dried apricots

Accidental Locavore Big StarThanksgiving has become an interesting holiday. For the past few years, the Accidental Locavore has traded her apron for clown make-up and marches in the Macy*s Thanksgiving Parade. When I’m not clowning around, these are a couple of my favorite side dish recipes. The first is a delicious cranberry sauce, the second a great way to combine pearl onions and Brussels sprouts (and you can still find local ones) so everyone will love them.

Accidental Locavore Cranberry ConfitCranberry, Onion and Apricot Confit:

  • 2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped (I use the slab apricots from Trader Joes)

Melt the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat, add the onions and sugar, stir, and cook until the onions are pale golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the vinegar, water, cranberries, a pinch of salt, and cook the mixture, stirring for 10-15 minutes until the cranberries have burst and are soft. Stir in the apricots and cook for one more minute. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can make this ahead as it will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks covered.

Accidental Locavore Quartered Brussels SproutsBrussels Sprouts and Pearl Onions in Horseradish Cream (adapted from Bon Appètit)

  • 1 bag frozen pearl onions thawed (true confessions, I always buy pearl onions frozen, it’s such a pain to peel them, but if you want to go the fresh route, blanch them and peel them)
  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half the long way
  • 3 tablespoons horseradish (use more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice (you could use nutmeg)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Cook the Brussels sprouts until just tender either in a microwave for 5 minutes, or boil them in salted water for about 6 minutes. Drain well and set aside. Combine the horseradish, flour and allspice in a small bowl, mix well and whisk in the cream. Set aside. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the thyme and stir 30 seconds. Add the onions and Brussels sprouts and saute until heated through, about 4 minutes. Add the horseradish mixture, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream is reduced to a glaze, coating the vegetables, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and more horseradish if you like. Serve and enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Crunchy Granola

by Anne Maxfield on June 11, 2010

Accidental Locavore My GranolaOne of the Accidental Locavore’s big issues with granola is that it’s very hard to find any without nuts.

I started making my own because it’s really easy and you control exactly goes into it. The secret to this one? Really good butter, the European variety–trust me it makes a big difference! The rest is up to you. Makes about 3 cups:

Crunchy Granola

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, or coconut chips
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (you can use honey)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted European-style butter
  • Dried fruit such as apricots, raisins, cranberries, cherries and additional coconut

Preheat the oven to 300°.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (don’t try to be cheap here and use wax paper, you’ll be sorry…trust me!).

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds.

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the maple syrup. Pour the mixture over the oat mix and toss well to combine.

Spread evenly on the baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes to keep it browning evenly.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Add the dried fruit and coconut to taste and mix well.

I use small handfuls of raisins, and chopped cranberries, cherries and apricots.

Store in an airtight canister or a Ziploc bag. Serve straight-up or over your favorite yogurt and enjoy!

My verdict: There’s always a canister of this granola in my cupboard. It’s really good and you can add or subtract whatever you’d like–even make it savory.

Interestingly, the quality of the butter really makes a difference! It went from being really good to great when I switched to Plugra butter.

I always use it on my yogurt and the dried fruit gets hard from the cold, so I usually chop it into small pieces.

What do you like in your granola?

 

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