One of the many things that are out of character for this wise guy, considering what a tomboy I’ve always been, is the fact that I love lace tablecloths. There’s just something about all that intricately woven thread, looking like delicate, filigreed flowers that I love. I am blessed to have a couple of pretty lace tablecloths that I pull out on holidays. Only they are so old, so stained, and even so torn in several places that my heart sank the last time I pulled them out.
Apparently, the thought had been percolating in my brain, because long after they were washed and put away, it came to me that while my lace tablecloths are far from picture-perfect, I adore them as they are with bright red stains from the sweet-tart cranberry sauce I make that my family loves and with the grease stains from the rich gravy they enjoyed as an accompaniment to meat and mashed potatoes or from buttery petite peas that flew off someone’s fork. There are even a couple of chocolate stains on them from some long-forgotten treat I made.
So, while they’ll never grace the cover of a magazine, and while they may need to be replaced sooner rather than later, the role that these graceful linens have played in the bounty and pleasure of my family makes them beautiful to me!
My Favorite Cranberry Sauce with Strawberries
-Take the frozen strawberries out of the freezer. Believe it or not, this really is the first step you should take in this recipe because, if you do it this way, the strawberries will be of the perfect semi-soft consistency to work with by the time you’re ready for them.
-Combine water and sugar in a medium pot, give it a stir, and then bring it to a boil over high heat.
-Add the frozen cranberries, stir again, and return to boiling.
-Reduce the heat and boil gently (just above a simmer) for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll hear the pop, pop, pop of the cranberries as they pop open.
-Meanwhile, take your slightly thawed but still frozen strawberries and chop them into small chunks with a chef’s knife.
-Once the cranberry mixture has finished cooking, remove the pot from the stove and stir in the strawberries. Doing it this way accomplishes two things. 1) It blends the flavors beautifully, 2) It helps to quickly cool the sauce!