cranberry shortbread tart

Cranberry Shortbread Tart

Come this time of year, when bag after bag of cranberries shimmer their ruby red presence all over my favorite grocery stores, I rack ’em up and use them any way I can. In fact, I usually keep a bag or two in my freezer for when it’s mid-winter and I need that cranberry kick in a bunch of scones or in a hot bowl of oatmeal. However, as we’re well into November and quickly approaching December, I make my favorite cranberry recipe – the quintessential cranberry sauce – quite often. In fact, I make it like it’s going out of style. What do I eat it on? Turkey? Chicken? Mixed into oatmeal? Nine times out of ten, I just eat it by the spoonful. I love cranberry sauce that much. Do my stomach, esophagus, and teeth enjoy this acidic treat? I’ve never bothered to ask them, nor do I care.

That being said, I oft have an extra bowl or bag of it in the back of my fridge, and I don’t want it to go to waste.

cranberry shortbread tart

Come the holidays, we all eat our fair share of delicious dishes, but let’s be honest: we waste some of it. It’s not ideal, but it happens. We end up pitching some of that leftover turkey in the trash. Some of those roasted veggies may end up in the compost bin. It’s always best to re-purpose leftovers, if possible. Don’t waste that precious cranberry sauce if it’s been languishing in the back of your fridge for a few days. Breathe some life back into it by layering it onto a delicious buttery shortbread crust.

cranberry shortbread tart

I love this tart because it’s a little freeform, a little rustic, and a little messy, too. Don’t wear light colors while eating this and have a few napkins handy. 😉

cranberry shortbread tart

Cranberry Shortbread Tart
(Makes 9 – 12 slices…well, depending on how you slice it!)

Ingredients:

– 2 cups fresh cranberry sauce, chilled (Please see Before We Get Started…)
– 1 cup flour
– 1 stick butter (traditional or vegan), chiiled and cubed or frozen to grate (Please see Before We Get Started…)
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably kosher

Before We Get Started…

– DO NOT USE CANNED JELLIED CRANBERRY SAUCE FOR THIS RECIPE! Yes, this statement is worth the caps lock.

– If you do not have leftover cranberry sauce and are making this dish completely from scratch, please follow the directions on your bag of cranberries to create a sauce. It’s basic and you can’t go wrong!

– Also, if making fresh cranberry sauce, you can alter it as you please. I prefer to boil my cranberries in either 3/4 cup apple cider or orange juice (whichever I have at the time) and 1/4 cup water. Due to this, I cut the sugar down to about a 1/4 cup instead of the traditional 1 cup the average cranberry sauce recipe recommends; said average recipe recommends boiling them in water, which does not have additional sugar in it. (Am I  perhaps stating the obvious? Ha!) What’s great about making homemade cranberry sauce is the fact that you can easily control the amount of sugar that’s in it.

– My way of cutting butter into flour involves grating it with a cheese grater, a method I have mentioned a few times in this blog. Please refer to my Orange Ginger Scones recipe for more specifics. This method is a godsend! 

– I have made vegan shortbread in the past using Earth Balance, and it has worked! That being said, I haven’t tried it for this specific recipe. If you feel inclined, substitute Earth Balance or your favorite vegan “butter” for the traditional butter in this recipe; likewise, use your own favorite vegan shortbread recipe, if you please! I’ve read many blogs that state that using coconut oil makes for a tasty version. 🙂

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 8″ x 8″ x 2″ baking pan with parchment paper; fit to bottom of pan and allow 1″ – 2″ of paper hang off of the sides, as this will allow you to easily lift the tart from the pan when it’s finished. Set pan aside.

2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter; combine with hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembled a fine meal. Evenly press mixture into the bottom of the baking pan; using the bottom of a bottle or a measuring cup can help ensure an even surface.

3.) Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove and place on wire rack to cool.

4.) Once shortbread is cooled, spoon cranberry sauce on top and spread evenly. (If making cranberry sauce from scratch and not using pre-made / leftover cranberry sauce, allow sauce to cool before placing on shortbread.) Place in refrigerator for one hour before serving. Remove from fridge, and carefully lift tart out of pan by the parchment paper’s edges. Cut and serve.

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That Time My Camera Was Under Quarantine, And Other Musings

Let me tell you: It’s very frustrating to work on a burgeoning food web site when one of your most important tools is under a temporary quarentine. I am currently undergoing an unwanted, yet common, New York City nightmare: BEDBUG EXTERMINATION. I’m so pleased that it didn’t happen between six years and three apartments in Manhattan, but I’m not so pleased that it finally happened at all. (Haaa.) We’re clean, but them lil’ critters sure don’t discriminate. Bedbug extermination goes in phases: You get the first spray, then you have to wait at least a week before another spray, because the first spray only kills the adults, not the eggs. You need to wait for the eggs to hatch to kill the rest of ’em. Last Wednesday was Spray #1, and this Saturday morning was Spray #2, and hopefully the last one. (Cross your fingers! I want to take my life out of plastic bags!) Both my roommates and our dog are out of town for the weekend, so I waited out the fumes by myself for the three hours at one of my favorite neighborhood spots: Indian Road Cafe. I drank a Matcha Latte and ate a Basil Meyer Lemon Tart that made me want to scream like Sally Albright at Katz’s.

IMG_7652

This photo looks like spring! 

What does this all have to do with my camera?

Well, the ol’ girl and her lenses have been tied up in thick plastic bags until the extermination mist has settled, the bugs have gone to Heaven (or Hell, hopefully), and our apartment isn’t a total war zone anymore. It really sucks when you have so many recipes developed and you’re itching to both cook and photograph them. Oooh, my camera. My baby! I miss her so! She’s so close, yet, so far away.

Here’s hoping that, next week, we are joyously reunited.

In the meantime, many cool things have happened while I’ve been sans Canon.

– I have been developing a couple new recipes and, in test runs, they’ve turned out well! I’m going to have a zucchini noodle dish coming up in a future entry, and you’ll surely love it…as long as you love peas, too! (And why wouldn’t you?) I also have a simple yet filling three ingredient pancake recipe that has saved me on many mornings at work. File it under “Makes Multiple Breakfast For Your Work Week”. YES!

– I am a photographer, but my preferred subjects are easily posable and always edible. People? I can not do that. “Pose this way”? “Smile this way”? “Look this way”? This are all phrases that scare me half to death. How photographers deal with people is beyond me, especially antsy people like me that are constantly feeling like their hair is out of place, their lip gloss isn’t pink enough, or they aren’t looking in the right direction. (Okay, you could even call me a “spaz” if you must. Ha!) Well, I praise Krystal Balzer and her photography! She’s a friend of mine that works at the same hospital department as me, and she also has a wonderful photography business. We recently had a photo shoot at one of my other favorite local spots, Darling Coffee. I wanted some professional photos of me for this site, LinkedIn, et al. The lighting was perfect that evening, the mint verbena tea was delicious, and she took some amazing shots of me. I’m not lying: I got a little teary-eyed when she sent me the sneak peek. (I’m an emotional gal, sometimes!) It was just what I wanted!

krystal photo sneak peek

My eyes are really this color. #truthbombsdropping 

I can’t wait to share more shots in a few weeks; in the meantime, please check out Krystal Balzer Photography. This girl is wicked talented, and she has an excellent photographic style.

– I made my way to Wassail with my two dearest friends and fellow foodies, Lori and Hilary. I am a huge fan of hard ciders, and I loved them before they got so recently popular. (I need to stake my claim. Heh.) I have an admittedly odd allergy to Brewer’s Yeast, and drinking beer or eating it as a supplement in food makes me physically ill. (Fun, eh?) This led me to being introduced to Woodchuck Cider in my later college years, and I never looked back! When I heard that the folks behind the Queens Kickshaw were going to open this spot in the Lower East Side, I counted down the days as if it was about to be Christmas. The gals and I shared some ciders and small plates, and it was a great experience! From fancy bottles over $100 to various draughts representing various countries and continents, I could not have asked for a more enjoyable Happy Hour! I had a tart yet lightly sweet pint of Hidden Star from Slyboro Cider House, and I would definitely recommend it to both the cider novice and the cider connoisseur.

ciders wassail

A typical Instagrammed Happy Hour. 

As another week begins, I look forward to more recipe development, spring-like temperatures, Peruvian Chicken at Flor de Mayo, my freshman year roommate’s wedding on Friday, exploring interesting food options in New Haven, Connecticut, and finally reuniting with my camera so I can feel a little more creatively whole again.

Have a wonderful week, and continue to seek satiation, y’all! 🙂