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Cranberry Spritzer Tea Cakes

Winner, Cranberry Battle
1 c. Earth Balance, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. cranberry juice extract (regular unsweetened cranberry
juice will also work fine)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. fresh cranberries, chopped finely
powdered sugar for dusting

Cream the margarine, then add the powdered sugar and whip together
until light and fluffy. Mix in the cranberry juice extract, then
the flour and salt. Add the chopped cranberries and mix well.

Chill the dough in the refrigerator for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Run your hands under cold
water, then form the dough into little walnut-sized balls. Place
on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment
paper, and bake at 400 degrees for 10-11 minutes. As soon as the
cookies come out, drop them in powdered sugar and roll them around
to coat, or (my preferred method) dust with powdered sugar from a
fine mesh sieve. Let cool on a rack.

Savory Cranberry Phyllo Pockets

Winner, Cranberry Battle
This grocery store friendly recipe is a sweet, savory combination of modestly tart cranberries and pumpkin that has been wrapped and baked in a flaky phyllo crust. It is served with an herbed cranberry dipping sauce.
The filling and dipping sauce may be made ahead of time.

Cranberry Phyllo Pockets:

3 cups cranberries, finely chopped (1 12-ounce bag)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon oil

1 celery stalk, finely chopped (~ 1/2 cup)

1/2 small onion, finely chopped (~ 1/4 cup)

1 cup canned canned pumpkin

1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

40 phyllo sheets


Dipping Sauce:

3 cups water

2/3 cup sugar

3 cups cranberries, finely chopped (1 12-ounce bag)
3 medium apples, peeled & diced (~ 3 cups)

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions for Cranberry Phyllo Pockets:

Thaw phyllo dough sheets according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine cranberries and sugar and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

In a pan, over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon oil. When oil is hot, add celery and onion. Sauté until onion is translucent, and then transfer celery and onion to a medium bowl. To the bowl add the pumpkin, nuts (other nuts may be substituted, according to preference), and cranberry-sugar mixture.

Refrigerate for one hour or until filling is cool.

When filling is cool, prepare phyllo dough sheets. The sheets come wrapped in plastic. Carefully unroll the sheets and place them on your countertop. Place the plastic the sheets came wrapped in on top of the sheets. On top of the plastic, place a damp towel. Do not expose sheets until immediately before use. Remove only the sheet(s) with which you will be immediately working.

Remove a sheet of phyllo dough and brush or spray with a portion of 1/4 cup of oil. The sheets I used were 9 inches by 17 inches. (If your sheets are slightly different in size, follow the same directions.) Fold the longest side in half and then in half again, so you have a four-layer-thick 9 inch by 3-1/2 inch strip.

Put about 2 tablespoons of filling (a cookie scoop’s worth) at one end of the strip. Fold the phyllo dough in a triangle pattern, pushing the filling toward the corners as you fold.

At the end of the strip, brush the remaining dough with water. Fold the last of the strip of dough onto the triangle and smooth with more water, if necessary. Spray or brush the triangle with oil.

Repeat for the remaining filling.

Cook on an ungreased cookie sheet at degrees 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve at room temperature.

Makes about 38 triangles.

Directions for Dipping Sauce:

In a saucepan, bring the water and white sugar to a boil over medium heat. Then add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat.

The dipping sauce may be made ahead of time and refrigerated. If refrigerated, bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes about 3 cups of sauce.

Global Interaction

1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons oil

1 small onion, finely chopped (~ 1/2 cup)

1 clove garlic, minced (~ 1 teaspoon)

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts (~ 10 small), cut in half

pepper, to taste

On a rimmed cookie sheet, toast sesame seeds in a toaster oven, or in a conventional oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the seeds just begin to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries and orange juice. Cook over medium heat until about half of the cranberries burst. Turn off heat. Transfer cranberry mixture to a medium bowl and stir in sugar.

To the saucepan the cranberries were cooked in, add the red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, onion, and garlic. Sauté over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Transfer to bowl with cranberries.

To a large pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and Brussels sprouts. Arrange the Brussels sprouts so the cut side is facing down. Cook the Brussels sprouts over medium-low heat for approximately 7 minutes, or until the cut side is just begins to caramelize.

Strain orange juice from cranberries over the Brussels sprouts.

Cover and cook over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts are tender, yet still slightly crisp. Add water as necessary while Brussels sprouts are cooking. At the end of the cook time, the orange juice should be just about cooked down all of the way.

Remove from heat and add to bowl with cranberry mixture. Toss with toasted sesame seeds and pepper, to taste.

Serve warm.

Cranberry and Mushroom Creamy Rice

This is inspired by risotto. However, being both lazy and a fan of
rice,this is my holiday (and lazyness) inspired adaptation.
cranberries add a little cheer to this dish and the mushrooms
give it a
yummy chew.

2 c short grain brown rice (sweet or regular)
Water for cooking the rice
8 oz of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 TB oil
3.5 c veggie or mushroom broth (prepared or from bullion)
2 TB nutritional yeast
spices to taste:
thyme (1 tsp),
sage (1/8 tsp ground)
and rosemary (1/2 tsp crushed)
pinch of salt and peper
1 small squirt (about 1 tsp) stone ground mustard
1.5 c fresh, raw cranberries
1/4 c sugar
2 TB corn starch
handful of raw pecan pieces

Start by preparing the rice using your preferred method (rice cooker,
stove top). You want to start with 2 c uncooked rice and you will end up
with about 4 c of cooked rice.

Meanwhile, prepare the mushroom-cranberry mixture. In a large, wide pot,
heat the oil. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook until
mushrooms and onion are soft. Add 3 c of the broth, spices, nutritional
yeast, mustard, cranberries, sugar and simmer 20 minutes, stiring
occasionally, or until the cranberries are broken and everything looks
"good." Meanwhile, you can mix the cornstarch with the reserved broth.

To finish this dish, turn the heat up on the stove and pour in the
cornstarch-broth mixture. Stir and boil for a bit, until the broth
thickens up some. It should look like a thin gravy. Turn off heat and add
the cooked rice and the pecans. Stir until everything is coated and serve.

* I don't cook with salt generally, so you might want to add salt to the
dish if you like salted food.

Holiday Cranberry Cupcakes

Winner, Cranberry Battle
The perfect host/ess gift for a holiday dinner party! It's nice because the orange juice flavors perfectly with the cranberry, but also allows you to cut the oil down. If you use whole cranberries, instead of the canned ones, you may want to add a little maple syrup to get the sweetness and viscosity of the batter right (it should be a soupy consistency when it goes into the oven).

3/4 cup canned whole cranberries
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 flax "egg" (3 tblspoons water mixed with 1 tblspoon ground flax seed)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put liners in your cupcake tin.
Mix the flax seed with the water and let set.
Cream the cranberries, oil, vanilla extract, brown sugar, pumpkin spice, and flax.
In a bowl/mixing cup quickly stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Alternatively pour the flour and then orange juice into the cranberry goodness and mix inbetween pours.
Ladle the batter into the liners until 3/4 full and bake for 32 minutes.
Top with a regular frosting but add dab of almond extract or orange juice. For pizazz, sprinkle sliced almonds or orange zest on top. Go wow your friends so you get invited to bring dessert to EVERY dinner party and they'll make yummy vegan entrees as an excuse to invite you and your cupcakes over!

Fresh Cranberry Salsa

1/4 cup cilantro (just leaves, no stems)
1/4 cup scallions (white/light green part only, not the dark green part or the bottom roots)
one small deseeded hot pepper (I think I use a chili pepper, jalapeno should work too)
one clove garlic

3 cups FRESH cranberries (frozen does not work)
1/2 cup light agave nectar or 3/4 cup sugar

Combine the first four ingredients in a food processor so they are chopped very finely.
Add the cranberries and sweetener and pulse until the cranberries are chopped but not mush.
Let sit for an hour or so to let the flavors mingle (if you can wait!) If it still seems too sour add a little more sweetener and/or a little salt.

I like to eat this plain with tortilla chips, but it is also good on tofurky or layered on a plate over tofutti cream cheese and served with crackers. Next time I make it I'm going to try it layered over avocados mashed with cilantro and lots of lime and eaten with hearty tortillas.