I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

Port Wine Cranberry Chutney

I can't help but feel a little resentment when it comes to preparing food for others for the holidays.   Boy Toy is King of the deep fryer, so for the last two Thanksgivings I've been in charge of preparing side dishes to compliment his beautiful birds.  We host his family members for the meal and I understand that my idea(s) of tradition may be somewhat foreign to others.

My family's Thanksgiving meal consisted of most things that I continue to prepare today and for two years now, most of my food has gone untouched because it is not what Boy Toy's family is used to.  As time has gone by and the more I've socialized with them around the table, I've come to realize that most of his family members are used to (and prefer) processed, packaged foods.  The mashed potatoes they know come from a box, green beans come from a can, and bread is from a plastic bag with directions to "brown and serve."  I know that people tend to stick with what they are familiar with and what they like, but it is very disheartening when my hard work and love go into food that is greeted by grimaced faces and rude comments (someone actually told me they "wouldn't cross the street" for my made-from-scratch chicken tetrazzine.  He ended up eating a sleeve of saltine crackers for dinner that day.)

Last year I made the declaration that I would no longer spend so much time, energy and money preparing what I thought was "good" food for the holiday.  But as I started giving thought to the menu for this holiday season, I had a revelation.  I decided that I would continue to make my "weird" food and they could take it or leave it.  I made reference in my last post about there being no time like the present to introduce real food to Boy Toy (who is a little more open-minded about my food) and his kids and I'm going to continue with that mindset.  I'm not going to compromise what I love about Thanksgiving - especially when I am tasked with preparing the food.  Hopefully as my food continues to appear on the table year after year, someone will give in, try it, and decide it's not so bad after all.

This year I'm arriving at the Boy Toy home loaded down with cornbread dressing, creamed corn, spinach casserole, made-from-scratch green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, cranberry tart.  and this port wine cranberry chutney.

I will be thankful for the opportunity to spend time in my kitchen preparing the things that I love and everyone else can be thankful that McDonald's is open!

Port Wine Cranberry Sauce 
servings = makes about 2 cups

½ cup ruby port
Zest of 1 orange
½ cup fresh orange juice
12 ounces fresh cranberries
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped

In a medium saucepan, combine port wine with orange zest and orange juice and bring to a boil. Add the cranberries, honey and ginger and simmer over medium-low heat until the sauce is jam-like, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm or at room temperature.

Can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

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