Growing up, my mom has been the one in the kitchen, cooking and baking. Always getting homemade meals on the table for our family of eight and now today, with our ever-growing family adding spouses and grandkids.
And the holidays are no exception. Homemade pancakes or cinnamon rolls in the mornings and homemade soups throughout the cold, winter days. She really did (and does) do it all during the holidays!
It was my dad who hauled in the fresh-cut tree, put up the lights outside, took us sledding and he is out shoveling in the early morning after a big snow (he is that guy with the snow-blower going all the way down the block, clearing the sidewalk).
You see, my dad isn't always in the kitchen. But when he is, he makes sure to perfect the key dishes he does make. At each attempt, he takes mental notes on what needs changed, until he gets the perfect ratio, the perfect texture and the perfect recipe. With his scrambled eggs, just the right amount of cream is whisked with the eggs to turn them light and fluffy when cooked low and slow. For his vegetable beef soup, us kids would chop up the carrots, potatoes and celery as my dad would brown the meat. The result is always a warming soup that immediately reminds me of home.
And then there is this cranberry salad. My dad has tinkered with its process - when to add the sugar, how much orange rind to include... Year after year he has tinkered it more and more until he got it juuust right in his book.
My dad makes this salad every year, especially in December. (In fact, my mom said he just made some this week!) It's more of a relish really, eaten as a side with dinner or even as dessert.
You can bet it'll be at our holiday table this year. And my dad will say it's better the next day. Then he'll probably say it's not as good as it usually is. But the truth is - it's perfect.
My Dad's Cranberry Salad
- 1 12-16 oz. bag fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 whole orange (plus 1/2 of the rind), finely chopped
- 1 whole apple, cored and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- In a food processor, process the cranberries and sugar until the berries are coarsely chopped. My dad will remove 1/2 of the cranberry mixture when it's coarsely chopped and place in a large bowl. Then, process the remaining cranberries until they are finely chopped. Add the finely chopped cranberries to the large bowl.
- Peel the rind off the orange and reserve half of the rind (throw out the other half of the rind). Chop the 1/2 rind and the orange into small pieces. Add the chopped orange, 1/2 rind and any juices to the large bowl.
- Chop the cored apple until it's in small chunks. (You don't need to peel it!) Add the chopped apple to the large bowl with the cranberry and orange mixture.
- Chop the stalk of celery and add to the bowl. Mix all of the ingredients together and let chill in the refrigerator. It is good for a few days and the flavor gets better with time.
- NOTE: Instead of chopping, you could do this all in the food processor, processing each ingredient on its own and then adding to the large bowl.
This post is sponsored by Whole Foods and #MyHolidayTradish. Be sure to check out http://bit.ly/2ffouBj for more holiday traditions! Plus there is also a Free Groceries Giveaway to enter!
And also because all you readers rock, below are two coupons for Whole Foods as you all celebrate your own holiday traditions.
- Hot Chocolate Coupon: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/sites/default/files/media/Holiday2016-HotCocoa_0.pdf
- Cinnamon Coupon: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/sites/default/files/media/Holiday2016-Cinnamon_0.pdf