s in the Market a few months back (Sea Scallops, Bacon Grits, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Fried Leeks) and was determined to recreate it ever since. This was pretty damn close and just as delicious. It isn’t inexpensive to make because the scallops and chanterelles can be a bit pricey, but it’s definitely worth the splurge and a great dish to make if you want to really impress your guests.

Seared Sea Scallops on Bacon Polenta Topped with Chanterelles

Serve with a white wine such as Tru’s Chardonnay which was perfect with it.

Serves 4 as a main

1 lb dry Sea Scallops (always get dry if you can…”wet” scallops have been treated with a solution called STP (sodium tripolyphosphate) which is gross for lots of reasons.)

1/2 lb chanterelle mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and coarsely chopped

6 TB Butter

Splash of dry white wine

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup finely chopped onions

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

1 cup yellow cornmeal

4 slices bacon, cooked and coarsely crumbled

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Cheese (Parmesan or cheddar would also work)

  1. To get as much moisture out of the scallops as possible, set on a paper towel and set aside.
  2. In a large, non-stick skillet melt 2 TB butter and add the chanterelles. Cook on low, stirring occasionally until tender, throw in the wine and lemon juice and stir until evaporated, keep on low to keep warm and give it a stir every now and then. Try and resist the temptation to eat the mushrooms right out of the pan.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat melt 3 TB butter. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in and bring to a boil 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup water. Stir together remaining 1 cup water and 1 cup cornmeal. Gradually add the cornmeal mixture to the boiling water, reduce the heat to low, and cook stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the cornmeal is very thick and leaves the side of the pan as it is stirred, about 20 minutes. Add in bacon and cheese, and stir until combined. Put the pan top on and remove from heat.
  4. In a cast iron skillet melt the remaining butter until very hot (nearly smoking), add the scallops, being careful not to crowd the pan (cook in batches if necessary) and cook until carmelized and golden, but not rubbery, about 3-4 minutes if you’ve got your pan hot enough.
  5. Plate the polenta, add the chanterelles, and top with the seared scallops.
  6. Voila!


Filed under Entertaining, Seafood