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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cranberry Bruschetta

I realize October just began, but I don't think it's ever too soon to start thinking about Thanksgiving. If you are like me and despise the cold, looking forward to the holidays is one of the only ways to stay sane while the temperatures drop and the days of shorts and swimming pools are but a distant memory. And what better way to come to terms with the changing seasons than to start menu planning?!

Have you ever noticed how there are always, always leftover cranberries? Of course few people complain about this. After all, there isn't much better than a turkey sandwich topped with cranberry sauce. It's not that people dislike cranberries or cranberry sauce. Rather, my theory is that as a Thanksgiving meal side dish, the cranberries are overlooked in favor of other dishes. People get riled up about the stuffing, the popovers, or the thought of after-dinner pie, leaving the cranberries to be packaged up and saved for the days to come.

When coming up with a creative Thanksgiving dish for a Foodbuzz/Electrolux contest, my mind immediately went to cranberries. Rather than let the cranberries sit and wait their turn as leftovers, I thought it would be fun to feature them in an appetizer. This cranberry bruschetta spices up your standard cranberry side dish and allows people to enjoy it prior to the feast. Sure, you can still serve cranberries at dinner, and again eat them as leftovers, but this way they get a chance to be featured as well!

This bruschetta is perfect for serving while you're prepping the big meal. The cranberry sauce can be made ahead of time and the rest of the dish can be prepped and put together in the few minutes before you serve it. With only a few simple ingredients, this appetizer will satisfy your guests while you make sure the turkey isn't dry and the potatoes are perfectly mashed.

One Year Ago: Snickerdoodle Muffins 

Cranberry Bruschetta

-2 cups cranberries
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 baguette, sliced into one-inch thick pieces
-1/4 cup roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
-1 pear, diced
-4 ounces goat cheese
-balsamic reduction sauce (instructions how to here--I do NOT include any sugar)

1. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup water and sugar until water is nearly boiling and sugar is dissolved. Add in cranberries and cover, allowing water to simmer. Stir occasionally until most cranberries are popped and the sauce consistency is slightly chunky. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and set aside. (Can store in a covered container in the fridge for a few days. Be sure to bring to room temperature before serving on bruschetta)
2. Broil or toast baguette pieces until lightly browned. Spread a little bit of goat cheese on each slice. Spoon cranberry sauce over cheese. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and diced pears. To finish, drizzle each pieces with a bit of balsamic reduction sauce.
3. Arrange on a plate and serve immediately.