I tend to get ahead of myself.

Thanksgiving in Canada is the second Monday in October, which really throws my American wife off-balance. This year, we’re going to her sister’s in the US for American Thanksgiving, too, at the end of November. So I’ve started thinking about how to host, then travel, with good food that showcases my talents.

Cranberry sauce is a must.

My base recipe is this one from Damn Delicious:


I add a bit of ground cloves as well, but otherwise make it as suggested, doubled.

Then I can it, because cooked fruit can generally be canned and I need it to last long enough for both Thanksgivings and Christmas. That’s three months. The fridge just won’t cut it.

Cranberries are tart enough that you don’t need to add lemon juice to water-bath can. Orange zest and freshly-squeezed orange juice are both great sources of natural pectin. So I just cook the sauce until it gels when dropped on a cold ramekin, and then fill jam jars and process for ten minutes in my water bath canner, just like jam. Because it is.

In addition to turkey, this stuff is delicious on squash, pumpkin, or sweet potato. (There, you just figured out the OTHER reason this stuff is on my mind today.) It’s lovely in Greek yogurt, though it’s tart so you may want to add a bit of honey. A scoop of this stuff is even really good in oatmeal or over vanilla ice cream.

Onion and Garlic Compote

I made this a week or so ago to rave reviews. My eldest child says it should be illegal to make food this good.

Skill level: one step up from dead easy
Yield: 5-6 cups (I got 5 and a bit)

Ingredients: 4 pounds videlia or Spanish onions, about 8
3 heads garlic
some olive oil (I didn’t measure) or butter
1 tbsp kosher or pickling salt (don’t use table salt if you’re canning stuff)
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar – red wine or malt vinegar would work, too
1 tbsp (i.e. a dollop) fancy molasses

Follow instructions on the internet for roasting whole heads of garlic if you don’t already know how. Set them aside to cool. Meanwhile, chop the onions into half-inch strips; I used my food processor for this. Have I mentioned how much I love my food processor?

Cook the onions with the salt and some olive oil until they are nicely carmelized. You’ll achieve a darker colour if you use butter in this part of the recipe. I wanted it vegan so I didn’t and it tastes incredible, so you do you.

While the onions are cooking down – it’ll take an hour or more in a pretty big pot – squeeze the garlic pulp into a bowl and mash it with a fork. Don’t stir the onions too much; they don’t get brown as fast if you stir too much.

When the onions are almost done cooking, add the rest of the ingredients. You may want to test for sweetness at this point. I’ve been aiming for low-sugar-added recipes, but the recipe I used as a base for this one called for two tablespoons of brown sugar instead of molasses. Again, you do you.

If you’re an experienced canner, you started the boiling water canner while the onions were cooking down. I used jam jars, aka half-pint, aka 250mL. Take the jars out of it now, fill them, affix seals, and process for ten minutes. If you need more instructions on this, find a friend to do it with, but it’s exactly like jam at this point.

I’m expecting to use this on a wide variety of sandwiches and meat and cheese dishes. It’s a pretty thick stringy paste and would go great with some Brie and pear on a grilled sandwich. I’m also expecting to use it as a topping for a mashed sweet potato casserole, because sweet potato + carmelized onion + roasted garlic = heaven in an orange mush.